Are We Losing the Hidden Paradise in Our Youth?


There is an urgent need to engage on a national project on recovery of the troubled mind-set of millions of Nigerian Youth who are predominantly hooked on the Internet as gateway to wealth through fraudulent means. “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven. Almost all painful feelings have their source in an incorrect way of looking at reality. When you uproot erroneous views, suffering ceases.” John Milton, Paradise Lost.

Are we losing the hidden paradise in our youth? This write-up is initiated by concerned interest group after a surgical analysis of the subject-matter as an urgent call to embark on a national psycho-sociological project to re-engineer and save the eroding mind-set of many of our Youth who are currently addicted to Internet scrams as the only way to progress and indeed their last hope in life, in the face of the blatant neglect and abandonment of the fundamental responsibility of leadership for sustainable youth development, And by extension, the survivability of our collective future. Our position is that the core of problem under discussion resides in human attitude.

Relevant studies have shown how unrestrained chronic youth-centered negative thinking and attitudes cumulatively derail and destroy concepts of nation building, patriotism and sustainable development – especially when psychological and sociological dimensions are neglected overtime. Is this the case with the branded “Yahoo-Yahoo Boys” of Nigeria? How long has this been going on and how long will it take to recover and heal those derailed youth minds which are critical for national development? What will become of the children of the Yahoo-Yahoo Boys and it’s cultish impact on the future of our nation? Are our current Youth development programmes responsive and strategic enough to attain the desired goals?

Conventional wisdom informs that attitude is everything. However, attitude in its structural dynamics consists of the acquired state of mind, consisting primarily of environmental observation in a given space-of-things, feelings, thoughts and tendency to act towards anything we come across. Through the application of our conditioned mindset we may attain a positive or negative character in our relation with any particular set of thing we encounter.

Therefore as we forge along, it is instructive that we explore the conditions-of-things within the Nigeria development environment – particularly our leadership, family values, education, merit assessment, child care and fundamental human rights and above all youth development programmes within the context of globalization. Great minds such as Professor Emeritus Wole Soyinka had many decades ago observed the emerging decay of values in leadership, economy and development with great impact on the Youth, when he advanced the hypothesis of the ‘wasted generation’ of Nigeria.

This critical warning was not heeded by the leadership who failed to advance proactive strategies and programmes for Youth development while the population growth surged dramatically in the last fifty (50) years after the civil war. This abandoned responsibility cumulated into the breakdown of the value-chains for equitable nation building and fuelled corruption of thing like a wide fire in the wilderness.

Globalization is often translated as another word for the internationalization of trade and commerce in pursuit of sustainable development – guided by specific standards. However, empowered by the Internet (ICT) as the new tool of life, the norms and values of the Internet have been grossly misinterpreted at the most basic levels. The Internet is here to stay and its mission and activities will be further intensified by the demands for globalization-of-things and the critical adventure of each nation poised to controlling the human mind by harnessing life Data at all levels.

For many decades, the Nigeria nation state has been dishing out mind-blowing figures of stolen money and wealth from our collective national resources and continues to display such outlandish data in the face of the teeming Youths who are hungry for food and knowledge but experience the mirage-of-things at almost all development stage.

Currently, Nigeria’s e-readiness status is abysmal low (119 out of 134?) in terms of enabling environment and national IT spend, while the Youth population growth continues to surge with alarming stampede at access to everything for survival – throwing ethics and values to the dogs.

The age of top leadership base of many nations of the world are hovering between 30-50 while Nigeria’s is ballooning from 70-80 years – further disillusioning the youth and their dreams.. With limited and/or non-existent enabling environment, fragile infrastructure, abandoned classrooms, zero Knowledge Parks and processed by conspicuous consumption with preference to foreign goods, glorified squandermenia culture and insatiable consumption mentality – a product of who you know instead of what you know!

Re-Engineering the mind-set of the youth – the way forward

The activities of Yahoo-Yahoo Boys. The YY syndrome is a national scourge and the Youth Community must be called to order to dialogue.

The long-term damage to Society, Recovery Mechanism: the critical Pillars for Youth Development: Policies, Strategies Legislations, Institutional Framework, Regulations and Fiscal Incentives Others. What the Youth want form Nigeria.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: EXTRACT FROM MY BOOK: “ e-Knowledge: Time is Running Out” Published 2010.

Nigeria today, represents a huge and unorganized information system – each cluster operating almost independently without recourse to standards, linkages and feedback. This negates the fundamental principle of structural dependency of data and information, which must be interlinked, networked and interact at various levels – as an inevitable transformation process for generating meaningful knowledge, based on acceptable level of ‘organized standard’.

Information overload without the effective tool (technology) to analyze, extract, standardize, process, store, retrieve and efficiently distributed through secured pipeline of networks for the needs of the entire society, has the capability of choking a nation’s development goals!

It applies to corporate business organisations, institutions, social clubs and the family. For information to make better sense, it must be meaningfully organized, warehoused, re-structured,analysed, standardized, tested and ultimately transformed into productive knowledge.

Life, man and his total environment represent a fearful quantum of complex information load. Some of them are and have life forms, others are not. Some are mobile and super-active, while others either incubate or are dormant. Almost all have color, intriguing designs, fascinating style, standard and acknowledged wisdom.

Chris Uwaje & Olubayo Abiodun writes from Lagos