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Nigerian Youths

by Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq.

Fello compatriots, Nigeria is experiencing a new political weather like never before and going through the progress made so far, it is indeed certain that we have lighted a flame but one that needed constant fanning to stay alive and burn through every person and institutions in the Nigerian political system. Let's entrone new philosophy of leadership.

I reflected on what true power meant and what it took to gain it. I weighed the limitless options before us against the backdrop of a concerted effort to explore each of them. I was truly excited at the prospects before us, but even so slightly concerned. 

In pushing against the status quo we had opened a deliberate floodgate of opposition against ourselves from not just the older generation but some within our very own youths constituency. The battle for the soul of Nigeria was being quietly executed in piecemeal strategy.

Recently, there have been increased calls and an agitation for a balanced representation of youths in political offices all over the country. This call, lacking in full national coordination nonetheless, has caught the attention of those in power and those opposed to its reality. The response ? The system is fighting back.

In my recent interactions with people of like minds, and fellow youths, I have had to challenge the notion that there is absolutely nothing to be done about the way things are. I have come to realise that the greatest obstacle to the realisation of our push for youths inclusivity in political power will come not from those actively opposed to this dream, but from any amongst us who harbour it’s realisation with doubt and unfounded fear.

The story of every true revolution worth its salt is a tale of struggles. Power is not given, it is taken. Authority and respect is earned and not simply wished for. This is the new direction we must approach this issue from - the reality of the demands that we must make of ourselves and the sacrifices in terms of time, effort and belief that we must make in order to birth the dawn of a better dispensation for all and sundry.

We must wean ourselves of doubts and of fears, both of which are in fact psychological tools employed by cunny persons in power to destabilise and ruin this new movement from within our very ranks. It is pre-eminently obvious that the only way to defeat our aspirations is to sow seeds of doubts, fear and disbelief in our hearts till it germinate into apathy or non-conscienteous political neutrality.

Power is not a birthright. You must understand this and let that lead you to question the insistence of power hoarders to hold unto power at all cost and employ devious means to perpetuate this intention. Privileges like political authority and it’s exercise are earned through the people’s goodwill. You and I ARE the embodiment of what ‘people’ in the above context means. You have to accept and manifest this truth as a necessary step towards removing the fetters of subjugation placed in our minds and heart over time.

The history of generations who never made an impact is replete with reminders of feint-hearted individuals who simply refused to leave their comfort zones and settled for less. It is important to place worth in ourselves, to understand that we constitute such a great force that no aspirations harboured by youths ought to suffocate from fear and doubt. It is equally important to be aware of a major fact- this is not a negotiation, it is a contest of wills.

In the following days, months and years, our resolve will be tested in the most trying ways possible. Our very many vocal agitations will have to run the gauntlet of destructive criticism and come out ably defended. From the usual corners and from persons the least expected, we will be told to box-up our dreams, to wake up, to forget our aspirations. We will be mocked and scorned in person and via media platforms.

 We will be termed mad and wishful dreamers, reminded of our disunity and told of, but when this happens, as it must, know this- we must be doing something right!

When the criticisms are loudest, then we are closer to the realisation of our dreams than not. Let us be called ‘MAD’ for we are indeed a generation ‘made with a difference’, let us will be called ‘dreamers’ for we are indeed the new generation of Josephs here to lead and rule in positions of greater importance in our own nation. Those who laugh today will apologise tomorrow. For the mettle of our struggle is stronger than the sum of all that tests it.

We must be strong for ourselves, nobody else would be for us. We must show uncommon courage in wrestling our common patrimony from the grip of power mongers. I always say the future beckons and today I must emphasis that expression with as much depth as words can carry.
We are tomorrow going to be forbears of the present, as we must therefore today be the shapers and moulders of that tomorrow yet to come. There is no room for doubt or disbelief, fear or giving up. We are a generation on a mission to contribute to nation building the fresh ideas and strength of our youthfulness.

The key word is to always remember - this is not a negotiation, it’s a contest, a battle for the soul of our nation. In this struggle, we must anticipate unfairness, we must be ready to confront the full ‘might’ of those unwilling to relinquish power long abused by them. Only victory fought for and won is sweet. Be convicted of the knowledge that no one will readily and freely give up power. Expecting that is truly being wistful.

Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq. is an aspiring House of Representatives Member, Oriade/Obokun Federal Constituency and the Principal Partner at Pelumi Olajengbesi & Co. Law Corridor.

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