Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Youths: Blessing or A Curse to Our Society?

 Many people have contradicting views about youths particularly today’s youths. Adults categorise them with numerous conflicting labels such as “the violent generation”; “the lost generation”; “the e-generation”; “the scapegoat generation”; and “the ambitious generation.”

An author, Tell C. in 2000 observed that more than seven in 10 adults think that youths are “rude”, “irresponsible”, or “wild”; lacking values, characters and basic civility even though they are mostly sponsored by same adults.

However, according to United Nations, youths are people between the age of 14 and 24, whereas in much sub-Saharan Africa, they are regarded as young men from 15 to 35 years old, even as Federal Republic of Nigeria referred to them as Nigerian citizens between 18 to 35 years old. 

But a writer, Vappu Tyyska (in 2005) argued that age-based definitions of youths have not been consistent across cultures or times, and stressed the needs to focus on social processes in transition to adult independence for defining youth as those needed by the society are not those characterized by time of life but a state of mind, temper of the will, quality of imagination, predominance of courage over timidity and appetite for adventure over the life of ease.

In order words, youths are the fundamental component and major investment of society that remains underutilised and neglected even though they are regarded as the bedrock for effective and sustainable development.

Perhaps, this entails why the Federal Republic of Nigeria sees them as foundation of society whose energies, inventiveness, character and orientation define the pace of development and security of a nation. And through their creative talents and labour prowess, a nation makes giant strides in economic development and socio-political attainment.

Recall it was between the age of 30 to 35 General Yakubu Gowon, President Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, Sani Abacha, Odumegwu Ojukwu, among others led this country and a part thereof as Heads of States and Government.

According to Holy Bible; Psalm 127 verse 4 and 5, “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them; they are not ashamed, but they speak with the enemies in the gate.”

Therefore, youthful age is a stage of constructing the self-concept shaped by factors like peers, lifestyles, gender and culture. This may be why they tend to resist control, confident with little wisdom, very active, full of energy, seeks for recognition, always prepared to contribute to whatever is being addressed.

In Nigeria however, despite been endowed with abundant natural and human resources and ranked sixth largest exporter of crude oil, poverty and joblessness seem to have relegated our youths to agents or partners in crimes. Insecurity is prevalent, powers appears to be an illusion; unemployment and poverty are on the increase.

Transparent Nigeria, NGO, in 2014, observed that the rate at which youths flood in and out of universities in search of a paper degree for a better future is increasing but while over 24,000 graduate annually, only 10% find employment befitting their degree. It suggests why a study conducted by UNESCO between 1990 and 2005 revealed that 71% Nigerians live on less than 1US dollar per day.

This simply implies that they will expand their talents on any available opportunity; positive or negative, depending on any easily accessible. As such, they are getting deeply involved day by day in more and more various social crimes such as wanton destruction of lives and properties, drug abuse, school dropout, robbery, assassination, thugery, violence and others.

The simple implication of this scenario is that even if the government should eliminate the current insurgencies allegedly masterminded by Boko Haramists, Maitatsine, MEND, OPC, MASSOB, and others, through amnesty or through force, there remains another millions of potential militants willing and able to be recruited by the highest bidder.

On this note, I implore the government at all levels, NGOs, philanthropies, and other interested individuals to strive towards the betterment of youths via various empowerment programmes and other enablers, skills acquisitions and basic infrastructures to the masses with a view to providing enabling environments for our young entrepreneurs, local companies/industrials and youth emancipation.

Similarly, I will not be sincere and truthful to the youths, if I end this report either in rhetoric or impractical without advising youths to rethink and reshape their future for our good. If the society has failed youths, youths must not fail themselves as well knowingly fully well that they are not only going to inherit the communities our parents left for us tomorrow but also act as determinant factors.

So being great assets to our great nation, the youths should take the bull by the horn through their passions, creativity, skills, talents and inventiveness rather than resorting to crimes or running to overseas because even the bible says “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth” (Lamentations 3 verse 27).



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