A common global axiom is that our Youths are the Leaders of tomorrow and therefore expected to serve as agents of change. They are also expected to promote social harmony and integration devoid of hate and selsh manipulations. To make this realisable, generational leaders obviously have the responsibility to ensure that the Youths are trained to acquire appropriate knowledge on purposeful leadership and process- “ow mechanism to guarantee and sustain economic development that will transcend ethnic or regional boundaries. It behoves our political
leaders, whether in government or opposition, to also ensure that the Youths are properly guided to prepare them for the challenges of harnessing divergent values in handling political issues.
Like every growing concern, every Country looks forward to having Youths with balanced character, credibility, courage and strength to improve both the process and reward mechanisms in order to stimulate healthy environment for socio-economic development. A Youth with these qualities will appreciate the place of patriotism over nepotism, truth over deceit, and inculcate a conscience-centred approach in every decision towards nation building. So it was during the Nigerian Civil War when the then Military Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, deployed his youthful strength and energy to ensure Nigeria remained indivisible inspite of all contending forces before and during the unfortunate civil war.
The above introduction reminds us of submissions by earlier scholars that “the way we make our bed, so we lay on it” and that “the foundation of any building will determine its strength and duration the house will last”.
In other words, the ability of any Country to attain its destiny largely depends on the quality of education attained and influence of the elders on them. For instance, the review of our primary and secondary curricular, has ridiculously infiltrated our society with “foreign culture” to the detriment of our valued “local culture”. The behavioural patterns of our Youths have never remained the same. The implications thereof are no doubt enormous and have continued to threaten our social values as a country hence there are cases of questionable conducts and attitudes among our teeming youths.
We are gradually sliding into a country where the Youths do not see corruption and corruptible acts as contrasts to purposeful leadership.
Our leaders must not allow the youths to grow up with the strong belief that the smartest is the one who is courageous enough to manipulate a process to achieve selfish goal and to the detriment of his fatherland.
It would be recalled that in the 1970s, communal living enabled parents and the community have close monitoring, guidance and control of their children. When a child misbehaves or is seen with items that portray extravagant life, such a child is disciplined di3erently and severally by the parents, relations and the community. Those days, no child was ready to be associated with stealing or falsehood, hence the consciousness to live a good life at all times. Stealing or any form of unacceptable behaviour, whether in the school, workplace, market place, within the compound where one lives or any place whatsoever, was regarded as an abomination. Moral was a valuable way of life!
Unfortunately, foreign infractions hiding under modernisation, is estroying our values.
Modern curriculum in our schools which have destroyed our cultural values and the emergence of social media platform, have further weakened the possibility of preserving our core values. Initially, we were told that we must allow our Youths to embrace modernisation; a decision that was said to be in line global practice. Expectedly our Youths have continued to take undue advantage of the available social platforms by throwing cautions to the wind in the way and manner comments and reactions are made. In the recent past, some of our political leaders who ought to have been role models encouraged and/or infuenced our Youths to conduct themselves in questionable manners that are at variance with our culture.
Cases of armed robberies took the centre stage after the civil war in igeria and have continued to degenerate. A closer assessment of those involved in these heinous acts, show that virtually all of them are Youths who lay the blames on bad leadership. Some have even been reported to assassinate people in line with scripts by their sponsors. Kidnapping and acts of terrorism have recently taken the worrisome stage in our social discuss and all are living witnesses to its consequences to the peaceful co-existence in Nigeria. These are the results of our failure as a Nation to ensure proper training and guidance in line with our unique cultural values and societal needs. By implication, the country has by her legal frameworks, allowed our Youths take undue advantage of fundamental human rights and freedom of association to import strange cultures and join cults and terrorist groups as weapons to ght and protect themselves. Our institutions of learning are no longer for exclusive academic pursuit as host communities are now faced with nocturnal gatherings that often lead to killings of perceived enemies and destruction of properties.
Worse still, the social media is daily awash with alien, condemnable and questionable comments, mostly by our Youths most of whom have either been enlisted by politicians to attack opponents, insult elders and leaders. This was made possible due to greed, ignorance, illiteracy or inadequate knowledge of governance procedures.
They have also used the falsehood principle to orchestrate their selfish tendencies hence a high level of inconsistencies in what they say or do. Hate and all manners of deliberate attempts to destroy others because of selfish interests, will further separate us as a people, while sincerity and genuine love, will bridge all known ethnic or regional gaps to genuine social integration.
If we expect the Youths to be good leaders of our tomorrow Nigeria, our current leaders, irrespective of political, regional or ethnic interests, must stop misleading, deceiving and influencing them to avert the upsurge of more deadly social vices that can destroy the foundation of our existence as a Nation. It is truly worrisome that some of our political leaders no longer allow patriotism guide their comments on national issues simply because of personal or ethnic political interests, not minding the consequences of their utterances to our nation’s survival. False accusations and counter-accusations have become the order of the day and the Youths are taking full advantage of same to prepare themselves for the future. We have downplayed complements for unhealthy rivalries with aspersions to pull-down opponents by all means. Any undue advantage of the existing “freedom of information act” can be catastrophic in the long run. Our political leaders must live above board and avoid situations where they engage our Youths in heinous causes that are detrimental to a virile Nigeria State.
Government and organised private sector should put in place measures to quickly address all forms of strange attitudes and behaviours by strengthening institutions that are concerned with the development of our youths. Aside this, Government should, without further delay, re-introduce the teaching of civic and moral education at all levels of our education, at least, to create the consciousness among our future leaders that things can be done better and rightly too. This will address the yawning gaps between creativity and rascality. Our youths can be properly guided to embrace positive innovations and purposeful thinking; follow acceptable patterns of behaviour; and sow seeds whose harvest will serve as beacons to uplift our fatherland.
However, if we allow our questionable mentality unchecked, the future of our country will sooner than imagined, be grievously challenged and ridiculously exposed. At such a time, the country whose current youths would have become leaders can, at best, experience traits in congruence with what our current leaders taught and encouraged. All hands should be on deck to change our attitude, perception, belief-system and mentality in all strata of our lives. Our strategies for development must be based on process that will strengthen our institutions for future generations to proudly appreciate the good foundation laid by our heroes past towards the evolution of a stronger, virile and purposeful Nigeria State.
The writer, Eigbiluese is an Abuja-based public affairs commentator