According to the 3rd-7th lines of the second stanza of the Nigeria national anthem, which reads ‘guide our leaders right, help our youths the truth to know, in love and honesty to grow, and living just and true, great lofty heights attain’, the youths are being relied upon to bring about all-round growth and development to our nation Nigeria.
As it is widely said and believed from time immemorial, that youths are the leaders of tomorrow, so are we youths expected to live up to this great task that had been hanged round our necks so that the efficient labour of our heroes past will not be in vain. As a Yoruba adage goes, ‘a custom that is being emphasized in a community must be brought into the full knowledge of the younger ones as time goes on, so that such custom will not go into extinction after the elderlies have gone to join their ancestors’.
The course of leadership as learnt, understood and interpreted by our heroes past is the type in which the philosophy rests on followership, meaning that a good leader is such a person that closely follows his/her subordinates or followers or the masses in virtually all their areas of lives with a view to ensuring that the felt needs of such followers are identified and addressed accordingly for the benefit of the populace.
It is a pity nowadays as we observe the kind of leadership that is being experienced in our nation. A form of leadership in which we find it very hard to interpret and give meaningful interpretation and conclusion to, is what is being observed in several facets of Nigeria as contrary to what we heard and read about our heroes of blessed memories.
The government of Nigeria at the federal, state and local government levels had tried their best possible towards ensuring the growth and development of leadership at every facet so that the nation Nigeria can be a suitable place to dwell for both young and old, citizens and non-citizens, but with little or no tangible success recorded.
Roles of Nigerian Youths
The government of Nigeria in her wisdom had at one point or the other packaged various programmes with a view to promoting national development, enlightening, empowering, promoting the national consciousness of youths and integrating the Nigeria learned youths into the nation’s working population, to enable us become leaders with a vision of attaining unimaginable heights of development in our quest for a greater and better Nigeria.
Drawing from the first line of the first stanza of the National Youth Service Corps anthem, ‘Youths obey the clarion call’, it is of utmost importance for all Nigerian youths to heed this call unto national development by carefully and actively playing our positive roles, so that our aspiration for a better Nigeria can be achieved.
Some of these vital roles are:
Rebranding ourselves into a quintessential leader that we hope to see in our nation: this means that we need to lead by example and ensure that our behaviours and decisions are based on national interest and developing national unity, as coined by late Professor Dora Akunyili of blessed memory.
Patriotism to the nation within and outside Nigeria: the Nigerian youths need to exhibit the act of patriotism to the country in every of our talks, thoughts and doings, without compromising.
Capacity building: Building our capacity should be part of our continuous heart cry. Adequately building our capacity in the needed areas will make us to be relevant in the scheme of things and ultimately empowers us to intellectually lend unto our society, to achieve greater heights. This means that the quest for leadership development and aspiration for a greater Nigeria begins with us.
Re-orienting the people: Nigerian youths must make the citizens to know that development is a process through which people become aware of their capabilities, acquire knowledge and working collectively to meet their abstract needs such as self-respect, self-confidence, good leadership and self-reliance, and become collective in a social, economic and political interaction for positive change in their society. In other words, people work to develop themselves so as to fulfill the vision of good leadership and aspiration of a greater Nigeria.
Objectivity in the motive of leadership must be a watchword for every youth in positions of authority and decision making, coupled with maximizing our youthful energies to the fullest in a very legitimate way. These attributes will make the older generations to entrust the future of our nation into our hands.
Selflessness in every service: Selflessness which is popularly known as the antidote to corruption, bribery, and selfishness should be a distinguishing factor that distinguishes Nigerian youths in each of our societies. This characteristic on its own has the potential of creating and replicating in the citizens the act of selflessness each because the growth and development that will be experienced will be visible to the blind and audible to the deaf.
According to late Professor Chinua Achebe of blessed memory, ‘things can only fall apart if its center cannot hold’, therefore it is the duty of every Nigerian youth to enhance leadership development and take Nigeria to the aspired greater height as spelt out in the concluding lines of the second stanza of our national anthem, ‘great lofty height attain, to build a nation where peace and justice shall reign’.
God bless Nigeria and the youth of this great nation!