Still on the Nigerian Youths and Political Apathy By Mohammed Dahiru Lawal
Yesterday morning, I appeared virtually on a TVC News program on youth activism in National Affairs.
While some guests on the Program opined that there’s a lamentable degree of apathy among teaming Nigerian Youths, I differed.
Rather, I submitted that the manifestations we are seeing among the young populace as “apathy,” is what I like to term “circumstancial apathy.” Circumstantial because they found themselves in that position largely not by their making or want but by what the society offers them.
For decades, the system has worked in such a way that it had eroded every pillar that may serve as a budding support for Youth affirmative action. Poverty erodes critical thinking and every sense of activism that comes with it. When an estimated 13.9million Nigerian Youths are unemployed, most of whom are living beyond the world extreme poverty rate at $1.25 (NGN516.24) a day, they most definitely cannot afford the luxury of time and resources to be actively involved in vying for political office even at the most basic level.
Even before the average Nigerian Youth Graduate from higher institutions, they are already lagging behind in a lot of human capital needs, not to talk of the other struggles that comes with the graduating status.
Since the Not too Young to Run Bill, what are the enabling accompanying policies put in place to ensure that the youths thrive in the face of the assented bill? Getting admissions to study still takes uncountable trials, Nomination forms for political offices are still outrageously high, campaign trains are money spraying sprees and political debates are intellectually malnourished. No one is bringing forth disruptive ideas, or at least collating them from visionaries.
We have an entitled generation from the 60s who have carried over ownership of the Nation down to this century without any feasible form of successive mentorship.
So what are we talking? Simply put, the system has failed the youths and they are looking for alternative ways to gain relevance, the social media and Digital resources is a ready made canopy for that purpose. Those who are able to discover themselves are making effective use of it to do alot of great things and those who are not are left to languish to their “faith.”
So yes, while we are having a conversation on National Reform, we must have one on Youth Renaissance, if we must grow.
Remember, it is not the consciousness of man that shapes the society but the society that shapes the consciousness of man!
M.D. Lawal, Convener of Arewa Agenda for Sustainable Development Coordinator Network of Advocates for Digital Reporting (NADIR) writes from Kano