Education

How Nigeria can get vibrant youth leadership

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Photo Credit: Sahara Reporters

By Orodiran Oluwatosin Sunday

I want to thank the organizers of this programme for giving me this opportunity. I have to confess that people that afford us some avenues to talk to one another as Nigerian youths are the real creators of our new Nigeria. One of the most important things that will bring change into a nation quickly is getting right information at the right time. When we all know what we need to know on time, I think our reactions to national movement will be the same and we will achieve the same goal. For this, I am saying kudos to the organizers of this talk.

When I was given the opportunity to come up with this message, I took my time to reflect on what exactly could be discussed. I realized that our country is at the climax where the whole world is expecting something to happen. America has predicted several times that Nigeria might not survive 2020. In fact, some of us are scared of what will befall this nation. We all understand our state, we know that our problem is backwardness, we are moving back every day. We have leadership problem. We only have several position holders but just few of them have the country in mind. I want to bring to our remembrance what happened to us in 2015. I have never seen Nigerians cast their hope on one soul like that for over a decade now. The average Nigerian thought our hope had come. But the stage play today has proved beyond measure that no one, I mean not even one of these set of position holders that we have currently is profitable to the country. They are bad fruits that can’t be restored. If this is true, then it’s as well true that if we continue to keep them in the system, our nation will fall totally from the ladder of greatness. And this is the major reason for this talk; you and I will not allow Nigeria to fall. Nigeria’s fall is our fall. We need to do something. We are the hope of this country. What then is the solution?

Youth’s Leadership

I happened to be part of the students who offered history when I was in secondary school. Till now, I can still remember that we offered a topic, “The Revolution of Europe”. Our teacher made us to understand that Europe was once like Africa where the rich ruled the poor. The old lorded over the youth. But there was a point in time that European youths came up and challenged the said obnoxious political system. They fought through confrontations and agitations, and took over the affairs of Europe. The result of their steps centuries ago is what the whole world is now enjoying. I want us to understand that a society that disallows her youths to have a say in crucial matters is a dead society. Maybe, this is why Nigeria keeps dying daily. We have people who are drunk off power. We have people who want to remain in power forever. We have position holders who always want more for themselves but never for the nation. We have people who have locked our destinies and potentials out of reality. They keep you and me out of this system because they know that once we are given an opportunity, we will want to do something that affects the future and this will affect their present selfish ambitions to accrue wealth and power for themselves.

Abel Olawale wrote: One of my most fulfilling ministry activities is teaching Hope Sabbath School, an in-depth interactive Bible Study with a small group of young adults. We limit the group to 12 and strive for a diverse mix with an average age of 30. Two years ago, the executive producer of the program suggested that we give teaching opportunities to some of our young adult team members. The result was electrifying, and the response from our audience was almost immediate. The vast majority of our Hope Sabbath School members liked this new format. Unfortunately, as one might expect, not everyone agreed. One longtime participant gave this response: “I definitely would not let the young leaders take the helm, not sure about these new generations. They have yet to prove themselves.”

Such reticence is understandable, but how can future leaders prove themselves unless we give them an opportunity?

Young adults are innovators. They feel no compulsion to defend the status quo, and they have little turf to protect. Mark Zuckerberg was in his early 20s when he and four university colleagues launched Facebook. By age 23, he was a billionaire, and by age 26 he was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year.

Sergey Brin and Larry Page were 21 and 22 respectively when they met at Stanford University. Larry was a University of Michigan graduate, and Sergey was the Stanford student assigned to show him around campus. Within a year they were working together on a search engine called Backrub. Before they reached their mid-20s they registered the domain name Google.com. Though still working out of their garage office, they had a bold vision to change the world. Today, Google’s net worth is approximately US$350 billion.

Fresh thinking in government, the church, the mosque, and the civil service can only be brought about by youths well versed in today’s technology. You cannot get to tomorrow’s destination with yesterday’s people. In 1982 Senator Olusola Saraki screened Audu Ogbeh as minister, in 2016, his son Bukola Saraki screened same man as minister, but how can we explain this? Look back at our history; we made our most progress under youthful leaders like Gowon, Murtala, Obasanjo.

This wickedness we are trying to eradicate is not only in political positions; it’s in our homes where some parents will still want to control the lives of their married sons and daughters. It’s in our churches, mosques, and the civil service. We must not relent in fighting this battle across board.

Dear passionate youths of Nigeria, I must tell us the truth today as Mahatma Gandhi said “Truth never damages a cause that is just”. If this is true, I want to say that as it is good for the youths to arise into political positions in our nation, it is also important to note that the kind of youths that will arise also matters if we don’t want to recycle our Egyptians slavery. David was not the only youth that could rise up against Goliath but God found David due to the integrity of his heart.

Going back down the memory lane, we should note that as much as youths were instrumental in the development of this nation, youths were also instrumental in the pulling down of this Nation. The first Coup d’état was carried out and led by the wards in the Military. In fact, the Civil War was initiated and carried out by the youths. Then what is our problem?

We have never at a time lacked position holders in our nation but we have suffered and are still suffering from obnoxious leadership. Then if the youths must arise to bring the necessary change into Nigeria, they must forget about the hunger for positions and embark on the path of effective leadership discovery. I always think about how useful it will be if Nigeria has a sound-mind leader like the current French President. We would have developed in technology and our economy will be flying.

Therefore, let’s Nigerian youths learn a better way to lead. The true way to this is when individuals learn to lead themselves. If I want to measure how vast you are in leadership, I won’t wait until you hold a position; I will look at how you lead yourself. Our major problem since the 1960s is that we lack benefitting leadership experiences and skills. It’s obvious when our so called leaders kill their subject to retain their seats in government. It’s an apparent truth when some of our politicians feed themselves and their families alone and starve the whole nation. Is it not disgusting for a good leader to say that #30000 minimum wage is too much for a worker, when he rides in #170,000,000 Jeep? No, we need vibrant youths that have learned what leadership is.

