Over a week ago, Dele Momodu in his ThisDay column, Pendulum, asked a very important question; DO OUR YOUTHS REALLY KNOW WHAT THEY WANT? The article highlighted the fact that previous leaders, Gen. Abdusallam Abubakar, Ibrahim Babangida and Olusegun Obasanjo still decided on the fate of Nigeria. He challenged us to get involved in the running of the country just as our previous leaders did in their prime. This is not so different form Prof. Wole Soyinka’s write up a year ago which equally challenged our Nigerian youths to wake up. We hear them and indeed have come fully awake especially after Emmanuel Macron’s presidential win at just 39 years old. Inspiring, isn’t it? How many of us wouldn’t want to achieve that sort of milestone at an age that young? Macron reminds the Nigerian youths that our time is now. No more complains but straight up action.
We youths know the problems we face in our country today; unstable electricity, terrible roads, unemployment, inflation, discrimination, poverty, illiteracy, corruption, terrorism, rise of crime and general undevelopment of the country. So what do we do to change this? let’s take Macron as an example. He worked for 4 years in the French Ministry of Economy then as an investment banker for another 4 years. He then served under President Hollande before being appointed as the Minister of Economy and Finance after serving 2 years, he left to form his independent party in 2016 which unlike other parties, represented the voice of the youth.
Now there’s a lot we can learn from this, first we need a well rounded unit of youths performing in both the private and public sectors. This will enable us map out exactly what challenges the country faces in becoming developed. It’s not just saying ‘there is corruption’ but a clearer understanding of what steps have been taken to overcome these challenges, why they have failed and what the better option should be. A unit of diverse young professionals, working hard at research and providing reports which will be made available to the public and directly to the government can do a whole lot of good for this country. If we are proffering solutions, made to go as viral as celebrity scandals on Instablognaija then something is bound to change for the better. Nigeria Young Professionals Forum (NYPF) is a non-governmental global platform that allows Nigerian millennials in the diaspora to network and get involved in the development of Nigeria in whatever way we can. The lawyers should come together and deliberate on reform, Technologists/Technicians & Engineers on advanced methods in manufacturing, construction and management, Economists on policies and so on.
Forming a party to promote the voice of the youth was really Macron’s winning ticket, he had young volunteers who had not really been interested in politics conducting surveys and mapping out what exactly the youths needed because he was their representative. Their response was similar to ours; opportunities. Yes! The Nigerian youth wants opportunities. I don’t want to be forced to sell hair extensions from China because my country has no industries for me to apply myself or become a professional photographer when I want to work as an Engineer. Whatever profession the Nigerian youth chooses to work should be because they want to work there not because there are no opportunities and they have to settle. This can only be understood by the Nigerian youths of today. A young and vibrant party, in Macron’s words, can pull this nation into the 21st century. Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP) announced on the 3rd of March 2017 that they are formally recognised by INEC. The party promises to represent the youths and so we shall watch them and work together if indeed this is true.
While we work on the above mentioned, its imperative we do whatever we can to support and help each other wherever we are. We really are our only hope. Encouraging a friends start-up, supporting a charity, informing each other of oppurtunities will only work to our advantage. Let’s make home, Nigeria, the US, UK, Canada and even Malaysia (God help us) all our skilled youths are migrating to.