Today, I consider it a great privilege as I join other patriots and crusaders of good governance, who have utilized this platform of ING lecture Series to lend their thoughts to the continuous discourse and contributions towards the advancement of our state. Its very remarkable to me, noting the fact that am the least among the apostles of good governance. Even more remarkable is the fact that I stand to make this address as a youth in my prime. Not just a youth, but a youth from the street, who grew up thinking that success in life can be attained by following and carrying briefcase for politicians. Only to realize that the rich may end up being more richer and the “poor, poorer, losing focus and direction in their personal growth and development. You have only been mobilized as a ladder to help them climb to their aspirations and once they get there, you are disconnected from the line up.
Therefore, to comment on this topic is like writing an memo. How best can the story of the oppressed be told and understood if not by the lamentations and gnashing of teeth by the oppressed youths of Imo state.
As a student of Karl Marx , I would rather approach this discourse from the purview of marxism. From the backdrop of the topic “Use and Dump, A Political Decapitation of Imo youths, what can be done?” Permit me to subtitute the article “A” with a more definite article, “the” . By the virtue of this deconstruction of the topic, permit me to further introduce two phrases, that is ” the political” on one hand, and ” decapitation of Imo youths” on the other hand . The phrase, “the political”, is representational of the political class, those in power and those not in power, the elected and unelected political elites of our society. They are the “base” and every other thing rises and falls on them. They shape and define the superstructures of our society, what our society looks like today. They are the forces that controls the state institutions, even down to the family unit, standard of living and cost of living. they design these through legislations and policies.
The superstructures includes our culture, institutions , traditions , economy etc. The base being “the political ” determines how these institutions numerated above should function or look like. These superstructures are also interpreted as the infrastructures available in the society. By import, social amenities, employment opportunities, skill acquisition centres and programmes, conduceive business environment, interest rates, grants to SMEs and conditions of our schools, are all in their present state because that is they way “the political” class wants it to be. If our universities can no longer produce employable graduates, it means that, that is the way “the political” class has fashioned it to be.
Having successfully identified two forms or realms of our society, that is the “base” and the “superstructures”, the question now is, Where does the youths fall under?
Traditionally, Man is a political animal, Man is political in nature, I mean all man. Originally, the youths belong to “the political”, they were part of the base of our society. From the traditional institutions, the Igbo society and government had a participatory system of administration, the youths had inputs in formulation of legislations, policies and also participated in its implementations.
It will also interest you to note that in the colonial era, the majority of those who spearheaded the Political freedom and independence of Nigeria and Africa as a whole were majorly youths in their prime, in their early 30s and late 20s. Therefore, the youths at a point in time, contributed immensely to the growth and development of our state and nation Nigeria. In politics, governace. administration, military, business etc. The question now is what went wrong?
Generations after generations, those who found themselves in the corridor of power manipulated the system to their selfish advantage, in order to remain in power. Humanism was supplanted with materialism. These crop of leaders who came on board during the 3rd – 4th republic have remained in power and in control of the “base”. They successfully schemed out the new generation of youths from “the political” realm and base. This new generation of youths were decapitated. They were beheaded, incapacited and rendered useless. A new space know as the “substructure” was designed to house the youths. They now exist as attachments, peripherals to the base. This explains the reason the youth are assembled for use, during electioneering periods and immediately after election, they are abandoned like inferior commodities. The superstructures that ought to dvelope and empower the youths are rendered useless, non effective and stupid. The political class continuously attacked and devalue our cultural institutions, educational institution and economy. They successfully restructured our educational institution with a system of baggage in , baggage out. With curriculums that could hardly be useful to the youths. They prioritized religious teachings over our history. Chunning out graduates without critical minds. You see a youth after graduating from the higher intitution, becomes more confused, not knowing how or where to begin life from. So many of our youths today are afraid of life after school. That is the reason you see so many vibrant youths building their career around student unionism, they don’t want to leave the campus environment, because there is no job in the state. You see a 30 years man still answering student leader. No motivation, no direction, they have been decapited by the system. Instead of building industries that will empower the youths, they prefer to build hotels and night clubs in every nook and crannies of the state. Industries like Adapalm, Avutu Poultry, Imo Shoe Industries , etc have been destroyed and rendered useless. The tactics is just to ensure that this generation of youths remain unemployed. When they are unemployed, they are powerless, they will never have the capacity to seek leadership position, therefore, constantly dependent on “The Political” class who have been in the corridors of power since the 3rd and 4th Republic till date.
The story of the Imo youth has never been this pathetic compared to now. Day by day, the narrative is getting worse than a catch two two situation. The Imo political elites seems to have conspired to rape the future of this generation of youths, they have successfully defaced and given Imo youths a new definition and identity. A horrible identity.
If this is not a conspiracy by the political class, why would a government sack over 10,000 youths from the state civil service? Rendering many Imo youths jobless and hopeless.
If this is not a political conspiracy to render this generation useless, why would a government choose to sell off Adapalm and build Bongo Square. Everyday, when we tune in to our radio stations or log on to social media platforms, all read are news of different parties holding at Bongo square with the governor in attendance, if he not present, he is ably represented by his P.A on entertainment or other aides. For Imo State government, its all about parties and funfair, there is no attention on youth development. It has never occurred to this government that we are in the era of ICT.
Most responsible state governments are paying serious attention and empowering their youths with ICT trainings and skills. But our state government is much interested in running chains of hotels and night clubs. If we cannot build industries that can empower Imo youths, we can atleats tap into the ICT opportunities by building Imo ICT Hub, that will train Imo youths in several areas of digital skills. A minimum of two youths can be selected from each political wards of Imo State on a yearly basis, making it a total of 610 youths. These youths can be trained in several areas of digital skills and entrepreneurships opportunities.
