A FOOD FOR THOUGHT FOR GBAGYI YOUTH
GEORGE S. KOCE
By general usage the terms “youth”, “adolescent”, “teenager”, and “young person” are used interchangeably often meaning the same thing, occasionally differentiated. Youth generally refers to a time of life that is neither childhood nor adulthood, but rather, somewhere in-between. This is the age in which a person is considered a “youth,” and thus eligible for special treatment under the law with some level and extent of variations around the world. For the United Nations General Assembly, youth refers to “… those persons falling between the ages of 15 and 24 years inclusive.” For the World Bank it is “Time in a person’s life between childhood and adulthood”. In the case 0f the United States Government, it refers to “A person… under 21 years of age.” For the Tasmanian Government the term refers to “People between the ages of 12 and 25.”
Overall the term “youth” assumes varying dimensions depending on perspective, interest or view. The general consensuses however is that it refers to persons that are young and referring to a time or period in one’s life when the person is not advanced in age. On a purely conceptual perspective, George William Curtis expresses the view that “Age is a matter of feelings not of years. This is also Tryon Edwards’s position when he says that age does not depend on years, but upon temperament and health. Some men are born old, and some never grow old.” Whichever way you look at it, youth are incontestably the trustees of posterity.
SYNOPTIC CHARACTERISTICS OF YOUTH
Universally, youth, are distinct from children and adults. This period in the individual and human development constitute a continuum. It is associated with a number of characteristics. Prominent of these are, high introspection, self criticism, and hyper-sensitivity to criticism. They are robust in physical and mental expression and are driven to assert their individuality. This is a stage in human existence of pressure manifest on the overwhelming demand of the society that insist on their conformity to societal standards. The pressure exerted on them makes them apparently and introspectively combatively rebellious.
FEATURES OF YOUTHS OF GBAGYI EXTRACTION
Youths of Gbagyi extraction are first and foremost Gbagyi by birth, upbringing and culture. Like every other human beings they share in the global characteristics of youth. However, because they belong to an ethnic group, they have their value systems based on their traditional upbringing and culture interferances notwithstanding. Even though their life style and value systems may not be entirely distinct, some practices may and are associated to and with them. A critical examination of the Gbagyi people’s minoritiness, their stand in the eyes of others, their customs and traditional practices, in addition to their geographical location, give them their peculiarities and uniqueness. This is portrayed in their perceptions, their world view, mentality, psychology and indeed philosophy with their impacts on their esteem, of and on life, living, and interaction with the larger society, challenges, dreams and aspirations.
Like every other youths in Nigeria, some prevalent challenges being contended with by Gbagyi youth, include unemployment, indiscipline, promiscuity, alcoholism, drug abuse, minimal collective and or parental carrier guidance and even attention, detrimental influence of foreign material and non material culture and inherent lack of internal cohesion as well as apparent individualism. Even though not peculiar to Gbagyi youths, these have had unquantifiable destructive effects politically, economically and definitely socially.
While the origin, source and cause of some of the myriads of challenges confronting the Gbagyi people can be traced to exogenous and internal factors, it is difficult to for so many others. Whichever way one may look at the Gbagyi people’s plight today, what matters today calls for concerted efforts in addressing them. Invariably, the need and necessity to dispassionately analyse the situation from which strategies towards addressing them can be articulated cannot be overemphasised. As much as a number of sympathizers will commiserate with our plight, it is the Gbagyi peoples, the Gbagyi nation that can address their predicament. Grumblings, backbiting, self pity and individuality will not help. The only way out, is understanding our realities, stop the blame game, accept our flaws and start addressing issues on getting out of the quagmire sacrificially.
OUR BEACON OF HOPE
Without fear of contradiction, Gbagyi peoples and indeed nation have lost a lot of socio-economic and political grounds as well as opportunities. As much as this is true, I am of the belief and conviction that greeter opportunities abound and greener pastures lie ahead. To my mind, Gbagyi youths have been looking for guidance and have unduly waited for arrow heads to lead them out of the present predicament. While leadership within families and communities are discernable, this is hardly the case with the Gbagyi nation. This is indeed so in the foreseeable future. I wonder for how long more the Gbagyi leadership will come to place.
