By Udems

Has Nigeria not gone sour with its youth? What hope for the youth? I have looked around and I am convinced that there are NO programs and policies for proper ethical reorientation and redirection of Nigeria’s young people — those we see as leaders of tomorrow. The Federal Government has not one positive program or project for the social and moral development of the youth. No State Government in Nigeria has any program for the youth. Name one if you know any! The Local Governments are still struggling to first find their own feet; they can’t give what they don’t have.

Lest I forget, it’s not as if politicians and leaders have completely abandoned the youth; no, because they still make use of the youth during elections as ballot box snatchers, election riggers, thugs, louts, killers squad members, hit guys, terminators and exterminators, and silencers of the opposition and those perceived as stumbling blocks. Inexperienced and disenchanted youths are introduced to violence and brigandage as a best way of acquiring poltical power and of settling scores. But after the elections, leaders abandon the youth to their fate.
When the youth begin venting their frustrations against the masses of the people, the leaders in response buy more guns, amunition and armoured tanks for the police, the army and other security agents, with specific instructions to subdue rising crime and insecurity rates, caused (the politicians know this) by frustration and disenchantment of estwhile members of the defunct killer squads, etc of the politicians; after helping the politicians to grab power, the youths are now left with no program for their ethical reorientation, rehabilitation, and redirection. Edgar Friedenberg said, “Juvenile delinquency serves many purposes, including that of providing sadistic adults with fantasies suited to their special tastes”. Could it be that youth unethicalness serves the interest of our leaders, which is why they stay aloof as if unconcerned?

On their part, parents are too busy with daily struggles (for bread; or so they claim) to have enough time to give adequate attention to their kids, to nurture them in the way they should grow, so that they’d would not depart from same.

Homehelps are the lords and masters/mistresses of the training and care of our kids. Teachers find it difficult to eat; governments don’t pay them well, always on strike protesting against one neglect or deprivation or another. School environments are dilapidated with everything but those things that contribute to promoting ethical development of the kids. In a transferred aggression style, teachers have neglected the real training of the young: moral/ethical training. All that most teachers do upon entering the classroom, in addition to (formal education) teaching (which they do haphazardly), is to pray and tell the kids “it is well with you”. May I ask, do prayers and “it’s well with you” goodwill messages help to train children in the way they ought to grow so that they’d not depart from same? What’s your guess? Pretenders everywhere, leaving many our children not whole nor upright but wayward

The only time most parents and guardians have for their kids and wards is to take them out to Mr Bigg’s, ShopRite, parks and other enjoyment centers (or to go on vacation) where these kids are exposed to unnecessarily senseless luxury and frivolous ostantatious spending. Lavish birthday parties are organised every year for most kids. Then, parents by what they themselves do, show the kids that Premier League, La Liga, European League, BBNAIJA, sagging, Face-Painting, crazy-trousers-wearing, public exposure of private body parts and the likes, are the real habits and ways of life. Additionally, Tuface, Phyno, Olamide, etc with their scary, awkward, irrational haircuts, dressing and hairstyles, the mostly immoral and society-debasing songs (they sing) and corrupt lifestyles are presented to, and forced down the throat of our kids as true role models. Are you a Marlian? Up Marlians!!!!! LoL 🤣. Little or no time is spent on civic, social and moral education, and integrity building.

Parents manage with their kids to pray to God and then push to God, all the responsibility of nurturing their kids, expectation being that that God (with whom all things are possible) will be the one to train the kids for them. They say “prayers controls God”! But they forget why God gave them hands, eyes, ears, mouths, brains and then sent these kids to them. The rest of the jobs is left for pastors, imams, prophets and prophetesses whose only qualifications/trainings are that they have “got called by the holy spirit” and accordingly are now Mr. Know-Alls to whom parents wholly surrender their kids and husbands easily submit their wives for prayers to uplift the family.

The story of the neglect of the Nigerian youth is an appalling story of misdirection, disorientation and mismanagement. The longtime result is a huge keg of gunpowder waiting to explode, sooner than later, unless we arrest the degeneration. Yes, the direct result is catastrophic — juvenile delinquency in a large unprecedented scale, drug abuse, unbridled immorality and propensity to do violence are now the order. The good ways of our forefathers have been turned upsidedown. And with it the society. And the halfhearted prayer and “it’s well with you” we’ve abusively turned to have made matter only much worse! As a remedy, there’s a wise suggestion that the best way to reduce or prevent juvenile delinquency is to balance tough law enforcement measures with targeted, effective and intervention initiatives. Unfortunately, Nigerian leaders don’t seem to understand this counsel. To them, buying more guns and amunition for the security agents is the only way out.

It was in the middle of all these that my namesake, Sylvester Oromoni had suddenly and unfortunately got caught up and then terminated or (as our Senate President would say it) “killed to death”. I can imagine the agonies of my namesake, Sylvester (son of Oromoni) as he was then being rushed to a hospital, shortly before he breathed his last. Imagine the pains of an innocent kid who in his quest for an education, had chosen to be not tainted by the prevailing evil consequences of a disoriented society! Sent to an untimely death for refusing to follow the evil trend that has become the in-thing in a confused society, the big question is, how do we prevent the Sylvester Oromoni scenario from reenacting? I think it would take the collective responsibility of all and sundry — governments, leaders (private and public), politicians, parents, guardians, teachers, and all. Are we ready to turn over a new leaf in order to train the youth, our only hope and materials for tomorrow’s purposeful leadership? Or, shall we continue in sin in the hope that grace may abound? The choice is ours– either to make our tomorrow safe by keeping our today’s kids ethical, or to leave the fate of our children’s tomorrow in the hands of their fate. One more thing! “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it”. This great eye-opening counsel has been attributed/credited to many— Thomas Jefferson? Coleman Cox? Samuel Goldwyn? Stephen Lealock? Etc. But the message in the statement remains immutable! Prayer will not help us if we won’t work hard to make things happen. Prayer without actual work is dead ab initio.

My namesake, Sylvester (son of Oromoni), take heart, bro. Rest in peace! May God grant your parents and relatives the fortitude to cope with a situation that is irreversible. Amen .
How I wish you were not gone! How I wish you had remained here to live to the full the righteous life for which many a Sylvester is notable!
Again, rest in peace!

Respectfully,
Sylvester Udems Udemezue (08109024556; udemsyl@gmail.com)
24 December 2021.

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