By Kennedy Emetulu
This year that is now coming to an end is a monumental year for Nigeria and Nigerians, especially for the Nigerian youth. For good or ill, we changed the face of our country by electing President Muhammadu Buhari as our democratic leader. Those who actually campaigned and voted for him did so believing that our country needs his leadership now or at least, they believe that amongst persons presented to us on the ballot, his putative leadership most closely represents their aspirations.
Those of us who did not campaign for him or support him in the election may have had other ideas, but the reality is that he is today our President, our leader and anyone who has a drop of patriot’s blood flowing in them must accept him fully as our leader and must work to make his leadership a success, whether or not you voted for him. This is because if Buhari succeeds as a leader, the glory will not be his; it will be Nigeria’s to enjoy and sustain. We all, including Buhari, are only here for a time to do our bit. When we are long gone, Nigeria will remain.
One of the ironies of the moment is the fact that Nigeria made up of over 70 percent young people aged thirty and below chose to elect a man of over seventy as our leader. Not only is he over seventy, he is a man without a democratic track record, but only a record of dictatorship as a former military ruler. Most of the young people who voted for him were not born or were not conscious enough at the time he first ruled as a military Head of State and he and a lot of fellow oldies running affairs today might not be around to see the full effects of their policies on the young of today in latter years.
This is why as much as I consider it a victory for Buhari’s doggedness, having committed himself to fighting for the presidency since 2003, I also think it’s an indictment of the leadership of the PDP as a party that for 16 years at the helms at the centre, they never found the vision, commitment and discipline to develop a worthwhile leadership ideology that Nigerians could identify with. They ran a government so bad that the people didn’t even care whatever else they voted in to replace them at the centre. In fact, it is fair to say the APC did not win over Nigerians, but that it was the PDP that lost Nigerians.
Nonetheless, all that is sentimental talk. Whatever it is we have done, the nation remains. We the people must run it and make it work, no matter who we have voted for or whatever idea they have. That is why I’m watching with a kind of sad amusement as you, the young, vibrant people of Nigeria are being used once again. When will you finally learn that the politicians’ ever effective tactic of divide and rule is tailored to perpetually put you in quandary? When are you going to step out of this campaign mood into a governance mode? Do you think Nigeria will always be there to be the butt of your jokes and the underwriter of your deliberate mistakes and greed? You think even the younger ones after you will not ask you tomorrow why you squandered an opportunity for change in an orgy of precipitate celebration without looking at the fine print?
Listen, your country is in a mess. You can blame King Solomon or Caliban or whoever from the past that takes your fancy. But you are there now, your time is now and if you cannot appreciate the demands of the time, if all you are interested in is to shadowbox with those you call “Wailing Wailers” or “Hailing Hailers” or whatever, then know that you are a monumental waste! You are on a suicide mission! You are killing your future and the future of all those who come after you! Think! This country that these old men are running aground is yours to inherit. Will you continue this battle with yourselves over crumbs thrown down from the high tables of these ancient predators?
My prayer for you this coming year is that you find your strength and the wisdom to realise that our country cannot move forward without youth energy driving it. That energy should not be wasted following failed politicians and models from Government Houses to Aso Rock; it must be utilised as leaders and drivers of our politics, economy and social envelopment right there in your own environment, in your own community.
Today, I’m 51 years of age and the generation before us were called the “Wasted Generation”. Yes, they were our fathers, but surprisingly, they still hold sway after falsely anointing us ‘the leaders of tomorrow’. Though my generation has since joined them in a battle for control, yet, amidst the co-option, they’ve prove even more wasteful!
So, young Nigerians, this is your own time of trial. Are you going to join them on that heap of waste or are you going to chart a new course by asking the right questions of leadership and fighting for what is best for the country, rather than fighting to defend failed politicians and criminals in government? The choice is yours.
When they call you for a feast by day and suck your blood at night, do not see yourself as privileged and do not think you are on your way to El Dorado. You are on your way to one sure place all without blood, without courage, without vision end up. You are on your way to the dustbin of history, its ultimate cemetery of no memory. Stop eating crumbs, stop eating your country. Think.
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