The saying, ‘The youths are the bedrock of every societal growth and dovelopment’ is undeniable as the potential the youths possess is enormous. Hence, the youths are the greatest assets any country can have.
It should be noted that the Nigerian youths played a critical role when the country was agitating for self determination as history reveals. Since independence, the Nigerian youths worked tirelessly towards contributing to democratic governance.
One could recall the efforts by youths in Nigeria under the umbrella of various organisations such as Aid Group, Vigilante, Boys Brigade, to mention but a few. The youths contributed immensely to community projects like town hall building, religious centres and maintenance of security within various communities.
The recent disbandment of SARS for alleged harassment and brutality of innocent Nigerians is a victory to youths in Nigeria. Going through historical archives, it’s worthy of note that celebrated heroes such as Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, among others, whose names were written with the golden pen appeared at the centre stage of their generation; nationalized as youths not as elders. Yes! the youths stand far bigger by talents and strength for every nation.
But today, the media and public spaces capture the youths with details of terrible stories of political thuggery, armed robbery, kidnapping, corruption, cultism, cyber crime, rape, among other social vices, which have affected the growth and development of the country.
The major identified issue that reinforces criminalism and other misdemeanors among youths is the lack of parental care. These parents fail to spend time with their wards and just concentrate on their businesses.The youths grow up lacking appropriate upbringing and relevant knowledge of social norms.
Similarly, peer pressure can equally affect the youths negatively. In a quest to compete with friends, engage in crime.
It must be noted that, despite the advantages of civilization, it has brought about attitudinal changes. The youths tend to imitate foreign cultures which have some values that do not comform with Nigerian nay African way of life.
Also, exposure to media messages and posts on internet have contributed in no small measure. Most of the youths have been turned into drug abusers and this is as a result of social media influence and can be connected with the high rate of unemployment.
Another identified predicament of Nigerian youths today is rural urban migration. Massive investment in the cities and lack of basic infrastructure in the rural areas has led to overcrowding In the cities as the youth look for white collar jobs for survival which also leads to the increase in criminal activities in the urban areas.
Apart from these and many more, politicians nowadays engage youths for political thuggery in order to win elections and when the perpetrators of such crimes are arrested, their god-fathers secure their release.
To reposition the Nigerian youths for national growth and development, parents, in the first instance, are advised to spend quality time with their children in order to mould them into responsible citizens. It’s also imperative for parents to monitor their children against bad company. Government at all levels should increase the level of literacy among youths to improve the quality of youths’ man power for productivity and efficiency.
There is also the need for holistic approach to address unemployment among youths by creating industries and resuscitation of ailing ones for the nation’s economic growth. Similarly, there should be foreign policies to give room for foreign and internal private sectors to participate in economic diversification.
Furthermore, there should be available skills acquisition centers to train youths in order to become self-reliant.
On a final note, the future of Nigerian youths should be brighter and have a focus in life and desist from acts capable of tarnishing their valuable images as Nigerian citizens.
The youths should consider themselves as nation builders, peace keepers and indeed leaders of tomorrow.
Sani Adamu Musa,
Mass Communication Department,
Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic,