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DYING DREAMS…AGONY OF A NIGERIAN YOUTH

The Nigerian Dream remains Herculean…


I woke up this very creepy morning around 4:30am and the first thing I could think about was the sorry state of our nation and how it has had a rebound effect on the youths. Even the stars could attest to that as they failed to shine. Scribbling this piece was the best option I had before it all exploded in me. In time past, as far back as the early 90’s, when a bottle of coke was still sold for N 1.50k and a bag of cement was probably less than N100, I was still the very young, intelligent primary school dreamer and anytime I fantasized on what my future would be like, I would pray to grow up very quickly. My first love was music, how that came to be, I couldn’t tell but I had a very famous artiste for a grandfather who made so much millions back in the 80’s, so it was probably runs in the blood. Even when I knew I didn’t have a great voice back then, I was never deterred as I secretly nurtured the dream hoping that someday I was going to be as great as my grandfather. I often lied of wanting to be a Surgeon though, since virtually all of my siblings and friends were either going to be a Doctor, Barrister, Engineer, Pilot and what have you. With those dreams still filled in my eyes, I set out on a journey to make them come true….and then I met my stumbling block….Nigeria!….Oh, still trying wondering how that is, right? Let me shed some light.
Where my calamity began and my dreams began to evaporate was when I unknowingly chose to be a science student rather than pursuing arts, no thanks to the lack of guidance and counseling from the appropriate quarters. When I finally took the decision en route my S.S.1 session, it didn’t take me one more session to realize I was stuck and doomed. But that part was still within reach as I often heard back then that a whole lot students actually switch to the course of their choice finally after gaining admission into the University. So I felt it wasn’t such a bad idea to wait for the right time to come.
If I had been told beforehand that I was going to meet an unlikely enemy here in my country that would tune and turn my life around, I would probably have stopped schooling and taken the next available bus to neighbouring Ghana. I am still very sure we are all familiar with the scary name that haunted and tormented most of us as youths of this generation. It’s no other than J.A.M.B, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, they called it then. And you can imagine my pain when after passing my W.A.E.C examinations with four distinctions and five credits; I was forced by that demonic parastatus to sit put at home for three good years without consideration. When my pains was getting very unbearable, I jumped eagerly at the opportunity of getting into a School of Agriculture for an uncertain Pre-degree program on one condition, pass or go become a road side mechanic apprentice, I remember my mum saying out of frustration.
After I had finally gained admission as a full student, to study the best option available at my disposal which was Chemistry, I knew I had almost certainly kissed my dream goodbye since it was practically impossible for me to have a change of course in a school of Agriculture. I still forged ahead though, with the hope of a better tomorrow as a Chemist. It didn’t take me long to figure out that my country’s leaders had little or nothing to offer its graduates, particularly in the Sciences. The easiest and most possible option available for me as a Chemistry degree holder, in a land where innovations were practically irrelevant, was teaching. “Me, teach, never!!!”, I often bragged back then in school but that became my next calling when I left to undergo the most miserable government initiative, N.Y.S.C, as I was posted to serve in Kaduna after graduation. My God! I had the most terrible times of my life in the North and took bad memories along which was even far from just the insecurity we are familiar with. I was forced into a school by all means possible without any consideration of what my life would become. Back then I used to hear that some people don’t even come down to Nigeria to partake in NYSC before their certificates are sent to them, while some others even had the option of placing themselves in very important government parastatus, banks and oil companies where they were sure to be retained and start life with bumper salary packages. The funniest I heard was that a certain English graduate was posted to an oil company while a Petroleum Engineering graduate was posted to teach in the military barracks. It was about who you know, and since I didn’t know anyone, I was one of the few that had a horrific time.
Finally after struggling through service, we were all left in the dark to find out bearing without a compass. Some became entrepreneurs, some got jobs in great companies, some struggled in small companies with a salary barely enough to rent a room apartment, some still sitting languish at home hoping for a miracle, while some others simply resorted to cybercrimes, toutism or even robbery out of frustration and greed. It all boiled down to the insensitive and careless nature of our leaders whose kids are abroad and having the best of education with either jobs or political appointments awaiting them. Those kids hardly even feel any pain or struggle to get to the top which has now become their birthright. Yet others labour continuously in vain for this country only to be shoved aside like old rags while those at the top continually embezzle funds that are meant for all of us. Someone once said that if the Federal Government of Nigeria was to give all youths between the ages of 18-35 a laptop, it wouldn’t even shake Nigeria’s reserves. That money can be embezzled by just one person in government in one day and he/she would still go scot free.
You guys at the top honestly need to have a rethink about your carefree attitude towards Nigerian youths and how you have had their future shattered by your corrupt and inconsiderable ways. No wonder most of Nigerian youths have indulged in crime all around the world. Most youths are simply following the examples you have all set for them. Yet what you quickly forget is that the luxury life you crave and love so much could be ended abruptly by one of these youths who out of frustration, have turned to robbery for solace. Remember, you guys always had it good during your time, so why the sudden selfishness. Remember all the goodies you received back then after graduation from the government? So why then do you all choose to fail us? It’s very clear that your generation is a failing one, but nonetheless, redemption is still relatively possible. You all started it and you can also end it all. To the President, I urge you to find a lasting solution to the problems facing youths in this country or stand the risk of facing the strong rebellion sweeping past the Middle East and North Africa. I can assure that if such is allowed to happen, then Nigeria would never remain the same no more. Nigeria can be great again….

Oyewoga Olukorede is a young bonafide citizen of Nigeria who writes, blogs, also a activist and an anti-corruption campaigner. Olukorede resides in Lagos

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