Thoughts go out to all the lives lost in the #EndSARS protests across Nigeria…
The advent of the Internet thought us that the way humanity models development; behavior; life; governance; productivity; resource sharing and development has changed forever. Alas, “Can you see what I saw? Are we experiencing phase 2 of the “Wasted Generation”? How do we resolve and re-engineer the broken dreams of Nigerian Youth?
Depending on the angle of the lens of the viewer, technology is here to take over. Usually, the mirror tells many stories at the same time. Some aspects are persuasive; some illusionary; myopic and/or confusing. But all the same, it remains a story of life; reminding us that as we lay our bed, so we sleep on it.
Today, a new story of Nigeria is unfolding amidst a cacophony engulfed in many smokescreens devoid of concrete interpretation. Narratives of spectacular incidents are often laced with variables of ambiguity; inviting a freefall of interpretations with consequences. Here we go again. A popular maxim common in our clime often delivers the complex narratives begging for deep and clear interpretation and answer. Is the nation in a state of development crisis? Unanimously, the voice is Yes!
Now, it has become imperative on us all to divulge how and when the crisis began. This will enable us to navigate the ocean of our challenges and come up clean with clear-sighted solutions; especially now that technology and digitization have become critical players in the mathematical equation of life and sustainable development.
Under Phase 1 of the wasted generation, great minds such as Professor Emeritus Wole Soyinka had many decades ago; observed and warned us on the emerging decay of values in leadership, economy and development with great impact on the youth; when he advanced the hypothesis of ‘the wasted generation’ of Nigeria. Many more rational and salient advocacies have been advanced by Gani Fawehinmi of blessed memory and other luminary patrons. However, these critical warnings were taken for granted and not heeded by the successive leadership; many of whom failed to reason and advance proactive strategies and programmes for sustainable youth development.
Meanwhile the population growth surged dramatically in the last fifty (50) years after the civil war. This abandoned responsibility cumulated into the breakdown of the value-chains for equitable nation building. Further, it fueled corruption-of-things like a wildfire in the harmattan – catapulting millions of us from poverty to penury!
Any surprises we are now seeing it unravel in the #EndSARS crises?
Critical cases in point include but not limited to the sights and sounds of the Police barracks; their uniforms and mindset – all of which are inexplicable to rational and modern governance. This accumulated deceit has ballooned larger than life and beyond a tipping point that has been continuously covered-up layer-by-layer over the past 60 years. Today, even at the pitiable face of simple but logical technologies; the more you see and the less you understand syndrome continues to haunt our nation; driving her into perpetual penury in the face of abundant opportunities and wealth; shattering all records known to human thinking faculty.
Did you see what I saw? There is a critical mass of technology missing in national agenda and actions where reasonable statistics has shown that our nation harbors over 65% youth population; where 13.1 million of them are out of school, another 21.7 million are unemployed and about 42.1million under-employed. Where is and how can we unearth the hidden paradise in Nigeria Youth? Perhaps, the Nigeria Youth is grossly misunderstood? What went wrong? Are they lazy? Are they inconsiderate and naïve? What do they really want?
Against the backdrop of the #EndSARS agitations; the current tangle of governance, technology, innovation, and Nigerian Youth needs to be addressed. This is essential to forestall deeper crisis in the future journey; perceived as a bridge too far for government and the governed. It is undeniable that we are unto a prolonged journey of exploring/understanding the broken dreams of the Youth today.
When a child perpetually runs away from home only to return at midnight to sleep and disappear first thing in the morning without greeting anyone, then things have fallen apart. And the centre is difficult to hold in a world that teaches us that ‘You only live once’. The naked truth is that minds, perceptions, and feelings are at war in our dear country where muscle economy is prioritized against science, technology, and innovation.
The Okada economy we currently operate may be absolutely an intentional strategy to create abnormal; as well as invincible lacuna to justify manipulative settings of greedy oligarchy. Fact is that the nation is visibly overwhelmed by the rapid accumulation of Data that have built up and continue to generate ‘Information Overflow’ that currently knows no bounds. A nation that cannot accurately determine her population (internally and externally) between birth and death is troubled.
Above all, the task is magnified, where fallacies are served beyond reasonable doubt in confrontation with the factor of technology-minded and passionate can-do youth innovators who foresee a dead-end in the current roadmap arguably deficient in logic and requires urgent healing. This amongst others, is our current situation. The good news is that the situation is still redeemable. In this tale of two cities, the Sociology of things has begun to manifest with such words as hoodlums, vagabond, etc. But who fathered the hoodlums and Vagabonds? Are they fatherless, motherless, and nationless? How did they emerge in such a large number in our midst? Sure, they did not drop from the sky! According to Aristotle “Poverty is the parent of revolution & crime” (384-322 BC).
