By Hashim Suleiman
YBTC News—For those who know me closely, they would be aware of my co- founding of One Heart Initiative for Equity and Good Leadership alongside Babukar Tanko in 2014. The aims and objectives were basically to share our life experiences with Nigerian youths over how much possible it was for one to choose a progressive mindset which usually culminates into unbelievable achievements.
While we were on, the conversation about a 30% youth affirmative started and we thought our platform could further push for it and so we adopted it alongside campaign.ng which was championed by Uche Chuta. This struggle cannot also forget the contributions of brave Nigerian youths like Stakeholders Forum Nigeria, Alero Tenumah, Ali George, Demola Rewaju, Presley Akhigbe, Ismaeel Ahmed amongst others. The composition of the individuals was awesome as related to the demography of Nigeria. Expectedly, there was excitement over the possibility of the achievement of the goal that has been set out.
Remember that in all of the paper works and logistics for these activities, they were from our hard earned resources as each and every one of us was also a professional of good standing who were doing very well in their endeavors. Therefore, there was the continuous mobilization of youths from all walks of life through the utilization of mostly the social media applications of Twitter and Facebook. The acceptability was encouraging and that prompted us to set up the national working committee and 36 state coordinators which were commissioned on Saturday, 1st November, 2014 at the Merit House, Abuja with my humble self as the National Coordinator.
Thereafter, the buzz was still on and we set out to commission the working committee for the various states by encouraging the various state coordinators to work to set up their working committees just like we did in Abuja and boom came the invitation from the coordinator of Abia State. I and a few of the team members set out for the journey from Abuja by contributing amongst ourselves and the commissioning was done amongst fanfare and motivation talks over the need for the youths to close ranks and utilize their demography and present credible candidates that could win elections. After all the message had been delivered and the thought that message was going to be utilized, then came a question that defined what the average Nigerian youth was all about; which political party sent us? APC or PDP. What a shocker! The entire zeal dropped but also got increased in terms of my understanding of the average Nigerian youth.
It was at that point I got discouraged especially considering that the matter was one that would require so much funding as logistics and that was something I did not have at the time and subjecting the movement to any politicians support will only jeopardize the aim of the movement. Consequently, I had to resort to developing my career and family with the hope that I will someday rebound to advance my motives.
But of-course so name had been made and you’ll find continuous engagement here and there especially as regards the elections of 2015 which got us all expressing our opinions regarding it but my understanding of how unserious the average Nigerian youth could be was stuck in my mind forever.
On the 22nd December, 2015, miss Aisha Alubankudi facilitated my invitation to speak at the maiden First Lady’s event tagged ‘Just the Beginning’. In it I highlighted the need for the youths to utilize their social media handles not just for castigating Goodluck Jonathan but also for the advancement of the policies of the government that had just started owing to the fact that some people do not know a government is performing because they don’t have information regarding its policies.
Normal professional, public and family life continued afterward but with all the previous experiences, I had to personally refocus on examining the Nigerian youth through everyday engagements and my findings coupled with previous experiences are not pretty at all and provide a serious cause for concern. The average Nigerian youth is far from being a progressive one with the minds inclined more towards negativity.
Let me use a recent event to demonstrate what I mean. Just recently. Funke Akindele the actress hosted a mini party for her husband which they shared on social media and as usual the mostly young men on the platform started to tear her apart with most calling for her arrest and some of us including Damini Ogulu aka Burna Boy wondered if same youths could use same energy on politicians, what the outcome would have been. The actress even came out to explain that all of the attendees had been in same location for over two weeks which was the professionally agreed time before the COVID-19 ailment manifests and evening during contact tracing, nobody tests you if you have never had a contact with a confirmed case or people with travel history but as it always is with most Nigerian youths, it’s not the educative or critical conversation that they are after, it is the mischief in a matter that they are after.
After the whole saga which also had Azeez Fashola aka Naira Marley attendance, he took to his twitter handle and requested all those who dragged him on the matter to drop their account numbers so he could transfer some funds to them and you will be amazed at the number of people who shamelessly did in affirmative. At last he did not pay any money but a smart way to expose what the average Nigerian youth is all about.
Again, just very recently, I was engaging someone on Facebook over a post he made which I thought was those kinds of post that misleads youths into exhibiting laziness and negativity, the person replied to my comment saying he was not talking about Nigeria on his Facebook handle that had most of us Nigerians on it but was talking about life, and I wondered if the life he is living was in hell and not in Nigeria. Another example of the thought of an average Nigerian youth.
I was again having a physical conversation with another Nigerian youth and he said that he doesn’t read any post or comment that was beyond two lines. This buttresses how much the Nigerian youth abhors critical comments.
We do not want engaging conversations, once they are introduced, it will not take long when insults will come in. We vote a government with our thumb and come back to insult her even when there are clearly functional sectors which require skills and professionals but there are very little of them available. And those who did not vote the government will criticize and denigrate anything and everything about the government simply because they hate it. No government can be completely good or bad anywhere.
Therefore, the comment that President Muhammadu Buhari made over Nigerian youths being lazy is absolutely true. They are physically and mentally lazy. Critical jobs have had to be exported because the Nigerian youth does not have the patience to humbly learn it, how then do you assemble professionals in it. We prefer to be hangers on and utilize the small funds gotten to buy new clothes and pose like we’ve acquired the entire knowledge of the whole world. We then move to disseminate uninformed things as common sense on our social media handles.
Stories and experiences like these are to be shared with the public with the purpose of getting at-least 1/10 of the youth population to see reason to bone progressive personal change that would benefit the society and those coming up. Our economy lacks critical skills, the youths must be encouraged to be humble towards obtaining skills that would fill the wide gap that exists in all of the public, private and non governmental sectors of our society. Negativity and Impossibility are nothing when it comes to progressive thoughts.
May God bless Nigeria.