A Wasted Generation Of Youths…?

by Felix-Abrahams Obi

The symbolic importance of the Temple in Jewish history in indubitable and little wonder the Jews hold on tenaciously to Jerusalem, the cradle of Jewish spirituality. Ironically the site of the famed King Solomon’s Temple today hosts one of Islam’s most revered mosques, the Dome of the Rock. Solomon’s magnificent temple was destroyed and left in ruins after the capture of Jerusalem by the ferocious King Nebuchadnezzar who took the Jews into captivity after destroying the walls of Jerusalem and its treasures. He made profane what the Jews considered sacred and utterly revered; Babylon had no respect for the divine!

Then came King Cyrus, who turned the captivity of the Jews and decreed that resources be made available to the Jews for the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. Despite all opposition, the Jews held on doggedly and moved on to lay the foundations of the new Temple which paled Solomon’s. It was a day laden with a pot-pourri of joy and sadness; the older generation who saw the magnificence of Solomon’s Temple bowed their heads in lamentation, while the younger generation, ostensibly born under slavery in Babylon danced and rejoiced. Their noisy celebration and possible revelry drowned the howling and weeping of the elders who had no reason to rejoice. But why the elders gloat and dance at the sight a mediocre temple, and would not the youths revel in joy when they never knew of Solomon’s Temple? For them (younger generation), what mattered was the glory of the present Temple. To them, what mattered was NOW!

Such generational disconnect has never helped the progress of any nation on earth. There has to be a generational continuity of sorts for developmental ascendancy to be assured. Worse still, a generation born under slavery would readily be at home with all forms of slavery without giving a fight. Israel experienced the same dilemma in the wilderness when they implored Moses to take them back to Egypt at the threat of war and opposition from the Canaanites. To them, the perceived but short-sighted benefits of slavery outweighed the “Burden of Freedom” quoting Dr. Myles Monroe. Consequently, only Joshua and Caleb experienced freedom and stepped into the Canaan, the Promised Land, but not without a fight. Their peers became despondent and lost out for holding unto a slave mentality, but the duo carried the lamp of development to the next generation which shines bright from the hills of Palestine till date.

Events in Nigeria’s sociopolitical landscape in the past weeks (even years) have got me thinking. Has there really been a generational transition in the true sense? Have the career and arm chair politicians bequeathed any lasting values to my own generation, and would the older politicians be proud of the legacies they would leave behind when the curtain is drawn inevitably to signal their political irrelevance in Nigeria? Frankly, there is a true generational disconnect and sadly, generational lines are so blurred to say the least. The new breed politicians who should chart the new course of destiny for Nigeria are doggedly following the footsteps of their true political fathers.

Would political gladiators and sycophants like Nzeribe and others in his ilk be expected to nurture and mentor seasoned politicians statesmen that would stand out in truth and integrity, and be people-oriented? Expecting “born again politicians” from the present generation and crop of corrupt politicians would be tantamount to awarding a contract to a corrupt contractor to sink a borehole in Sahara Desert. It never would see the light of the day when such contractors cannot sink a borehole even in the mangrove swamps of Niger Delta under close scrutiny. After all, the Igbos say “ihe agwo muru bu ogologo ogologo”:the snake’s offspring would always be long!

It was with shock and disbelief that I watched the shallowness of the debates at the National Assembly during the Third Term brouhaha. Our “elected” legislators and “honourables” had problem articulating their points either in support or opposition to the third term agenda (TTA). Only a few did their presentation with candour and panache for the majority centred their premise on mere emotions and drew their conclusions from irrationality. Save for AIT that beamed the debated live, we would still retain our respect for those who occupy the “Green Dome of Abuja”.When the TTA got quashed, I had no reasons to celebrate with the opposition nor mourn with the proponents of the evil agenda. How could we waste precious legislative hours and crude oil proceeds to tease and cuddle the narcissistic tendencies of OBJ and his allies, and even the likes of Atiku and IBB who stood with the opposition?

I fear for my generation because the socio-political conditioning we are receiving leaves little to be desired. We are being brought up in an environment where due process means bribing your way to get the “right thing” done. Our generation lives amidst elders who have no political ideals or ideologies to die for but permanent political interests that must be safe guarded without recourse to universal principles of justice and equity. We have elders who would rather cuddle and gloat in frivolity while the fabric of the nation (unity, faith and justice) is torn into shreds. If we don’t have a critical mass of mentors and light bearers who would point us to the path of truth, how then are we going to steer the rudder of the nation out of this seeming albatross which our elders have plunged us by reason of their misjudgments and poor leadership orientation?

Sadly, my generation is floating in the hubris of fad and fashion, and seems to care less about what happens in the socio-political arena. We are like the “Baby Boomers” generation in the West who experienced a generational disconnect. They neither experienced the pain nor the hardship of World War II, hence charted a different course for themselves. Like the Jewish generation (who knew not Solomon’s Temple) that plunged into revelry while their elders mourned, the Baby Boomers changed the value system in America. They popularized entertainment, fad and fashion and made superstars out of men and women who had no values to bequeath to the next generation. The social ills that Americans are fighting hard to reverse may not be unconnected with the lives and times of the Baby Boomers. I fear that the same trend is being set in my Fatherland, “Obodo Naija”.

When a generation of youths and adults has no shared values to uphold, the future of that nation hangs on a tilting balance. When we live in a generation when the elders have no ancient landmarks of truth, fairness and justice to bequeath us, what would we base our confidence in and would it not be a miracle if we have anything noteworthy to hand over to our own children in a couple of years to come? Ours is a generation of “yahoo-yahoo boys” and 419 gurus who are pick pockets in the cyberworld, whereas nations are reaping greatness from the internet. We now live in an age of certificate forgery and wide scale exam malpractice supervised by the Parents and Teachers Associations in our schools. Ours is a generation when the manufacturing sector has failed to thrive, save for a few that produce beverages, alcohol, cigarettes and the like.

Ours is a generation of supermodels and pageants who catwalk the fashion-walkways to flaunt their treasures- their bodies, and not their brains. Ours is a generation that inherited a debased standard of education and enlightenment, during which our universities have turned into abattoirs and torture chambers where cultists are the “hegemoniacs”! To treat our educational malaise, the rich elders and politicians send their wards to schools abroad or the expensive private schools and universities they and their cronies had established. Now our first class products from the universities are no longer enthused by research and scholarly activities because of the allure of the good life that working in banks and the corporate world promises. Life as a scholar and intellect in univers

ities do not attract youths of my generation because of this looming disconnect occasioned by the bad example showed by our forebears and political octogenarians.

Our bad socioeconomic and political heritage notwithstanding, the current generation of Nigerians needs to do something critical to re-direct the course our nation is following. We need a reawakening and should draw inspiration from other climes and cultures where social re-engineering was orchestrated and driven by the young people whose destiny were being toyed with. We can only ensure a secured future by crafting and building a future founded upon the principles of truth and justice. We need to discard the poor work ethic and economic waste which our fathers handed over to us. We have seen flickers of creative entrepreneurship championed by our generation and the embers need to be fanned to a level where it turns into an economic and developmental revolution of sorts.Unlike Emperor Nero who cuddled while Rome burnt, we need to take up arms and fight for the survival of our dear nation. We ought to stop this wastage in our country and chart a new course which we would proudly bequeath to posterity and others coming after us.

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1 comment

Anonymous May 22, 2006 - 2:39 pm

Excellent writeup.


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