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Youths Have a Role to Play in Fixing Nigeria – Gift Ukadike
I have been having troubling thoughts about Nigerian youths and public office holders. I will start by talking about our leaders. Nigeria is a great country. I can assure you, despite the fact that corruption has eaten up the system. I am proud to call Nigeria my beloved country. We have corrupt leaders who are greedy, heartless as they do not hear the cry of the people who have voted them into power.  They are not patriotic. If they are patriotic, they would have done what they had promised to do for Nigeria and Nigerians. Often, they forget those promises and struggle to acquire wealth and more powers, leaving Nigerians to suffer.
The former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, once said: “Nigeria has gone beyond analogue stage”. This statement is very correct.  We need vibrant leaders; young, well educated and who know the value of power. We need leaders who are God fearing and corruption-free; leaders who will take the well-being of the masses to heart. The aged men should stop campaigning for elections and allow young ones to rule. Let the elderly ones stand as advisers and to guide the vibrant youths with the system of governance.
A good father will always pray for his children to be better than him. But in Nigeria politics, no good father who wants his children better than himself.
The old leaders are refusing to give way to the youthful and vibrant ones, so that they can continue gathering the nation’s wealth for themselves and their families, leaving the masses to suffer and eat. The height of it all is that some of the youths are used by these men as thugs, giving them mere stipends when they need them and discarding them soon after.
Imagine, in a country like Nigeria, there is no job left for young graduates who are qualified as all the positions are occupied by these men of status and their families, thereby, pushing the youths to commit societal ills.
I am pleading with these old leaders to sit back and allow the young and vibrant youths be at the helm of affairs. We need innovative minds and active brains in power. Nigerians need true representation. I am actually disturbed by the decay in the country. We need God first and good citizens to help us overcome this outburst of incompetence, economic downturn and corruption consuming the country. This is one of the reasons I am going to study political science; to gain more knowledge on how the country should be governed.
Secondly, Nigerian youths, want to travel to countries like U.S.A, Canada, U.K, UAE, France, India, etc. When you ask them why, they give flimsy excuses, such as; “who Nigeria epp?” (Who did Nigeria help?). Nigeria is corrupt.  Nigeria’s educational system is poor.  No work in Nigeria. The question is, if all the youths should travel overseas, who will fix Nigeria? That is one thing the youths fail to understand.  We are running away leaving our birthrights. The other day, I was at the library and some teens were interviewed about where they see themselves in 30 years’ time? I was so shocked when all of them were making mention Canada, U.S.A and U.K. I was not happy. If I am asked whether to school in Nigeria or abroad, sincerely I will take abroad, but after my study there I will surely return to Nigeria. Youths have been told that we are leaders of tomorrow. Yes, we are leaders but not of tomorrow anymore. It is today and now, I want to appeal to youths not to abandon our beloved country. Nigeria needs us. Remember that whenever we recite our National Anthem we promise to “serve our fatherland, with love and strength and faith, the labour of our heroes past, shall never be in vain, to serve with heart and might, one nation bound in freedom, peace and unity”. And on our National pledge, we say: “I pledge to Nigeria my country, to be faithful, loyal and honest. To serve Nigeria with all my strength, to defend her unity ……So help me God”. Then why are we now running away from our pledge? This is the time Nigeria needs us. The youths are running from joining the military and police force. If you and I do not serve the country who then will? Youths should not take the developments, innovative mindsets and manpower meant for the benefit of our beloved Nigeria to other countries. Nigeria needs us to develop. We will call her undeveloped and compare her to US and England. But don’t forget America is over 200 years and England is over 500 years. We shouldn’t compare a baby Nigeria yet a mighty nation with USA and England because these two countries passed through hard times too to become great and famous. Nigeria will get there, but it needs us to get there. The great music icon, Fela sang that “we (Nigerians) fear to fight for freedom, we fear to fight for liberty, I nor wan die, I never born, I get wife”, so on and so forth. That is exactly what is happening now. Our youths are afraid and shy away from our responsibilities. Youths, remember we are the leaders of our immediate environment. Why don’t we start there? We are the leaders of today.  It is no longer tomorrow as we have been told. But we can’t be leaders of today if we don’t live up to our responsibilities and change our mentalities. If we want Nigeria to become the dream country we want her to be, we must stay back in Nigeria and make her so. We ought to be proud Nigerians, proud leaders and proud defenders and ambassadors of Nigeria. Youths are saying no job in Nigeria. It’s true but there are still many wealthy Nigerians making millions daily. We can become entrepreneurs making same money daily. I would rather be a dog in my home than a lion in a big strange land. I will remain in Nigeria and help build her up with so joy and love.
“Youths remember we are the leaders of our immediate environment. Why don’t we start there? We are the leaders of today.  It is no longer tomorrow as we have been told. But we can’t be leaders of today if we don’t live up to our responsibilities and change our mentalities.”
•Gift Ukadike, 18 wrote in from Delta State via:  giftukadike@gmail.com>

