Dear Nigerian youths of this generation, don’t be a youth forever #YouthDay #IYD2015

Dear Nigerian youths of this generation, don’t be a youth forever.

It is okay to be youthful into our 90s and 120 years [if Jesus tarries]. BUT please don’t at age 45 years old claim to be a forever-young who would not step aside for the younger generation.

Don’t be a youth forever– don’t hustle seats with the 15-25years old at the state parliament or whatever parliament you find yourself.

For those of us who have been blessed, please let us be a blessing to other young people around us. Give a lift when you can. Like the advice I was once given in my early twenties: when you stumble on a conference or empowerment trainings for teens and those in early twenties, be kind enough to share it with those age-groups as oppose to lobbying for the organisers to adjust the age to fit your class.

Naija can like to push us to the wall eh… but please let this be your inspiration to become a partner in development instead of allowing the country push you to baby-position forever.

Give the younger generation a space to shine. Help them find their paths to represent us at global level. I once felt ashamed attending a global youth conference and when it was time to introduce ourselves, while myself and most participants from Global South were mostly in our early twenties, participants from Global North were mostly in their early or late teens. I know our stories are different. Their society cannot be compared with ours. The opportunities they receive in their childhood is what we are handed down over here in our early teens or adulthood.

But the story is changing of course.

We have a new generation of children/young people like Zuriel Oduwole speaking up and taking the lead. We have others like David Atilola, Peace Ofure Adamson, Grace Ojima Noah and a longer list I am yet to meet, all spread across different parts of Nigeria, with different background, rising up to leadership in their own space. Partnering with these new energy and passionate voices can increase our momentum to change Nigeria, Africa and build a future that we want.

So you want to change Nigeria/Africa? You can start by with personal development– enhance your skills– strive to be a better leader and problem-solver. Yesterday’s challenges cannot be solved with the same mindset that co-created them.

Nigeria, like most parts of Africa, has a very young population, we can get to harness the energy this group brings to tackle different challenges by providing more opportunities for engagement at both local and national level.

This means, older leaders at all levels should begin to see the youth as partners in development as oppose to recipient of development. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should not just be another sexy focus– bring it home, engage young people to address the issues raised, better than you did when they were MDGs.

I’m very optimistic that our generation has what it takes to “create” a world that we want. It might take time and a lot of energy tackling hands-down challenges of previous generation.

But with more collaboration and accountable leadership, we’ll get there.

Happy International Youth Day to all the youths in my generation, especially those who have been able to achieve much with no loaf or half a loaf. Some are now owners of international Bakeries. I see you– we inspire one another.

Let’s keep faith alive. Let’s keep working together.


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