It is quite easy to lay blame and point fingers; in fact I think it is the easiest thing to do. You can talk about what is happening today and what impact it would have on tomorrow but first you must go back to yesterday and figure out what made the world what it is today after all there is no fire without smoke.
Quite frankly the generation of today is not entirely what you’d call a model generation but it would be wrong to place all the blame for it on them. A Yoruba adage goes “Eshin iwaju la nwo sare” In English it means “you look up to the leading horse to pace yourself”. Blame is to be accrued to the young ones but would it be fair to lay it all on them seeing as they are simply following the footsteps of their predecessors?.
Take culture for instance, more than half of the new generation that are literate know little or nothing about culture. If you ask the former generation they’d tell you the latter generation just refused to learn, they’d complain over and over again about how knowledgeable their generation is on issues of history, culture and literature but the question is this, if you know so much why didn’t you pass down the knowledge? It’s the same thing as being the owner of a multi-million dollar company and having none of your children know how the company operates. What happened to our museums and historical sites? What happened to visiting these sites? Are they even functioning? If they are, would you visit with your family or would you prefer to go to the amusement park or the cinema with your family and amuse yourselves? What about the secondary school Yoruba teacher whose children are only allowed to speak English at home? How many adults who aren’t living in their hometown even know the local government of their hometown? How do you intend to pass down a culture that you don’t promote?
There is also this saying that “Whatever you sow you shall reap”. Growing up I used to hear people talk about sugar daddies and sugar mummies and the youths of that time would clamor about how a sugar daddy or mummy enticed their boyfriend or girlfriend and oppressed them into what they called “stepping up their game”. Children now grow up to reap the fruit their parents so carelessly planted by falling victim to the fuck boys and fuck girls of this generation. Whose footsteps did they follow? Who were they looking up to for guidance? Whose seeds are they reaping?
On the subject of guidance, how many children grew up really knowing their parents? If they weren’t at work almost all day, they’d be abroad or just be plain deadbeats that don’t care about their children. These children learn from what they read on the news, what they see on the TV and their favorite celebrities. Inventing and reinventing themselves with inspiration from people they shouldn’t even be looking up to in the first place. The few who are lucky enough to have stay in Dads or Moms get caged up and treated like caged animals. These sets of children enter higher institutions and become the ones tagged as the wild ones. The ones tagged as living wild and free.
And then, there’s corruption and hypocrisy. The new generation is seen as a generation of criminals, the bad eggs, and the black sheep of golden generations by the standards of older generations that laid no concrete plan for youth development and leadership. General Yakubu Gowon became the Military Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at the youthful age of 31;countless others also had similar achievements. That cannot happen in this age. Not as a result of lack of potential leaders among the youths but because their voices are not heard, they’re not even allowed to have voices in most cases. It is worth mentioning that the official age to get elected as the President of Federal republic of Nigeria is 40 and between ages 30-35 to be elected as a Governor, Senator, a representative or even a minister. This won’t be a problem if we actually had people within this age brackets consistently occupying these posts. There is an argument that the younger ones who have taken up such posts have failed but I would also argue that with the unbiased mentorship and backing of the more experienced ones, the younger ones can prevail and excel. No one will tell you the newly elected President of France; Emmanuel Macron, 39, will not make mistakes along the line but he will learn from them and will become better for it.
General Yakubu Gowon’s generation met corruption, became power drunk, took it up and passed it on. The youths of today, although not in power have also embraced this money must first be made before all else attitude, forgetting that money is supposed to make a difference and not make you different.You see, it’s like running a relay race and passing on the baton. Social media and its funny way of making light of issues these days, there was these posts going about on the internet some time ago about how our politicians loot money from our country and take it to other countries while yahoo boys bring it back to the country. While I’m not saying Yahoo Yahoo is a good thing, actually it’s far from being a good thing but you have to see the irony of the situation. Though this amounts dwarf in comparison to the giant amounts being constantly siphoned into foreign accounts, the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree. After all, the former generation pioneered it even though it went by the name 419 before they changed career course to living extravagantly on other tax payers money (embezzlement).
Gender equality might be the new norm but we are quick to forget that there is always a price to pay for everything. I’m not a critic of equal rights, I’m actually an advocate of it but we all know there was a time when mothers will stay at home, tend to and educate the children, that time is long gone. Now children are educated by illiterate maids, books, TV programs and TV Stars whilst their parents are off to do what they call making a living, forgetting to teach their children how to live right and survive the right way in a world where so many things are wrong, they only begin to fear for the children’s future when they start entering their rebellious teen years.
There was a time when youths would not be encouraged to go to school and be an entrepreneur or work at the same time, that was for people who had no sponsor. Then, it was “just go to school finish with a good grade and you’ll surely get a good job, forget about all this distractions”, but now that jobs are hard to come by, youths are expected to start petty trades (which actually isn’t a bad idea) or rack up 5 years of experience while in school. But the truth is how many students can run a business and go to school at the same time and still come out with a good grade?
This fire has been burning for years but no one was running because of the lackadaisical attitude we all have towards life. “As long as it’s not coming near my family and house why should I raise alarm? Why should I help put out the fire?” Now that the fire has burnt into our homes and we have nowhere to run, we point fingers.
To the new generation, it is easy to make excuses for your personal and collective failures but be truthful to yourselves, you did what you wanted to do, and no one made you do anything. While it can be argued that the former generation didn’t do much more than give birth to and sponsor some of us, when they give birth to you, you have to rebirth yourself. Invest your time in books that will aid your personal developments. Social media is good and fun but let it also bring out the creative side of you and not just take your time. We can only pray and hope that our unborn children won’t have to suffer for all our mistakes and they are wise enough to reinvent themselves.