WON’T YOU FAIL?

Some of our youths have been tested with positions in Student Union Associations and even in Nigeria government but have failed the trust we put in them. Do you believe youths like such are those that should be called to rise into positions? I can’t forget the trust I invested in the likes of Dimeji Bankole who turned our hope down because of money. He would have been one of the key figures to harness us opportunity to rule in this country, but he failed us. What has been the strength of NANS in governmental decisions, have they not turned to political weapons against the students? What can you say about a fight that broke out over a gift of #500,000 from their oppressor during the protest over Lautech closure? Same thing happened to them at Adekunle Ajasin University where they now suffer sporadic increase in tuition fees. Our government keeps increasing tuition fees of governmental institutions and NANS feels nothing can be done. Youths, those are cheap to buy? Are we still calling the same kind of people into positions? No! if we won’t fail, we need to deny ourselves a lot of things and hold on to our integrity. Why do you collect money in exchange for your destinies? Why do you seat and watch when you see a leader carting away your right to a comfortable living? Why do you think we should continue to pray and do nothing to help this nation? Dear collogues; our greed, non-chalant attitude, selfishness and shallowness contribute to the downtrodden stage we find ourselves today. If you want to get involved in this revolution, please be sure that you won’t cause any major problem that will make this nation suffer.

Before independence, I could see this kind of movement led to our independence but some of these people failed to leave the scene when it was honorable. What led to the conflict between Sir Obafemi Awolowo and Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola was a greed for power and positions? This same greed is on our heart today and it must be dealt with before we call the youths to rise. Our failure to deal with this greed will only put us on the pathway to recycling our slavery  For what essence is it if we produce youths into positions and they worsen our hope than our fathers? Our failure to produce the right-minded youths will bring us back to our Sodom and Gomorrah.

For what essence is it if we produce youths into positions and they worsen our hopes than our fathers?

Join Politics, Engage Yourself

Fellow Nigerian youths, this revolution carries costs, which we must be able and ready to pay. The bone of contention now is if we are ready for the sacrifice. This is not a time to stand neutral; it is time to take a side. Elie Wiesel was right when he said “We must always take sides; neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim”. To every revolution, a cost which might be expensive and deadly is attached. The likes of Rev Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, could not escape it, so if they didn’t, we cannot. Comrades, if we are not ready to point finger directly to the nose of powerful wicked men whoever they are at the expense of your certificate, then you should know that you are not ready yet for this movement. If you are not ready to deny your loved ones when they need you, if you are not ready to be tagged a rebel, you don’t need to be in this movement. How I wish we can all go home and tell our loved ones that you have signed up for the betterment of this nation and you start from your house teaching people the real reasons they should say no to re-electing our old wagon leaders. Join politics, sensitize people, be a political crusader. Let them know the truth. Go on media, tell the whole world. Let’s keep our form alive.

One of the greatest movements of all time is Christianity and I wish to borrow the word of Jesus: Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters — yes, even one’s own self! — can’t be my disciple.

Martin Luther said “And there comes a time that one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right”

Our Way Out

John Maxwell is of the opinion that we don’t need to be in a position to lead. We must learn this lesson in a big way. I can see that it’s taking too long for us to take this country back from our old foxes because we all aspire to lead at all times. Nigerian youths are divided and are not harmonised in our fight. Abraham Lincoln said “Whenever you divide a team, battle is won”. I think we should forget our individual differences, selfishness, opinions, interests and all work for national interest. I wonder why we have so many youths coming out to aspire for presidential seat when we know we are not strong enough to take this seat in division. But we rather, want to do it in our own ways. We want to project our own self-discovered voices. Nelson Mandela and his team would never have won South Africa if they were divided. Let’s think about love for our country, love for our people, and love to bring back the glory of this nation. Let’s be in one accord. This is the only path to taking over this nation, UNITY.   If all Nigerian youths can form a single movement, I bet it with you that even the whole world will stand up for us. If I had opportunity to beg all the youths for something, I would beg us to be UNITED, because I know that is our way out.

In conclusion:

Friends, there have been many movements like this that have come and gone, and I am not too sure what will be the outcome of this movement in 2019. But what is crystal is that I am treading a path that my children will be proud of, I am treading a path which their generation will be proud of. I am not sure if this battle will be won but I would rather die trying, I believe, for Margaret Mead said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world”. I make this call boldly to you as an individual to “ARISE FOR THE CAUSE OF THIS NATION”. I give this same call out to everyone reading this and beyond that we should take it as our collective responsibility to “ARISE FOR THE CAUSE OF THIS NATION”. Also to all Nigerian youths, “ARISE FOR THE CAUSSE OF THIS NATION”.  The progress of this nation is in your hands. The little efforts you can make today to make things right count a lot in giving us a befitting future. Change will not come without a Changer. You and I are the Changers of our time. Therefore, we must live like real men who are ready to alter this world. Whatever decision you make will make or mar your destiny because your destiny hangs on the betterment of this Nation. Go out and talk to market women on this cause; talk in your churches, mosques, associations, groups etc.  

I stand with on-going Not Too Young to Rule, Take It Back Movement. I stand with explosive change in this country.

THANK YOU

I AM ORODIRAN OLUWATOSIN SUNDAY.

(B.A Linguistics, ND Mass Communication)

Media Director, Student Integrity Builders

Publicity and Media Director, December to Remember Organization

Reporter, Updates Media Nigeria

Editor & writer, The Solution Magazine 

Founder, Pathfinder Motivations

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