An Open Letter to Nigerian Youth, by Professor Mojekwu – The Whistler Newspaper


Dear young Nigerians,

Wake up, wake up and wake up, you scream. Your cry comes from the heart. The practical beginning of this revival is now. Yours is a cry for the resuscitation and resurrection of the fundamental ideals that propelled our hero’s past. Now is the time for you to match their idealism with demonstrable results.

Do you know what wild wolves do to the old and crippled among them? They push them over cliffs; twice, if necessary. For them, it’s called a changing of the guard. You alone are the catalyst that will change our country. You are the messenger of a new perspective that looks back and is rooted in the ideals of the old. You are the harbinger of the best for the future of our country. It’s time for a massive, calculated effort to nurture the soul of our country. This is the moment of unity; the time of cohesion and membership. That we Nigerian citizens are distant is obvious. But things didn’t fall apart. No. Yet drift is endemic and contagious, the hydra-headed disease. One has to wonder where is the Nigeria of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Akanu Ibiam, Obafemi Awolowo, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Margaret Ekpo, Michael Okpara, Ahmadu Bello? The Nigeria that stood for activism and had fire in its belly. Where is the Nigeria of Herbert Macaulay, Alvan Ikoku, Chike Obi, Nwafor Orizu, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Ben Enwonwu, KO Mbadiwe? Nigeria representing unity. Nigeria which prepared its children, like me, to compete anywhere in the world. Where is the Nigeria of C. Odumegwu Ojukwu, Jaja Wachuku, Anthony Enahoro, Moshood Abiola, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Gani Fawehinmi? Nigeria which represented unity, cooperation and compassion. The Nigeria that stood up and leaped forward every time a citizen cried ‘help’.

It’s not Armageddon. However, we have for too long allowed modern politicians to fan the fires of tribalism for their transient personal gain, and in the process locked brother in mortal combat with brother, forcing brothers to engage in appalling fratricidal warfare. and debilitating. And where there are no differences between us, the politicians invent them with the creativity of a Machiavelli and the conscience of a religious fanatic. This is where we failed. But the truth is that the mixed blood of your compatriots that spilled on the Lekki tollbooth sidewalk on October 20, 2020 had no identifying tribal marks. The truth is that the needs are the same for children of all faiths: Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Ijaw, Bini, Kanuri, Ibibio, Oron, Tiv, Idoma, Urhobo, Itsekiri, Andoni, Ogoni, Kalabari, Efik, Igede and the rest of the 371 tribes of Nigeria.

We have lost our direction in the whirlwind of tribalism. Why do we have to waste our energy in such utter frivolity? Nigeria is bleeding to death on the altar of division, fragmentation and sectionalism. You can also add your own diagnosis to this potpourri of evil afflictions. I say there is a better way. Let’s build. As the ancient Chinese say, let’s stop complaining about the dark and light a candle. Let this famous quote popularized in the headline of this Nigerian newspaper, The Pilot, be our motto – “Show the light and the people will find the way”, she said. It is easier to destroy than to build. We are partially, but not irretrievably, destroyed, and we must rebuild. Yes, reconstruction will be difficult, but that is not an acceptable excuse for inaction. I also agree that attitude changes are the hardest to make. Of course, I didn’t make this up. This is why Maslow etched his name in history. He placed self-esteem, attitude change, and self-realization at the top of his theory of needs hierarchy. Attitudinal change is what we need most.

We can become the best by working together for the ideals of our country. It’s for the old, the young, the docile and the aggressive. Activists and pacifists are there. There is room for humans and carers. The pompous, the conservative, the liberal and all shades in between are there. So are the flamboyant and the easy. We are all in the same boat. We must leverage our variability and diversity to maximize our strength and help Nigeria realize its ideals. Let us see the good in our brothers and sisters, while closing our eyes to our faults and our iniquities.

I have watched with joy as you finally wake up and get politically engaged. Your name will be engraved on the tapestry of our nation. Your efforts will manifest in the technical functionality of our country. This trend, whether your favorite candidate wins or not, will drive us to issue-based politics, forcing politicians to deliver or perish, and encouraging well-meaning citizens to come out and serve.

Register to vote, campaign for your favorite candidate, but the victory of such a candidate is not as important as causing enough seismic activity that whoever wins feels the reverberations throughout his term . But be prepared for what’s to come. You will be asked to think like the old guard, but as George Patton said, “if everyone thinks the same, then someone doesn’t.” You’ll be asked to stick to the status quo and not lose your vote, but don’t be afraid to try someone new. As Selwyn Hughes wrote, “The world demands a uniform gray conformity, by which we are all expected to behave and be the same. If you fall below this standard you will be punished, and if you rise above Above the norm, you will be persecuted It is better to rise above the norm and be persecuted than to fall below the norm and be punished.

Go ahead in this election cycle and show your strength because the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must. As Obafemi Awolowo said, “If you allow your head to be used to crack a coconut, you may not live to eat it.” They’ve been pounding your head with that coconut for a while, and it’s time to stop them. Go ahead and take back your country!

I stand here. I staked my claim. Where is yours?


– Teacher. Eugene Chukwunonso Mojekwu (PhD), University of Illinois at Chicago


Disclaimer: This article is entirely the opinion of the author and does not represent the views of The Whistler.


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