Ten Things Nigerian Youths Must Know And Do Before Thirty Years

By Young Erhiurhoro
LAGOS MAY 26TH (NEWSRANGERS)- In this paper, we shall look at or try to unravel ten hidden and important things Nigerian youths must know and also do before they get to thirty years of age. As we know from researches in Psychology and Sociology, this age from 0 to 15 is a sensitive, formative, developmental and more seriously, vulnerable stage in life. Therefore, as it is now, we assumed that we already know who a youth is and I won’t bother ourselves to consider different definitions of the term as such. However, for a brief explanation, especially for those that have myopic views of the term, let me just say few things about the term, “youth”.
The short and general definition of a youth is a person that is between the ages of 15 and 50 years. In most cases or situations, to peg or determine the actual years for a youth has generated wide and diverse arguments or views among government institutions, traditional institutions, social anthropologists, health workers and different NGOs involved in the affairs and youth development. This is why there are wide variations in the definitions of youth especially in the age bracket as the definitions given by the United Nations, African Union and the 1999 Nigerian constitution (as amended). However, in all the definitions given by these three different institutions, one thing is glaringly clear. The age limit is always between 15 and 50 years. Well, to tie all the definitions together as a bundle of sticks, let us look at the definition given by the world renowned English dictionary: Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (7th Edition). It defines the word, “youth” as the time of life when a person is young, especially the time before a child becomes an adult. The dictionary didn’t quote age bracket or limit as well.
Considering the dictionary definition, Nigerian youths are young people that have fresh blood, fresh energies and fresh brains. They are virile and energetic in every thing they do. They are like young and succulent herb with fresh and greenish leaves. But if all these are the characteristics of the Nigerian youths, then, what is the missing link? In fact, this is the reason and purpose for this colloquium. In recent times, especially in this 21st century, many Nigerian youths have channeled their fresh energies in destroying their own lives and even the lives of others in the name of civilization and globalization. Truthfully, the youths are the leaders of tomorrow in this great nation. There is no doubt about this. Isn’t in the home, church, community, government? Just name it. They are really the leaders of tomorrow. But many of these youths will even be worst leaders in their homes, communities and the Nigerian government than the dare devil, Indian Mi of Uganda of those days; considering the rate of youth delinquency in Nigeria in this present time. This is why the under listed ten important things are worth knowing to our youths in order to escape the wrath of God (eternal suffering) and that of humanity (constitutional and communal punishments) upon disobedient and stubborn youths. The ten important things you need to know and do are:
1. YOUTH KNOW YOURSELF: The Bible says, “Man know thyself!” Why is this saying or instruction? It is pertinent to say that without knowing yourself as a human being, you cannot achieve your goals, aspirations and heart desires. The earlier you know yourself, your aspirations and goals, the better for you to succeed early. Have a well defined goals that can accommodate your dreams. As a youth, you are like a person sailing on a river. You must know in the beginning of your journey where you want to anchor at the end of your journey. Else, your journey would have no destination. Know where you are coming from, where you are at the moment and where you want to go in life.
2. ACQUIRE THE RIGHT EDUCATION: In modern times, formal education is the only key that can open or dredge your little stream of aspirations and heart desires into the widest ocean of success. You must strive hard to acquire education even in the right way. I want to strongly advise you not to toil with this rare and golden educational opportunities being provided for you by the government, your parents or guardians, communities, non-government organisations (NGOs) and religious bodies. You must grab and make use of them with all your fresh energy and new blood.
3. LABOUR HARD TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS: One of the Nigerian musicians sang, “nothing comes easy.” This is a truism. You must work your way out to success. Success is not a demon spirit ( Ayerivwi or Ogbanje) that initiates people to his fold. If you want to succeed and seek world recognition in all your endeavours, then you must labour for it. The Bible says, there is time for everything. Don’t rest on the platter of gold. How many youths are still ready today to burn the midnight candle? Those that are even born with silver spoons will still labour to protect such spoons from falling off their mouths or being taken away by others.
4. HAVE A GOOD ROLE MODEL: As a youth, you must have a good role model as early as possible. A role model is a person you want to copy from. May be, not necessarily in totality but parts of his useful life. This will stand as a guide to you as you start to climb the ladder of life to make achievements. Please take note, we have both good and bad role models. Majority of today’s youths have bad people as their role models. You must desist from imitating bad people in the society. Imitate or copy what is good and which can equally promote your lives and also contribute immensely to the growth of the society despite that this age is much more corrupt, vulnerable and dangerous than the age of scorpions and lions (dreaded leaders) in our various communities and the country at large in those days. Don’t imitate bad leaders.
5. BEWARE OF DRUG ABUSE: Drug abuse is a common and a household name and a deadly monster among the youths of today. Drug abuse is the indiscriminate use of drugs without a doctor or pharmacist’s prescription. And today, the most abused “Behind-the-counter” (BTC) drugs is tramadol. Recently, the Nigerian government through NAFDAC has banned the use of codeine and according to the words of Kayode Ojewale, an industrial chemist in an article published in the Urhobo Voice newspapers of May 28, 2018 at page 12, he asked, “Codeine ban: Is tramadol next?” I seriously support those who are agitating that tramadol should be banned. I think our parents and our leaders should equally support the move. The effects of abusing tramadol according to the learned industrial chemist quoted above are, reduced breathing, seizure or convulsion, mental illness and eventual death. Therefore, our youths should desist from abusing drugs especially tramadol.
