A MESSAGE FOR THE ANGRY YOUTHS – By Tope Fasua
There is this tendency to criticise everything and everyone. It is natural to be suspicious but it is better to try and offer solutions to the problem. There is a simple test to know. What kind of person are you? If you drive a car into a traffic snarl? Are you the guy who tries to sort himself out but cutting corners even if it makes the situation worse for everybody? Or the guy who sits in the car and just hopes someone comes in to solve the problem? Or the guy who actively tries to be a solution, either by creating needed space for the entanglement or even alighting from his vehicle to pass traffic where possible? 99.999% of people fall into the former categories. Only 0.001% are leaders who try to solve problems.
A moment of reflection beckons on the Nigerian youths and the not-so-youthful too. It is not productive to take a stance that rubbishes every initiative. If you tag every leader as bad from beginning to the end it means you have not reflected enough on the challenges of leadership itself and so you may not or never be ready for leadership or will equally fail if thrust upon you, like the people you criticise. Ditto if you refuse to see anything good in a particular leader no matter what he does. Remember that a dead clock is right, at least twice a day. So no leader is totally bad, and certainly none is totally good.
Be careful of being drawn into dogma. Be careful of mild and real cultism, some of which requires that you queue behind the company rhetoric whether oga or right or wrong. This is what happened to many decent people in the Hitler era. They knew it wad wrong and evil to gas the Jews but they dare not say anything. They thus became culprits, with some advancing to become serious mass perpetrators. There was the case of a ‘decent’ German engineer, who didn’t see anything wrong in increasing the capacity of gas chambers to gas 5 thousand more Jews per day… he felt he was just innovating. Where is your conscience when most needed? Are you the type that calls everyone back to their senses when herd mentality takes oveŕ and we all cascade in a destructive direction, blinded by fanaticism and dogmatism? Or are you the type that readily follows the drift without question? If you are the latter then leadership is not in you and you will likely fare worse than those you delight in criticising today.
But by and large, the reason I am writing to you today is to ensure you don’t become forever bitter and unaccomplished. I am not accomplished, yet, but i am certainly not bitter. If you don’t see anything good in anyone then you are solidifying the foundations of bitterness. You don’t need that in your life. Give people a chance. And another. Be very slow in writing people off. Many of your leaders had good intentions. Not all of them set out to steal and plunder. For some of them, your cynicism pushed them to the other side. You must break the cycle of bitterness, self-hate, mutual distrust and negativity that has turned Nigeria into what it is today. Do you know most Nigerian leaders now hate the country and especially detest the youth? I know you didn’t create the problem. But you must think of how to solve the problem.
I was also inspired to write you, dear Nigerian youth, when I considered that you are most likely unwilling to be a doer. I know that many of you lack resources but that too is debatable. Never wait until everything is set. Everything will never be set. You have to START WHERE YOU ARE, WITH WHAT YOU HAVE, TO DO WHAT YOU CAN DO. This also goes to those who are above 35 and can no longer be considered as youths. It is far better for your health, to try and get in the fray and be part of th3 solution, in your own way, than to be mere perpetual complainants. In fact your complaints take on higher importance and direction when you have tried and failed. Good for you if you succeed but ensure you don’t complicate the problems of your people.
Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Gani Fawehinmi were two of the most vociferous and committed critics this country or even the continent ever saw. They saw this fact and never remained mere critics. They formed parties. They contested. They failed to get into office, but they tried and it put them in a better place..it gave them perspective. It also tapered their anger and helped then channel same to where it mattered. Other all time greats like Zik, Awo, Bola Ige, Onabanjo and co, were complainants, for they were columnists and journalists, but at some point they were intelligent enough to know they had to be propelled to become part of the solution
So Dear Youth, don’t be boring. Don’t be bitter. Avoid the path of wretechedness. Don’t let them con you to remain a directionless ranter forever. Be focused. Repackage yourself. Don’t be a philistine. Yes, i am not asking you to avail yourself to some highest bidder. Don’t be all about the money. But ensure you are growing. Find a job and do it well. Be valuable. Create a venture and nurture it carefully. Be well presented. Work on your flaws. Be likeable. Be fair. Be kind. Be nice. Life is short. You may just be the one humanity has been waiting for. Perhaps no one else but you can solve the many problems you’ve been complaining bitterly about. Or it may just be a tiny bit that you can handle. It all adds up. Stand up for yourself..stand up for humanity