Will Nigerian youths japa if these things are fixed?
- What the big boys should pay attention to…
The past few days have been like never before for Nigerian youths whose skyrocketed interest in politics have gone beyond social media to having eyes fixated on news networks that were beforehand not of so much interest to them, out of a deep concern for their country.
Driven by shared interests and using media sources as a platform to voice their needs and concerns, and to exercise their democratic rights, young people have taken control of the landscape.
In the hopes that the 2023 elections will usher in “redemption, betterment and revolutionary change,” we have rediscovered our voices.
The youth are more concerned than ever about the state of the country as past events have exacerbated problems rather than yield solutions.
Think about the japa pandemic; a period characterized by the highest rate of migrations ever observed in Nigeria due to issues like poor access to quality healthcare, poor educational facilities/inadequate educational opportunities, the inability to fully utilize one’s talents and abilities due to flawed government policies, rising business operating costs that have an impact on the standard of living, and insecurity caused by poor government involvement in ensuring the safety of its people.
Why are young people in Nigeria calling for “real” change?
There are numerous tweets that can all be summed up as “NIGERIA has failed ME.” The leaders of the supposed tomorrow are being taunted by the leaders of today, and the sacrifices made by heroes of the past are being obliterated by the leaders of today.
The present-day Nigerian story has become deeply ingrained in my veins, and the last few days have expanded my mental library with enough sentences to make me the next Chimamanda Adichie or even Chinua Achebe. However, what hurts the most is the fact that it is a shrill cry for help rather than a celebration in a village square on a happy market day. “Imagine my book titled “The echoes of our votes: where were they hidden?” *laughs*
What do young people desire?
I learned from carefully examining how the youths expressed themselves that these are the areas of concern for young people that the big boys should show concern, to slow the spread of this pandemic.
More Savings: Not to say that there are not a good number doing well, but the average young person in Nigeria has little to no savings because some have nothing left over after overcoming the challenge of inflation. Some people have extremely low incomes, and while saving is still an option, the ongoing increase in costs makes it unappealing. Imagine getting a declining return on investment (ROI) that was predicted to increase by 30% but ended up being much lower than the original investment due to the absurd dollar-to-naira exchange rates. We want to be able to save even more than we are forced to spend.
Education: One of the sub-pandemics in the Japa pandemic is how Nigerians in the diaspora cope with their certificates’ low ratings in comparison to their foreign contemporaries due to the state of the country. A good number of countries hold the widespread belief that Nigeria’s educational system is corrupt, and its teaching standards are subpar, so they cannot bear the results of seasoned professors in the functioning system of other nations. In our own nation, some lecturers and teachers are unable to view their work as honorable and are frequently in a rush to get out of it, which shouldn’t be the case. We should be able to proudly display our certificates and raise our heads even higher.
The big boys need to pay attention to the requirements of all teachers, improve the quality of things and hire qualified officials of integrity, without fear or favor.
Inclusivity: Tribalism, gender issues, and all other types of societal injustices are at the center of this. Why should the screening and scrutiny procedures be more stringent just because I am Igbo, Esan, or Ibibio? Why am I being held back from being hired right away even though I appear to be the best candidate for the position because the person in control believes that because I am a woman, I will be susceptible to manipulation in the future?
We desire to be understood. We don’t want to be stigmatized because we assertively demand our fundamental human rights without bending to the insecurities of others.
Justice: Pun intended, justice for justitia. (Nigeria’s representation of justice)- primarily because that aunty has been heavily mistreated. How can you be made to represent good while being canvassed to ignore evil?
To see the real change we want, we need a structure where no one is above the law, where standards are upheld, and where people can take responsibility for their actions. I recall when Jack’s Twitter and major news outlets like National Daily frequently featured the phrase “justice for…” due to the government’s inability to effectively address societal issues.
Young people in Nigeria want to feel safe in their own nation without having to plead for it, which typically gets ignored in most cases.
In these times, working-class Nigerian youths are worried about how much they must spend on “work everything.” The cost of daily commuting for residents in a city like Lagos, for example, has become outrageous; the popular danfo is no longer a less expensive option as the vehicles now compete with those of ride-hailing companies. We now pay three times as much to travel, which is an epidemic in and of itself as local flights’ costs have tripled, and some young people who like to act fast, talk about channeling the percentage of increase in local travels into savings for “a saner life” in country XYZ.
Food majorly: the most rated of them all. Some people now “round off” their three “square” meals with one palatable dinner to make up for the day because the state of things is different in some areas. Thugs are multiplying and focusing their aggression on innocent young people who are not even aware of the type of sand that surrounds Aso rock. The survival race has led to a rise in charges in social settings like schools. These and other factors are the major influences that have strengthened the vocal cords of the youths today, which is why our voices are louder than ever before. If the big boys come to their roll call and perform their roles as expected, restructuring is not impossible and if deliberate attempts are made by them to alter the narratives, we won’t have to conform to the negatives or be driven from our fatherland.