A Lucky President Or A Lazy Generation?

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Presidency Reveals When Buhari Will Travel To U.S.

A Lucky President Or A Lazy Generation?, By Kenneth Amaeshi

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In Greek mythology, luck and destiny are inextricably intertwined. The lucky one is not so because of his or her own dexterity, but only exhibits the fatality of fate. As such, life and living become a theatre where humans perform to the attentive gaze of the gods. In other words, destiny is not negotiated but predestined. Predestination has remained a core characteristic of many faiths. In most instances, however, it is believed that luck only meets the prepared.

This piece was written by Kenneth Amaeshi. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

When President Goodluck Jonathan took over from President Yar’adua, some people saw the future and prophesied that President Jonathan had a golden opportunity to write his name in gold or on sand. From the look of things, and disappointment of many, he became the ill-fated product of luck and chose to write his name on sand instead. The trail of corruption tales, which has accompanied his presidency infamously, tells the story magnificently and eloquently.

President Jonathan is now the past and President Buhari is the present. But is the latter the new bastion of hopeful luck or an unlucky extension of a series of fated disasters – i.e. a gross disappointment in waiting? The taste of the pudding is, obviously, in the eating, as they say.

Despite the enormous goodwill that accompanied President Buhari in the wake of his regime in 2015, he seems to be losing a significant dose of this as he progresses. Some people, rightly or wrongly, now see him as a controversial and divisive personality. His occasional gaffes, unfortunately, do not appear to help matters.

The overwhelming symbolic, but shambolic, outcry that has followed his latest gaffe about lazy Nigerian youth, in particular, is quintessentially inglorious and opprobrious. The youth have spoken loud and clear. They do not think that description fits them. They do not recognise it. They rather see some generations before them wallowing in wanton depths of laziness, orchestrated by a false sense of self, enormous sense of unpatriotism, greed, self-centeredness, and self-delusion. They remember a generation that fed fat on Nigeria – a generation that enjoyed free education and was lavishly pampered whilst in university; a generation that thrived when Nigeria didn’t know what to do with money.

Today’s disappointed youth are mainly the proverbial millennials – i.e. those born in the 80s. They appear to have seen and lived the worst of Nigeria – from poor education, extremely dangerous governance, terribly weak institutions, epileptic power supply, to dismal public infrastructure, and social decay. What’s left? They have witnessed it all and have nothing tremendous to lose. They seem to typify the saying: He that’s down needs fear no fall. “Bring it on!” they seem to say.

Notwithstanding the only sad reality of Nigeria they know, they have come to brace up to it with unfathomable courage and resilience. What options are before them, anyway? Some take to trekking to Europe through the tortuous and tedious Libya, while others embrace the resilience of entrepreneurship in whatever form it presents and comes – the bad, ugly, and good. Man must wack, after all! This is exactly the landmine President Buhari has inadvertently walked into – a volcano of anger in waiting for rupture and consummation.

As if Nigerians are not already saturated with divisive antics, President Buhari seems to have unwittingly ushered in a new genre of divisive identity – i.e. generations – through his alleged careless characterisation of the Nigerian youth as lazy. The millennials have seized the opportunity to bitterly and harshly castigate and denigrate the generations before them. Whilst divisions along ethnic and religious routes are very common faultlines and are yet to run their full course, the division along generations is an unwelcome, unwanted, and outrageous socio-political addition to the conundrum Nigeria has unfortunately become.

From the look of things, it seems pitting one generation against the other can be a smart way of keeping Nigerians busy and distracting them from holding the government of the day to account, which is very important.

It is obvious that power is a game of rhetoric. It is enabled and constrained by language. Those who understand this tend to make very good use of it. The Nigerian youth shouldn’t fall for this grand gimmick. It needs to be said and recognised that the post-independence generations are all victims of a pathologically criminal class which has mastered the paradoxical and contradictory art of appearing and disappearing, as well as doing something and nothing, at the same time. Pitching one generation against the other is, therefore, only an extension of the already existent polarisations along ethnic and religious lines, which have not tremendously moved Nigeria forward.

The youth should not fall prey to this latest gimmick of division. They should rather see through the falsity of this lazy way of thinking and strive towards holding the government accountable to its many promises. They should shun the temptation to be distracted or disillusioned. They should not allow themselves to be pushed into despondency or an unnecessary generational war. They should rather pay attention to the class war exacerbated by high inequality and pernicious inequity embedded in the system that tries to frustrate them.

Unsurprisingly, no generation is homogenous. There are always winners and losers in any generation. It doesn’t take any wizardry to come to this realisation. The youth should focus on this social lopsidedness to reclaim what’s their right and responsibility. Marginalisation is a tool with which the elites dominate and impoverish others. It is not in short supply in Nigeria. It comes in various shades – from outdated quota system to the glorification of the rich created out of prebendalism and outright roguery.

The youth should rise above the charade of power-hungry leadership and role models, and explore how they can build meaningful bridges across generations, ethnic groups, and religions; for Nigeria is truly ours, and Nigeria we serve!

Shine your eyes!! A word is enough for the wise, as they say.

Kenneth Amaeshi is a policy analyst. He holds a PhD in political economy and international business and is a full professor at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom. He tweets @kenamaeshi.

This piece was written by Kenneth Amaeshi. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.



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