6. LIFE IS A COMPETITION: As a youth, you must know early enough that life is like a race competition and competitors always battle or struggle to win the baton at the end of the race. Today, many Nigerian youths are desperate to make wealth by every possible means especially through ritualism and fraudulent use of the social media networks e.g yahoo.com, i.e yahoo boys or girls. However, this kind of life competition is not encouraging for our youths that would be leaders of tomorrow. Life as a competition in this regard means competing to achieve your goals and aspirations in life as early as possible by following the right steps. Our youths should be industrious and enterprising in this modern age. Areas like skills acquisition in computer operations, photography, phone repairs etc and different trades like carpentry, bead-making, mechanic, fashion and design, hair dressing, mansory etc are available for those who could not excel more than the basic and secondary education level. But for those that have the prospects for higher education, certificates are your batons that you must compete for in the school.
7. OVERCOME PEER PRESSURE: We have heard much of peer pressure before now. Peer pressure is different from role modelling in that, peer pressure is a compelling or magnetic force that make young people or youths to imitate one another, either for good or bad. But on the contrary, majority of the youths are always and easily carried away with those bad behavioral attitudes like habitual smoking, drinking, prostitution, truancy, night clubbing, social media fraud etc. In fact, one of the basic purpose of this youth body as I know is to teach and train the church youths through conferences and other youth programmes to live and imitate what is good in the society. In those days, parents would instruct their children pointing to them the best attitudes of their friends or play mates in the neighborhood. Even as corrupt as the society today, there are still few disciplined youths that are ready to uphold those virtues their various families are known for. Such youths are ready to stand on the part of honesty and integrity to protect their personalities and those of their families. Therefore, bad imitators should have a change of heart by trying to imitate what is good immediately after this seminar.
8. WORK NOW THAT IT IS DAY: The Bible tells us to work now that it is day because night is coming when we will not be able to work again. Though this is a proverbial saying or an idiomatic expression but the truth is that, life has two stages: day as youth or young stage and night as adult or old stage. You must start to plan for your life now that you are young. Many people that are old now including some of our parents made some grievous mistakes when they were young which many are still regretting from today, even in their old age. The old age in this case is tentatively from 50 years and above. So therefore, our youths should start to plan for their lives now when they are still young and full of energy. They should use their fresh and succulent energies to do better things that will enable them get international recognition in their chosen career. Unfortunately, some of the young children of today that are already in SSS 3, preparing to write SSCE have not even knew or chosen the educational course or career they want to pursue at the higher level of education. This means, they are postponing the evil day. You are expected to labour while you are young and reap the fruits of your labour in old age. It is not expedient to do otherwise.
9. SAY NO TO CULTISM: This is another dreaded monster the youths must know before they get to thirty years of age. Cultism is also a household name which many of the youths have heard of or even belong as members. Members of cult groups are known as cultists and they are everywhere: schools, communities, government and even in some churches. Cultism is a criminal offence and is punishable by law. Just recently, to be precise, May 1st which many youths popularly called Marley night, over 40 irate youths described as cultists were arrested by the police in Ughelli metropolis and now sentenced to different jail terms. This is nothing than to waste precious years in prison. Responsible Christian youths cannot be involved in such evil and criminal activities. From a recent research conducted by an NGO on membership of cult groups in Nigeria, it shows that Christian youths are the highest. To protect yourself and your destiny from failure and destruction, say no to cultism.
10: SAVE FOR A RAINING DAY: This is an idiomatic expression meaning, prepare for the future or unforeseen circumstances. As a youth, you must imbibe the habit of saving even from your little pocket money. Today in Nigeria, many big and flourishing private businesses sprang up from personal savings. Even the all-popular Dangote when he granted Channels TV interview some years ago, he openly revealed that he started his business from personal savings. Then, he was a young man. Today, it baffles me beyond reasonable doubt when children of average parents and those of below average parents would be saving money to buy expensive internet-driven mobile phones when they cannot even afford to pay their school fees or buy books. Many especially girls have sold themselves out to men (prostitution) in order to get money to buy these big phones. As a child of average or below average parents, save whatever you have to secure your future by investing it in your education. Those phones will come later in your life. One thing at a time!
CONCLUSION: These ten things as briefly explained in this discourse are important if only you give them the needed attention they deserve in your life. On the other hand, if you sweep them under the carpet, you may have yourself to blame in the later part of your life. Don’t ever accuse anybody at that time as being responsible for your woes. This shall never be our portions in Jesus name! Secondly, the Nigerian government is not helping matters. The government is only adding fuel to already burning fire. The various ministries of youth and social development across the country are in comatose. There are no viable or practical policies which are being implemented to protect and secure the lives and future of our promising youths or promote youth development across the country. If there are such, then unemployment would have been drastically reduced to a manageable stage in the country by now. Painfully enough, these same youths the government or politicians abandoned to their fate, to suffer and die in penury are the same people they use in every general elections to achieve their evil political ambitions. Another general elections is coming up again in 2019, it is just a round the corner. Those of you (youths) that want to join thuggery as a high-paid profession, must stop now because our God is bitterly annoyed in heaven over the incessant killings of his people in every electoral year in Nigeria by politicians and their thugs. I want to conclude this discourse by praying that, these important ten things you have learnt today will definitely propel you to be great boys and girls both in the church and your various communities in Jesus name!
Young Erhiurhoro; Kjc,
A media reporter and a member of the Urhobo Historical Society.

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