by Enyioma O. Madubuike
There is something ominous about the current generation of educated Nigerian Youth. There is a brewing tension in the sinews of our collective thought that cannot but be dangerous in its portents.
Ours is a generation that was raised under strict moral codes of respect for elders, courtesy, and patience. Yet it seems this generation of Nigerian youth is jettisoning those very codes. We have no time for patience and no grace for courtesy. We will rather go out and take what we want than wait for the validation of our elders. We will not take the smallest meat from the pot if that is not what we want. We are an impatient generation.
It is becoming apparent that more Nigerian youths are choosing paths that stray far from what our fathers would have envisaged. Indeed, it seems like we have failed to outgrow that typical rebellion associated with teenage years and early adulthood. We have dragged our recalcitrance into full adulthood.
From my good friend Bolu, a brilliant law graduate who decided even to my surprise to start a music production outfit, to Iyke who will rather hone his “ethical hacking” skills than seek another degree, we are continually on a path of conflict with the older generation about the paths our lives should take.
But our fathers should not be surprised.
We were brought up to defer to authority, to keep quiet when spoken to. To bear rebuke quietly no matter how unjust it felt. But even though we did not speak, we whimpered. Even though we nodded our heads our brains swarmed with questions and because we dared not speak back, our questions were left unanswered.
The questions that sat in our minds: You say respect authority, is that not why we have leaders who think they can get away with everything? You say your days were happier days so what happened between that time and now? You say you want me to be like you but what if I don’t want to end up like you? But we dared not speak back to our elders so our questions were left to brew.
Yet, it must be noted that this growing attitude is not an attempt to disrespect our parents. It is the evidence that we disagreed with them all along. We love what they gave us, but we do not accept all of it. We never did but we could not say. So now we show it.
We show it by dropping our certificates on their tables (since that is what they wanted) and pursuing interests like photography, art, software designing and baking. We show it by the way we pick our spouses and raise our own children. We show it by the way we go out to get what we want instead of following well written scripts. We show it by testing the boundaries of our professions and our by our forays into criminality.
Yet, in all truth our actions are not all borne of naked rebellion. They were forced on us. Our actions are borne out of the reality that we cannot follow the paths our parents followed if we truly desire change. We realize that if we truly want change, we must think differently. We have no idea how to go but we would rather be pioneers than settle in the safety of already tested waters especially as in our case, the tested waters are no longer safe. By showing us the values that brought them this far, our parents have given us a hint as to how not to end up like them. For that we will always be grateful.
We are impatient.
All around us, we see the need for change and we want to contribute to that change. We want to be part of it. We do not want it to pass by us. We realize that we are a pioneer generation in a world enlarged by globalization and shrunk at the same time by it. We want it now, please do not blame us. It is youth. We want to bring change to our lives, our families, our communities, our nation, the world and we want to do it now. We want to see the changes through our work and we do not want to wait till we are 50.
So forgive us, for in an uncertain world we choose not to believe that you have all the answers. In the chaos of our nation even you must admit that your methods haven’t entirely worked. But you have made us strong. You have taught us resilience and tolerance and we will always respect that. So as we step out into uncertainty with those values ingrained in our hearts we ask for your blessings and that you accept our stubbornness.
It is youth.
Enyioma Madubuike is a counsel in one of Africa’s foremost commercial law firms.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.