Ebere Treasure, 17
For Nigeria to be fixed; change has to begin with us (citizens). If the citizens can unite and cooperate to make positive changes amongst Nigeria can change.
Secondly, Nigeria needs restructuring and true federalism, and national conferences organised by the government regularly to oversee the welfare of the people and ensure security for the citizens.
Lastly, people should vote young and active citizens, rather than voting for aged citizens who are 65 and above.

Okpu Elvis, 19
I believe Nigeria can be fixed but first the generation of old, unscrupulous and corrupt leaders must be ousted and a new generation of young and vibrant youths given the opportunity to lead. Take the president of France as an example.  Secondly, the needs of the people should be the priority especially the youths because we are the leaders of tomorrow.

Gideon valor, 19
I strongly believe Nigeria can be fixed if public opinion programmes are organised by the government and citizens are allowed to air their views.  Corruption and bad governance have eaten deep into the country. Therefore, for Nigeria to be fixed, faithful and patriotic citizens should be voted into power. Also, the younger generations should partake in the affairs of the country by vying for political offices.

Iduh Marvelous, 19
There are no shortcuts to fixing Nigeria.  It requires a consistent long-term approach. By institutionalizing transparency and accountability in governance, diversifying from oil and profiling a competitive means of making money for the country to boost her economy. Nigeria has been ravaged by corrupt politicians, so if corruption can also be tackled and eradicated, Nigeria can be fixed.

Igumbor Solomon, 19
Nigeria can be fixed with the help of the government. I said government, because without the government’s empowerment and generation of employment for the youths, Nigeria will be unstable. The youths are the bedrock of the society. Any country that neglects its youths is bound to be stagnant.
Government should not just create employments for graduates but also establish skill acquisition centres for them and map out resources to empower them to use the acquired skills in creating jobs, because, the government cannot employ everybody.

Ogidigben Faith, 19
Corruption is a major problem in Nigeria. But one of the important ways to fix this problem is by having good leaders in government. If the leaders lead with good conscience and the fear of God, the led will emulate their good qualities and that can make Nigeria better for easy, accountable and transparent governance.
Most important, youths and teenagers have a role to play in Nigeria’s development.  If we all could do what is right, I believe Nigeria can be fixed, because change begins with you and me.

Osemeke Onyinye, 19
Nigeria can be fixed but corruption must be eradicated. Corruption is a factor to bad governance in Nigeria.  Bribery, money laundering, high rate of poverty, inequality, terrorism and insecurity, unemployment and poor educational system, are all signs of bad governance.
If all these are controlled, Nigeria will become a better country.

Kelvin Obaigbena, 19
First, there should be respect for Nigeria above self. Since Nigeria is the Commonwealth of all, all public office holders should respect the oath of office they swore to. Most public figures don’t respect this oath of office, hence there is constant embezzlement of public funds. I strongly advise that there should be a strict law binding them from diverting public funds.
Secondly, the quest for material wealth should be discouraged through the introduction of property tax, to include; money in banks, cars, buildings among others. This will make people soft-pedal in their ambition for excessive wealth acquisition.

Ngozi Triumph, 16
A major problem faced by Nigerians is unemployment. This problem can be solved if youths are given opportunities to participate in governance. Another problem is disunity. Nigeria is our country and we can build it with combined efforts. With peace in the country, Nigeria can stand unified and fixed.

Nzemeke Chinonso, 16
I believe Nigeria can be fixed, once the right people are in charge. The problems of Nigeria are corruption and unemployment. But corruption has been the major issue for decades giving the country a bad reputation. If good and God-fearing citizens emerge as politicians and leaders of Nigeria, they wouldn’t think first of themselves, but the interests of the citizens they represent and are meant to serve, that is what I call true “representative government.

Precious Nkonyeasua, 15
Nigeria can be fixed by creating employment for youths. Due to lack of job opportunities in the country, our youths travel overseas, take their skills and creativity to foreign countries and develop these countries’ economies, while ours keep depreciating. We need these youths  around  even in politics to help fix Nigeria.

Samuel Nwose, 19
I strongly believe Nigeria can be fixed but only if the masses and the political office holders work together in unity of purpose. For Nigeria to be fixed, greedy politicians must be stopped from holding important offices and there must be creation of jobs especially for youths to reduce crimes and other societal ills.