Given the preceding, one wonders what more the Gbagyi youths are expecting. The fact is that the future belongs to the younger generation. The future is in their hands. This being the case, who do the Gbagyi youth expect to chart their future? The destiny of the youths lies within reach. Gbagyi youths have the energy, the robustness, vibrancy, and intellectual capabilities. Gbagyi youths require determination, organizational acumen, clear vision and mission that must be meticulously articulated and sacrificially pursued. Nothing comes easy and so do not expect anything to come on a platter of gold. Sacrifice is inevitable. The future is in hands of the youths.
A careful examination of the plight of Gbagyi peoples reveals the need for a consciously organized articulation of existing challenges. To effectively and sustainably do that, a motion for attaining internal cohesion becomes inevitable along with a sustainable agenda formally or informally designed and imbibed. For now, the hope lies in the youths. Lamentations, geographical, psychological and conceptual hurdles and barriers must be consciously and methodically dismantled. A holistic and critical examination of Gbagyiman’s philosophical outlook, social, economic, and political conservatism and existing form of complexes should be identified and squarely addressed.
Given the Gbagyi man’s general traits of resilience, honesty, hard work, and hospitality, Gbagyi youths are imbued with all it takes to take the Gbagyi nation to the next level. Their dynamic nature and vibrant disposition puts them in a very good stead to discard the traditional fatalistic approach to life. The youth have an opportunity to shrug off self pity, evolve a visionary leadership, prepare for sacrifices, chart a new path and a new direction by building bridges of religious and dialectic tolerance, pursuit of excellence, professional diversity, and entrepreneurial acumen among others.
Gbagyi youth as humans, have a lot in common with youth worldwide. Given their nature they are naturally a beacon of hope and agents of change. As the most active and vibrant segment of the society, they are highly adventurous. Their boisterous nature opens them to a lot of hazards. As trustees of posterity, the future is certainly bequeathed to them.
Gbagyi youth cannot be the hope of Gbagyi people unless they have come to understand and to terms with themselves, identify their location in the scheme of things, appreciated their potentials, their circumstances, and cast their positive vision, for a people without a vision perish.
To break away from the vicious circle of poverty, self pity, directionlessness, Gbagyi youths must consciously break away from poverty of ideas. Gbagyi youths must be robust in pursuit of knowledge, conscious, and conscientious in the quest for leadership and learn the ropes by being vibrant followers. As vanguard, and a mobile and motivated human capital, youths must inevitably be dynamic. Sacrifice remains the bottom line. Youths, indeed Gbagyi youths remain the beacon of hope in the Gbagyi nation.
The arsenal for survival lies in the preparedness to learn, concerted efforts in the acquisition of knowledge as well as capacity building. With the benefit of the preceding hindsight, my readers may wish to note that;
- Only the educated are free. Epictetus
- Educated is better safeguard of liberty than a standing army. Edward Everett.
- Education is a progressive discovery of our ignorance. Will Durant.
- Education makes people easy to lead but difficult to drive, easy to govern, but impossible to Henry PeterBrougham
- Education is a social process…Education is growth…Education is not a preparation for life, Education is life itself. John Dewey.
- Education is that which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding. Ambrose Bierce
- He who opens a school door closes a prison. Victor Hugo.
To integrate into the evolving global village, it is absolutely inescapable that Gbagyi Youths and indeed Gbagyi people must prioritize her basic needs and as well make aggressive educational pursuits a prerogative. According to a Chinese saying “there is no future without Education, culture and knowledge”. Otherwise, according to Blackburn …Ignorance is a recipe for acting disastrously, both to ourselves and to others.
The Ball is in your court.
- ILO (2004). Global employment trends for youth. (Geneva: International Labour Office). ilo.org/trends.
- Mokoena, S – Deepening Democracy: Youth participation in the Commonwealth -(draft document) prepared for the Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting, May 1999
- National Youth Commission (1997) . National Youth Policy
- National Youth Commission (1998) . National Youth Action Plan
- United Nations documents on www.un.org/youth UN General
- Assembly (1980). International Youth Year: Participation, Development Peace A/Res/36/28, 13 November 1981, 57th Plenary Session
- UN General Assembly and Economic and Social Council (2004). World Youth Report 2005. Report of the Secretary General. Distributed on 6 December 2004. A/60/61 and E/2005/7