OPINION: A Country in Limbo, A Future Uncertain: Youths to The Rescue – By Dr. Usman Bugaje
For nearly two decades running we have “enjoyed” civilian democratic governance. Every 4-year circle of tenure has left us worse than we were. Even when we made unprecedented revenue from oil, it did not translate to much, as poverty only doubled during the same period. The violence associated with our elections has been on the increase, to a point that INEC was not able to hold elections at times.
The corruption associated with governance has completely paralyzed development and gone to such astonishing heights that it has become proverbial. The economy has literally crushed in all but name and with over 30million unemployed we need a miracle to escape the time bomb waiting to explode. Already we have gone through one of the worst insurgencies in the continent, causing tens of thousands of death and displacing millions.
Kidnapping, cattle rustling, rural banditry, ethnic religious clashes, drug epidemic, mention it, have all reached frightening proportions. In the face all these, all the three tiers of government are looking increasingly impotent, helpless, and clueless. If we extrapolate this trajectory for the next decade, I am not sure if we can still find the country called Nigeria standing. Isn’t it time we pause and ask ourselves some key questions?
Where exactly is this rot coming from? Why are we unable to make any progress while our peers are moving ahead of us? Why is Ghana, next door, able to command better democratic credentials than us? Why is Rwanda, which went through the worst genocide in Africa, able to recover in just two decades and today has one of the fastest growing economy in Africa? [Kigali is easily the cleanest and safest city in Africa] What exactly is wrong with our leaders that they seem to have neither the strength of character, nor the vision, nor the gravitas to pull us out of the abyss we have fallen?
What is it in our politics that is so crippling that we seem not to be able to do anything good for our beleaguered society? Of all those on the frontline of this our rogue politics, who is there with the proven ability to rise above the scum and salvage our country? We can continue with more questions, but the point is made that we have to search for the source of our constant failure, to lift our society and move it forward.
Without preempting the answers to these questions, we can easily see that our politics is captive to a rogue political culture, which has a flawed leadership recruitment system, which admits only crooks and sycophants. This mercantile politics has generated so much violence and corruption that has literally consumed governance. Yet we keep repeating the same routine and expect things to change.
A popular definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and yet expect different results. It is time that young people take charge of their future and step in to stop the older generation from destroying the only country they have to survive and thrive. But those who have been speaking on behalf of young people are the hapless, jobless and often rudderless youth who have been hired by politicians to do their bidding.
The first step is to get the more informed, more responsible and independent young people to redeem their mandate to speak for their generation. They have to construct an independent Youth Platform, with clear vision, committed leadership and sustainable governance structure to engage the rogue political culture and salvage our politics, indeed our country for good. This is what this consultative meeting is all about.