By Gbenga Adebowale
“Nigerian youths are lazy!”, “Lazy Nigerian youths!”, “All our youths don’t want to work!”. These are the kind of comments you hear every day about Nigerian youths. You hear these statements in public transport, in the banks, and even in some church gatherings. Actually, Nigerian Youths are not lazy.
Identifying the source.
It is more discouraging to know that these negative proclamations are coming from the elderly ones. But it is not their fault, this is what you get when the number one citizen of a country, who holds the position of authority in the country, both physically and spiritually, who is supposed to “defend her unity”, who has pledged loyalty to the country and her citizen publicly proclaim at the Commonwealth Business Forum in April 2018 that 60% Nigerian population are youths and that most of them are uneducated, and that they want “to sit and do nothing and get a free house and health care”. This proclamation which was made before the world led to our youths being referred to as “Lazy Nigerian Youths”.
To date, there has been no record of his apology and no sign of remorse or regret. He publicly professed laziness in the life of the Nigerian youths and he was not rebuked for it. But that’s not the main reason I am writing this article.
I am using this article as a medium to overwrite the negativity that has been written in the hearts of Nigerian youths. I am writing to make the world know that the statement “lazy Nigerian youths” is a lie. To our mommies, daddies, grannies, Nigerians in the diaspora, and Nigerian youths in the diaspora; NIGERIAN YOUTHS ARE NOT LAZY. I will clarify this to an extent, not because I am a youth and a Nigerian, but because we are in a season in this country where the youths are needed more than ever. This error in the hearts of Nigerian Youths might deter them from carrying out their roles effectively.
Identifying the effect.
That particular statement, made by Mr. President has battered the hope and loyalty of many Nigerian youths. Many Niwere discouraged, betrayed, and disappointed by that statement. Those that are young and talented feel unappreciated and this is part of what is encouraging the current trend among our youths now: JAPA ( to travel out of the country to study or earn a living).
It is very difficult for youths with poor emotional stability to hear such pronouncements about them and not feel insulted and taken for granted. This has resulted in many youths giving up on their dreams, accepting the pronouncements and turning wayward, and many engaging in criminal activities. Let it be known that I’m not using this as a way to try to justify the barbaric behaviors of some of our youths, but I’m saying that pronouncement has contributed to the irresponsibility of our youths to an extent. And it is very important that this particular mud be properly removed from the eyes of our youths before the election commences.
Secondly, I want you to know that it will be unrealistic to think that the muddy statement in question, did not rub on the Nigerian youths in the diaspora when the pronouncement was made. It has to an extent reduced many of the youths in the diaspora who are competent to the level of mediocre. This is me bringing to our awareness that the pronouncements made before the whole world remain a stigma on the personality of the Nigerian youths (home and aboard) till this day.
Three Possible Ways to Erase the Stigma.
Have a Voice
It is very important that as youths, we are not silent towards the happenings in our nation Nigeria. This is the reason we need to always air our opinions and point of view. And most importantly exercise our rights as citizens. To have a say, we need to be very intentional and updated. You want to start listening to the news, attending national seminars, studying the constitution, doing a background check on political aspirants, and the climax of all, voting in elections.
It is a shame that many youths have subscribed to the popular propaganda that our vote doesn’t count. This among others is one of the tools the corrupt politicians use to rob us of our franchise and resources. Also, some will say: “dem don kuku talk sey we lazy, me I no dey waka go vote anything oo”. Well, I understand if you are reasoning like this, but it will be to our own detriment if we accept their judgment about us, and we do nothing about the development of our nation. Our unborn children will dance to the music until a generation that is willing to have a voice arises. To respond to these I will rather we start from here; Go get your PVC!
Values are principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.
excerpt from the Oxford English Dic.
It is important that as youth we live principled lives; lives governed by certain standards of behavior and sense of reasoning. As Youths, we need to retrace our steps to the home training and morals we were taught by our parents and grandparents, as well as make intentional decisions that will help us desist from bad behaviors. . We need to embrace our culture, our proverbs, words of wisdom, mode of dressing, greetings, and manner of approach. If you are having issues with remembering those important lessons from childhood days. Then this article on childhood experiences could be of help;
Contend for Knowledge
And if any man thinks that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know
From The Bible.
Knowledge is never enough, and at the same time, no one is an island of knowledge. The moment you begin to feel you know a lot. It is proof that there is a lot you don’t know.
Every opportunity you have to learn something new is a light to a particular darkness in your life. Jump at it! Learn a skill, take a free course, or take a paid course too. Read books, attend seminars, practice what you learn, and conduct research.
“ The power of youth is the common wealth for the entire world. The faces of young people are the faces of our past, our present, and our future. No segment in the society can match the power, idealism, enthusiasm, and courage of the young people”