Vibrant Nigerian Obinna Osigwe, reply’s Dele Momodu’s article ‘Do the youths really know what they want?’

By Obinna Osigwe

Dele Momodu’s article Do the Youths really know what they want? was published on 6th May 2017. Nigerian graduate and computer scientist Obinna Osigwe has replied him, telling him that the youths have not been given an opportunity to show themselves. Find the reply below, It’s long but insightful and deep! Please read to the end…

By Obinna Osigwe
This article was born as an answer to Chief Dele Momodu’s Pendulum on the 6th of May, 2017 and I write with a heavy heart. I have been reading Pendulum for 3 years non-stop and I have never seen Chief Dele Momodu, a man I have great respect for write in that manner. Bob Dee raised many issues in the Pendulum about the problem with what the youths really want. I have an answer for you.

Before I go straight to the matter that matters. It has been said and believed that the youths has not been given the chance to prove themselves in governance. Although I don’t know the absolute age bracket that qualifies someone to be called a youth because I have seen people in the 40s and 50s serving as youth leaders. Chibuike Amaechi became the speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly in 1999 at the age of 34, Yakubu Dogara was elected to the House of Representatives at the age of 40, Bukola Saraki became governor of Kwara Stare at the age of 40. Aminu Tambuwal came to the House of Representatives in 2003 at the age of 37, became Speaker in 2011 at the age of 45 and the governor of Sokoto State in 2015 at the age of 49. Peter Obi won the Anambra State governorship election at 42, and was sworn in at the age of 45. When people say the youths are not given a chance to participate in governance, maybe they want teenagers and undergraduates without experience to enter the green and red chamber or fill in the vacant seat for the Secretary to the Government of the federation (SGF).
What does the youths really want want?
Pius Adesanmi in his recent piece, Plato’s Allegory of the Cave talked about cave prisoners in chains physically and mentally that needed to be saved. I am going to juxtapose Dele Momodu’s Do Our Youths Really Know What They Want and Pius Adesanmi’s Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.
1. Quality Education
The youths want the right kind of education. The kind of education we have in Nigeria is a disaster. Nigeria doesn’t have a future with her current educational system. Any education that can’t make you to harness and create your world is no education. No matter that slogan of any government – vison 2010, vision 2020, vision 2030, Heart of Africa, 7 Point Agenda, Transformation Agenda, Change, Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP), it will bear no fruit without fixing the educational system. Education is meant to liberate, but our educational system chains one’s mind. We learn outdated courses and current courses with outdated contents in Nigeria educational system. I know why our elite send their children to study abroad and go for medical treatment abroad. Almost all the Nigerian elite, governors and pastors inclusive, send their children to study abroad. Recently a picture went viral in social media showing the picture of Gov Rochas Okorocha’s son graduating with a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Imperial College London. I wonder why he didn’t send Ahamefula to Imo State University (IMSU).
Our educational system has been used to disarm us. We want to harness the opportunities around us but we can’t. It is only when we graduate from university we realize we went to school to learn beautiful nonsense with no commercial value. It pains me when people call Nigerian youths lazy, that you see some lazy dudes around your neighbourhood doesn’t qualifies the Nigeria youths as lazy
This is why the nation cannot produce anything: we don’t have the knowledge to harness our resources. After the Russians built Ajaokuta Steel Complex, nothing else happened because we don’t have the capacity to run the huge investment. The solid minerals sector is lying fallow because we are still waiting for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to run the sector. From technology to toothpick we import everything.
Plato says education is the only superior force that can free them – Pius Adesanmi
2. Quality Representation
This is where the society has failed us. Uncle Dele blamed the youths for their woes and prayed that they can set themselves free from the bondage of the aged and the past. But how can people in shackles set themselves free. Knowledge is light but our educational system is darkness because it makes someone blind and incapacitated harness the opportunities around him. Thank God for God and his pastors that has been using messages of hope for a glorious future to keep the angry and frustrated youths in check.
The problem of Nigeria is the case of the privileged and not privileged, have and have-not, strong and weak, rich and poor. The former looks down on the latter, preys on the latter and exploit the latter, while the latter looks unto the former and God for salvation.
The social strata of the weak, poor, less privileged and have-not harbours many angry and frustrated youths which our society have no plans for. It is the job of the strong, rich, privileged and the haves to fight for equity and justice in the society. It takes a liberated Moses to fight for his people, a transformed David to crush Goliath. The reason Bring Back our Girls (BBOG) gained worldwide recognition is because Madam Oby Ezekwesili and Hadiza Bala Usman and others entered into the struggle. They became the voice for the voiceless. Martin Luther King Jr used his oratory and exposure to fight racism and segregation. It is the job of those who have seen the light to fight darkness with all zeal and fervor.
Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi said “The poor people for whom you fight are voiceless by necessity. Those of us who are fortunate to be part of the elite and who choose not to speak for them are voiceless by choice. We want to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the pain of being insulted and abused on social media. We want to hold on to the small comforts of our status. We want access to power and to be seen as friends of those in power and members of our inner circle. We are afraid of being destroyed by ruthless state machinery. We have a morbid fear of being isolated, of not belonging to an exclusive club close to power.”
To The Concerned Nigerian Elite: Pick a Fight
An igbo proverb says, “obodo adighi mma bu uru ndi nze” meaning the rottenness of the society is an advantage to the elite. In Nigeria we have the concerned elite and the not concerned elite. The elite benefitting from the misery of the society does not want the society to change. When things start working, there won’t be any blood to suck from, so anyone trying to change the status quo is an enemy.
For many years, I have been reading Segun Adeniyi’s Verdict, Dele Momodu’s Pendulum, Simon Kolawole’s Sunday column, Pius Adesanmi, Okey Ndibe, Azu Ishiekwene, Kayode Komolafe, etc. Many wonderful ideas are churned out, but dialoguing with our political leaders is a conversation with the deaf.
My advice is to the concerned elites is to pick a fight. The beneficiaries of our miseries doesn’t listen to intellectual gymnastics. I did my NYSC in Ihievbe Grammar School, Ihievbe, Owan East LGA, Edo State. The school was established in the 70’s, it was reputed to be among the best schools then in Owan and Etsako area. Now the school is a disaster. Their science laboratories have disappeared. Trees with trunks whose diameters are the same as wild kolanut trees have overgrown the classrooms and hostels. A major segment of the school has collapsed and decayed. The senator that represented Edo North (2007-2011) was from Ihievbe, the representative of Owan East/Owan West in the Federal House of Representative is from the neighboring Otuo, the representative of Owan East in the State house of Assembly is from the neighbouring Afuze. Nothing has been done.
The story is the same all over the country, the people that are supposed to represent us are exploiting us, leaving the real issues and arguing about uniforms and certificates. I picked out Ihievbe because it is the ancestral home of Chief Dele Momodu. If he decides to fight for quality education for his people, he will end up fighting the people feeding fat on the misery of his people. When you’ve done this, come out and contest for any election in Edo North, you will have a landslide.
In my opinion, anybody that steals public funds should forfeit his entire savings and assets. A thief ought to pay seven (7) times when caught. Any money stolen from the public purse robs someone of his/her potential and future. To our influential elites, use your voice and address some issues. Fight for it and stop inciting the already dispossessed youths. Wherever you’re found speak up. Stand to be counted. We need you!
George Sorel said “As long as people wait for the down trodden and the hopeless to produce a revolution, the revolution is far away. Revolutions are made, not by the weak, the unsuccessful, or the ignorant, but by the strong and the informed.”

By Obinna Osigwe

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