DOROTHY AMAKE examines the roles students and youth play to help Nigeria achieve her growth and development aspiration and reports that their roles are important to national development.
Finance not a limitation
It is important for Nigerian youths who believe that they don’t have the financial capability to wrest political power from older compatriots to listen to what an American beauty consultant, and cosmetician, Mary Kay Ash said.
“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember you can achieve,” she said.
Agents of change
As youths, we are agents of change and the change we desire in others must start from us. We must use all of our talent to serve our country and fatherland the best we can. We must also help government at all levels in the implementation of its policies. We must resist all forms of exploitation by individuals and groups, for in this, they take away our voice and rights; they take us away from the big picture.
Without a doubt, youths are the foundation of positive and negative pictures of any society. Their energies, inventiveness, character and orientation define the pace of development and security of a nation. Through their creative talents and labour power, a nation makes giant strides in economic development and socio-political attainments. Any nation that denies its youth the necessary and enabling environment to enthusiastically participate in nation-building merely does so at its own peril. Nation-building is a dynamic process that calls for the participation of all segments of the society, including the often-overlooked and undermined youth population and youth resourcefulness that will provide an invaluable speed for the growth and development of any society.
As youths are brought into and connected with national issues and programmes, they can participate actively and contribute to decision making at multiple levels. As youths are engaged in more sustained positive relationships with adults, national progress is assured. Apart from realising that they are valuable assets of their nations, such collaborations and participation may lead to skill enhancement, empowerment and confidence-building traits, which will help prepare them for active interest and involvement in nation-building.
It is important to note that young people play a crucial role in the prospect for development and should therefore, be included in all national development plans and programmes. But reality shows that attention to youth has not been sufficient and more needs to be done considering the practical implications of shifting perceptions of the youth and the role they can play in the society.
In Nigeria, the greatest challenge confronting the youth today is unemployment which has become a great challenge to national security. Despite alleged successes of various youth empowerment programmes across the country, over 54 per cent of Nigerian youth remain unemployed. The unemployment record in the country clearly portrays an increase in idle hands across the length and breadth of Nigeria.
It is often said that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop, so an unemployed youth is a danger to the society.
Activities of groups such as Boko-Haram, Niger Delta militants, Biafra agitators and recently, the Baddo group, have serious implications for national security in the country. Sadly, some of these rebellious groups have students at the forefront of their nefarious activities.
The first step in creating a new Nigeria is to create or revive scholarly spirit in students to have optimistic mind that believes Nigeria can actually get better and attains the height we all yearn for.
Just like the popular saying that “Rome was not built in a day”, the process of recreation is definitely not a day’s job. Every student needs to understand this fact.
The revival process won’t come as a miracle, but with passion and patriotism for country.
Remember that clothes must be cut to pieces and sewn to bring forth a beautiful dress.
Faith renewal necessary
As students, we need to renew our faith in Nigeria, the dilapidated can be rebuilt, the wastelands can still be productive, water can come out of the desert and a good thing can actually come from Nazareth.
Nigerian students need to understand the essence of self-empowerment and sufficiency. Of the crises facing Nigeria today, unemployment stands prominent.
The available jobs are not enough; therefore it is a battle among the smartest to get a job. To solve this situation, it is important that students strive for excellence to become employable or employers of labour themselves. Rather than relying on getting a job after school, they should take initiatives and work on building successful businesses which will in turn create jobs for others.
Innovativeness and vision is very essential, and requires that they think out of the box, planning extensively ahead, rather than live only for the present.
Dialogue better than confrontation
To build that nation, students must shun all vices capable of undermining national security such as cultism, political thuggery, hooliganism and other forms of unruly and violent behaviour.Nigerian students must adopt dialogue rather than violence when it comes to solving problems. It is said “violence begets violence”. Therefore, students should shun violent demonstrations because they do more harm than good in a country.
If Nigeria is ever going to get better, students must live as responsible and law-abiding citizens by joining voluntary organisations and helping in community service and development. They must be ready in helping to enforce law, order and cleanliness.
Nigeria is on its way to becoming a greater nation with the current corruption fight of the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari.
Building a corruption-free country, one with integrity, is a responsibility of every student. The bad reputation corruption had imposed on our dear country, is a result of desperate individuals who want to acquire wealth overnight.
Students must shun fraud, bribery and all forms of examination malpractices and understand that success and wealth never come easy, but as a result of hardwork, preparation, patience, perseverance and prayer. It may be tough to succeed, but it is definitely not impossible as Nigeria is blessed with enough resources to aid those who want to succeed.
Youths are the building blocks of every nation. The stronger the youth of a country, the more developed that country is.
For a country like Nigeria with about 70 per cent youth population, we are where we are because the future of the youth has been mortgaged. We have been denied the benefits of good education; our minds have been chronically infested with low moral values. When the political class is riddled with notorious, corrupt individuals, which the justice system helplessly fails to punish, then the nation stagnates,
Government’s plans and readiness to revive youth productiveness is but a mere lip-service. Politicians only engage us during elections and turn us into electoral thugs instead of building enough schools and creating adequate employment opportunities for us.
Students’ ideological bankrupcy
We are the architect of our own misfortune because we embraced corrupt politicians’ ideologies. We are ideologically bankrupt and in a state of delirium. We choose violence instead of peace and mutual coexistence. We choose the comfort of the moment instead of striving for self-sacrifice that will guarantee the freedom of this country. We choose the wealth of the highways instead of classrooms. We choose gun, knife and axe instead of pen, paper and hardwork. We avail ourselves all kinds of dirty jobs during elections.
The quality of tomorrow’s leaders lies in the character of today’s followers.
An Indian statesman, Mahatma Ghandhi said, “A man is but the product of his thoughts, what he thinks he becomes.”
Dorothy Amake is Mass Communication student at Kogi State University, Anyigba, and an IT student with Blueprint newspapers.