One of the few things that came with the End SARS protests is the need to ‘retire the old faces’ come 2023. Those who subscribe to this school of thought are of the opinion that the old generation has kept us in this mess. I don’t believe that! It’s a rash theory. It’s an opinion made out of emotions without an in-depth reasoning.
Yes, I know that the present crop of leaders in Nigeria have failed us. They kept the nation in a shambles and allowed the world to make a mockery of us but the solution is not to flush them all out and allow “youths” to take over. The America you want to run to, are they governed by a youth? What of the UK you’re eyeing? The problem isn’t age but the mindset!
I can tell you categorically that the mindset of an average Nigerian youth is rotten; it’s filled with uglier intentions than what the present set of leaders are doing.
Here are three reasons why a youth-dominated party won’t bring the solution to our problems:
1. The system is unimaginably corrupt: I have always told people that the problem isn’t APC nor PDP. It’s about the system where the parties are being operated. PDP is just a name. What makes it bad are the people associated with it. You see, the Nigerian system is corrupt. How many of you reading this piece will support a friend vying for a political post selflessly? I mean, you will support him or her to win without asking for anything in return!
When I told my 25-year-old friend about my political ambition, he promised to mobilize support for me financially but with a caveat that I “must give returns”. When I challenged him on this, he said that is how it’s being done. You see, a youth approving the old system! He told me to work for the people but I must steal small. In the face of scarce resources and high rate of infrastructural deficit, I should still “steal small”? I became discouraged at that point.
2. Most youths are inexperienced: I know your thought on this. Here is goes: those with experience, how have they helped us? Yes, that’s your argument and I perfectly understand your stance. However, we can’t overrule the place of experience in excellent service delivery. Experience can come from anywhere but it must be there!
If you advocate for inexperienced youths to take over, they will waste time experimenting ideas. You don’t mind, right? Well, you should. The last time you didn’t mind being governed by a person with ‘NEPA bill’, how did it end? Don’t be too focused on the results to the extent that you downplay the process. The process matters a lot.
3. The youths are corrupt too: The leaders of today had a strong moral upbringing than what we are experiencing now. They didn’t have the “advantage” to indulge in internet frauds. Musicians were extolling good virtues. Everyone was conscious of his or her reputation, yet things turned out this way. So, imagine what an 18-year-old involved in ‘yahoo-yahoo’ will do in leadership position. He’ll legalize his stealing habit. We’ve seen youths rule this country and different states, yet no difference. I hope you know that Governor Yahaya Bello is a youth. What of Senator About? Desmond Elliott is not left out. Are you impressed about their performances?
This should tell you that an entire generation cannot be good or bad. There’s always a mixture! The older generation you find very easy to condemn, it will shock you that there are more good people among them than we have in our generation. The make-it-quick mentality has destroyed the psyche of an average youth.
We won’t condemnn whole generation because a select few among them have failed us even when we are accomplices in that failure!
If we are ready for serious discussion, we will leave age out of it!
Babawale Oke is a freelance journalist. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org