Nigeria as the most populous nation in Africa has one of the largest youth population in the world with an estimate of 33,652,424 members, according to Wikipedia. Youths in developed nations have played a crucial role as pioneers of innovation and creativity that drive national development. The former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has once observed that ‘"Youths constitute Nigeria's only hope for a real future". The questions have always been: when is the future? How can the youths prepare for the future?
The future, no doubts, is now. Then how prepared are we for it? In her first special chat with our Editorial Board, Tobiloba Foluwakemi Oluleye, fondly called, ‘Tobi’, who recently joined the YoungNigerian.com, as a Senior Executive Writer, having been a regular content creator and contributor to reputable platforms like Modaq and Law Axis 360°, thinks no amount of preparation is too much. In her opinion, every position you find yourself in life prepares you for the next. So, you have to give it all and your commitment to the task in your hand at the moment must be absolute and deliberate.
Citing an instance of how she graduated as one of the best students from the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, bagging the Hon. Justice Orojo prize for Best Graduating Student in Law of Business Association and F.G. Adewole prize for Best Graduating Student in Criminal Law, the verse legal practitioner who is currently honing her skill in Lexavier Partners, a leading law firm in the country, says she saw every semester as a preparation for next. As a student she felt whatever time and resources she invested in her current semester would be useful for the next. She explains her notion for preparing for the future as working hard to surmount current challenges. Nothing prepares you so well for the future than your present challenges and your attitude towards them. When you invest so much in your today, certainly a great harvest awaits you tomorrow.
Of course, this notion does not conform exactly to the aphorism that ‘we will cross the bridge when we get there’, although in the notion lies great wisdom. Whatever you will become tomorrow starts today. Our tomorrow is a function of our today’s action and inaction. Youths think of tomorrow as a long time ahead of them which will someday come. Unfortunately, this mindset has led to less preparation and more procrastion and these are responsible for stagnation among our youths.
Tobi who has interned in famous law firms including Wole Olanipekun and Co. and Perchstone & Graeys and served as Associate at Aelex Legal practitioners and Arbitrators, observes that ‘continuous personal development is fundamental for future leadership’. The Associate of the Institute of Mortgage Brokers and Lenders, continues, ‘in your career or business aspire to reach the peak. But this will remain like any other aspiration you have had that did not materialise until you work on it on a daily basis as if your whole life depends on it’.
Nigerian youths require a mental change to occupy the driver’s seat in the economic, socio-cultural and political affairs of the country. The concept of taking responsibility and having direct involvement by way of active participation should be understood within the national context. Being a mere backup or a tool to advance not-too-good cause of the old is enough after more than fifty years of our existences an independent nation. But this is not easily achievable without sufficient knowledge of history of where our leaders failed and by drawing a clear roadmap for national progress through utter rejection and elimination of the evil of corruption, nepotism, religious bigotry, mediocrity, inequality and illiteracy that have now ingrained our national structure. More so, there is need for unity of purpose among youths regardless of any political or religious inclination.
But who is going to unite the youths? Who is going to tell them the future is now and is ready for them? Perhaps, there is no any better way of doing this. We can however contribute our individual quota in whatever way we can. All we need is to have a personal plan that will help the whole, as Tobi explains in the following words: ‘We all have a responsibility individually and collectively. As a writer, I gladly took the job of a Senior Executive Writer at YoungNigerian.com mainly as a platform to advance the cause of the youths, which I have being doing elsewhere as a Volunteer Mentor. This is an addition as I will be more involved in writing on various issues dear to me including education, career, law and lifestyle so as to educate, enlighten and engage the minds of my reading audience for a Nigeria of our dream’.
Again, what is your plan? This is a question Nigerian youths need to sincerely ask themselves. The future is bright when the youths take responsibility both individually and collectively today. We are better when we have unity of purpose.