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NIGERIAN YOUTHS AND THE ROAD TO LEADERSHIP

“Youths are the leaders of tomorrow’, so we have been told over and over again. The truism in this weather-beaten rhetoric presupposes that the current crop of leaders at both state and federal levels shall at one time or the other yield the reins of leadership to the youths. But what is not true is that every youth must automatically be a leader.
And this is because leadership is meant for those that are prepared for it, ‘just as principle work only when we work the principle’.Let the youths not be deceived, leadership requires both ‘nature and nurture’ imperative qualities. Put in another perceptive, for any youth bracing up for a leadership position in the nearest future, he must cap his self or herself with an appreciable level of the intelligent quotient in addition to being emotionally intelligent.
But the most striking task of this piece is trying to figure out who the youths are as the prevailing socioeconomic situation in Nigeria has made it pretty difficult for one to give a conceptualized as a well concise definition of a youth. But relying on the definition of youth by the world foremost information engine room, Wikipedia, ‘a youth is a person that is young especially between childhood and maturity’ while the UNESCO perceived the youth ‘as a period of transition from childhood to independence’.
Accepting the above definition and juxtaposing it with the supposedly fits and impact expected of the youths especially in this clime, the definition becomes conflicting and confusing
At the above age bracket, a youth is expected to have completed the rudimentary demands of his education up to the first degree level, gainfully engaged with a stable means of livelihood and become suitably positioned to cater for his or her physiological needs which may include but not limited to food, clothing and shelter as he/she steps into adult hood.
But the contrary is the case when you take a close look at the activities of our youths in relation to the above, one discovers a bugging disparity and far cry among many youths in respect to where they are and where they ought to be. Essentially, youths without hesitation point at the direction of the government as the architect of their sorry state.
Interesting as it is unfortunate, these teaming youths have resonated the above position without recourse to any particular example to prove how the government has through her actions or inaction contributed to this ugly phenomenon. Proponents of this blame failed also to advance reason(s) that made their peers born at this same time and raised in the same environment went ahead of them in attainment of personal goals.
I must say that the people blaming government are grossly missing the point. Yes, the government may not have in one way or the other provided the enabling environment, but our youths as a matter of urgency should be guided by the fact that life ‘’is 10% what happens to us and 90% what we do with. This is a time to look beyond the government for assistance. It is truly a time to depart our comfort zone to enable us to access our creative zones. It is only in doing this that we can arrive at our strength zone and the right time and moment to commence that journey are now.
Let our youths also be reminded of the need to be the architect as well as the builders of their lives which will, in turn, shape their future. It is only in doing this that they are likely going to receive the government recognition and consideration. This move of cause calls for collaboration and disciplined attention on the part of the youths. To buttress this needed industry further, let the youth be guided by the fact that attaining leadership position as it stands requires ’discovering how to organize their strength into compelling power that government cannot elude their demands. The youths must develop their talents in a way that the government may find it wise and prudent to collaborate with them. It will be the heights of naiveté for the youths to wait passively and at the same time expect recognition from the current crop of leaders.
From the above, what the youths urgently need is the development of effective as well as a workable strategy that will transform this dream into action. Strategy at this point is key as it will keep them maintaining a forward looking posture and also provides them with their next line of action to take.
The government on its part, should also cultivate the culture of youths development via empowerment as the success of any government is to a greater extent dependant on the quality of the followers left behind. It should also be in the interest of the government to note that ‘success without a successor is a gross failure’.
It should be in the interest and benefits of the government to deploy its resources in organizing empowerment programs for the youths. Assisting the indigent ones that are interested in acquiring education with scholarship facilities and providing youths in business with soft and revolving loans.
In addition to the above, the government should be mindful of the fact that finding the right people and giving them rightful positions remains the cardinal responsibility of great leaders. This role, I think our government needs to pay disciplined attention to bearing in mind that life revolves around apprenticeship and the youths should be given the opportunity to learn as that will ensure a seamless transition from the current crop of leaders to the youths in the nearest future.
These actions if taken by the government will help in reducing crime and juvenile delinquency in the state as well improve the visibility and reputation of the state government before her subject and the world at large.
To this end, both the government and the youths in the country are well aware that they are partners in development. But despite this counterpart arrangement, out youths should be aware that for the government to get involved, they (the youths) should seize the initiative and effective demand, expressing their willingness in personal and leadership development and the government shall be left with no option than to grant their request.

BY JEROME-MARIO UTOMI

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