A bumpy car ride gave Ope Adetayo , 18 a Correspondent from Lagos, Nigeria, insight into issues facing Nigeria. He argues that building up the nation is the shared responsibility of both the younger and the older generations.
Let me begin this write with a symbolic anecdote. It was a private experience that has been seminal in my reading of the Nigerian political milieu.
It goes thus: it was my first day in the University. I had never been to the school prior to that day. After the gruesome travel from my state of residence to the school, I was assailed by the roughness of the terribly motor-unfriendly roads that led to the school. We bumped into potholes that convulsed our entire bodies. The journey became grueling and intolerable. I initially thought it was the driver’s recklessness that was responsible for our plight. I never knew I was responsible – or partly responsible! I registered my displeasure to the driver. ‘Why don’t you drive reasonably!?’ I queried. He scanned my countenance thoughtfully and replied, ‘when you get there, I appeal you help us repair the road.’
His response awes me because a thorough analysis of his response requires deep introspection into what the future holds for the destiny of this country, in terms of the parameters of present leaders and ‘future leaders’. The response shows he has lost optimism in a generation that has been recycled since independence and the subsequent generations that have managed to secure a nugatory presence in government due to the hawkish grasp of the first generations of leaders. And now he turns to a generation that does not exhibit any future prospect for leadership, a generation that has lost its bearing and has been dispossessed of insight.
In my opinion it would be preposterous to do that.
His reckoning has disregarded the current set of leaders as the antidote to the myriad problems that have pushed Nigeria to her knees. He now projects his hope on the latest generation – people in their 20s and 30s; people just being taken into the university system and those who have been part of the university system. He thinks this category – the youth – is pristine and should offer new hope but unfortunately, his expectations are misguided. No youth here thinks of that road, or those responsible for its repair, or even the whole system at large. The priorities are quite conflicting with what that driver hopes they should be.
Yet this issue begs serious consideration. The country cannot be stuck forever owning to the irresponsibility of the past generation and the complete loss of the present generation. The question is – which generation is responsible for the future? And for its reconstruction? Yes, its reconstruction because the present circumstances damage the prospects of a promised land. Both generations are responsible. It would be national suicide for one to monopolise the reconstruction because of the deep skepticism that exists. The older generation has destroyed virtually every aspect of our national existence and the present generation – the microscopic few that have been privilege to govern – has zealously trodden the same path of the former, serving as protégés for the old ones.
Everyone is responsible. The politician, the academic, the clergy, the artisan, the blue-collar, the white-collar and any other category, across all generations, are all responsible for the emergence of a progressive nation. It would be daydream to think it will be a walk in the park, but no nation that has elected to change has failed in her attempt, no matter how involved it can be. The evidence lies in our collective effort to displace the then-incumbent president through the power of the ballot, which was the first of its kind in our history. It was an epoch-making watershed.
The notion of responsibility transcends the direct involvement in governance. It is also the protection of democratic mores and institutions by individuals. It is the full support of the sanctity of fundamental freedoms. It is the patriotic attitude one shows toward the nation. It is the respect for the rule of law. It is transparency of government’s deals. It is the enforcement of constitutional power. It is any effort made at redeeming the government by acting.
So, the driver does not need to wait on the coming generation before he does something to the road he plies for livelihood. That road unattended to is a threat to him and others. He should speak. He should act. He is also responsible, as we all are.
Reach me on Twitter @Opeadetayo1
About me: I am Ope Adetayo, an undergraduate of Performing Arts at the University of Ilorin. I enjoy indelible interest in literary and critical writing, theatre works and journalism among others, which I use as my platform to propagate my ideas, to project a better future for African youths, and to improve its political and humanitarian systems. I am the author of Age and Blood and I hope to write more books in the future.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
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