I remain Habeeb Whyte and I am still obliged with the responsibility that life placed on me to suggest a path deserving a collective action from Nigerian youths towards what fate have for us as Nigerians. To say that the struggles of our heroes shall not be in vain is the only basis that is making us advocating for ‘positive change’ and not just change. I have chosen not to be a silent collaborator in the guise of maintaining neutrality. The usual refrain in our clime is not to join issues with the elderly ones that have always advocated that an average Nigerian youth is not ready for leadership. There is indeed wisdom in not joining issues; particularly in the very dicey and unfathomable political situation which is peculiar in Nigeria. However, the truth in my heart would not betray my tongue neither would my ink dry up in an attempt to face the reality on ground. The issue at hand is serious. It is far from an attempt to rewrite history but an attempt to move forward to the past with the crop of leaders that we have today. There are many actors in the political succession stories in Nigeria since May 1999 with bogus claims of youthful contributions to the democratization struggle which cannot be substantiated. I consider this as a big challenge for my generation because an unsubstantiated claim is an adverse to the legacy of virtuous and progressive leadership which our patriarchs bequeathed on the country at independence.
Those who swear by the rule that everything has a price would have found much to contemplate. Delusions are often functional. A mother’s opinion about her children’s beauty, goodness etc., keeps her from drowning them at birth. Nigeria is Nigeria, so also we remain Nigerians but we cease to remain Nigerians when we start doing things that would bring her down. It’s only few men that have virtue to withstand the highest bidder. Most of us are doing things that have endangered and endangering the governance of this country. Few Nigerians are destroying Nigeria for the benefit of few Nigerians at the expense of massive Nigerians. This must not be allowed to stand as desideratum to be desired in our country and our generation must continue to canvass vehemently against pseudo-democrats whose only credentials are their tired and hired brain, mansions and fleet of cars must be politically, economically and socially ex-communicated from our midst. As youths, we must not see ourselves as plate-holders and at all times, we must insist on an irreducible minimum democratic credentials and antecedents as the entry point for whoever seeks elective office. We should shut our eyes to those leaders that would package ‘scams’ for us in the ‘change’ language. The rich and highly placed are running a dreadful risk in their callous neglect of the poor and the downtrodden Nigerians. If we don’t call attention to ourselves, who would?
It should be noted that there is a calculated attempt to shut the youths out of governance in all forms. This is an unconscious conspiracy that has matured in the minds of some of the leaders that are rallying around the constitutional leaders in Nigeria. Sadly, some youths that has grown unconsciously to be model in such an act. This is the time to challenge bizarre and money-forces parading themselves as our representatives and put them in their rightful places in the hall of infamy are guaranteed as champions of extractive politics. This moment should be used by us to ensure that our leaders should recruit and position young people for public offices with the intention of proper empowerment towards the challenges of leadership. Most young ones that have been privileged to taste power have derailed to an extent and have turned against the very structure that bred and nurtured them from ground zero. Some youths are pseudo-activists and situational supporters of worthy causes who jump fences in the face of intimidation or in anticipation of better deals on the side of our oppressors. We have them in abundance especially on the social media platforms. We all know the sudden advocates of a better Nigeria but gone silent even when the so called leaders are not getting it right. So disappointing that some of these youths are still red carpeted upon their chameleonic attribute which is buttered with impunity. Only a flustered mind gets bewildered by the pangs of betrayal for too long. A true ambassador of the Nigerian youth constituency would never deterred by antics of betrayers particularly when there is a historic mission to be fulfilled. Betrayers of the Nigerian constituency should never be confused with revolutionaries who are usually propelled by ideology and common good.
In spite of desperation to monopolize power to selfish servicing of the pockets, some youths with rational mind have learnt to sift, distil and situate unfolding scenarios of youth neglect in proper governance into proper context. When the concocted and empty promises are left to fester unchallenged by leaders within the same system, the public would be fed with outright mischief, half-truth and mere fabrications. The sad truth is that some youths may end up as victims of acquiescence and cold complicity which desperate and wicked leaders seek to foist on their colleagues in the system. As the saying goes, success is meaningless without a good or better successor; leaders that believe in the notion that the Nigerian youths should be afforded a number of opportunities to participate in governance should be encouraged and supported at all times. Unfortunately, these leaders are rare and the opportunity afforded represents a paradigm generational shift from gerontocracy to youth dynamism. No doubt, this comes with challenges too.
For Nigeria to experience sustainable socio-economic development, responsible, credible governance, she need true leaders who will build strong and transparent institutions as well as leaders who are dedicated to how history will remember them for transforming the society rather than accumulation of private wealth must emerge to implant the act of good and selfless governance in Nigeria. The Nigerian youths must remain consistent with an unwavering, unflagging and unalloyed commitment in the discipleship of the movement for the emergence of an egalitarian society. Every generation, out of relative obscurity, will discover its mission, whether to fulfill or betray it. It is noteworthy that when the youths have decided to change the ‘change’, it is a step in their Personal Development Programme. With their PDP, the change begins with them.
(WHYTE HABEEB IBIDAPO is a Lawyer, United Nations Award winner, Africa International Arbitration Award winner, Coca cola/ The Nation Campuslife Award Winner, Promasidor Runner-up for the Best Future Writer in Nigeria, i-Hustle Campaign Initiative – Ambassador and Editor – Egba Youth Awards Foundation.