By OLAYIWOLA Faith Adedolapo
When I was in primary school, I was called ‘the future of tomorrow’. As I grew other, I claimed being ‘the future of tomorrow’. Now I am old, ‘I am still the future of tomorrow’. So, I wondered- when my tomorrow would come-today or yesterday; because I had lost count of the day my future was snatched by my leaders. They are the owners, holders and future of today. Today is their tomorrow. Probably, my tomorrow is when I have fought my way to power; enough to be part of the decision makers; to live among the tomorrows of yesterday. I will have to cross today and live in tomorrow before I can behold the future of tomorrow; a day that may not come.
The sincere truth is, are we, the youth ready to take over? Are we ready to receive the mantle of leadership and profess for what we stand for-a truth constitutional democracy? The state of education might be bad but the leadership of students and youth associations are worse. These associations and youth political offices are typical reflections of what we have at the state and national level. A president would usurp the office of another in order to enforce his power on others or embezzle the collective contribution of its fellow members in other to satisfy his/her personal selfishness or needs. These are the future of tomorrow. The ones who address its predecessors are bundles of failure and groups of unproductive and manipulative business moguls. They term them as corrupt, thieves, old-bellied individuals, unexposed, too African, unyielding to world changes and development.
Oh yes, the youths are right. But what are we-the ones involved in constant and annual misappropriation of funds, intoxicated with power, educated form of thuggery and political riot, shameless exposure of immorally moral acts, nonchalant behaviour towards personal, community and national development. We prefer the ready-baked bread to the process involved. We would fight against favouritism, tribalism and nepotism. But when it favours us, we term it as ‘connection’; not ‘corruption’; regardless of the more qualified ones who have been deprived for us; for our ‘connection’.
We collectively recite the most common definition of democracy-the government of the people, by the people and for the people. While our own ideology states the government of us, by us and for us. Afterwards, the rest would be considered. We are just like them; like our leaders to whom we are their future. We blindly walk along their path; step by step while raining curses and accusations against them.
It is also saddening that youths are the main tools for electoral malpractices and political thuggery. They would prefer to walk miles and kilometres in order to cause riots and political unrest within the state or country. These youth would claim power even when they are sure that they would neither touch nor taste it-power or national cake. After the election, they would be paid pennies in single or ten thousands after these politicians have claimed their millions and billions. Apparently, they, the youth, own the power-the power to cause unrest, the power to steal ballot boxes, the power to hail and shout in support of these thieves and make others hail corrupt politicians and manipulative political professionals (the new generation politicians). Then, they would promise the government the votes of their fellow youths as though, they would follow each youth to their ward and watch them vote for these politicians in their philanthropic nature.
Then, they would offer them the ‘not too youth to rule’ bill. They would scream and declare that their efforts had not been a waste. These politicians would nominate some youths as political office holders and declare their allegiance to these new generation youths. But these youth are from ‘the abroad’ and given more privileges than their counterpart who fought their way and ideology to that point. You would hear-‘schooled in Switzerland, studied in the United States’. Even those who have the Nigerian universities’ degrees would either have worked or furthered their education oversees. They would murmur and claim that these fellows had no prior knowledge on the state of things in the land.
Then they would ask you not to lose hope. Was their hope not in the ‘not too youth to rule’ bill? Then you would wonder which was more favourable than to be at the point of policy making in order to favour your colleagues. But it would continue; they are the ones with the fresh blood and hearty bones. It would continue, hence, political campaigns would be like symposium or seminars and the grassroots would be exempted from political enlightenment and voting education which are done in the name of the political party involved. They won’t resist; they have no gut. They are our youth, the future of tomorrow.
And again, they would not stop there. They would believe that they should be involved in the evolution and revolution of our country. They would waka about, speaking in different voices, causing traffic and using unpatriotic words to pass across their wishes and opinions. They would let the owners of the day manipulate the day for their benefits and claim that these youth are violent and destructive. ‘Weren’t they, when they were being used in the election process? No one would believe they are peace ambassadors. No one; inclusive of their fellow youths who call out for revolution.
And revolution is definitely the last thing we want as citizens. Many of us were told of the things that occurred when the civil war was on the lips of all. We never experienced it but we wished we did not win. Nigeria should have lost. We probably would not be in this mess today. So, we pick up placards and take up the street to protest for a change in the political structure, a transformation in the manner of leadership, a difference in the selection of political office holders. We would call various media houses to expose our pains and shame. We would set our country on fire and call for help from other countries. Let us be colonised again! we would say. We would achieve our desire only for us to realise that we are no different from our leaders. We would take back power from our colonial masters again and being the future of tomorrow just as our leaders is doing.
We are no different. The only difference is some are old while others are young. Our country is a stage, our politicians are actors, our leaders (god fathers) are directors and producers, and the youths are the static characters-undeveloped and comic, while the rest are the viewers and commentators. We are not lazy; we are only distracted by the current viewing. We would laugh and cry; curse and pray; hope and distrust their acts. But the drama would end soon. And we will be back at the point we left; only to start all over again.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
OLAYIWOLA Faith Adedolapo writes from Ibadan. She raps in literary forms and essays. Her write-ups has been feature on various magazines and online magazines. She can be reached via: Whatsapp: 08100049733, Email: [email protected]