- Category: Bobby Udoh
- Published on Thursday, 17 November 2011 07:25
- Written by Bobby Udoh
- Hits: 724
“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Since that article, I am still burdened by that revelation that we the 35-50 year olds are in control of our nation’s destiny and crucially, we do not have a lot of time. I recently heard the American Bible Teacher Joyce Meyer say ‘As you get older, you become more aware of time’. That hit me so hard because that is so true and the evidence is seen in that fact that younger generation generally complain of time being slow but the older generation complain of time being too fast.
For most Nigerians in my generation, this awareness of time is causing much despair and it is because we have not seen our dream of a developed Nigeria. When we were in our teens and 20s, we had big dreams of the quality of life we would have and as we hit our 30s, 40s and 50s, we realise that time has passed but the dream is still largely a dream.
When my generation witnessed the return to democracy in 1999 (when we were 23-38 years of age), our expectation levels hit the roof because we believed we have removed our own ‘Ghaddafi’ and would begin to enjoy the dividends of democracy.
At that point, we were not old or experienced enough to contest elections and though several of us served in many administrations, we mainly looked up to the generations ahead of us to deliver the goods. Our father’s generation failed and we did not spare them by using every opportunity we had to make it clear that they were failures.
We then started to demand a generational shift and by 2003 & 2007, we began to see much of these. However, most in my generation have not realised that the generational shift has occurred and when we did, we did not understand what it required of us.
The great Nigerian nation-builder, Fela Durotoye in his Foreword in the book I wrote titled ‘Nation-building: How to Build & Sustain a Developed Nigeria’ made a revelatory statement:
“We are the third generation of Nigerians since independence. The first was the generation of liberation; the second was that of revelation that showed forth the great potential of Nigeria.
But we are the generation of transformation. It is our generation that has been given the awesome responsibility of transforming Nigeria’s potential into reality. But the realisation of that transformation requires that each one of us begins to first and foremost, transform our own potential into reality.”
My sole purpose in writing this article is to cry out to my generation to arise from our slumber and use our potential to transform Nigeria into a developed nation. You may ask, why us? The answer is simply because we have more vibrancy, innovative ideas, energy, up to date experience, exposure than the generation in front of us. The generation behind us would claim most of our qualities but they lack the required experience.
Our father’s generation had placed too much emphasis for our development on those in government and they taught us to expect everything from government. But is that what they learnt from the colonial days when missionaries educated them and provided medical care or when they studied abroad and saw the efforts of several organisations supporting the citizens?
They missed out on the crucial means for nation-building and that is the participation of a critical mass of Nigerians borne out of the mindset of putting the nation first. The outcome is there for us all to see and what is worst, the generations before us have left or leaving the scene with a lot of regrets and disappointments. I know from personal experiences that they wished they could have been more courageous and done things differently.
I believe that many of them die primarily because of their grief about the state of Nigeria. Here is why my cry to my generation to arise is urgent. As mentioned earlier, time is passing by very quickly (would you believe we are in the ember months already, where has 2011 gone?) and now is our time to act.
The generation behind us (20-35 year olds) will in a very short while come of age and as we drove out the generations before, they will drive us out. That is expected, and what we should also expect is that they will not be lenient in their assessment of our efforts. Because they will be more exposed, their expectation of us will be much higher and therefore they will not accept the excuse that the government failed us. That means, the weight of their judgement of our efforts added to our own realisation that we could have done a lot more we will most likely leave us in a more sorry state than our fathers.
With this in mind, now is the time to change our mindset about Nigeria. It is time to put the nation first in our thoughts, words and actions. The result would be us stepping out with courage to build Nigeria through our families, workplace, businesses, communities and in every area of influence.
In the political scene, we really do have control over the 2015 and 2019 elections. By 2023 (12 years from now), the 20-35 year olds will be in our age bracket with more influence, experience and exposure which will result in them demanding more control.
We must start now to get more involved in party politics rather than continue the traditions of our fathers who called it a dirty game. Politicians are people from various professions and so, they are normally people like us and if we want to influence the candidates presented by the parties in 2015 and onwards, we must participate in the process that determines that now. If we don’t like the current political parties, we can create new ones.
In recently times, I have observed my generation complain bitterly about the state of the nation but we’ve done nothing about it. I have also observed the generation behind mine complain but also talk about what they will do about it. The picture here is that of one generation giving up and other keeping the faith.
This is a deep cry to my generation to stand up and be counted in this fight to build a better future for our children, whilst age is still on our side. It is also a call to give our lives significance because that is what we will have with us in old age and what we will be remembered for when we’re gone.
To the 20-35 year olds, don’t stop desiring change and taking action to see it happen. But I also call on you to also challenge my generation to wake up from her slumber because when we do, we will make the task much easier for you.
Arise my generation and build Bobby Udoh is a nation-building evangelist, passionate blogger, impact public speaker, trainer and change agent. You can order the nation-building book at http://bobbyudoh.com/buy-the-book/