Every sector in Nigeria is undergoing some form of crisis or another; in fact, crisis or chaos has become the norm. For more than half of Nigeria's population, the current state of affairs is the rule and dysfunctionality is customary rather than transient. Many young Nigerians, now see dishonesty, disloyalty, theft, mannerlessness and greed as virtues and assets rather than vices because all they have seen in the past years, all they have ever known, has been the opposite of what is supposed to be the virtues of leadership.
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One doesn't get to the top by being honest or hard working in Nigeria, no matter what many celebrities or entrepreneurs will tell you as they celebrate their victory over haters and setbacks that tried to hold them back. These would-be setbacks are simply all those who would dare challenge their supposed right to act with impunity; the haters in this scenario are the rule of law and social justice which they believe they are entitled to thwart, therefore ensuring their social media ready success. I wish more young Nigerians start to realise just how much of the flashy displays on social media are derived from the proceeds of fraud and corruption, deprives others from any opportunity of achieving their dreams.
Interestingly, many young Nigerians do know that the many cars, jewelry and foreign trips advertised by some of our infamous leaders result from corruption. Many know and simply cannot wait till it is their turn to defraud the state and their fellow poor, struggling youth.
Defense of corruption and backwardness
There are two categories of youths in Nigerians, the pessimistic and the I-must-join-them-by-force. The latter is compelled by the lavish lifestyles of the politically connected and would sell its soul as well as sell out an entire misery stricken generation to belong to the class of those who can take advantage of others, lie, cheat and be applauded for doing so. The former category believes in nothing beyond its immediate needs and survival. While its counterparts dream big and start businesses using technology and other freely available tools, the Nigerian youth has accepted that he has been betrayed by too many generations and has given up the fight. Both groups have the wrong sort of role models.
Even at home they have been betrayed by parents who tell them to get smart and do what their neighbours do, cheat during exams, commit all manner of fraud in order to live a false life sanctified by some leaders in prosperity driven churches. Nigeria is a failed cause we have failed because these days there is virtually no difference between the hopeless and the I-must-join-them-by-force. Both have merged into a deadly, soulless underclass.
With just N100 worth of data, Nigerian youths wage war against each other online, in defense of corruption and backwardness because our social contract today predicates that support for the illogical ensures that one day, when one decides to steal there will be other legions of desperate individuals ready to defend or make excuses for them. The greatest tragedy isn't the many uneducated who don't have access to social media, to cheap, easy communication or any means to express themselves for lack of interest or finances but in fact the many half-baked graduates who speak and act as if they had never been to any school in the first place. Nigerian youths are child patriots, many with the developmental age and analytical mind of people half their age in other parts of the world because they have been robbed of a good education. We should all be ashamed.
As for those in the diaspora who come back to Nigeria and find they cannot cope because nothing here seems to make sense, it is nothing short of an existential crisis. Every Nigerian suffers in some way or another from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD. We are all veterans at calculating outcomes and managing the worst situations, walking on a tight rope, lightly, steadily to our doom. This generation needs to do some serious soul-searching. For many aged, tired, defeated war veterans who succumbed, back when they were young to the temptations of life, or rather, the would-be necessities of survival in Nigeria, it might be too late. But for those who are just starting out in life and who have neither the wits nor the influence to secure jobs, contracts or a future for themselves, it is time to think of something different.
Somewhere out there, I want to believe there is someone, perhaps one of the old guard, or perhaps someone new, who wants to write his or her name in history, someone who wants to have an honest conversation with Nigerians of all creeds, classes and ethnicity. That person would then do more than just win an election. That person, if they could articulate the issues to our hungry and desperate youth and then delivered on their promises, would become a legend. There is nothing like a legacy and a good name, not money, not private jets or mansions in Abuja. What people say about you when you aren't there matters. Somewhere out there, someone is ready to run and the half-baked will happily watch him cook and perfect the disjointed, impoverished mind of a generation that knows it is flawed but can't imagine any other alternative.
Content by: Emmanuel Ini Jerome
A brand researcher for nigeriaconsumers.org
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