Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Guest Post: The Nigerian Youth is Dead

There was blood splattered on the walls, shreds of torn clothing on the ground. From the left, a canister of tear gas landed, screams were heard as pandemonium engulfed the hall. 

From the description tendered above, one will be in a class of respected thinkers to believe he was in the middle of a warzone, in the middle of a chaotic failed state where laws are absent and the ‘fist’ rules the day. To suggest to you otherwise may be laughed off as absurd. Indeed if a law-making body is to be found a few miles away or law enforcement officials are in the vicinity; that makes for a very unbelievable story. I concede that if this was fiction, then a herculean effort may not be enough to combine these two opposites together. The shock is that this is not fiction; this is a rough reflection of what happened in the law-making building of Rivers State of Nigeria a week ago. Yes you heard me right. Contrary to logical conclusions, those responsible for the broken skulls and bloodied hands were not thugs but the lawmakers themselves; absurd right?

When I was younger, there was an advert with the catchphrase “children are the leaders of tomorrow”; from my understanding this was not the first time such a mantra had been drummed into young unsuspecting minds. You see, the Rivers state legislators believed this mantra and kudos to them, here they are today. But what good is leadership if you are steering a sinking ship?

The Nigerian youth is disadvantaged; by way of templates for behaviour, there is none. Pardoned government thieves roam our streets in flashy cars, whereas people who worked in the civil service for years are seen queuing under the rains for a pension cheque that won’t turn up until a month after their funeral. The blank canvas of the Nigerian youth is imprinted upon, shaped by his experiences, and if the daily occurrences are anything to go by (of which the example tendered above is one), then I fear for you Nigeria. The Nigerian youth is disadvantaged; while his counterparts abroad are given opportunities to excel in academics, sports and vocational pursuits, the Nigerian youth is made to study under a candle for a University exam that will probably be postponed by strikes. The Nigerian youth is disadvantaged; when others are lauded for honesty and integrity, he is categorised as unsharp and unworthy of success because of those same “virtues.”

The Nigerian youth is disadvantaged.

If we stop there, we embody what Chimamanda Adichie terms a single story, a one sided story that makes you feel one emotion for the Nigerian youth, without seeing what he is capable of.

The Nigerian youth is capable of rising above adversity when his mates abroad will crumble. The Nigerian youth that this essay lauds; is the boy under the bridge who after selling ‘pure water’ in the traffic jams of Lagos, studies all night and gets a University scholarship. The Nigerian youth is the girl who in the face of adversity and strife refuses to sell her body to a corrupt lecturer in order to pass her modules. The Nigerian youth is Ibrahim; who shuns the advances of Boko Haram but decides to rehabilitate his friends who have been poisoned by their nefarious teachings. The Nigerian youth is Adeyinka; who works two jobs in order to support his family and still graduated with a first class in University. The Nigerian youth is Chidinma who rather than becoming an additional unemployment statistic, is now an employer with her own honest small business.

You see, this is the Nigerian youth, and I salute the Nigerian youth; the one who will grow up and change the political landscape of this country, the youth who will leave his footprints in history. This is the Nigerian youth, the one who soon to be a man, will rather succeed in spite of the government rather than because of it.

There are two choices, who are you? Are you the Nigerian youth? Robert Frost said, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I took the one less travelled.” Which one will you choose?

The End.

Or is it the start for Nigeria?

Let’s rebirth the Nigerian Youth.

By Mitchell Aghatise

Mitchell Aghatise is a final year Law Student at the University of Leicester. He is the past President of the Elevation Networks Society and an avid Debater. Very passionate about politics in his home country Nigeria, in his spare time, he writes poems and essays on political affairs. 


  1. Well written Mitch! When they say "children are the leaders of tomorrow", the children themselves need to believe in that statement. Unfortunately there is no fair route of access to politics for the Nigerian youth and until we begin to seize what is truly ours, Nigerian democracy will continue to barely exist. The youths need to put up a stronger front to these political godfathers in order to make substantial changes to policy and prepare themselves for higher seats of power after gaining substantial experience.

  2. I concur. Nigerian youths lack strong positive role models, like the Americans have the Obamas and so on. But, I hope and pray that as time goes on, things will get better and progress will be made.

  3. I salute his effort and I'm so happy that out of this money hungry generation we still have forward thinkers but these words have been said too many times. There are tons of articles and essays about Nigeria, the government and the people. Take a look around, Nigerian youth are not interested in sad realities of hardship and honour. Nooo...that's not fun. The New Nigeria is all about that life. They want it all and with so little effort. The government definitely can't be blamed for that. We Nigerians suffer from what I like to call the "I know someone or I am someone" syndrome. The government is like a stain. You could choose to wash it off and keep yourself clean or wear it anyway after all it could get stained again. That's your choice not the government. Although having a government that cares about our well-being would be great let's be honest, in Nigeria it's everyman for himself. Knowing this you can just sit around and wait for the government or do something. Nigeria problems I believe have nothing to do with the government but rather individuals. The government is made up of individuals. You can talk about the struggles of a young boy who sells oranges during the day and studies at night using a candle and comes out in flying colours.You admire his spirit and praise his effort against all odds but do you know why he succeeded? He realised that all he had was his family, his hopes and dreams. He did not wait for the light to come on 24/7 because he knew it won't. He is an individual who made a choice. He chose life. Even in developed countries we still have suffering people, we still have illiterates even with their free education system. They have the option but not everyone takes it. That's not a government thing, it's a individual thing. The people in power today are not going to be in power tomorrow. I read this somewhere "Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your characters, for they become your destiny". Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, MLK and Malcom X were individuals that made a different in the world not the government.

  4. Wonderful article theunspokenwords93.Custom essay writing service this is providing valuable information.