It is often said that the greatest wealth and strength of any nation is its youth. This presupposes that the future of a nation lies in the hands of its posterity; in other words, its youth. This would also mean that the youth play a very significant role as regards the success and growth of a nation. The quality of the youth, determines the kind of future the nation will have. Therefore, if we want to ensure a bright future for our country, we first need to strengthen and empower our youth. The youths are the potential energy of any nation and society; they are the powerhouse and storehouse of infinite energy. They are the pride of the nation; they bring laurels to their country. All these lay great emphasis on the role in which the youth play in the development of any nation.
Having briefly seen the importance of the youth to a nation, it is pertinent to note that the various problems or issues facing our country, Nigeria, today is as a result of the intentional exclusion of youths from running the affairs of the country. And the youth, on their own part, have maliciously taken a negative advantage of this situation: they use it as an excuse to commit various atrocities which is detrimental to the unity and development of our beloved country, Nigeria.
Before I proceed to the discussion of this piece of intellectual intercourse and educative romance, it is imperative for us to pause for a while and consider the meaning of the two keywords, “change” and “vanguard”. According to Encarta dictionary, the word “change” means “to become” or “make different”. On the other hand, “vanguard” means “leading position or people”. This implies that the idea of youth as vanguard of change should impel us to think about the Youth, Taking and Handling a Leading Role in Fostering Positive Change in Nigeria. It is also good to note that change can be seen from two perspectives; viz, positive and negative change.
Youths are, undoubtedly, the future of tomorrow. This implies that they are the link between yesterday, today and tomorrow. Their behavior in the society, today, will be the major treasure that will make the life of man simpler, easier and more peaceful towards moral, physical and celestial prosperity. To have a better tomorrow we ought to plan for it today. Nigerian youths are called to be agents of positive change. How do they, in fact, how do we (as I am surely part of this group) achieve this aim or how can we be effective Vanguard of change in a country like Nigeria so enmeshed with corruption and other vices?
The answer is that we, as youths, ought to, first and foremost, become agents of change to our own selves before considering others. It is said that “societal conversion starts with personal conversion”. It was Gandhi who posited,
“If you change yourself you will change your world. If you change how you think then you will change how you feel and what actions you take. And so the world around you will change. Not only because you are now viewing your environment through new lenses of thoughts and emotions but also because the change within can allow you to take action in ways you wouldn’t have – or maybe even have thought about – while stuck in your old thought patterns”.
Taking a cue from what this great Indian nationalist posited, for Nigerian youths to be effective vanguards of change, we should be the change we desire to see in our country. But how can we achieve this?
We can achieve this by being not only agents of change but agents of peace. It is a time for us to arise and say NO to corruption and evil. It is a clarion call for us to raise our voice that it may be heard; a call for us to call a spade a spade. It is time for us to say NO to those politicians who use us to achieve their innate desire to ascend the political seats and desert us. It is time for us to BOLDLY reject all forms of post-modern slavery whereby the youth are being used to perpetrate evil and mayhem just for a small amount of money that will be callously spent, and such a person would surely be left in perpetual poverty and misery. It is time for the youth to unite and keep our ethnic, social, and religious difference aside, then we will join our voices and say NO TO EVIL and marginalization. It is an awakening call for us to rise up and be VANGUARD OF CHANGE.
In conclusion, I will love to end with the words of Mr. Peter Obi (former Governor of Anambra state), “the society we abuse today will take revenge on our children in the future”. With this I strongly admonish my fellow youth that we should be preachers of change and also the Vanguard of change in our beloved country, Nigeria.
About the Author
Ogbete Chukwuebuka Kingsley
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