It’s an irony that in the same week when Nigerian girls brought us good news from the sports arena abroad, terrorists launched an unprecedented attack on the seat of power.
The attack, according to media outlets, left two officers and eight soldiers from the elite Presidential guard dead. It was easy to kill the soldiers because they were ambushed; they were ambushed because there are informants working for the terrorists in the Nigerian army. Why these enemies within have not been dealt with is an unsolved mystery that the President and his security personnel have not been able to explain to Nigerians.
However, the exploits of the trio of Tobi Amusan, Ese Brume, and Asisat Oshoala, who did this country proud on the global field of sports, is a big consolation for us at this period when all hope seems lost that Nigeria would rise again.
Tobi won not just gold, but also set a World record in the field of athletics.
Ese Brume won a silver medal in the Long jump in the same event at the World Athletic event in Oregon, the USA this week. Before then, Nigerian and Barcelona FC star, Asisat, was honoured by CAF, with a fifth Best African female football player in Morocco.
This cheering news is a welcome departure from the regular staple of security breaches that our national news outlets have become accustomed to reporting. For a moment, we heaved a sigh of relief that something good could, indeed, come out of Nigeria, even under the Buhari administration.
The gloom and misery that have become the lot of Nigerians under this APC government, have left everyone, including the party’s most ardent supporters wondering how this country would survive in the face of the general incompetence and hopelessness of those in power.
Some time ago, President Muhammadu Buhari had complained about what he perceived as the ‘laziness’ of Nigerian youth. He stirred great controversy with that statement without backing it with convincing evidence.
Tobi and the young folks who are doing exploits in the field of sports, music, movies, technology, and business, largely through self-help, are proving the naysayers wrong that our youth are unproductive.
Living conditions under this Buhari administration is a disincentive to progress and a big challenge to anyone who is trying to even make a decent living without resorting to crime.
The near-total collapse of social infrastructure has made it impossible for, even artisans to work, not to talk of the small-scale business operators who rely on basic electricity, water, and other critical amenities that support entrepreneurship.
When moving forward becomes impossible, young people will find illegal means to get by. That’s why girls go into prostitution, boys go into all kinds of organized crimes like drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering, kidnapping for ransom, and, the mother of all crimes, terrorism.
Tobi and the other young folks who are braving the odds are proving the point that, although it may be tough, they are equal to the task of raising the bar and shattering the glass ceiling in the global arena, to achieve things for themselves and their country.
In doing this, they are telling the world that corruption, incompetence, Boko Haram/terrorism, criminality, and other strains of failure of governance that we see in this dispensation, are not all there is in the Nigerian story. There’s another part that is full of positives and great things to celebrate.
We can point to Burna Boy, Kizz Daniel, Davido, Psquare, D’banj, Tiwa Savage, etc. These youngsters are selling out concert venues in Europe, America, and Asia. They are the biggest showbiz stars in the world today. Many American music stars desire to collaborate with our musicians because the Nigerian brand is a global success. This feat was not earned by the administrative acumen of our political leaders and their economic planners. It’s chiefly the efforts of our youth; those ones who are not lazy or deranged like the misguided Islamic insurgents who are causing instability in our nation.
The youthful super achievers who exploit all the scientific fields, in businesses, sports, entertainment, and other areas deserve our respect. They are the future of Nigeria; the hope of a country torn apart by a greedy political elite and plain criminals who have seized the Nigerian patrimony, using ethnicity and religion as dividing line that separates our people from coming together to forge a strong, united nation.
The diversity that is supposed to be our engine of growth, power, and development, is being used as a tower of Babel to keep us perpetually divided and at war.
The political class can only thrive where there’s strife. That’s why no quarrel about the federal character where national representation is required in sports, entertainment, and international appointments.
Nigeria puts forward the best when the best is required of Nigeria outside politics, but once political offices are in content, merit is thrown out of the window.
Thank God for multilateral organisations that run on merit and high standards, otherwise, Tobi Amusan, Ese Brume, and Asisat Oshoala would not have emerged the winners that they are today.
Buhari came on the scene with a change agenda, but his change is simply motion without movement. It is even becoming increasingly clear that we have changed for the worse in the life of this administration, given all the parameters of development.
Finally, the youth have their future to live. Folks like Tobi Amusan and the rest should not follow the wrong example of the present lost generation who have brought our great nation to the precipice.
The world is waiting for our youth to redeem Nigeria and give our beloved nation an active purpose.
•Ayodeji, author, pastor and life coach, can be reached on 09059243004 (SMS, WhatsApp and and email: [email protected] only)