A few days ago, we celebrated May 27 in Nigeria, a day tagged Children’s Day, a special day in our national calendar. When I reminisce, my face wears a longing smile, and I wish those days would come back. It was a day we looked forward to as a groom looked forward to receiving his bride.
We trekked several miles, gathered at a school to celebrate the day. We beat drums – boom, boom – and danced pirouettes excitedly like ballet dancers. The school with the best performance in sack race, egg race and parade would win the honour for the year. It was a comforting feeling.
Today, the future of our nation looks so bleak that if the present trend continues, one can only imagine the fate of unborn generations. As I write, some Northern parts of the country are still caught up in the whirlpool of violence and confusion. Young men and young women are constantly being buried alive.
Young women are continually scurried abroad for sex trafficking. Our children are being groomed by registering them in special centers to pass their exams.
What a pathetic story. We all have failed to help ourselves, with our battered image and decaying ethics. But how did we find ourselves in this position? The simple truth is lack of headship. Our best minds have moved on, refused to return for the development of our dear country. The threads of division and oppression are constantly woven to prevent the youth from gaining access to knowledge, the knowledge that will open their eyes like Eve’s apple.
Those who want progress should continue to work hard to bring their dream to reality, while those who are ready to destroy the moment for their selfish interests should remember that life is short, and the bliss is an eternal retirement fund: the amount of reserve you will be able to draw up is determined by your deeds while you breathe on earth.
For those who have lost hope, I say, “Do not despair.” I have hope. I have hope that a time is coming when the unjust and oppressive laws will be stripped, and in their place, fair and equitable laws will blossom. I have hope, the hope of new possibilities, the possibility that our children will become innovators of tomorrow.
I have hope that deals presently done behind closed doors will be done in the open.
I have hope that the government will fund public education at all levels.
I have hope that our libraries will be adequately stocked, and our computer laboratories will be sufficiently equipped for practical lessons.
I have hope that jobs will await our children before they graduate.
I am optimistic that our graduating young boys and girls will compete favourably with their counterparts anywhere in the world.
I am hopeful that a brighter future awaits our children’s children.
The only healing balm for a human being is the hope for a better tomorrow. It heals us of anxiety and hopelessness. O.G. Mandino aptly put it when he said that the greatest legacy we can leave our children are happy memories. Precious moments like pebbles on the beach that are plucked from the white sand and placed in tiny boxes that lay undisturbed on tall shelves, until one day they are visited with joy and sweet sadness, the child now an adult.
Our leaders should recognise that it is a privilege to serve our fatherland and plan for the unborn generations. As individuals, we must know that the mind of a teenager is as slippery as an eel. Once the moral foundation is faulty, mending the broken lines becomes difficult.