The #30PercentOrNothing hashtag is one of the newest to flood social media in Nigeria. From what I gathered, it is a campaign initiated to ensure that Nigerian youths have 30% representation in the next political dispensation. If you do not try to dig deep into it, it appears like all other ‘agitations for representation’ a noble cause. To me however, agitations for such representation are simply proof of the agitators’ weak status. For most times, they do not ‘demand’, they simply plead for, kowtow and ultimately make due with whatever hand-out they get. Most times, as soon as the leaders of such agitations are ‘settled’ the request dies down. So clearly, I am not a fan of such agitations except if they are well modelled as demands and not requests.
The most important thing though is that such requests are made by people operating from a position of weakness. That Nigerian youths who indeed should represent a greater majority of voters in the country should engage in such demand shows the hypocrisy of it all. If what they really want is representation, then they should galvanize other youths and get them to vote in mainly youths. So in all clarity,#30PercentOrNothing comes clothed fully as simply a political machination of some youths to seek a way into some government appointments with the view to enriching themselves or gaining political currency. It is in this vein simply individualistic. It is not a demand for the good of Nigerian youths, it is a symbolic representation of what majority of Nigerian youths are: a generation sculpted almost perfectly in the image of our corrupt fathers. Except that we may turn out worse.
This is a generation that hungers after material things more than anything else. What sells mostly among Nigerian youths is materialism. Forget about intellectualism, it is not really lauded here. Both genders are in a fierce scuffle to see who best displays how much material possession they have gathered. A journey through social media will eloquently testify to this. Post intellectual things or a picture of a book, and see how much nobody is moved. But once pictures of material things or lousy opinions about material or irrelevant things are posted, Nigerian youths trip all over themselves, trying to outdo each other with comments and sharing of such things. This is what they are good at; it is the soul of their existence. The exceptions are only but a few.
This is a generation that would rather spend hundreds of thousands in purchase of expensive mobile telephones than buy books that can help shape their future or make them better. Granted that most of the telecommunication devices have applications that can help with studying, but what you mostly find purchased or downloaded are the applications that entertain rather than educate. This is a generation that has become so lazy that suddenly the possessive pronoun ‘your’ has taken over the second person pronoun and verb combination ‘you are'(or you’re). This is a generation that basks mainly in emptiness of the brain and an uncanny desire for material riches. And this is the generation that is demanding for #30PercentOrNothing?
Considering this generation’s focus then, it is of little wonder that a few among them has come up with this strategy to satisfy their own desire for material riches. Make no mistakes, the clamour is not for the totality of the youths. And when the few protagonists of this ‘request’ finally get ‘settled'(the plan is to make as much noise as possible and get old politicians’ attention so that they will use the platform to deliver the votes of youths to the older generation of politicians and then then get compensated with political appointments and/or contracts),trust me, Nigerian youths will be too lazy to even notice that they have been used. They will simply move on. Already, information from twitter is that former vice president Atiku Abubakar has promised 50% participation for youths if elected. The drumming is beginning to heat up.
I look at this generation and I cannot help but feel deeply sad. I feel sad because I believe that for now, this generation is not yet ready to lead itself talk more of lead others. That is why despite having more opportunities for better education and integration with people from other parts of the world than our fathers, we are still being led like sheep by them. That is why when we are supposed to be using our superior exposure and numbers to take over the leadership of our country and forge a new future for our own children, we gather and drum like beggars for hand-outs. From all indications, we are not ready to lead and make this country better. No, not this generation. Not this generation of youths whom majority know nothing about their rights. Not this generation of youths who sacrifice a bright future in service to octogenarians whose grip on the country keeps choking her. Not this generation of youths whose dreams are primarily hinged on a full stomach and some extra to flaunt as a mark of achievement. Not this lazy generation that cannot differentiate between “your” and “you are” (or you’re).
Give me a better Nigeria, I demand, but do not hand me over to this generation whose majority are worse models of our present leadership. No, not this generation…at least, not yet.