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Born in a Nigeria of chaos



By Prince Charles Dickson

My generation owes this country a debt of gratitude we can never repay because this country has given us more than we have given back and I look at your generation, I feel really sorry for your generation. Our parents did not pay a penny for our education from primary school to university, we got out to university in our part three. We were already in level eight, we bought cars when we were in part three, when we came out you had a house you had a car. Now Nigerian youth cannot get a job unless you are the son of who and who or unless you pay in a nation where all of us benefitted.

This is where we are, and ladies and gentlemen let me remind all you youths, who think you will sit in boys-quarters doing tiktok and think something will come to you, I have news for you, life does not come with a remote control, you have to stand up and change things yourself. Nations are built by youth all across the world, not the aged. You have the power to change things, you cannot sit and lament or continue to be used by these failed politicians who keep recycling themselves. You must change this country and you have what it takes and what it takes is you have the number, that number is what they need, 2023 they will come to you and give you money to either be thugs or be at their polling station and after that you will never see them again. Don’t let them use you, use them instead.

This is what I say ladies and gentlemen use your PVCs to flush bandits out of government, because there are lots of bandits in government who do not care about us. Ladies and gentlemen, I am old enough to have seen thirteen administrations in this country from that of Gen. Gowon when we were in secondary school to that of the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, of all these thirteen administrations none of them came with this much goodwill like this government came. Unfortunately, they have squandered this goodwill, the arrogance…they are disconnected from the realities of our people.

I come from Katsina and many villages you go to, you bring out a thousand Naira, you go to the village square nobody can give you change because nobody has it. Before this government came 50kg of rice was N7000, now it’s 27, 28, 30,000 out of the reach of the common man. I get calls from my former classmates to send them N1000, N2000, when you go home you give a person a thousand Naira or five hundred Naira he prays for you and your grandparents. Our people have been turned to beggars by this insensitive government from the state to the federal government. The governors of the states have emasculated local governments, if there were local governments in the villages people would have something to do but the governors have taken everything into the capital, everything into the capital, people are poorer than they were…”

Prof Usman Yusuf. Former NHIS Boss

What is logical in politics is not always practical, what is practical is not always right. What is right is not always ethical, what is ethical is not always desired and what is desired takes us back to what is not logical…

So, let me start with this very short narrative, a few decades ago, we had a power system that was working, the population was not this large, then some section of the public, less than one percent, would go to the NEPA headquarters, get an LPO, come downstairs and sell it to some dude, and get a huge cut without doing anything, they were contractors, no one cared, and gradually, the transformers, and infrastructures started to collapse because no one would bother to check if the job was done or not…Like NEPA, NITEL, Nigerian Airways and most things that starts with the letter N,  our systems, and structures was gradually being killed by one generation for another.

The birth of today’s Nigerian youth, is one that is full of chaos, they are victims of power, property, prestige, popularity and pomposity…it is these ‘p’ factors that make it impossible for the Nigerian youth to do that which should be done, it is the illogical, the wrong that becomes ethical.

The fact cannot be over flogged that Nigerian youth today has to take the lead, sadly, reality is that how does the yahoo, yahoo+ and voodoo, ritual marauding youths take the lead, which youth will take the lead, the social media savvy yet reality flawed lazy young men and women that litter everywhere, the ones that are saturated with a gloated sense of entitlement or which one?

They were born in chaos, they want to work for government and steal their own share, or the want to live large, they are the 30BG crew, amongst the chaos there are few that can do an El-Rufai, damn the consequences and do the needful, they will not be perfect but they are the rebels former President Obasanjo alluded to. But we need to find them.

We need to find the Nigerian youth that is not suffering from a contoured role reversal, I recall in those days, only dullards went abroad for further studies, you must have failed severally and out of shame ran away. Today, our best brains are leaving, and may just never come back, and the vultures and Mohicans in our political class are simply being recycled or are being replaced by their lineage.

We have a population born in chaos, they do not understand our past of military misadventure, nor can they come to terms with the concoction currently practiced as democracy. Are they fit to fight the competition that is the system, can they dance the music of change…?

While the system continues to battle in holding itself, our youths are products of a corrupt educational ecosystem; sons and daughters of the same (magicians and politicians) continue to toy with the future, while our youths are lost in the conversation or at best made redundant participants.

One should keep one’s eyes on where one is going, not where one stumbled. (The best course of action is not to dwell on setbacks, but to resolutely face the future). I doubt we are ready for the future…

We will remain here because our leaders are politicians, bazaar experts at sharing and auctioning out the national heritage and treasury.

The social contract is at best dilapidated and at worst does not exist, our leaders are sacrificing the present for the future, sacrificing the young generation for the numbers.

The youths are a term used as headcounts, for political gains, as tools, and conflict drivers. Leadership is a choice, it is not a rank, our youths need to stand and be counted, they need to start posing the right questions or else the answers would be as expected.

How long will this generation stay on the rough path, at what point do we wait to see a population that is useful in wholesome proportion than scattered showers, or are we doomed to the current state where they are used-less, when will the youth realize that the fight in them is much bigger, and issue a nation changing ultimatum—Only time will tell.

Prince Charles Dickson PhD, Team Lead, The Tattaaunawa Roundtable Initiative (TRICentre)


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