US Secretary of State Antony Blinken while addressing a high profile delegation of government officials on his most recent State visit to Nigeria expressed optimism regarding the level of ingenuity of our nation's youth population and how it could lead to a transformation of her economic fortunes by 2025. Prophecies and predictions of this nature have been a constant rhetoric used by foreign powers to show belief in the capacity of African countries to continue to deliver the finest of its manpower and mineral resources to the service and advancement of more 'developed' societies outside her shores. While this is clearly the case as seen in the way and manner lots of young persons are fleeing the continent in search of greener pastures, one is forced to ask if Africa can become any better than it is now (as a collective) in spite of our individual flashes of brilliance that has shot us into global reckoning.
Data reveals that the median age in the population of most African countries is about 18 years. This invariably accounts for over 49.9% of our ~ 1.2 billion headcount. This is a strong testament to the fact that young Africans matter a lot in the scheme of things as far as the politics of their home country is concerned. If Africa must reach the peak of her potential, her young citizens must be at the centre of major, epoch-making events that are tailored towards the economic liberation of the vast majority. To bring all of our aspirations for a better continent into fruition, it is imperative that the eyes of our political understanding (as young minds) be enlightened.
The trajectory of a nation's growth and development over a period of time is largely influenced by a series of activities that has defined her political process. What do we say of Africa's politics over the last six decades if her growth and development is to be assessed? Your answer is as heartbreaking as mine. What we have known Africa to be all our lives is not something to take pride in. As young minds, what are we doing differently to stem this ugly tide? How are we making moves to make our society work and be better off for us in the next 20 years? Is the option of seeking greener pastures outside the continent an easy feat to achieve compared to living life in our homelands? Are we going to continue to look the other way when it is time to make certain political decisions that are tied to our future?
Our generation prides itself in its ability to advance the plethora of opportunities of the times we are in. As young men and women of diverse skill and talent, it is not enough for us to sit with arms akimbo and hope that our lots will become better by luck. By all means necessary, we must begin to seek political power to take charge of our affairs and bring to life all that we imagine and wish for our dear continent.
Seeking political power is a long hurdle of many twists and turns. Not everyone will end up as political office holders but all of us must play a part in changing the narrative. A superb leadership of our own will only be as good as the rest of us subjects who are aware of what is necessary to make our society sane.
Dear young African, read history books. Watch the news. Talk about political events in your cell meetings. Start to exercise your rights to vote in whatever election you are eligible to take part in. Follow after and be inspired by the impeccable leadership character of some upright members of the older generation. See the need. Organise. Take the lead. Above all, be politically aware.
Power of Africa is using this medium to offer a passionate appeal to the government of Nigeria to put measures in place towards resolving the lingering industrial disputes with the education workers under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), to enable young Nigerians continue with school.