From Bode Durojaiye
In Nigeria, the youths, particularly in the pre-independence era and shortly thereafter, played formidable roles
leading to monumental gains in politics, economy, technology, commerce and industry just to mentioned few.
Indeed, prominent leaders of the 60s, including Chief Obafemi Awolowo aged 37, Samuel Ladoke Akintola 36, Ahmadu Bello 36, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa 34, Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh 27, Chief Anthony Enahoro 27 among others who found the mantle of leadership entrusted to them at these youthful periods of their lives and that of the action played remarkable roles in laying solid foundation for the
nation before they were sent packing by the military junta.
‘Today, the story is unfortunately no longer the same as the youths, unlike their counter parts in the days of yore, have come under severe encumbrances which if not tackled would continue to make the concept of youths as future leaders nothing but a nightmarish and wishful thinking.
What then should be way forward ? AJISEBI OYO RADIO TV sought the views of some Nigerians on the sundry issue.
First to fire the salvo , a telecommunication expert and public affairs analyst, Engineer Faosey Nurudeen Adekola, said ‘’today, high level unemployment, excruciating poverty, homelessness, hunger and disease, involvement in cultism and cult-related violence, political thuggery, sectarian extremism, get rich-quick syndrome, insurgency and terrorism as well as lack of patriotism constitute veritable catastrophic cataclysm taking the shine out of the time-honoured role and desire for the Nigerian youths to step into the shoes as future leaders’’.
He stressed the urgent need for the family as the first socializing unit, the government, religious and opinion leaders, as well as various non-governmental organizations to work assiduously to inculcate in the youths the virtues of hard work, patriotism, and exemplary leadership.
This, according to Adekola, is in addition to creating the conducive atmosphere for the realization of the numerous potentials of the youths to enable them play the expected roles , as it is not too late to remove the encumbrances on the way to actualizing the Nigerian youths as future leaders.
In his comment, a former Chairman of Oyo West Local Government in Oyo State, , Honourable Richard Adesoji Ojoawo, noted that t was on the heels of undesirable acts that are being perpetrated by hoodlums thus causing panics among the peace-loving residents in towns and communities.
Said he, ‘’it is only when we have the right legacy to bequeath as well as the youths with the right frame of mind, opportunities and conducive atmosphere and readiness to receive same and keep the flag flying that we can truly be said to understand the full import of leaders”.
An online broadcaster , Mr. Adeyinka Olasunkanmi Kásámasedáadáa pointed out that the implication portends something ominous for the society as a whole.
He noted that all over the world, youths are regarded as the future leaders of the society, stressing that ‘’this is not a misplaced or wistful thinking as this class of energetic citizens posses enormous and multi dimensional talents, powers and creative abilities which if moulded and harnessed in a fit and proper atmosphere, can translate to generational wellbeing in the social,
political and economic life of the society
‘Olasunkanmi said that ’It is against this backdrop that nations, particularly those subscribing to democratic norms and values, evolve deliberate policy measures aimed at prioritizing genuine issues geared towards giving eloquent expression to youth development, self-actualization and repositioning for future leadership’’.
He further identified enlightenment and sporting activities as viable weapons against youth violence and restiveness, adding that a great percentage of violence perpetuated by youths in the country is the result of some communication gap and a disconnect between youths and leaders at various levels.
According to Olasunkanmi, ” this continues to widen overtime and are often manipulated by opportunists who lure the youth with promises of better standards, thus end up turning them into willing instruments for perpetuating violence in the pursuit of their group or individual interests”.
The Chairman of Oyo West Local Government, Prince Akeem Olukitibi, who had empowered over 500 youths since he assumed office said that “adequate enlightenment will create in youths the awareness that the future belongs to them, that it must not be destroyed by them and that the future and its nature depend on the decision and choices they make.
” It will register in them the contrast between the ignoble role of many contemporary youths and the noble and heroic contributions of youths in the past to the development of Nigeria.
“It will also open their eyes to the need to embrace the rule of law and democratic ideals as well as the need to explore available channels in resolving issues relating to the neglect of youths in the development process.”
Olukitibi lamented that youths, who have too much energy and no productive place for channeling it, participate in violent acts.
According to him, “youths are the foundation of a society. Their energies, inventiveness, character and orientation define the pace of development and security of a nation, and that it is through their creative talents and labour power that a nation makes giant strides in economic development and socio political attainments.”