The past few months have been rather instructive for the observant and future-conscious Nigerian youth. Interesting things have happened, engendering discussions all over the new media; institutions have been queried; a sitting government has lost elections; people have become unusually conscious and bold; and it looks like NO ONE is untouchable these days! The speed with which the #ENDSARS campaign gathered momentum and attracted the attention of the police eggheads is noteworthy. The tithe debate has also awakened many people and it does not look like it’s going away any soon.
The interesting thing about these issues is that the battles are being fought intellectually and the personalities are hard to shoot at! People’s refusal to turn up for the live protest against SARS proved –not that people are weak- but that they are more comfortable with virtual wars which are essentially intellectual.
The struggle of many pastors to quieten the tithe debate also confirm to me the fact that spiritual and intellectual authoritarianism may not persevere for much longer! These are subtle signs that reveal a different generation (Mt 11:16); signs that the older generations are either fighting or ignoring, signs that we will do well to work with in changing our dear nation.
The new generation is intellectual and inquisitive; difficult to toss around but largely expressive and practical. Many are not interested in politics because they have not seen how it affects their survival and dreams but they will gladly make their opinions known on issues they feel affect their everyday lives. They are big on CSR because all they want is a relaxed and sweet world in which anyone can achieve his/her dreams. They pay more attention to Arsenal FC than the ‘Super Eagles’ because they are more global than nationalistic in their thinking! Their general lack of interest in politics makes the political classes believe they can get away with just about anything but the new media is giving them a rethink.
Political leadership in Nigeria is rather interesting; we have office holders who know a lot about politics but little about leadership; and we have the intellectuals who know a lot about leadership but very little about politics! Merging these two is the conundrum in which we find ourselves at this time. Politics and leadership are indeed similar in that they are majorly about influencing people; politics is however about getting to the top, while leadership is about getting people to the top. The Nigerian youth must learn the difference in the two terms and more importantly be well versed in the two.
My recent interactions with politicians convince me that the intellectuals are making a big mistake by staying away from governance. Millennials are especially very much exposed to trends all over the world and other nations are reaping from this generation. If the political leaders in Nigeria are not seeing this, then it is up to the generation to make their voices heard and their ideas communicated. It is vital that we move close enough –not to win elections- but to infuse our ideas and start advising value