The Nigerian economy has been in shambles for years, with the constant increase in inflation rate, employees still being grossly underpaid, and little or no improvement in the rate of unemployment. With the announcement of recession in 2016, not much policies have been implemented to improve the economy. Even though statistics shows we are out of recession, the life of an average Nigerian has not improved. As the next election draws nearer, there has not only been constant drama between the ruling party and the opposition party, but also the arrival of new political parties, bringing young people as presidential aspirants. Due to the fact that the past leaders have failed in improving the state of the country, there is the urgent need to get them out of the office, as it is clear that they have nothing to offer other than power tussle and the usual corruption antics. Many people for this reason, believe the solution to Nigeria’s economic and political crisis, is to bring young people into power.
Apart from the fact that a repeating cycle of bad leaders is not exactly healthy for a country, there is also the fact that democracy in the hands of the same set of people isn’t really democracy, because that means that only the interests of the same set of people will be served, and in Nigeria’s case, it will be the interests of the elites. Involving young people in politics will not only break this ‘elites benefiting cycle’, but also help the young people to be represented. As we all know, ‘the youths are the leaders of tomorrow’, for that reason, their future needs to be secured. In order to do that, they need a government that does not only know their interests, but also cares about their future. Who then is best to put in power other than the ones who have stakes in the future of the country?
Bringing young people into power is definitely important, but it is also necessary to note that age factor does not bring an automatic stability for the country’s economy, or even security problems. Inasmuch as we need young people in power, it is crucial to bear in mind that being young does not equate being capable, therefore the questions that comes to the mind are; Does the Nigerian educational system produce competent graduates? Does our society raise honest and trustworthy youths?
If you’ve ever been to NYSC Orientation Camp, your answer to the first question will most likely be ‘no’. There you’ll meet some graduates who cannot construct correct sentences in English. How such people graduated from tertiary institutions should not be surprising, as we all heard about the lecturer in a federal university who asked to sleep with a female student, in order to increase her grade. Education seems almost useless as young people need not to have a degree relevant to a specific profession before they can apply for a job. One would ask what is the point of studying Accounting when there are people who studied English Language working in banks. It is obvious that being a university graduate does not make young people automatically employable, nor does it make them competent. This translates to the fact that education system in Nigeria does not equip young people with relevant tools for their professions. What then is the essence of education?
Of course our education system is not the only factor that should be looked into. Seeing that Nigeria is a highly religious country, so much that we have laws laid down based on religious beliefs, how corruption remains a problem is shocking. Very religious but still very corrupt. As corruption resides with the government, so does it reside with the masses. When some young people came up to social media to protest for the end of SARS and Police brutality, others were busy taking up bribes in order to form a ‘pro SARS’ team. While some youths were expressing their dissatisfaction about the new refuse disposal system in Lagos, some others were promoting the same incompetent waste disposal system for money. We also have a huge number of lads involved in cyber crime, aka ‘yahoo yahoo’, while a good number of the ones who aren’t involved in it, do not have a problem with defending the act, with the excuse that ‘the economy is hard and there are no jobs’. The list of young people displaying the same corrupt and immoral traits that have led to the current situation of the country is endless.
As the saying goes, ‘a fruit does not fall far from its tree’. We don’t not expect to raise competent and trustworthy youths in a highly demoralized society. If we really want change, we should start by strengthening our institutions, constitutions, law and order etc. Systems should be put in place to raise capable and qualified young people. Job positions should not be awarded based on connections, the education system shouldn’t keep thriving on corruption thereby producing half baked graduates, police brutality and bribery should not be appropriated, neither should things like cyber crime be.
A change in government is needed, but a change in our way of life is very important. The problem isn’t just the government, because the government is made up of the people. So as we decide to bring a change in government by voting young people, we should also consider how capable these people are, and how we ourselves can effect change in our society.