Reclaiming Our Future: Folklore or Reality?
You would definitely agree with me that the popular axiom, “The youths of today are the leaders of tomorrow” has generated so much controversy that as youths we grew up believing and viewing the saying as a promise of hope and some sort of assurance of a better tomorrow.
However, over the years we have watched as our belief, hope and assurance of a better tomorrow have been snatched from our hands by the leaders of yesterday.
Over the years we have hoped for a new system of government, our system of government, youth-o-cracy. One which we can refer to as the government of the people, by the youths and for the people. But sadly, our leaders of yesterday have refused to pass the baton of power to us the leaders of tomorrow. This makes me wonder, is reclaiming our future as youths a reality or folklore?
In my quest for answers, I came across the legendary queen Moremi who asked me to Listen, follow and understand the uncertainties.
Listen she said to the sound of the youths who have given up hope of reclaiming their future. Youths who have given up on the dream of youth-o-cracy. Remember the previous election conducted in the year 2019? According to the Independent National Electoral Commission, out of a population of over 213 million youths, only a 22.3 million youths participated in the previous election.
This population count is compared to 240 million votes recorded in the 2020 BBnaija reality TV show. The youths have chosen to channel their energy and time to a different course, one which makes them a priority. The majority of the so-called youths are preoccupied with following a reality show rather than reclaiming their reality. This further confirms my agitation, “Is reclaiming our future as youths a reality?”.
Next, she said to follow and watch. And so I watched as the remaining percentage of the youths who were still interested in reclaiming our reality stepped up, creeping up a spark, trying to create a flame but the end result was catastrophic. I watched the events that occurred during the 2020 #EndSars protests against police brutality which rocked the nation during the pandemic lockdown.
I watched as the youths of Nigeria, the so-called leaders of tomorrow stormed out in their hundreds to reclaim our future which was stolen by the leaders of yesterday. I watched as the youths showcased potential and resolve to drive political change and demand for good governance. However, the death of hundreds of my brothers and sisters stared me in the face.
I watched as our hope and resolve crumbled and our spark smothered till it lost its last breath of oxygen.
And while I was still mourning the death of my brothers and sisters, she said to me, ‘understand’. Understand that not only in the area of politics has our hope been continuously dashed but also economically.
Young people are being excluded from economic life by a combination of joblessness and barriers to the creation of start-ups.
According to the National Population Commission, half of the country’s population are youths. But sadly enough, as the population of youths rises so does the rate of unemployment.
After many years of studying to earn a degree and in the midst of difficulties, struggling to graduate. We are slapped in the face by unemployment, simply because there are no adequate infrastructures and industries to accommodate us or rather, the older generation has refused to let go of that which is available, how cruel!
And for those who gave up the search for a white-collar job to start a business or put their entrepreneurial skill into use. I was made to understand that the nation’s economy choked up the life of that business, giving it no room to survive. I was made to understand that our leaders of yesterday have refused to encourage creativity and innovation from the youths.
We are not given a chance to take charge of our present let alone our future. And so I ask myself, “Can we the youths take charge of our future when we don’t have a say in the present?”
I have listened, followed and watched the uncertainties of reclaiming our future as youths. It seems more to me each day like folklore than reality. For since the time of our forefathers, we have sung the song “youths are the leaders of tomorrow.” Oh! Tomorrow?
A tomorrow that has never existed since ages past and has no hope of existing in future years to come?
Well maybe they are right, we are the leaders of tomorrow, after all, after a tomorrow comes another tomorrow.
So dear leaders of tomorrow, you would agree with me that reclaiming our future ceases to be folklore when our tomorrow becomes a today because only then can we boldly say reclaiming our future has become a reality.