By Sifon Bassey
Every day I walk along the streets, I see a lot of young Nigerians, energetic, intelligent, dynamic, talented and creative, wasting away because of lack of priorities they have in their life. We have been blinded by the wealth being flaunted around by our mates and we are easily attracted to the fast life which they are living. This has made me to wonder what the problem with us is. Gone are those days when youths believed in hard work and patience, now we just want it fast, not minding the means we get it, and to me, this is one major problem with our generation. Our voices have been silenced, because we are basically looking for quick fix solutions to our problems, and this has affected our lifestyle, our way of thinking, our daily choices, our general perception of things around us. Our perception of the government is appalling, because the average young Nigerian does not simply care about things happening up there. We have been mute on issues around us. From the massive government corruption, to the mismanagement of funds, to the neglect of the Nigerian people by the government, we have remained loudly silent. We have refused to speak out against these issues; instead, most of us tweet and ‘Facebook’ our future away. We do not realize that we are the next set of leaders, and as such, we have to take charge of our nation. We do not realize that if we let the government continue their heartless demolition of our society, we are only making things hard for ourselves and the generation after us. We are only concerned with the latest jeans, or Versace shirt; our top priorities have become the latest Blackberry devices, ipads, phones, cars, instead of making our society better, for ourselves and the society. Starting from the average Nigerian youth, we have become non-existent in the government because most of us refuse to acquire the required intellect needed to face the issues affecting us. Our major problems have become knowing when Apple is going to release their new device, our hobbies are now clubbing, excessive drinking, tweeting about useless things. Our girls are more bothered about their twerking skills than the issues than anything other thing else. We have simply lost sight of where we are going, mostly because we have forgotten where we are coming from, and when we reach our destination, it will be too late, to start repairing and solving the mundane problems that confront us. Our youth associations have turned into toothless dogs, with their mouths stuffed with money from government coffers. They have become thugs for hire, heaping praises on the person with the deepest pocket.They have become tools in the hands of the same people killing our nation. They have become part of the problem, instead of being a pivotal tool of solution. They have lost focus of the problems, and have been blinded by the huge sums of money thrown at them by government officials. I read stories of how in the past, NANS,(National Association of Nigerian Students) used to put fear in the hearts of government officials. The fear of NANS used to be the beginning of wisdom for government officials but now, they just scoff and laugh at us, because we have become irrelevant. A good example of how NANS has become irrelevant is the ongoing ASUU strike. In the past, NANS would have been able to coerce the government into yielding to ASUU’s demands, by initiating large protests and rallies; instead, they behave like nothing is happening, why? Because their voices has been silenced by the wads of money stuffed down their throats by these government officials. We do not realize the damage done to us by this government, keeping us at home for months, making us waste valuable time that we would have used to further our education, because the people meant to represent us have been silenced. What is wrong with us? Even our parents and guardians and the older generation are part of our problems. They have failed to instill in us the right values. They have failed to show us the right path. They have failed to show us the rewards of hard work, because most of them have become slaves to the corrupt system. Rich parents make things appear easy for their kids, bribing their way up for them, teaching their kids the power of money, and thereby corrupting and spoiling the mindset of our youths today. The average and poor parents put unnecessary pressure on the youths to succeed, sometimes suggesting quick fix solutions to issues that require painstaking measures. Parents now advise their children to drop out of school, and pursue other careers like music, simply because their friends are now doing the same. They refuse to show the attributes of patience needed to sculpt the young mind into being a visionary and a dynamic person. Parents refuse to wipe out traces of laziness from their children. Parents no longer inform their kids on the issues affecting the society, parents no longer advise us on how to solve our problems, parents no longer tell us about their mistakes, and advise us on how to avoid making them. Our youths have been left to find their way like a lost traveller in a dark forest without a compass or map. Will we survive? Young Voices, it is time to act! The time to sound out our intentions to change our nation has come. We have to act now, or else, we will lose it totally. It’s time to open our eyes to the problems surrounding us, and try to solve them. If we wait on the government, we are only killing ourselves the more. The government is deaf to our voices, and to make matters worse, we don’t even have a voice. It is time to have a voice, to have a goal, to have a vision. It’s time to sound out our drums, it’s time to make our voices heard, and make them realize that we want to take our nation back. We need to tell them in one loud voice that we are ready to be the leaders of today, and we want to create a better society for our generation, and the generations coming behind us. It’s time to become the voice of reason, the voice of change, and the voice of ambition.