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  • Opinion
  • Updated: 3 weeks ago

Now Or Never: A Call To Nigerian Youths, By Gabriel Omisore

Recent events in the Nigerian polity, notably the coming together of youths along ethnic, religious and party lines to brace the odds by hitting the streets across the country in strong protests against police brutality often championed by the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in what has now been infamously known as #ENDSARS was a major marker that the youths, when push comes to shove, can hold their own and make the much-needed impact. Sadly, that good cause ended on a bad note. 

The use of Twitter, a loquacious social platform, despite the negatives that characterize such usages globally - fake news, racist abuses and many others - has also shown that the youths, if they could get their acts right can champion the needed change the country urgently craves.  

Collectively, once again, against religious and political affiliations, on more than one occasion, the leaders of tomorrow, or rather, the leaders of today, as they preferred to be called, have used it to champion positive causes with visible results.  For example, the youths played Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson as they led the way in helping to identify 20-year-old Uduak-Abasi Akpan, the alleged killer of a job seeker, Miss Iniubong Umoren in Akwa-Ibom.  That is the power of the Nigerian youths when properly aligned. 

These youths, though, do not have it that easy. They are inundated daily with myriad challenges. They are faced with unemployment, lack of opportunities, hopelessness and sometimes, insensitivity of the leaders to their plights. They seek opportunities, they seek hope. They long for a better life. They crave for that society where their potentials will be maximized. This has led to most seeking greener pastures outside the shores of Nigeria. These challenges and the lack of a way forward has given the word, 'japa', a whole new meaning. However, the sad reality is that as much as we might all want to escape the limitations facing us, not all of us can 'japa'. Some will be left behind and for those, this is my message. 

For those who will be tasked to reposition the motherland, the opportunity to get it right starts now. While social media remains a viable tool for positive change, tweeting and posting alone has never been enough. For those familiar with the Nigerian polity, the veterans of the game, the age-long politicians are not in 2021 with us. They have time-travelled and are already in 2023, looking for a way to consolidate their hold on power. These politicians know that elections are not won on social media but at polling units. They have seen what our unity can achieve and as such, they dread it. Now, can we rise to the occasion and once again unite across ethnic, religious and political divides? 

Sitting on the fence, whining about the situation of things and wishing away our challenges are methods that have failed in the past and will continue to fail. 

It is time for the average Nigerian youth to get involved. Getting a voters card, joining a political party, taking up leadership posts within our communities are all important steps in the right direction. It's as small as attending Community Development Association (CDA) meetings in our various places of abode. Taking the backseat, especially in a matter that concerns ones' future is a strategy that is headed for doom. It is now or never as the time is gradually ticking away. Happy 61st Independence Anniversary, Nigerians.

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