Drug abuse, gaming and cultism: Bane of youth leadership
Sir: The recent victory of Emmanuel Macron in France has ignited the Nigerian cyberspace. Many young Nigerian are now crying for a youthful president, a president without link to the existing political establishment.
A social media commentator posted that “France is an old country with a young president, while Nigeria is a young country with an old president.” Though, the statement seems logical but the political sphere isn’t the same.
The tone of social media discussions and commentaries seems to suggest that the average Nigerian youth is of the opinion that there is a need for a paradigm shift in our political system, a shift capable of transferring power to the younger generation.
Clearly, the opinion seems to touch the heart when one considers that since 1999, Nigerians have not had a president below the age of 40 years. This is due largely to constitutional limitations, but, of course, who drafted the constitution?
The case for the youths to take up the baton of leadership is valid. However, a critical look at the average Nigerian youth leaves much to be desired. Drug abuse, cultism and gaming are unhealthy leadership qualities having paramount priorities in the mind of a larger percentage of our youth.
Drug abuse has become an epidemic. Hardly, would one enter any locality in most of Nigeria’s major cities without being subjected to the sight of heavily dazed young men under the influence of substances. Every major motor park reeks with the strong scent of indian hemp. Government’s effort via the NDLEA seems to be looking like a drop in the ocean.
Gaming is the latest craze around. It is an addiction that is fast taking over the minds of everyone. Gaming gives the impression that with a little luck, your N100 investment can reap N4 million. Every young man I have counselled against gaming or sports betting as it is known has always given me one excuse or the other.
For most youngsters who want to replicate what Macron succeeded in doing in France, a lot of dedication, hardwork and goal-focusing are needed. To position oneself for leadership in Nigeria, one must gain a better understanding of the problems and challenges of the country and not offer pedestrian opinion on national issues.
Our voice must be heard in national discussions, our contributions must be objective and devoid of political and tribal sentiments. We must drop the lazy approach of expecting political power to be given to us on a platter of gold. Political consciousness must be raised amongst the youth. Youth must begin to offer each other political, economic and social mentorship to attain the ultimate goal.
Olalekan Odewaleresides wrote from Satellite Town, Lagos.This letter was first published on June 5, 2017.