The best among them can be absorbed into the state government media outfits annd other departments, others can also be supported with financial grants and small loans to set up their private outfits. But a more ideal scheme is to set up an ICT Corporative and channel all government ICT jobs to this corporative to handle, the corporative will also take up jobs from the private sector. Programmes like this ought to come from the Office of the Commissioner for Youths. But the Imo State Ministry for Youths and Sports is an apology today. How many of our youths even know that such a ministry exist? Conduct a questionnaire, ask Imo youths to name the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, don’t be surprised that majority of the youths will return the questionaire blank. 90% -95% don’t know who the Commissioner is , they don’t know that such a ministry exist in Imo State. Therefore, the question is who is the ministry and the commissioner serving? The worst disappoint you will get is when you type the Hon Chidi Ibe. Appointing a man that is above 50 years to serve as the commissioner for youths and sports, is like appointing a man to head the ministry for women affairs. These are all ploys to frustrate Imo youths and the sad thing is that majority of youths are yet to realize this conspiracy, they seem to be comfortable with it.
I have resisted the urge to make comments about the deceits and conspiracies of this present administration against Imo youths, but shall we keep quite that evil may avoid?
The same government that gave sack letters to over 10,000 Imo youths, reintroduced Imo Youths Must Work in 2013, I took the C.V of one of my sisters to Imo State Government House to meet a brother who comes from my Community Ihiagwa, he works in the office of the deputy governor Prince Eze Madumere. I wanted him to append his signature on the C.V and Application letter so that I can take it to the Imo State Youth Must Work Secretariat. There and then, in the same Government House, he opened up to me and was sincere to me that I should not even bother going there that its no longer functioning. The question is how many of our youths are still receiving their salaries from the State Government under the Youth Must Work Scheme? Just like a ponzi scheme, it has disappeared.
This deceit and conpiracy Its not all about the political elites who are in power, those who are not in power are also guilty of this moral crime. Many of them of have chains of businesses and industries outside Imo state, but the only business venture they have in Imo State are hotels night clubs and filling stations. Go to their communities , they barely have any social infrastructure to their credit. They can’t even recommend any youth from their community to a place where they can be admitted for their IT progmmes, talk more of recommending them to companies that would employ them after graduation.
They would rather donate 3 cows for funerals and slaughter over 5 cows during Christmas season and new year but can’t donate just 2 bags of cement for the renovation of primary school blocks in their communities. They prefer to spend millioms to higher thugs and fund cult organization so that they can use them to snatch ballot boxes and disorganize elections.
Like I stated earlier the conspiracy is to ensure that the youths remain unemployed so that they will continuously depend on the political elites. The elites have also successfully redefined the youths and created a sepreate sub structure for them. A sub structure that is only useful during election. They are of great assets during elections and immediately after elections, they become liabilities. When Imo youths are mentioned, what comes to mind is a picture of idle being, thugs, cultist, Okada riders, keke riders, ballot box snatchers and the likes. This is the narratives that has been constructed about the Imo youths and the political elites are happy about this. The will do everything possible to ensure that it remains like that, because if they should support the restoration of Imo youths, if they build our social infrastructures, the youth will be empowered. When the youths are empowered nobody will be there to snatch ballot box for them, nobody will be there to rig election for them. Therefore they must ensure the total destruction of our superstructures so that the substructures (the youths) can continously be used and dumped.
Go back yo 2011 election, there is a particular Imo youth whose motorcycle was destroyed overseeing election, where he was acting as a boot agent to his principal. The principal won the election and till date his motorcycle has not been replaced. Also notice the set of Imo youths who has been recruited by Rochas Okorocha as social media campaigners and image makers, from 2011 till date , what they could get is a motorcycle. The most shameful part of the story is they are all graduates. The truth is that those youths will never be empowered, they will still be used and dumped, then Uche Nwosu will still pick them and the story goes on. The system has been manipulated and distorted by desperate individuals to their gains and that of their family.
No society can develop without empowering and developing its youths. That is why our state has been circumventing within a circle after the exit of Sam Mbakwe. If we must developed, we must develop our youths.
We must go back to our educational institutions and ensure that they are effective and productive with curriculums that can solve the problems of the present day society. We must reintroduce technical education in our schools. I can remember back then, when GTC was what it used to be, I can count how many youths from my community that got established via the skill they learnt in the school the.
We must also continuously stress the importance of skill acquisition in our society today. Count 10 youths who were busy carrying briefcase for politicians, you may only see 2 out of the 10 who amounted to something meaningful in the state, not because the2 were the only loyal ones, no. That is how the master has designed it, some must remain dependent on his stipends. But count 10 youths who learnt a skill in their early age and you can easily identify about 8 out of them who have remained useful to their family and communities. While growing up, on of the regrets I had was not leaning a skill before going to the university.
Our schools also need to introduce general course like Literature and History to all secondary school students. It will enable them to be critical about their society and learn from literature and history how best to notice and resist bad governance.
Above all, we must seek the right individuals to govern us, we can identify these set of goof leaders by making recourse to their antecedence.
If they youths are empowerd with effective educational system and skills, they will become part of “the political” class, instead of having a 35 years youths singing political chorus for some old politicians, we shall begun to have young youths in their late 20s and early 30s seeking elective positions in he state.
For this to happen the youths must wake up to resist this conspiracy against them by the old generation. This is our generation, this is our TIME. Its TIME to rewrite the story of Imo youths. We are not to be used and dumped.
copied from one of my constituents.