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Adaobi Oni-Egboma: The Future Nigeria Didn’t Envision

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dreamstime_m_10493451The current situation with the Nigerian economy is beyond disturbing; arguably there has never been a better time to be more passionate about Nigeria than now. Nowadays, many Nigerians are struggling to maintain the most basic of lifestyles and it has become apparent that this free fall is not on a road to decline anytime in the near future. It is indeed difficult to reconcile how such a glorious nation with tremendous prospects is currently basking in a recession. It is time for the youth to not sit back and fold our hands, all because our leaders have failed to have any real sense of direction. The current exchange rates coupled with the increased brain drain are two significant problems that have struck a cord and formed the premise of this article. My purpose is not to highlight our numerous shortcomings as a nation, but rather to beckon on the Nigerian youth to observe history and begin to think of new ways in which we can propel this country in the right direction.

The great writer Chinua Achebe could not have phrased it any better when he said “Nigeria is what it is today because of what its leaders are not”. One needs to realise that the gradual erosion of the economy was not something that happened overnight, but rather was as a result of systematic actions that have been taken by the country’s leaders.
Nigeria is a country with some of the best brains in the world and yet we are plagued with one of the most uncertain economies in Africa. The current exchange rate has gone up by over The question many people ask is when will things eventually get better? Would it be in a few months, a year or even 5 years? The truth is that no one can truly ascertain when this will happen. Nonetheless, it is paramount that the youth begin to develop a genuine passion for Nigeria in order for us to salvage what is left of this great nation. Many of us lack any genuine passion for our country, we have become unbothered to the point that it seems we are merely occupying space in another mans land and that really should not be the case.

As an international student in the UK, I fully understand the detrimental effects of the country’s current exchange rate. Over the course of the year, I have seen several students stop mid degrees, start up go-fund me accounts or delay a Masters degree because their parents never envisioned such a high rate. Not to mention that with every breaking news in relation to the economic recession there is little incentive for those who studied abroad to come back, I mean why return to your country after millions of Naira have been pumped into your education only to live a mediocre life.

If the brain drain continues to steadily increase with some of the most intelligent and talented minds choosing to work outside the country, how can any substantial change be effected? I have to come conclusion that the only way forward for this country is enlightenment. There can be no real change if there is no understanding of the problems, and this starts with encouraging the youth who are indeed the leaders of tomorrow to become passionate about their country. They need to learn about history and educate themselves on the foundational principles that form the basis of this great nation. We need to break past this non-obligatory attitude that has been developed by the mindset that nothing can be done. I am of the opinion that you cannot truly be passionate about your country if you do not understand it in its entirety. This is why I am a strong advocate for West African history to be made a predominant part of every school’s curriculum.

I remember back in Secondary School I was one out of 9 student who wrote history (History of Africa) for the West African Examination Council (WAEC) exams. I remember the struggle it was to teach the subject, as history books weren’t easily accessible. This is even a more preferable situation than in some schools where the subject is not even considered as an option. I liken one not knowing their history to children that belong to a family but yet know nothing about their parents. The drive and passion cannot be manufactured, rather it has to be gradually developed.

Arguably even youths that have taken interest in the Nigerian politics do not portray it in a positive light, but rather focus on the inactions of our leaders. There is no point condemning the nation if you cannot proffer proper solutions to help the situation. Even though all the mistakes of the past cannot be corrected they can be prevented from reoccurring. The youth of today have a lot to offer with social media increasingly at every one’s disposal, we can indeed be part of the new generation to portray this country in a positive light and use our voices for good.

It is indeed a shame to merely standby and watch such a great country rot into nothingness, because everyone is “fed up” with the situation. Day by day, individual conversations are increasingly growing about how the best alternative might be migration to other countries until things become better. There are nay sayers who have written off the country’s situation as useless and utterly irremediable. I believe that this is not the time to have a pessimistic attitude. It is imperative, now that more than ever, that we are optimistic that things will change. This can only happen if we can restructure our minds. I do believe that the mindset can change but it all starts with the decision to not want to settle for the current situation.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Adaobi Oni-Egboma is a 21-year-old female from Delta State who grew up in Lagos Nigeria. She has a Bachelor of Laws Degree (Hons) from the University of Leicester and is currently studying African Development (Msc) at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is a passionate advocate for good governance, who believes strongly in youth empowerment and engagement as a tool for reshaping the Nigerian narrative. She is currently working on her Nigeria rediscovered series of articles that will focus on appreciating the Nigerian culture and its history.

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