Whats A Good Gift For A 50 Year Old Man Nigeria is 50 – What’s in it For the Youth?

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Nigeria is 50 – What’s in it For the Youth?

If as the age long proverbial axiom says, “a fool at 40 is a fool forever” what about one at 50?

Since 1960 when Nigerians took hold of the reins of power to control the affairs of their own lives and probably to give the “masses” total “independence”, the youth have been the most neglected segment of the country, benefiting nothing much more than being tricked and conned by the ruling class.

History has it that at a given point in the corporate life of the entity Nigeria, youths had had access to a good life, evidenced in free education, cheap health facilities, and waiting employment opportunities, to mention a few. We are even told that government parastatals and private organizations booked for young individuals who were yet in schools, to offer them jobs.

Ironically these are the same people ruling us today. Some of them indeed, were sponsored by government to higher institutions abroad, with every provision, including reading materials, feeding and wears. Given such background, one would have expected the beneficiaries of such benevolence, who had benefited as much privileges from the colonialists, to want to do better than their predecessor in developing their ONLY motherland and its people.

But alas! Fifty (50) good years have seen only the recycling of people who were not able to retain in their heads and hearts, the beauty of loving and being remembered for the good they do to their country. They are remembered all the same, for the bad.

We are also told by those who were old enough to have understood the scheme of things, that the epoch between 1969 – 1973 saw a certain man named Yakubu Gowon emerged to rule the the country with genuine love and intent to elevate the common man, irrespective of geopolitical, ethnic or religious affiliation, to an appreciable state. Apart from this, in fifty years, all others have only taken us four steps back for every one taken forward.

Controversial statement say you? Especially so because the slideshow of our “heroes past” reeling out in your imagination presents such wonderful images and names like Obafemi Awolowo, Namdi Azikiwe, Ahmadu Bello, Shehu Shagari, Ibrahim Babangida, Mohammadu Buhari, and Olusegun Obasanjo, to mention a few. Well, you are entitled to your opinion as is everyone else.

Those personalities no doubt, contributed greatly to the corporate existence of the country Nigeria and so also did they contribute immensely to our present state, good and bad.

For instance, sectionalism which plagues us today, history books say, emanated from little fall outs between our pioneering leaders of eastern cum norther cum south-western extractions as demonstrated in their partisan politics. So we may say they wriggled power out of the hands of the whites who were foreigners scrambling over our resources (yet had better intent to develop us), only to gore each other to the detriment of younger generations of fellow Nigerians.

Do not misunderstand this to mean that we advocate the return of the colonialists; never! We are only decrying the regrettable fact that in fifty years we have not had any messiah among our own as capable as those “exploitative slave masters”, none as honest as the “dubious” white man who left his own home to come and “steal” what belongs to us. Yet we have had a thousand who stole more than the colonialists did.

In 50 years honestly, can we boast of one, no, two (since we are already able to mention one who was different) men who have been reasonable enough to remember the days of their own youth, how they enjoyed the fruit of the land? Have there been any two, who therefore, made genuine effort to present younger generations with something close to what they enjoyed in their own time?

This does not imply that in 50 years our leaders have not been good in anything; rather, there are fields where they have, together with us, broken records.

Let’s cite instances: it is well known even to children that the name Nigeria is synonymous with “being smart”. Yes! When you get to where order is required, be smart. If justice is what is needed, be smart; when the world around you is starving of honesty and moral consistency, even if you have all it takes to make a difference, be smart – that is how to be a true Nigerian. without that, without scratching anybody’s back, without falsifying your age, count yourself out because your type aren’t here; you won’t even secure employment as a youth.

And if the United Nations or Transparency International dares to raise an eye brow, call the Jerry Gana’s to sugar coat or the Akunyili’s to help rename us so that our black letters will be dispatched in white envelopes.

Is this fault finding or pessimism? I’d call it being realistic. This is not about complaints alone, lets now mention also some of the best of our achievements:

If you were a man at fifty with children and grand children, wouldn’t you smile contented if at least 65% of your household, especially the most smile contented if at least 65% of your household, especially the most young and energetic, are unemployed?

