The Person You Will Be In The Future Is Based On Everything You Do Today.

Arise O' Compatriots? When The Youths Are Still Sleeping?

nigerian flag in a blue sky
A deep reflection on our national anthem, brings to mind the challenge before us Nigerians but most especially the Youth. There is no doubt that any attempt towards re-branding Nigeria must have the youth at the centre. Nigeria is a country richly blessed with both mineral and human resources.

However, the efficiency of the human resources is seriously in doubt. Hence, I deem it fit to state ab initio that Nigeria is not cursed rather we are the cause.

To sustain efforts of our heroes past, there is urgent need for the youth to wake up from their slumber. There is no better time than now.

There are many questions to be raised here: Whose duty is it to empower the youth? In what ways and areas are they to be empowered? Funny as it appears, the youth seem to be solely waiting on the government for their empowerment while the government seems to be doing little or nothing towards such a dream. What then becomes the way out? This forms the basis of this discourse. It is time for the youths to take the bull by the horn.

AREAS OF YOUTH EMPOWERMENT 

By way of definition, youth empowerment is a process where children and young people are encouraged to take charge of their lives. This definition brings to mind the fact that the youth are the chief protagonist in this effort to be empowered. This is contrary to the ideas where youth blame different sectors for their predicament.

The question for the youth should be, What shall I do? What is expected of me? No doubt the government has something to contribute to make the dream realizable but emphasis is mainly on the youth.


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The youth can achieve this by addressing their situation and then taking action in order to improve their access to resources and transform their consciousness through their beliefs, values and attitudes.

This entails that in all areas to be discussed, the emphasis should be on what is expected of the young people to do. Youth empowerment doesn't take place in the thin air. It occurs in homes, at schools, youth organizations, etc.


FAMILY

Family as we know remains the basic unit of socialization. All a child becomes in life depends on a reasonable extent on the formation he/she acquires from the family. It is the nucleus of every human society and hub of every civilization. Its good is consequently the good of every society. Pitiable as it may be, the problem of our youth today has its root in the family. 

In most families, children who have attained maturity age fail to take up responsibilities. Many still depend on their parents for daily bread. How can such a person embrace the bigger challenge in the society? 

Study has shown that parents contribute a lot to this. The parents have a role to play in transforming our youth into creators off their destiny. The training a child receives in the family can set him on the part of being an achiever. 

Parents have a duty of inculcating the right values in their children, the values that will make them to work for greatness. The youth own their own part must prove that they have come of age by taking up responsibilities on their own.

SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT 

It's a pity that Nigerian system of education has little or nothing to offer with regard to youth empowerment. We are in an era of "certificate syndrome". The quest for certificate is now all that matters. By education, we mean the process of facilitating learning or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs and habits (Wikipedia).

 I wish to single out the aspect of acquisition of skills. There is no doubt that youth empowerment must discourage over dependence on government after university education with regard to job opportunity. This cannot be achieved without skill acquisition. 

Pitiable enough, the education in force in this country lacks in such. Nigerian education system can rightly be referred to as "certificate education". The emphasis is mainly on acquiring certificates. It is only in Nigeria that an electrical engineer cannot carry out a simple connection in the house but he can discuss all the working principle therein.

A friend of mine once narrated her bitter experience while at the Polytechnic to me. The lady in question did Science Laboratory Technology (SLT) but as of HND 1, they were yet to have any lecture inside the laboratory. In fact, their exams exams were more of alternative to practical. This is the bane of our education system. How do we expect such a person to thrive tomorrow in the society? 

Today, we hardly see these Government Technical Schools. Even the ones still functioning lack basic materials needed. What then are the youths expected to do? A man is one who faces his problem squarely and finds a way of surmounting it. Education is not something that should end in the classroom. Even when practical is forthcoming, students should on their own learn to practice that which they have studied. This is because we learn by doing.

Moreover, studying for certificate alone should be discouraged. Youths can as well further their education in some of these vocational institutes. 

Education should be geared towards skills acquisition as this is only what can guarantee self-independence. Our youth should aim towards becoming entrepreneurs and not employees. 



YOUTH ORGANIZATIONS AND PEER GROUP INFLUENCES 

Another point of call is the influence of the peer group. One of the effective means of socialization is the peer group. In ways similar to the community, the peer group becomes an agency of acculturation and learning. Even very young children develop a sense of self from their perceptions of important people in their surroundings including relatives, teachers and peers.

When children move out from family to child-care centers, school and the community at large, they begin to form attachments, and friendships emerge through their play.

These relationships influence behavior. Many researchers are of the view that peer groups have an even stronger influence than that of parents, although that extreme position has been refuted by other researchers. 

With regard to the issue at hand, one will like to be like his/her peers. Hence, if one's friends are successful in life, one cannot but strive towards becoming successful as well. The same thing goes for one whose friends are mediocre.

This is the area where it is mainly left for the youth to empower themselves by ideas they share among themselves, by goals they set for themselves. Majority of successful youths today are thanks to the friends they keep. In different youth organizations, the emphasis should always be on the way for a better future.

CONCLUSION 

Nigeria no doubt is in a state of quagmire. For Nigeria to be better, lies in the hands of the youth who are the future leaders of tomorrow. 

However, unless these youths are empowered to arise and take the bull by the horn, such dream may be unrealizable. This post therefore have concentrated in exposing ways and areas to carry out youth empowerment. 

Leadership seminars, youth empowerment programmes, capacity building, etc. remain fundamental for achieving anything meaningful among youths. It must be remarked that the process in question is a gradual one. It is not something we expect to see the result immediately but the time to begin is now!


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