I love the youths; they have taken a special place in my heart regardless of the catalogues of unpleasant names they have tagged us with. The Nigerian youths have never had it easy; we walk in a path decorated with thousands of dangerous ornaments. A house filled with hopes that never exist and a road that leads to nowhere. So in the thick of the sun when this poisonous wares glitter; they appear attractive only to inflict us with diseases and sorrows.
What follows is abuse, dumped after use, rebuked and rejected, mocked at, maligned and eventually caged. This has been the fate of Nigerian youths and indeed the destiny of Nigeria herself. Unfortunately, unknown to Nigeria, while she plays horrible and terrible pranks with her children and their future, she mortgage and destroys her own life as well. She places herself in the midst of the furnace that no hand can be able to extend help to her.
Expectedly, in due time that spirit that has been caged, that broken bones, that ideas that have been buried, that future that has been halted, that hatred that has been planted, that greed that has been glorified, that division that has been created, that fanaticism that has been let loosed, that merit that has been compromised, that justice, fairness and equity that has been denied and that love that has been uprooted may never return to former glories.
At a time like this, nothing will hold water anymore. The center can no longer hold because we have put a sharp knife through things that binds us together. Surely we will weep uncontrollably and for a long time.
Still, in all of this, the youths are my unending project, not necessarily because I am a youth but largely due to the fact that the greatest of Nigeria’s assets are deposited therein.
We are an untapped generation begging to be harnessed. In this regards, anyone who loves and shares in the project of the Nigerian youth earns my love and respect and by extension that of millions of young Nigerians. Permit me to use this medium to echo a warm salute to great Nigerians who believe and have dedicated their resources, positions, and talents in promoting the youth project.
The Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka stands as an Iroko in this regard and has always championed our course together with the like of Funke Egbemode of New Telegraph, Peter Obi (former governor of Anambra State), Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo (Governor, Gombe State), Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama (P.G. T.U.C.), Dr. David Ogbueli (President Golden Heart Foundation), and dozens of other well meaning Nigerians. Believe it or not, all your efforts are seen, heard and documented. The irrepressible and irresistible voice of the youths of this country shall forever remain grateful and the warmth of our maternal love will continue to rest on you all.
To my fellow youths, brother and sisters, today’s opportunities and also one of the greatest challenges we face are national in nature and therefore, demand leaders who possess national outlook and charisma. Men and women that live by ethical and moral standards, act as bridge builder, connectors of resources and talents across cultural and political boundaries. A value driven and responsible leader that thinks excellence, integrity, accountability, vision and passion for common good. A leader as Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, a lover and facilitator of the youth project, a father and a youth fused in one, a national and global person and most importantly a visionary.
As Nigerians our major sense of responsibilities must be but not limited to ensure that national and global leaders are given the opportunities to pilot the affairs of this great nation. We must as a matter of necessity employ the services of Dankwambo, his expertise and his leadership prowess. We should all seek him, the youth should make it a point of duty to always support anyone, who has championed their course and Dankwambo is that man.
As young Nigerians, we must not be cowed, as we remain a potent and ever dynamic force for the political emancipation and economic development of our great country, Nigeria. We are the engine room for the development of the economy and are supposed to build on the foundation that has been laid by the nation’s founding fathers. Therefore, all Nigerians particularly the youths must rise to this clarion call by rejecting these anti-youths, dangerous ornaments, divisive tactics, religious bigotry, and anti-democratic machinations that threatens the youths project and the smooth movement of Nigeria.
Sabastine Mbah Janjahlity writes from Abuja