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Today’s Youth Need To Sit Up!

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Friday, April 15th, 2016
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What kind of children are we bringing up? Have you seen any of our future leaders lately? Do they look or behave like we are doing a good job? Has this society been fair to them? Have we nurtured them or forced the poisoned chalice down their throat? Of course, we need no rocket science to tell that everything that our ancestors left us we have either eaten or sold. Or where are the schools and good roads they left us? Where are the water works and public taps?

Where are the incorruptible policemen? Are the streets safe? Where have the days gone when there were jobs for every graduate as soon as they left the university? Why do our graduates now sweep the streets of London in the cold and sleep in European train stations like orphans? Why are the crops of men who enjoyed all the good things of an oil-rich Nigeria the ones that have impoverished us? Why are we like a community of animals who eat their young? Why have we eaten the inheritance of our children?

But I am tired of just singing to the deaf. These youths must rise and retrieve their destiny from the hands of men and women who are building mansions for their own children with proceeds of our inheritance. And that is where I have problems with the Nigerian youth. I have problems with their laidback, lackadaisical attitude. I am worried about how they concentrate on trivial instead of on ensuring that power must change hands. Too many Nigerian youths just want to grumble and complain. They still allow themselves to be used as pawns. Not enough of our children are aware that they have a battle on their hands. Just a few are determined to rise through the dark cloud and make something decent of their lives in this wilderness.

I am worried about able bodied young men sagging their trousers like American prisoners. I weep when I see how fast the nudist culture is spreading. These days it is difficult to tell a whore from an undergraduate. The whole place looks like one big red light district. Sad, too sad. But the youths will just have to help themselves. They are on their own. It’s their future and they are free to sag or walk naked way into it. The present eating class is willing to eat both the cake and the cake maker. If our young ones continue the way they are…

I remember the good old days in Great Ife now Obafemi Awolowo University. I remember the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), and what they once stood for. In those days when NANS joined a protest, a strike, the government was forced to listen. Student unionists were respected, even feared. I remember the campaign, the excitement of candidates moving from Mozambique Hall, to Awolowo Hall to Fajuyi Hall. The suspense and fireworks of the speech night. Campus politics was 10,000% more interesting than today’s national politics. We had great debates, door-to-door campaigns , excellent posters all over the place that we also got to deface with hilarious comments.

It was fun. No Vice Chancellor joked with a Student Union President because a president is a president. He was a young man whose statements had State Security men working extra hours. Those union leaders of 30, 20 yrs ago are some of the people we respect today. Of course , I must admit that some of them have since sold out.

Then I went to work as Special Adviser Media to Patricia Etteh, Nigeria’s first female speaker and I had to deal with NANS and I wept. It certainly was a Student Union body I could not recognise. They had more factions than the political parties. They came in different groups. They wanted all kinds of things. They had all kinds of lists. They had their own press releases which I was supposed to help them circulate. Nothing was free, everything was confusing. Each group was the authentic NANS. How was I supposed to know the group with no NAFDAC numbers? But my dismay during those stormy days is not the issue today.

I am just worried about what a once formidable pressure group has become. Is it us? Is it them? I think it’s a combination of both. Politicians have infiltrated the ranks of NANS. They have infected them with their affliction. They have fed them evil money. Today’s leaders are at fault. But today’s youths are no longer innocent. How can we have a tomorrow when today’s leaders are eating up tomorrow today?

NANS, please clean up. We need help in the years ahead . We need NANS to get its act together. Anybody above 40 in this country knows that NURTW has taken over the slot and clout that once belonged to NANS. Nigerian students were once the guys to fear. Yes the rot around them has them virtually impaled on the rubbish heap but they must rise up. To the good old days when they can shut down the system in such a way that CNN and SKY and BBC fell over one another to break the news. If we are going to get some people out of our national lives, NANS must resurrect.

Everybody is talking about protecting our votes during elections. In those good old days, if it were to be the old NANS giving an authentic press conference saying it would run riggers out of town, the politicians by now would be seeing their doctors every day. NANS, oh NANS, was once powerful. Take a look around you. How did we end with so many young men wearing earrings? I was told it is fashion. But who is going to take a brilliant man wearing earrings seriously? You think I’m old fashioned? Have you seen studs or rings in the ears of your account manager or insurance broker? A male undergraduate wears earrings on campus and graduates still wearing earrings and bags a degree in Economics.

Will he be taken seriously by a panel of interviewers for a job? And I see graduates like that o. No kidding. It is pardonable a little if the youth is an artiste or artist. They are supposed to be different from the rest of us. Fine. Though I even have reservations about that. The successful actors, sculptors, musicians I see around are not so much into creative fronts. The real stars have more albums than earrings. Let the actors wear bling and the actresses pierce their lips and noses. No problem. It is when those who say they are the leaders of tomorrow wear earrings, and tint their hair that I see a troubled future. If those who are leading us now don’t have tinted hair and wear no earrings and yet they have led us into a pit, where would those who are not sure of their gender take us?

And our young girls? They now make their dresses with four handkerchiefs. If their breasts are not on display they don’t leave the house. They tell old folks like me that it is only the nipples that are breasts. If a brilliant young lady walks into a virile man’s office with a brilliant proposal and the first thing the man is offered is not just a plunging neckline but two breasts struggling for air, how can he think straight? Whatever the girl says after then will be undiluted Vuvuzela . Most men can’t say breast and brain in the same breath.

One belongs in the bedroom, the other is meant for the boardroom and men can’t multi-task. They like to concentrate on a good business proposal but when you throw in breasts along with the proposal, they are lost. A certain part of their anatomy takes over when …
Our proposed leaders of tomorrow can’t work both sides of the street. They have to stop sneaking around forbidden fruits if this nation will survive and we must be able to trust them or we are doomed. Or am I talking through the back of my neck?

Funke Egbemode is the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of New Telegraph


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