The world over has been customized into the yearly tradition of celebrating special days. The arterial question in view, is to what extent and effect, if the pedestal of such celebrations is awareness-oriented, had so far the world over and on the humans therein? If the United Nations Organization (U.N.O) was formed as far back as 1945 and probably, an over-estimated period of 30 years have been spent dossing over the celebration of a special day. What specialty accolades the World Democracy Day for example, celebrated every 15th of September, done to change, if not have a far-reaching effect, a smithereens’ impact on the world’s democracy. The Western world, deemed to be icons of emulation to developing nations, have long stricken their democratic cords to the spines of hegemony. If democracy is to mean Equality, Freedom and Justice, the Ukrainian and Russian government should have respected the rights of the citizens of Donetsk who in a referendum voted to become a Republic and by now ended their fight. Ours (Nigeria) has been in no measure, cascading effects of demo-crazy.
On this International Youth Day, customarily celebrated every 12th of August, Nigerian youths will still have to bemoan the greatest grim reaper threatening them, will have to attend seminars with same gross output, hear the same monotony of promises, serve their fatherland and receive kickbacks in trade of unemployment from the ‘saintly citizens of government’. In a nation richly blessed with natural resources and flowing with milk and honey, unfortunately have leaders who have unrepentantly and belligerently lied to many a teeming, but yellow-streaked youths. As the unemployment rate mushrooms her elastic capacities as an attestation that government is on top of the matter, youths are now like never before, left with more options of imbuing the feelings of patriotism by taking after their successors in government, resorting to violence, kidnapping, hooliganism and other youth but government induced restiveness. For youths who aren’t privileged to be freelancers or haven’t yet tapped their vocational skills, will have to continue in the Robin Hood game of robbing the rich to pay the poor and keep over-stretching the strings of government.
The youth day is celebrated to recognize the strength and contributions of youth to their nation. This year’s theme; ‘Youth and Mental Health’, is highly significant in view of the oceanic currents bedevilling the Nigerian State. If youths between the ages of 18-35 years, be the old age of strength; the peak of neuronal plasticity and agility, to what extent has the strength and contributions of youths to nation building, mirrored our rather gormless society. If Blessing Okagbare can continue to rake in gold medals for Nigeria, Davido, Asa. phyno Frank Edwards and other secular and gospel musicians ply their trade, breaking-even, Nonso Anyasi, Collins Arikor, Nky Otike-Odibi, Essay Palmer, Tami Koroye, Uche Odigili, Khosy Enumah, write their way to their treasured land and other entrepreneural and vocational engagements involved in by youths, of what essence is worth the dependence on the government to literally spoon-feed us to bed when we have what it takes to pocket in the lollies. What lessons are the youths of today to learn from the backdrop of the Chibok girls’ abduction, to the recent abduction of over 100 young men in Doron-Baga village, Borno state by the Boko Haram sect? Are they still to believe that our askaris are in to protect lives and properties? Even as Nigeria grapples with the Ebola virus, what hopes await a country’s youth where their ideas are not given the needed attention. For once, why would the Federal Ministry of Health not give two hoots to Dr. Morris Ewu’s claim for his hypothetical discovery for, who knows, the cure for the virus? Rather, our government’s sick-up-stairs mentality of the white man’s medicament, made them dislodged his and scurried quickly for ZMAPP and Nano silver. A much more rebuked and charaded National Conference that has in it features of handpicked dotards as the peoples representatives, if not for anything but the adoption of the old National Anthem, replacing the present one that has a less therapeutic effect on government’s conscience is worthy a subtraction from the youths’ woes.
If Nigerian youths will have to scamper for safety, then it will be to the uplifting and conscience-stricken words of our old National Anthem, which probably was expunged for the present one by the then Obasanjo’s military regime in 1978 who perceived it as a form of remonstration and fulmination against their activities.
‘Nigeria we hail thee,
Our own dear native land,
Though tribe and tongue may differ,
In brotherhood we stand…’,
goes deep to the root cause of our problems; ethnicity. That though tribe and tongue may separate us, in oneness we agree, is uplifting as against the utopian lyrics of our present National Anthem.
‘Arise O’ compatriot,
Nigerias call obey,
To serve our fatherland,
With love and strength and faith…’,
has kept many youths serve their fatherland with love in exchange of blood, strength for weak governance and faith in hope of the substance that the over 16,000 resident doctors given the chops by the Federal Government will reduce the unemployment rate in Nigeria. The blessings of the old National Anthem that ‘Our flag shall be a symbol,
That truth and Justice reign,
In peace or battle honour’d and this we count as gain,
To hand on to our children,
A banner without stain…’,
has all the inherent tendencies to chicken-out the stygian conscience of our politicians bound by the egoistic heirloom of our heroes past. If Nigerian youths is to go by anything thereafter, it will be a banner of leadership without stain. For a greater tomorrow is only possible if we begin with a smaller today.
DAVIDSON I. OBABUEKI.
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