It is now pedestrian information that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State recently dissolved the State Executive Council- an exercise that affected about 25 commissioners, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), the Chief of Staff, Government House, Senior Political Advisers and other advisers. It is equally a common knowledge that while explaining the reason behind his decision on Wednesday 19th May, 2021, the Governor among other things stated that he dissolved the State’s Executive Council to check distraction in governance.
What is however sketchy as it is newsy about this development is demographic considerations that will be accorded highest space in the new State Executive Councils.
While Deltans, Nigerians and of course the world have their eyes fixed at the Governor’s next line of action, some political pundits have called on the governor not to constitute another ‘elders Council’ with a sprinkle of youths in the name of state Executive Council. In similar vein, others admonished the Governor not to behave like President Muhammadu Buhari who in 2015 promised to work with the youths but never did. Governor Okowa they argued must use this window of opportunity to demonstrate the urgent need for the nation to have leadership generational change by having youths form greater chunk of his coming Executive Council.
But will the Governor ever tow these lines of argument?
While answer(s) to the above question is awaited, this piece for two reasons, shares similar sentiment as canvassed. First, the state in material terms, is blessed with a handful of youths that have through hard work, planning, established themselves in all sectors-finance, science/technology, sports and education among others. They can easily fit into the Governor’s public leadership plans. The second is that the youths should not be blamed for their inability to occupy political or leadership positions in the country, be it elective or appointment, but blamed on the nation’s inglorious departure from politics of ideas to money politics or what is currently referred to as the politics of the highest bidder which the youths have no financial muscles to partake in and therefore settled for the easiest option at their disposal.
But beyond these sentiments, there is something deeply troubling about Nigerian youths.
One of the greatest companions of man in the journey of life is optimism. This has helped man in his daily plans and projections. But being optimistic which is good in most cases takes a dangerous trend when its operational matrix is outside the scope of a calculated risk that could be managed or mitigated. This is the level where some Nigeria youths operate that I am having a very serious challenge or issues with Nigeria youths.
Very instructive ‘youths are the leaders of tomorrow’ has become an age long assumption that has grown to become a norm. It is part of our political belief system that these present crop of leaders shall at one time or the other hand over the leadership positions they occupy as well enjoy to the youths. But one thing that is not true is the belief that every youth will be leaders of tomorrow. But very unfortunately and erroneously, this is the hub of belief of most Nigeria youths.
In the same fashion, many of our youths have not been able to accentuate the invisible but very solid demarcation between optimism and self-confidence. They are yet to learn ‘that in optimism, one hopes for the best but in self-confidence, you prepare for the worst.’
These crises of differentiation have driven so many of our youths to idleness, laziness, cluelessness and out rightly lacking in creativity. Comparatively, while ‘mindless optimism’ places you a per with an ardent ‘Casino player’, self-confidence presents you as good crisis manager.
To clear this air of doubt, ‘principles work only when we work the principle’ Likewise the above saying. Leadership is reserved for the youths that are leadership conscious and are taking positive steps to realizing that dreams as leadership are made up of both nature and nurture. Attaining that position is a counterpart form of arrangement that is asymmetrical in nature demanding more from the youths and less from the society/nation. So the youths have a greater work to do in working out their political and leadership salvation.
In the light of the above, let the youths be well aware that ‘freedom has always been an expensive thing. History is fit to the fact that freedom is rarely gained without scarifies and self-denial. They should also realize that freedom is never voluntarily given, it must be demanded by the oppressed.’’
While our youths are waiting to be the leaders of tomorrow, it’s important that we find out what they are doing currently in making sure that the future leadership position will not pass them bye? Let’s make no mistake about it; this journey requires both intellectual and emotional preparations as well sacrifices.
While the youth is waiting, what is their relationship with the present crop of leaders, what political agenda are they setting before these leaders, what are they learning or pointing out so as to correct when their time comes, what sort of leaders are they currently voting for? All these are definitely key considerations and leading indicators that will shape their future.
Funny enough, most of the youths are very confident of their root but completely ignorant of the pitfalls and dangers ahead. The youths need to be reminded that ’’public order, personal security, economic and social progress and prosperity are not the natural order of things, that they depend on the ceaseless effort and attention from an honest and effective government that the people must elect presently.’
What this statement is pointing out is that if the youths are actually interested in becoming the leaders of tomorrow, they very obviously need to get involved in political movements of today. This step is germane especially now that another electioneering year is around the corner.
But, while taking a very close look at the activities of our youths in relation to the above, one discovers a bugging disparity and far cry among many youths in respect to where they are, what they are doing and where they ought to be.
The above I must say with egoless clarity that the people aligning their position blaming the government are grossly missing the point. Yes, the government may not have in one way or the other provided the enabling environment, but the youths as a matter of urgency be guided by the fact that life ‘’is 10% what happens to us and 90% what you do with it’. Obviously, it is time to look beyond the government for assistance. It is truly time to depart our comfort zone so as to access our creative zone. It is only in doing this that we can arrive at our strength zone and the right time and moment to commence that leadership pilgrimage are now.
We must develop, from strength, in which the government finds it wise and prudent to collaborate with us. It will be the heights of naiveté to wait passively until the administration had somehow been infused with such blessings of good that it implored us for programmes’
Our youths also need to back up their dreams with the burning desire to succeed as ‘dreams without execution are mere hallucination’ If the youth have never worked together before, this is the time to do so. All things considered, the youths should be mindful of the fact ‘that all of us have the spark of leadership in us whether it is in business, in government or a non-profit volunteer. The challenge is to understand ourselves well enough to discover where we can use our leadership gifts to serve others’
Finally, I can only concur with the position advanced by the youths only if they are ready to ‘walk the talk’ as any other decision will be viewed as a mere rhetorics. I, therefore, invite the Nigeria youths and Delta state in particular to become not just the architect but the builders of their destiny. In doing this, they will be taking the responsibility of developing their selves by their hands.
Utomi, is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He could be reached via;email@example.com/08032725374.