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Russel Oyakhire: When It’s Wrong To Be Young



I was bullied recently, and by an older man. He usurped my position in the queue. I couldn’t let it fly, so I confronted him. Instead of retreat he began an oration, making it crystal clear to me how much older he is than I am; how he was mature and I was not. He climaxed with. “You don’t have proper-home-training”.

My stomach burned, it was like drinking hot ‘akamu’ but forgetting to follow the standard protocol of breathing fervently onto each spoonful before swallowing. I shot one last glare at him but I didn’t fight back, instead I gave up my spot out of shame: the old man was ready to embarrass himself; I was not. But it struck me at how he had believed he was mature just because he was older. That he was right because he was bald, that he was wise just because he was born before I was. There was a finality in his tone. And the hall supported him with their silence, no one dared questioned his assault. He was older, I was younger; I had to be wrong.

I remember dreading visits to my Course Adviser’s office during my university days. He spat his insults with delight. He enjoyed the power he had over his students. He was a demi-god. A visit to his 4 by 6 ‘cell’ was a psychological mayhem. We all deduced that there was no way in hell he could be married. No woman could live with that. His name became a synonym for crudity and although other lecturers were aware of his attitude, they condoned it. After-all, it wasn’t towards them – ‘the matured ones’. However, rumour echoed in the hostel corridors of a boy who once dared to question him. The details are sketchy, much like a fairy tale but the evidence is a swell at the back of the lecturer’s head attributed to the student that dared confront him. They both; student and lecturer engaged in a physical bout which led to a promiscuous protrusion at the back of the lecturers head.

Unfortunately, my generation isn’t any better. We are infamous for ‘419’ – fraud, examination malpractice, intolerance, violence, promiscuity and the list goes on. So who would take us seriously? Our fathers are not saints. We are not saints either. But that doesn’t mean all the eggs are bad. Some, albeit many are like me are stuck in a banking hall without a voice of our own because no one cares about what we have to say. The consensus is that we are wrong. Just because…

Our founding fathers sounded so eloquent. You should listen to old broadcasts of the 60s through to the 70s. They were amazing! For me, listening to their rich, British-scented tone was a conviction of the saying ‘the good old days’. It felt like a land of opportunity existed then and there was room to grow. A lot of water has passed under that bridge since then. The dirty laundry of our nation’s history still haunts us till this day but I digress.

It would seem that the opportunity bracket is thinner today, that not many are prepared to give way to the younger generation coming behind. Look at our government closely, the same people still linger in the corridors of power. Many Nigerian businesses are yet to rise beyond the image of their founders. Pastor Wale Adefarasin calls it a ‘generational succession’ problem.

Why the distrust between generations? Why such a dichotomy of paths? This is not to say that efforts aren’t been made by some much older to bridge the gap with the younger but like my elderly-bully, and vicious lecturer, a huge gap still cuts deep through. The root of the matter may stem from much deeper within the family tree – a disconnect of fathers from sons, a traditional upbringing based on fear rather than love, or as a result of a disgust for our leadership who are supposed to be our fathers. No matter, the fact remains, that there looms a divide that not one man alone can solve.

A red sea that was ‘part’ a long time ago that never came back together again.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Elultimodeseo
A writer & television producer, Russel Oyakhire is fascinated by the art of storytelling, the rich voice of Emeka Anyaoku and is convinced that the ‘Dark Knight’ director, Christopher Nolan is his long-lost-caucasian uncle.


  1. adesuwa

    June 18, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Brilliant write up. very true….

  2. Omilola

    June 18, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    Awesome stuff. Welldone


    June 18, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Nicely said. In the words of Jimi Disu of Classic FM’s Front page news, as youths, we need and i repeat need to take our stand soon! We need to refuse to be bullied or stampeded by our elders in the thoughts of being older. Its a pity that as the mature person, he choose to act that way, but i have seen this kind of behaviour even in my family where my dad feels there is nothing i can possibly teach him or my mum when i am done speaking still goes ahead and does the opposite. We need to stand our ground and everyday, i try as much as possible to achieve that. is it tough, yes it is, but we need to take it a step at a time.

  4. sum1special

    June 18, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Speaking of Jimi Disu, i love listening to him talk. He is so vast in knowledge and full of wisdom. i dont ever miss that show. Back to the article, the fact that someone is older than you doesn’t mean he is more mature, older people are beginning to even behave childish this days. You are talking to an older person and they suddenly tell you to shut up, that what do you know. Well we know you have gone through life experiences before me but doesn’t mean i am not going through mine too and dont know what is going on. When i am told to shut up,i respectfully decline and ask not to be told to shut up, thank you.

  5. @edDREAMZ

    June 18, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Am loving the write up no doubt…. Nice one….

  6. Tiki

    June 19, 2014 at 10:04 am

    In my opinion, there are two main reasons why young people get treated the way they do:

    1. We let ourselves be treated like silly children, when we are not. I’ve gotten cut off in a queue twice, funnily enough at the same supermarket. The first time, a lady at least 10 years older than me, carrying a baby. The second, by a guy who had the nerve to say ‘I asked the babe to let me in’ which was a lie of course. By the time I was finished with both of them, the lady with the baby got sent to the back of the line by the cashier. The guy announced what sounded like a sincere apology, and I conceded my place to him.

    I could have rolled over and played dead because the woman had an infant and had priority, or because the man mumbled a half-assed plea. No way. Respect sometimes must be fought for. If we cower everytime someone raised their voice at us, sooner rather than later it won’t be just older people who walk over us. It will be our peers too.

    2. Sometimes young people feel they are entitled to stuff just because ‘the time of the old people has passed’. I call bullshit. If you want to be given more responsibility, if you want the older people to make way for a younger generation, the younger generation has to be prepared. It is not enough to ask the older generation to leave positions of power because you have come of age. Are you prepared? Have you done your homework? Do you have what it takes? Work on your foundation. Go to school. Learn from the experiences of those around you. Ally with the best thinking minds you have access to. Prepare, and then fight. You’ll be surprised how much support you will get, even from the ‘older’ generation.


    June 19, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    ‘old’ age is no excuse for bad behaviour!

  8. Crazy_x_flow

    June 20, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Lovely one bro

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