When days like these (children’s day) come around and public holidays are declared so that the young ones can have a nice time with their families, I often see the myopic minds of our leaders because on these special days for the children, we need more than just public holidays. They are days when we need to reflect on the kind of future we have created or are supposed to have created for our children. Have you seen the dilapidated structures in which these children sit everyday and call their schools? Have you heard the kind of English that a number of these children are speaking? Do you realize that many of the teachers in the schools of these children are frustrated graduates with no forthcoming jobs and they turned to teaching as their last resort?
I remember when I was young we were consistently told that we are the leaders of tomorrow. I am just two years away from being 30 and one of those leaders who told us then that we are leaders of tomorrow still contested in the last general election in Nigeria. When asked why he was still contesting despite the fact that he had been a leader before with nearly no result to show for it, he answered by saying there is no young person who is fit to rule this country.
Just last week there was the trending news all over the social media about the soldier who was killed in the UK and that he was killed by Nigerians. My argument has no emphasis on if he was a Nigerian or not. My point is that too many Nigerians will not be thinking about going abroad to raise their children if they could see the future for their children here in Nigerian. The parents of those guys must have thought about giving them a great future. And I honestly think the reason they thought about going to give birth to them in the UK and raising them there is because they want a future for them. We still cannot deny the fact that many Nigerian parents today strongly desire the financial capacity to be able to travel abroad to give birth so that their children will be referred to as citizens. That goes a long way to show that there is nearly no future being offered to our children today.
I still know about countries in the United Arab Emirates where children only have to be born and their educational future up until their secondary or tertiary levels are guaranteed. The parents do not have to worry about the school bills and the quality of education they get is one of the best around the world. When I also think about some other countries, the children being born there already have some kind of predetermined future and the choice of making the most out of it is theirs. They know that they cannot go hungry because there is social welfare and the orphanages are so organized that they can live a modest life in there.
Now my major question is, ‘what future are we giving to our own children?’ Those children we called the leaders of tomorrow some 20 years ago are currently out of schools and they are roaming the streets with no jobs to do. Some of them are practically wasting away with their skills and qualifications. Even though we have had long standing arguments about who ought to take responsibility if the government is not being proactive, it is still a shame on the country as a whole that we have young and very vibrant set of people who can be trained to offer this country the best but we neglect them and argue over the very irrelevant issues.
Yesterday on national television, I watched shamefully how the governors of our states were disagreeing over who emerged as the chairman of the Governors’ Forum in an election that only 36 people participated in. I thought our governors were supposed to be busy fixing roads and creating jobs or fixing our schools for the children? We have to set our priorities right and get things straight.
Except by faith or connection and wealth, the average child in this country does not have any future and that s not to say that I am being pessimistic. It is what we have seen over the years and is still happening today. We find our leaders fighting over money or stealing for their own children while telling the children of the other people on the streets that they are the leaders of tomorrow. Who is fooling who?
Let us fix this nation because that is the only way these children have a future! Then we can tell them they are the leaders of tomorrow.
Fola Daniel Adelesi
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