If at age 50 Nigeria boasts of congress men that break each other’s jaws with clenched fists over money the way European colonialists scrambled over our land and resources (though they did not kill each other); if indeed at age 50, with grand children old enough to be grand fathers, Nigeria can boast of having what some have called “spare parts dealers, money miss road” in decision making positions while professors and honest men and women are only fit to be their “special advisers” and “personal assistants”. If really the money in one’s pocket (irrespective of what one does to get it there), matters more than his intellect, abilities and strength of character. Then shouldn’t we agree that motherland has indeed come a long way both in age and achievements? We should therefore, be saying “bravo!” and celebrating, not complaining.

However, I, as well as anyone who cares, would love to be shown one individual (other than the cake sharers), who is happy with the state of things in Nigeria. While the masses are hurting, the rest of the world is jesting and marveling at how backward we are with the lion share of natural resources the creator has chosen to bless us with.

Youth! So where are you? Is there a country you will call your own outside Nigeria? Are you reduced to an escort to others in this journey? Have you forgotten so soon the money you had to pay to gain admission into higher institution? And now that you have managed to graduate successfully or otherwise, are you not unemployed only because you haven’t got N250, 000 to pay?

Don’t you know why? Because the old unproductive man who was sponsored with your resources long ago, to get trained abroad is long due for retirement but stayed back on “contract basis” so there is practically NO VACANCY.

And don’t you go hoping he will soon die because if he does, there are some people somewhere who have been collecting the salaries of the other man who died 1o years ago, as if he were alive and working. I pity you because these are not the late man’s kin. No! They are those on top.

Frankly, they have suspended the family of the deceased from receiving his entitlements from his years of meritorious service to the nation. While waiting, the wife too has gone to join her husband in his grave and the eldest of their children is too young to claim anything. So you see? The “big wigs” have at least 10 more years to dance on the late man’s grave before declaring him dead enough for his family to begin processing to collect his entitlements.

So what are you going to do than to wait as usual anyways? After all, with all your intellect, talent, strength of youth and the academic qualification you now brandish, are you not playing “boy boy” to some opportunist to earn a meal?

There was once an old man who was a little retarded upstairs. He would pass stool around his house, leaving only a narrow passage way to the door. This irritated neighbours so much that they stopped taking food to him so he had to go from house to house in search for food. After a meal, he would thank the house owner first for the food and then for the house, saying that their house did not smell as horrible as his.

One day, when he said this, a child renounced him, saying he was a fool for littering his house with feaces and advised that he clean up the house to stop it from smelling horrible.

Similarly, Nigeria seem to demonstrate to the entire world, including younger, poorer states, that experience may come by age, never wisdom.

Like the lunatic, Nigerian leaders have for 50 years, enjoyed life in America and Europe when they flirt there either to hide stolen money or to dance away in celebration of other people’s achievements. Often they tell tales of how beautiful, organized and comfortable those places are, including how civilized the people there are but leave theirs in perpetual darkness.

Again, we repeat that the leaders of other countries have not necessarily achieved more feats than those of Nigeria. For example, Nelson Mandela of South Africa is known world over for his love for his country. He was never a military chief yet he spent almost half of his life in incarceration fighting for his people. When he returned, THE PEOPLE made him president, a response well deserved.

Here in Nigeria, we have a general whose only war we know about was the “legitimizing” of corruption. While the former resisted genuine requests to stay on in power as president, the latter, as well as all others who had had a chance to be at the helm of affairs before (except of course the one we already acknowledged as being different), have suddenly realized that they did not do enough harm during their first missionary journeys so they now toil desperately to return to Aso Rock (recycled, old wine as they may be); either to “right the wrongs” they have done or most likely to wrong the little right they may have done.

In conclusion, we may say our golden jubilee is well deserved, a celebration of achievements either ways. But we must admit notwithstanding, that when measured against ideals, our leaders have for 50 years, championed leftism while those of other countries have done well to develop their countries, especially their youth.

So youth, if you are thinking of depending on government for anything, you had better change your mind because if those guys there have been there 50 years and we are where we are, it means because they wouldn’t go, we are going to be here longer. God forbid!

But if you think this is being unfairly pessimist, I’d say; you are entitled to your opinion as much as I am.

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