August 18, 2011

YOUths in a Global World!

by Tayo Elegbede JET

According to the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), more than one in every four persons in the world are youths. This apparently does not exclude Nigeria, a country that prides herself as the Giant of Africa with over seventy percent of its population as youth.

Recent and current activities around the world show that youths in the global world can do and undo especially with the power of the social media. For instance, Nigeria and Africa as a whole, witnessed for the first time in history the largest turn-out of young voters during Nigeria’s 2011 General elections. Also in Africa, countries like Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya experienced a revolutionary change through youth mobilisation and demonstration. This however, is not limited to the black continent, as it spread across Asian and European countries.Just few days ago, London was hit by an unprecedented act of riot, looting and all sorts, with youths being the key-players of the game.

World over, the 12th of August 2011, was observed as the International Youth Day, basically to extol and reward positive youth participation in society, nation and global development. Unfortunately, my great country Nigeria celebrated the International Youth Day with the news of mass failure in the May/June 2011 WAEC Exam hence while this writer was basking in the euphoria of the celebration, questioned ‘What future does the country hold for the youths and vice versa?’

In a country where over 600,000 of the 1.4million who sat for the 2011 May/June WAEC Exam, could not make at least five distinctive credits including English and Mathematics, where Yahoo! Yahoo!, YahooPlus and other forms of cybercrimes are the order of the day, where values, honesty, dignity, intelligence, morals are not encouraged, where bad and irresponsible music, videos and reality TV shows are aired at the detriment of young minds and invariably the nation, where nude and obscene images are tagged as models, where school drop-outs can live more comfortably than a masters degree holder, where selfishness and embezzlement in politics is justified as against serving the people, where institutions and infrastructures are far from working, where unemployment has become a normal thing, where two hours of electricity supply out of twenty-four hours receives applause from helpless citizens, where the poor man has no hope of his next meal let alone tomorrow, where law makers are disconnected from their 'people' only to become money-makers and law-breakers, where there is no hope in sight of what the future holds for the Nigerian youth and vice versa. Yet they deceive us that we are the leaders of the tomorrow. But when is the tomorrow?

John wooden once said ‘Young people need models, not critics’. The older dispensation of the society has failed to show positive examples to the younger generation rather they have taken delight in portraying them as instruments of violence and societal unrest. This could be due to the many socio-economic demands of the twenty-first century which accounts for the disconnection between parents and wards, leaders and followers alike.

The challenges facing Nigeria and the world at large, can be tackled when all stakeholders in home and nation building; parents, youths, government, religious institutions, non-governmental organisations, educational bodies amongst others get together to impart and improve young minds towards a better future which starts now.

I make bold to say that if issues on youth orientation and development are not urgently addressed, the countries of the world, Nigeria inclusive will not find things easy in years to come.Proper parenting should be encouraged as against poor parenting system which leaves the child disconnected from his/her parent thus connected to a volatile society and the endless world of internet which results in misleading the child if not well controlled.Government institutions must enact and implement laws that will ensure youth development and participation, create employment opportunities and appropriate portfolios for youths and recognise noble deeds of young minds.

The society as a whole must encourage virtues of honesty, hard-work and diligence. Religious institutions should teach and instruct young minds to be responsible to themselves and the society at large.Education, both formal and informal is paramount in building a peaceful and secure society both now and in the future. Skill acquisition, vocational training backed with entrepreneurial skills will do.Above all,no individual,group,society or nation makes long lasting progress without the assitance of God. Let us always remember the God factor.

Tayo Elegbede JET is an On-Air Personality, Commonwealth Correspondent, PR Practitioner and Social Worker in Lagos-Nigeria.

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