Growing up, my parents always told me that education was my only passageway to success and financial freedom. I am cocksure you too were told something similar. As I grew older and got introduced into the society, “you have to study hard because you are the future of tomorrow” was the gospel my school teachers always preached.
As days became years and I advanced in age, I began to socialize more and engage in constructive discussions with people from all walks of life. It didn’t take time for me to observe that the status quo (if it can be called one or it was just a general misconception by parents) had changed. The padlock to success seems to have been changed, and no one got the memo, at least not my parents.
Even though as a little girl, I knew poverty, unemployment and starvation existed, they were nothing more than mere images I formed from watching the news on TV. I never came to terms with these on a tangible level as I do now.
Due to how rapid the change was, phrases such as, “The government has failed us”, “Nothing good can come out of Nigeria”, “Money can be made quickly once you leave the country”, became part of people’s active speaks.
Out of sad curiosity, I decided to carry out a research on the countries with blooming economies. The first thing I realized was that economic success does not rest solely on the actions of government.
The secret to their flourishing economies is partly due to the entrepreneurial skills of some citizens, particularly their youths, and this creates more job opportunities for other citizens, significantly lessening the stress on the government and creating a healthy society where poverty is at its minimum.
In my title, I referred to the youths as the mitochondria of any nation. Biology teaches that the mitochondria is the power house of the body which is housed by the cell, and that the cell is the basic functional unit of the body. So without the mitochondria, the body experiences complications and collapses. In simpler terms, the youths are the power house of any nation.
Why is this?
Due to how energetic the youths are, they constitute the active workforce of any nation, but over dependency on the government has brought about unemployment, which has rendered most youths jobless and in turn, crippled the economy. It is like taking out a human’s spinal cord.
Overtime due to how determined the Nigerian youths are to succeed, misinformation has caused this unique attribute of theirs to be exploited. Youths have been used as a tool for creating civil unrest. In Nigeria, the youths account for at least 43% of the population, and less than half of this figure is utilized in the workforce. As the saying goes, “an idle mind is the devils workshop”, majority of the jobless youths constitute majority of the nuisance that is seen in the society.
Enough is enough. Gone are the days when education was the only key to success. The advancement in technology has allowed most of the courses being studied at the tertiary institutions to become, or fast becoming obsolete, with the nation’s population growth rate not looking favorable to the existing economic realities.
The services orthodox education can offer in and of itself has become thinner each passing day. This is not to say that education is not important, it is. However, an urgent need has arisen, and if we must survive the storm of increased unemployment, abject poverty and overwhelming underdevelopment, the youths must, in a manner of speaking, take the bull of fumbling, fledgling, flailing, even failing economy by the horn.
The youths are no longer the leaders of tomorrow but the hope of today. For Nigeria to move forward, the youths have to detoxify themselves of the poisonous mentality that they are the future of tomorrow. They have to realize that times have changed, and it is imperative that they catch up fast.
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They have to understand that even though the government owes us a healthy system, the government cannot do it alone. They must understand that modern economic growth is hinged on collaboration rather than isolation. The government needs a support system to meet up with the demand of the masses.
It is only when the entrepreneurial spirit is embraced, then can we move forward as a nation. Nigeria belongs to everyone, but the youths are the spinal cord, the legs, the eyes and the brains.
Nigeria is a third-world country, as such, there is so much opportunities waiting to be seized only if the youths can think as though there is no box. You are not paid for having a job, you are paid for the problem you solve.
The only solution to unemployment and poverty is entrepreneurship and if the youths of this nation channel their energy, skillset and creativity, this nation will rise. Once the youths arise, the nation will rise.
About the author
Christiana John is an undergraduate of Biomedical Technology at the University of Port Harcourt. Christiana is a lady who believes peaceful wars can be fought with a pen and paper, hence, she tackles ignored social issues through her writings. Find her on Facebook – Kristina Mimam
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and not of NDLink
Image credit: Youth Arise for Nigeria