Editor's note: The writer of this piece, Umar Sa’ad Hassan, admonishes the Nigerian youths to resist being used by opportunistic politicians who have capitalised on President Muhammadu Buhari's statement regarding the Nigerian youths.
WARNING: If you heard Buhari say a ‘lot of Nigerian youths’ but understood it to mean ‘all nigerian youths’ till date, you may not like this.
The edited version of President Buhari’s comments at the Commonwealth leaders meeting has become the accepted one and that is very worrying. It is the new trend on social and even regular media for young working Nigerians to jump on the fashionable #LazyNigerianYouth hashtag in a dissimulated triumph over the system. They have read and watched him say ‘a lot of Nigerian youths want to sit and do nothing’ and yet they have chosen to believe what is being sold. The average Nigerian youth is highly susceptible to the strong pull of a bandwagon mentality fuelled by social media trends and the ‘chosen’ opinions of an influential few and for the very first time, I’m starting to wonder if the youths are truly ready for leadership.
Quite honestly, the #LazyNigerianYouth movement has depicted the average youth as gullible, ignorant and willing to shut their eyes to truth just to jump on the new ‘in’ thing. How long before politicians capitalize on that to sell us another false messiah?.
Having lived almost my entire life in the northern part of Nigeria where Buhari had been paraded as a credible and honest emancipator of the masses since as far back as 2003, I have seen first hand the ills of a bandwagon mentality. It is what got us here.
Buhari was military head of state before I was born and people younger than me, when asked what about his stewardship prompted their adoration for the man, were always quick to say they learnt he was a hardworking leader with a deep love for the masses. Nothing more.
Anyone who bothered looking into the man wouldn’t be surprised at the nature of his human right violations and divisive tendencies.
A lot of Buhari’s opponents, notably Atiku Abubakar have also keyed into the à la mode interpretation of Buhari’s comments and the fact alone that a politician aspiring for office is willing to lie or adopt a blatant one obviously means we should be wary of them. It is highly sad that after all we have been through, there are Nigerians who are still swayed by politicians keying into public discontent to promote themselves.
I remember Atiku as Obasanjo’s vice-president and it would take a lot more than supporting restructuring and criticising President Buhari’s mistakes to convince me.
But personal opinion aside, Atiku has proven a shrewd politician by cashing in on the psyche of the Nigerian youth through his use of social media.He not only jumps on trending anti-Buhari topics, he is vocal in his praise of Nigerian entertainers, the entertainment industry and its huge potentials. He replies letters by celebrities and even went the extra mile to ensure everyone knew he was at Silverbird cinemas to watch the Black Panther movie. For effect, he chastised the producers for finding Sambisa forest the only reference-worthy thing about Nigeria.
He has greatly, for emphasis, GREATLY endeared himself to many young Nigerians who see him as the relatable, liberal and successful entrepreneur this country truly needs. The very same Atiku who was side by side with Obasanjo at the commencement of PDP’s demonic 16-year reign and only fell out with him because of his presidential ambition? An ambition that has driven him into a shameless journey through political parties he has had to criticise at one time or the other?.
Like President Buhari rightly pointed out, the youths make up the majority of the Nigerian population and if indeed this country will change, the youths have to change first.They must learn to resist appealing lies packaged in voguish social media trends. They must wisen up and resist being willing ‘magas’ to yahoo yahoo politicians who are ever ready to exploit their weaknesses. What is right is not right simply because the majority believe it to be. The time to wake up is now.
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