ARE THE YOUTHS OF TODAY OUR FUTURE LEADERS?
As a little boy, I heard the nursery rhyme: “Parents listen to your children. We are the Leaders of tomorrow. Try to pay our school fees and give us a sound education,” until it became hackneyed. I would often ponder on the content of the rhyme to see whether I could completely decipher the message, if there was any, embedded in it. May be the writer of the rhyme thought the young were either wiser than the old or would grow up to be wiser. Perhaps, the writer knew a sound education is the key to raising good Leaders, I would think.
We might be tempted to define the word-youth-to mean a young individual, and simply leave it at that. Although, there are varying facets of definitions emanating from people across different walks of life, The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word as: the time of life when one is young, especially the period between childhood and maturity. While, The United Nations (UN) defines ‘youth’ as persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years of age, with all UN statistics based on this range. Would you rather define the word ‘youth’ in another way if your voice could reach the ends of the world?
Let us retrace our steps a bit to the title of this article, viz: “are the youths of today our future Leaders?” Who or what would you say a Leader is? A Leader is seen by most people to be one having authority to direct. It is only natural for humans to grow older as time passes by. So, it is expected of youths to take the place of older persons, especially pertaining to leadership positions in due season. Considering the vast changes in technological advancements, system of education, and lifestyle in present times; how would you presume the government or leadership roles of any sort will be handled, say, some 50 years from now? Would there be a transition process? Will youths of today make great leaders tomorrow that will be impactful in executing positive changes? Do you think the youths of today have any prospects that might assure us of a better ‘Earth’ tomorrow?
Even though recent demographics put the percentage of youths in the world around 16 to 18 percent, some people might be tempted to ask whether there are reliable leaders within this population. Is there really any cause for alarm? Of course, there are numerous reasons for concern. The indifference of youths towards the economy, politics, and other affairs related to their nation, especially in African countries is seriously alarming. This is a well known fact, as the entertainment industries and other sociable matters have the full engagement of most youths across streams of various social media platforms, to the detriment of politics, education, and other issues related to the future of the youths and the progress of their country. Then, would it be safe to say the level of engagement any matter attains on social media platforms is tantamount to the level of concern the youths of that nation have for such matters? It is worthy of note that the youths or the younger generation are the most active on the internet, especially on social media platforms.
It might be easier to answer the question posed by the title of this article after going through the degree of reactions and engagement to some sociable matters vis-à-vis political matters in Africa’s most populated nation (Nigeria: 9.08200N, 8.67530E). In the ongoing edition of the reality television show, Big Brother Naija (BBN), a sex tape of two house mates, “Erica and Kidwayya,” got a total reaction of; 60,700 comments, 103,000 likes, and 70,800 shares, on social media. While The Nigerian Government’s signed contract on power generation with Siemens to boost electricity got a total of; 4 comments, 2 likes, and 6 shares, on social media. Also, during the 2019 edition of the BBN show, there were a total of 170 million votes casted (majority of the voters are suspected to be youths). While a total of 27 million votes were casted in the 2019 general elections in the country.
There is an Arabic proverb that says, “what is learned in youth is carved in stone.” Most youths of this generation have been caught up in the social media wave of acquiring opulence within the shortest possible time by any means possible and flaunting it on social media. Many youths, if given the opportunity will loot public funds, in order to amass fortunes and afford the kind of luxury their folks could not acquire. It is obvious that such corrupt practices imbibed by youths, will follow them to their old age. At this point in time, do you think the youths of today will make good and reliable future Leaders?
PS. All numbers or figures used in this article were the present and recorded values at the time of writing.