Life as a Nigerian youth has many stages. The moment we begin to realize it begins with our time in secondary school. For some, it is an experience that serves as a springboard for greatness, for some it is just a passing phase. I would like to think of myself as being one of those who saw the period of my secondary school education as a passing phase. That was all it was to me. At that point I was yet to discover the intricacies of being a Nigerian youth, I was still a child. The period I spent waiting for Jamb (and awon aiye) to find me worthy to receive tertiary education was an eye-opening period for me. It was from that period I began to see what it truly meant to be a Nigerian youth. The struggle was overwhelming, the struggle to be granted admission, to be one of the “big boys/big girls”… To have the opportunity to escape my folks totally for 4 years living as I wanted. You see, I realized the true value of that admission when it came three years after. By that time my peers who had gotten lucky initially were almost in the middle of their studies. I wasn’t deterred, I just thought of the ways in which I could make my delay pay off.
The burden of being a Nigerian youth came to the fore in the University. So many things contradicted each other. There was no time to relax, I couldn’t partake in sports.. With a grueling schedule, and the need to work to make ends meet, I was merely a student looking forward to the end of my struggle. The struggle to be awarded good marks for my troubles, the struggle to graduate with at least a second class upper was crazy. You see, as a Nigerian youth I discovered that if I wanted to be considered by any organization at all after school I had to make this grade. It was it or nothing. The struggle… The struggle… And so when I stood up to be admitted to my degree alongside my peers who were lucky as I was to scale through, I felt fulfilled….
Sadly, the feeling of fulfillment did not last for long… Then came the call to serve the nation. I still do not understand why I had to serve a nation that had not served me well right from the day I let out my first yelp in this country… From what I even heard, there was a power outage on that fateful morning… That aside, I decided to do the needful, to be useful, to impart knowledge.. I have to hand it to the Federal Government though, what they do for corp members during their year of service is cool… The stipend given to corp members uninterrupted through the year is a sort of “peace offering” for the years we spent in the university without the government being interested in our welfare… Back to what I was trying to say though, the most trying period in the life of a Nigerian youth has to be the period of service to the nation. You get so comfortable, you seem to forget the realities of what it means to be young and Nigerian. Some people get so comfortable that when they complete their service and are ready to be absorbed into the labor market, they get overtly shocked because they did not anticipate the shock they get.
One would think that after the years spent in getting an education, the government would stretch its benevolence beyond the “one year” uninterrupted service to accommodate graduates and give them steady employment. It is a classic case of being used and dumped. The tales of what befalls the Nigerian youth after the service year is far from pleasant. As a “graduated” graduate you become exposed to a plethora of problems. The first one is how to get a job that would sustain one… To get on ones feet and not be a burden on the parents who suffered through the years just to provide one with an education…. The issue has been over flogged, I know, but we need to keep reminding the government of the day that they owe the youth of this nation much more than just a year’s stipend. We need policies that would develop the different sectors of the economy to be able to absorb the growing influx of graduates in the labor market. Is it not a thing of shame that a country as blessed as Nigeria would not know how to use the available manpower to achieve the best results?… Why create more institutions of learning when we all learn for nought? ….
The challenges of being human is great, the challenges of being a Nigerian human is greater… And we brought this upon ourselves. If only those in the echelons of power stop being greedy and focus on making life better for those of us under them… People like me would not be afraid of being a Nigerian youth… In the case of this country, hope is expensive… As I sit here pondering what is to become of me after I complete my service year, I wonder where I would be at this exact time next year… Only time would tell.. Hopefully, the end of this phase would be smooth…. And the beginning of the anticipated would be same. Till then, I remain a Nigerian youth hoping for the best… The struggle continues.
Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.
Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.