“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Nigeria is about to witness a generational awakening. The youth have a pivotal role to play in re-shaping the future of our great nation. When the Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka referred to his generation as wasted, he stated: “I coined the term ‘wasted generation’ because of the scale of our ambition as young people; we were the renaissance people.”
What Soyinka’s generation wasted was an opportunity for a rebirth of the nation, a chance to set the nation on a path to global success.
Unfortunately, they can only rehearse in regret, and dream of what could have been. No doubt some in that generation played significant roles in nation building, as some played an equally significant role in nation damaging – an impact which is still being felt today.
Among the wasted generation are those who lost hope in the system and those who gave up the task of nation building, they became overwhelmed by the throes of personal survival. Such anomalies of inconsideration for fellow citizens, further entrenched the selfish ideology in our milieu – with selflessness becoming a rarity.
Following the wasted generation, emerged what has been referred to as the wasteful generation. The wasteful generation has learnt from the wasted generation – mostly in terms of perfecting the act of misgovernance. The wasteful generation is on a squandering spree, rather than be the reparative generation: repairing a polity damaged by decades of successive maladministration and characteristic malfeasance, they have worsened the situation.
Undoubtedly, whatever actions preceding generations take have a lasting impact on future generations, be it negative or positive, the hope is the negative impacts aren’t permanently irreparable. In Nigeria’s case, we have had a series of sequential regimes dominated by a special clique within a particular generation deciding the fate of the majority. With their corruption ethos, this aforementioned generation have been able to effectively infect other generations with their profligate lifestyle, and perpetuating malfeasance to a level where it has unfortunately been misconstrued as norm.
This generational mixture is characterised by wasting of opportunities, and failure to channel revenues from our abundant natural resources via the proper mechanisms for economic growth and infrastructural development. What pervades our polity is the entitlement mindset, dearth of public servitude and preservation of the corruption culture. A disheartening metamorphosis into some sort of mutative generation – where the goal is to out do one another in self-aggrandizement.
By all ramifications, they are certainly setting new records in achieving great larcenous feats. Back then, the late Fela Kuti sang against the corruption in the ruling class, in his 1980’s hit, Army Arrangement, he sang “2.8 Billion Naira Oil money is still missing”. Fast-forward to 2014, sadly, the same ‘oil money is still missing’. With the figure discrepancies being bandied around – from $48 Billion to $12 Billion to $10 Billion, to the latest $20 Billion – one can only weep! But that is if you have a conscience and truly care about the future of the nation.
The thieving forefathers and looting godfathers will definitely be proud of their successors, because they are surpassing them in every level of administrative sleaze and setting outrageous embezzlement records. Apparently, the wasted generation are competing with the wasteful generation in ravaging what’s left of our common wealth, like deranged scavengers.
It is truly disgusting that people see governance as a way of enriching themselves. Looting the public treasury and stealing our common wealth has become norm. What happened to dignity and shame? A shameless lot masquerading as leaders!
Some theorists posit the decadence has sunk to such a debauching level, those that often emerge for positions of authority are manifestations of our depraved society. Some of those at the helm of affairs, well over 3 decades ago, are till jostling for key government positions – even in their 80’s. These are the same set that called the younger generation, ‘leaders of tomorrow’. Unsurprisingly, some of the younger generation are hoping the tomorrow referred to isn’t the afterlife, as that tomorrow is yet to come to fruition. The reality is, the tomorrow has actually come, and it’s up to the younger generation to take charge of their collective destiny.
Since I was a child, we have been informed of Nigeria’s potentials. From the Jim O’Neil MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey) economic prediction to whatever economic indices our huge potential is posited, we know, and have always known Nigeria has huge potentials.
Whilst those at the helm of affairs are busy ravaging the proverbial ‘spoils’, they have forgotten the laws of nature, karma and diminishing returns. They forget the consequences of their economic improvidence has impoverished an entire generation. They forget Nigeria has evolved rapidly from the era where those who siphon our common wealth get away unscathed. They forget that by the laws of evolution a new generation is emerging and woe betide any amongst this younger generation planning to perpetuate corruption in governance.
This emerging generation has to rise up to the challenge, change the status quo, stymie the societal putrescence and be ready to sacrifice for a better nation. This generation would be the selfless generation. The selfless generation are those willing to sacrifice their comfort and luxury for a better tomorrow; those who know the detrimental effects of insatiable greed; those who have felt the consequences of selfish rulers, and the aftermath of public servants generally disconnected from those they are supposed to serve.
The youth are in the majority, constituting about 70% of the nation’s population. The youth from all geopolitical zones must get involved in the political process and speak with one voice. The youth must be sincere and dedicated to the cause of change.
This emerging generation must be the selfless generation we urgently require to salvage the nation from its current abyss.
Change is very possible. Change is not utopian or some elusive dream. Change is a reality. Once the youth realise the power of their multitude, it can be positively harnessed to the benefit of society. The time is now and failure is not an option.
Arise, O Selfless Generation and Save The Nation!
– M.B.O 2013©
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters