A Failed Youth: A burning Nation

4:21 PM

I sit in my Taxify, irate and perturbed, Iyana Ipaja has to be one of the places I would have found myself if not for my producer friend who rented my camera for a shoot. Don’t get me wrong; It’s not the suburb that puts me off, it’s the activities of dreaded SARS who overtime have set a legacy of operating without checks. The fear of SARS for a young entrepreneur as I, is truly the beginning of wisdom. Almost simultaneously, I see people scurring away, hurrying off and I could sense panic in the air. I say a short SARS avoidance prayer even though I’m a law abiding Citizen. You can’t be too careful around these overzealous ones, I quickly add a no traffic prayer as the roads are terrible and its rush hour.
Soon my phone goes off.

5: 42 PM
Ninety minutes and counting in traffic, at least the SARS prayer actualized, but I was given to sadness. I hate situations that I cannot control. As I sat back sighing and cursing away, I realised my Taxify charges are sky rocketing. Who did I offend today? I wondered. I asked the driver to switch on the radio maybe it would abate my worry or probably find out what exactly the cause of the traffic is.

6:43 PM

I’m not surprised my kind of songs were played back to back making me realise it’s Throwback Thursday. At least Psquare’s ‘No one like you’ for the pain. This bundle of Joy was ended abruptly with traffic report! Everywhere is blocked? How come? VI, Naval dockyard, Ikeja, Oshodi… Everywhere!

My mouth dropped open as I listen to the horrible cause of the traffic- an inferno at Berger, Lagos. The OAP was quick to state it’s cause as the music resumed. This time, the song couldn’t pacify me. I’m almost home.


I hurriedly check twitter as soon as my phone comes on. So much carnage, yet only nine casualties recorded. I wondered how over 60 cars got caught in the inferno and just nine were recorded dead. Unbelievable! The truth did not hide for long as I started seeing more pictures, videos and statements with proofs-multiple burns and deaths including a whole school bus occupied by children.

I struggled to maintain my stance as the realisation hits me. I began to ask myself pertinent questions;
Where did we go wrong? Why are all these happening? All these could be avoided! Every single one of them!

Our problem is not entirely bad leadership or corruption, our leaders think they know and this is the basis of all our problems in this country. The illusion of knowledge they think they possess have prevented them from being taught or learning how to successfully rule. What is so hard in ruling a country is the feedback we get and they end up messing democracy every single time. We see the same pattern- Stomach infrastructure. Give them rice and pep talk-enter power and blame everyone but yourself- do plastic projects to improve portfolio- identify the youth leaders and give them bribes- run for second term…Goodness! This works everytime!

Really, I wouldnt blame them because this has proven to be a winning formula everytime. Contrary to unpopular belief that the masses are to blame, I rather not to play that card. Lets look at it this way: With two major political parties across Nigeria we can successfully boast of Buhari and Atiku. I mean these are the options that we have been given! You are probably thinking there are more political parties with youths and other viable candidates, but lets be truthful to ourselves; how easy is it to break the godfatherism system of politics? I personally think it can be broken if we can stand as one and start a revolution. A friend of mine recently got back to the country amidst my warnings and after a while he began complaining about everything, even more rigorously than I ever did. He proceeded to tell me about the revolution in his country Ukraine. I was amused at how people stood up to the government in unity, bravely facing armored tanks and all. A more fascinating story was that of the young man who even gave Klitcsco a punch in the face! And we all know who Klitsco was and is! This is how badly these guys wanted a betterment for their country. This brings me back to the youths- we are too scared and definitely too disunited! That is why I will share the blame on the youth leaders and the youth leaders alone! And of course i will call names!

I know a lot of people will call them heroes and all for their exploits in removing an incumbent government and arguably winning multiple elections for presidents across the continent; but I simply put these questions to the likes of Debola Williams, Omojuwa, Desmond Elliot and co…these ones who have been opportune to go before us; why do you not rally around and endorse one youth candidate? What time exactly are you waiting for to stop acting like statesmen and lead the opposition? Is it because you have nothing to gain from the likes of Moghalu and Sowore? Or is it because it wasn’t you who started the movement and you wouldn’t get the glory you so desire? If I remember well you brought the current Government to power, and I cannot recall you apologizing to Nigerian Youths whom you sold out for it! How could you not recognize the power you hold in your hands? How have you failed to utilize the followership that you control? How could you claim a statemanship status at such age after helping a clueless government to come in power? I laugh at you people because we shall remember you! For what you failed to do! For the mantle you refused to take up! For the part you failed to play!

My heart is heavy for Nigeria and I pray the families of all affected in the mishaps around the country receive the fortitude to bear their loss…but for how long? How long do we keep praying?

The greatest enemy of knowledge isn’t ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge- Daniel Boorstin

Edited by Yetunde Fadeyi


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