The Nigerian youth face a plight that can be likened to that of youths all over the world but that of a Nigerian is unique.
Being a youth today carries a weight of responsibility – one we were not prepared for. We imagined clear skies while we were growing up; we were met with hail storms and tsunamis – these were not taught in the classroom or at home. There was no forewarning. We live at a time when our expectations are cornered around our parents or caretakers and making them proud of us, so, we aim to be better than what they were. The pressure that comes with this is immeasurable. For some, they work and persevere but others buckle under the weight/pressure and delve into various vices to comfort their fears and insecurities. In more serious cases suicide is the result.
The other day I read about a kid who committed suicide because he failed the West African Examination, popularly called WAEC, and another student who was so frustrated with preparing for exams jumped from a three-storey building in the dead of the night and later ended up in the ICU with broken bones.
Why then do we put so much pressure on our youths not caring what they want to do with their lives, but what society wants them to do? Can we, in all honesty, say that we have equipped our youths with the tools to handle life and the pressure that comes with it? We need to do better as a people. We need to be better motivators and provide not only education but also prepare them psychologically. It is a tough world out there and everyone needs to support one way or the other.
Parenting is seen like a contract in most homes: feed your child, pay their fees and provide their basic needs and then, send them away to live their lives. If you are a parent and you’re reading this, how many times can you say you have spoken to your kids about what worries them? Instead of telling them to just put in more work when they’re facing problems. As a Nigerian, most people don’t believe you can feel depression and anxiety. What they believe is that we are just appropriating western culture by claiming these problems hence ignoring the problem at hand.
This topic is a trope that is overused in some sorts. I feel it is because this is an issue that needs to be addressed and not just talked about on social media. How can we help our youths? Organizing conferences that address this issue is a good start: let’s bring it up and accept that it’s a problem that needs to be faced, guidance counsellors in various institutions should also prepare the students for such challenges. The church and the various youth organizations we have in our country. We need to come together to fix this, for it’s the foundation of our society.