Youths across Nigerian tertiary institutions have expressed their worries over the spate of killings, and the situation of things in the country. They spoke to OLUWAFEMI OGUNJOBI (NYSC, Makurdi) on their expectations in 2015.
Their experience last year was not something they wish to remember. Because of the series of protests that rocked some universities, as a result of fee hike. Ebola was also another issue. The academic calendar was distorted. Some students were killed. Some others suspended. In 2015, their prayer is that they would not go through the same experience.
The socio-economic costs of these actions are unquantifiable. Among others, the academic pursuit of many students was delayed. Those in their finals could not be mobilized for the National Youths Service Corps. Some students in higher institutions in the North are not willing to return to school because of the Boko Haram insurgency. Some are contemplating dropping out of school because of the insurgency. The list is endless.
For Taiwo Isola, a medical student at the University of Maiduguri wishes that there would be security and peace in Nigeria, and the quality of his life would increase so as to add value to those around him. He also hopes that Nigeria will be delivered from the shackles of poverty and advance economically.
‘Considering that the nation is a century year old, I hope 2015 would mark the beginning of economic prosperity and democracy building; and the voice of the youths will not be silenced or ignored as irrelevant. Rather, I wish I would be allowed to participate in critical decision of the nation so that our future and that of this nation would be secured,’
‘In the Education sector, I wish there will be no more strike actions in 2015, and campuses will be violence-free. I wish the government will be more proactive in handling youth-related issues and they would promote youth development so that we can maximize our potentials. But, if the government does not do this, then 2015 will just be a repetition of the previous years.’ Isola expressed.
Away from the education sector, 2015 is very decisive year in the nation’s political realm. It’s a year many believed would either make or mar the nation’s future. But, it looks blurry. The first case that readily comes to the mind is that kidnap of over 200 girls of Chibok, a government secondary school in Bornu state.
It has been eight agonizing months since these girls were hurried out of their beds, hustled onto the frontage of their hostels, packed like sardines into trucks, and hurled off to God-knows-where. For the parents, the pain is better imagined than experienced. The government says it knows where the over 200 girls are being kept by the Boko Haram captors. The problem, say, the authorities, is that they would not like to do anything that would the girls in harm’s way. They will surely be rescued. Good. But, the big question is, when? The answer went with 2014.
Ojekunle Aderemi, a serving corps member in Ondo state expressed that, ‘The only change that 2015 would bring isn’t from the economic or political space. The change we all clamor for is that of individual’s attitudinal changes which will in turn pave way for the social, economic and political development of this nation. If we really want change, then that change have to start from us as citizens of this great nation. When we change, the society adapts to it and we move on.’
Aderemi said ‘Our change shouldn’t just be that of mouthwatering ideas, sugar coated statements and bravery but an overall mental and psychological approach to every aspect of life. If our political system or governments are not living up to expectation, our change should be that of voting them out and protect such vote. Once we can take actions alongside our change, we will all see a better society around us.’
Adebayo Caleb, a final law student at Obafemi Awolowo University said; ‘What I want to see is a nation where Nigerians vote their consciences and do not cast sentimental votes, I want to see our naira gaining its value in the international market again. I want to see our leaders paying up civil servants and corp members, I want to see us exploring Agriculture as the mainstay of our economy, I want to see more funds channeled into the education and health sector. Most of all, I want to see Nigerians fighting to keep their nation alive even if it means denying themselves tit-bits of gratification from unabashed political gestures.’’
As the nation prepares for another journey in its political milestone, Hammed Hamzat, an Educational Management student at the University of Ibadan looks forward to responsible and responsive governance. He hopes to see a government that security of life and property will top its priority to the detriment of self-enriching governance.
Sanni Zainab, a political science student at the University of Ilorin charged authorities in each of the sectors of the society to be totally accountable to the people and a citizenry ready to ask questions and demand for answers from their elected representatives. ‘At least then, an end can be put to governments of impunity and we can start talking about change, real change.’’ Sanni quipped.