I stumbled on a recent analysis titled “ANGER IN THE STREETS”, by Tony Anene making us understand that; “There’s anger in the streets of Nigeria. All is not well. The masses are beginning to bare their fangs, but this might just be a foretaste of what is to come. We have seen brazen attacks on palaces of our Royal majesties, the burning of Law Courts, Police stations and the homes of politicians, the looting of warehouses, hospitals, private businesses, factories, as well as homes of politicians. There’s a limit to what the suffering masses can take and when the time comes nobody who is well off, no matter your source of livelihood, will be safe in this environment. That is the gospel truth.
‘‘This is how revolutions start. It is usually spontaneous. No one can live in an island of affluence in a sea of abject poverty. The high fences around your homes will not protect you and your family when the streets erupt. What is going on now should therefore be overly concerning to us all. The initial #EndSARS protest against Police brutality was very well intentioned; well-coordinated and well organized. The state sponsored efforts at derailing the protest, introduced violence into the equation and things came to a head, with the Lekki toll gate massacre. The belated speech of the President has come and gone; without even a mention of the Lekki toll gate slaughter of innocent, unarmed and also defenseless youths of Nigeria. This was indeed most unfortunate and indefensible. But it shows the military mindset of our President, who lacks empathy. This glaring omission has rekindled anger in the streets.
‘‘The #EndSARS protesters, who were elitist and sophisticated in their approach have gone underground and yielded ground to the hungry and downtrodden masses, who own the streets and speak the language of the streets. There are many lessons for us all so far. We have seen the wickedness of those that govern us; who hid the Covid- 19 palliatives in warehouses while the masses are dying of hunger in the streets. We have seen our frustrated and educated youths that this nation has failed; who are in a state of hopelessness, without jobs and are daily harassed by Police (SARS) embark on peaceful protests. But are met by live bullets from the Army.’’
The preferred language we should all concentrate to learn and speak is technology, creativity and innovation languages. The world has moved on to the point of no return to analogue systems. The new credo is ‘Innovate or Perish’. The youth of the land perpetually cast their eyes into an imaginary mirror of their fatherland. But all they see is waste; hate; half-truth as well as monumental deceit; and confusion in hopelessness. All these translate to the urgent need to resolving the perpetual trauma of queueing for visas to anywhere; far away from home and at all costs. Subjected to living a life of enslavement to street trading for life spurs them to constructively dream; and find a path to escape penury; accompanied by science and technology?
They speak to reject a situation of having water and food everywhere but none to drink nor eat. Despise crossing the ferocious Sahara Desert accompanied by death as only hope. Reject to be captured, auctioned, and sold as 21st Century slaves in Libya. Rebel at crossing the Mediterranean Sea of death to Europe without a lifejacket. Loathe at being abandoned by JAMB after many result-less attempts. Questions being arrested and forever awaiting trial for wandering by day and night for inability to trade-in with 20 Naira by the men in Black – who are experts in flicking funny torchlight in their faces and finally thrown to the Shark in the nation’s deepest ocean of corruption to be mercilessly devoured or addicted to drugs in search of Yahoo-Yahoo!
There is an urgent need to engage on a national recovery dialogue; an inevitable project of the troubled mind-set of millions of Nigerian Youth who are predominantly hooked on the Internet; lured by Cybercrime as gateway to wealth. They speak technology as a new strategy for national survivability. Science and Technology can help enormously to eradicate poverty and the discontent birthed by the #EndSARS movement in the nation.
Globalization is often misunderstood, when we fail to translate it as another angle; to mean the internationalization of interests; trade and commerce in pursuit of sustainable development – guided by specific standards. However, empowered by the audacity of the Internet (ICT) as the new tool of life; the norms as well as values of the Internet have been grossly misinterpreted at the most basic levels. The Internet is here to stay; and its mission and activities will be further tested; and intensified by the demands for globalization-of-things; as well as the critical adventure of each nation; perching to controlling the human mind by harnessing life-activity data at all levels. That is the purpose of Big-data, Blockchain-related algorithm, and analytics!
For many decades, the Nigeria nation state has been dishing out mind-blowing figures of stolen money and wealth from our collective national resources. Sadly, it continues to display such outlandish data in the face of the swarming youths; many of whom are angry and hungry for food, knowledge, and visionary adventure; but experience the mirage-of-things at all development stages. Does that not constitute a significant part of the formation of the mind-set of our youth? Time to recover decades of lost grounds is now.
Hope beckons on us all. Let’s seize this chance brought about the #EndSARS movement; and make things right for future generations.