The continuous silence and feeling of comfort in the face of political leadership deprivation, poverty, youth unemployment and lack of access to quality and affordable education in Nigeria is speedily high on alarming rate. Thus, this ghastly account supports one thing; Nigeria, whose nationhood, generally acknowledge huge potential and manifest destiny, are still floundering and the youths of this country have a sacred mission to retrieve the country from precipice of disintegration, leadership snares and delusions, and lead it on the part of growth, progress, prosperity, development and genuine nationhood.
To change this trend, and achieve the objective of a new Nigeria, engaging youth in formal political mechanisms, increase the fairness of political processes by reducing democratic deficits, contributes to better and more sustainable policies which have symbolic importance that can further contribute to restore trust in public institutions, especially among youth, there are inescapable actions that the youths must take. Separate from shunning negative habits and involvement in criminal acts such as; drug abuse, murder, insurgency, militancy, armed robbery, Nigerian youths must recognize that the man who creates power makes an indispensable contribution to the nation’s greatness, but the man who questions power makes a contribution just as indispensable especially when the questioning is disinterested, for it, they determine whether we use power or power uses us.
Supporting this position is Section 39(1) of the 1999 Constitution adopted from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN, 1948) which gives everyone the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The youth must also access the power of the press as Section 22 stipulates that “the press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall, at all times, be free to upload the fundamental objectives contained in this Chapter [Chapter IV: Fundamental Rights] and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people”, which has been emboldened by the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
It is important that Nigerian youths speak up against violation of human rights, suppression of free speech and freedom of the press. Like their elders, youths must not initiate, encourage or spread false, mischievous or divisive information capable, or with outright intent, of misleading the populace and disrupting societal harmony and peace. Within the ambience of the law, they must speak up with facts against any wrongdoing or oppression by the government or fellow citizens capable of endangering sustainable democracy and the effective delivery of good governance.
To catalyze the process, the youths must imbibe the attitude of holding Government stakeholders (Duty Bearers) to account for the use of the resources entrusted into their care and since the Constitution is the highest law of the land and the Constitution has given sovereignty to the people, therefore, the youths like their parents are under a duty to exercise that sovereignty as provided for in Section 14 (2) (a) of the Constitution by making demand for prudent and accountable use of what is in the budget. They (youths) should view as evil the argument by political deconstructionists that Nigerian youths must face difficulties as there is no nation where each has his/her own job and house, and where all children receive as much education as their minds can absorb. This claim in views is not only ‘rationally inexplicable but morally unjustifiable. It is a fact that government lacks capacity to fix socioeconomic challenges alone. But any government with goodwill and sincerity to save and serve the people must develop creative and innovative channels to promoting sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development, environmental protection and job creation.
Nigerians are in agreement that the law is the supreme instrument of the state which must be respected and no one is above the law. Therefore, Nigerian youths must be law-abiding citizens, and avoid taking the laws into their hands, seek redress of all their grievances through appropriate legal institutions, and respect the rule of law. They must respect constituted authorities and perform all their legal obligations such as practicing honesty.
More importantly, Nigerian youths must appreciate that democracy is not an end in itself; that when democracy fails to underwrite social justice and social mobility, it fuels hopelessness. This particular fact if well understood will assist the youths to comprehend that as citizens, they are constitutionally eligible to vote and be voted for. For that reason, it should be their responsibility to consciously and adequately prepare for leadership.
Let’s save our country fellow youths.
Amb. Chineke, Cajethan Goodluck