Every generation must out of relative obscurity discover its mission, fulfil it or betray it. Frantz Fanon.
I would like to start this speech today by stating a quote by Frantz Fanon which says “Every generation must out of relative obscurity discover its mission, fulfil it or betray it”
The word generation is closely linked to genus which means race or kind; and generare which means to bring forth. Therefore generation means to bring forth a particular race or kind. The role a particular race or kind plays is quite different from another race or kind.
In nation building, each generation is designed for a specific task or assignment. To fulfill this task, each generation is endowed with the talents, abilities, potentials, motivations, ideas, insights, and concepts it needs to accomplish their specific tasks. No wonder Frank Fanon said “Every generation must out of relative obscurity discover its mission, fulfil it or betray it.
The greatest tragedy that can happen to a generation is when its present generation of people fails to discover its mission and not fulfill it. Nations fail to achieve their dreams and fulfill their destiny when the present generation fails to take or accept responsibility.
For Nigeria to achieve its dreams and fulfill its destiny, each generation must play its role, discover its mission and fulfill it.
There are three generation that have existed in Nigeria;
The first is the generation of liberation: which existed from the official creation of Nigeria to our independence year i.e. from 1914-1960. These generations of men fought for the independence of our nation, so that Nigerians will have the freedom to govern themselves, make their own laws, build their own economy and most especially plan and build their own future. This generation of people indeed fulfilled its mission. On October 1, 1960, Nigeria became an independent nation.
Generation of revelation: Another phase of generation of people that emerged after the generation of liberation is the generation of revelation. This generation of people revealed the great potentials and resources Nigeria was endowed with. They existed between the years 1960 and 2000. The true greatness and abundant potentials of Nigeria and Nigerians were discovered in this generation. Nigeria was seen as the next big thing to happen. It came to the knowledge of the world that indeed Nigeria was truly blessed, not just in natural resources but both in human, social and intellectual resources. Nigeria was referred to as the Garden of Eden.
Chinua Achebe himself observed the potentials in Nigeria when he stated in his book, “The Trouble with Nigeria” as far back as in 1980: ‘I believe that Nigeria is a nation favoured by providence. I believe there are individuals as well as nations, who on account of peculiar gifts and circumstances are commandeered by history to facilitate mankind’s advancement. Nigeria is such a nation. The vast human and material wealth with which she is endowed bestows on her a role in Africa and the world which no one else can assume or fulfil’
The activities and deeds of this generation truly revealed the potentials and greatness in Nigeria. Therefore they fulfilled their mission.
The third generation is the generation of transformers. Transformers exist between the year 2000 till present. They are destined to transform Nigeria, to create a country that will compete with the world’s greatest in technology, infrastructure, tourism, innovations and world trade. They will leapfrog Nigeria into the league of one of the most advanced nations.
These are the present Nigeria youth. What started as an idea, a generation that will transform the country has started to metamorphose into a reality.
We are the present day Nigeria youth; We are Ideas whose time has come.
It was Albert Einstein who said that the significant problem we faced in life cannot be solved at the same level we met it.
The challenges Nigeria is facing today cannot be solved at the same level it was created, it needs a higher level to solve it. Nigeria needs the creative power of this present youth.
All over the world, most especially in the developed world, societies are tapping into the creative power of the youth. The youth are causing major disruptions in every facet of the economy. In Africa, most especially in Nigeria, the youth have not been given adequate opportunity or a platform to put their creative powers to action. This may be the reason why we still take the back stage in development.
I remain grateful to the Executive Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency Chief Willie Obiano, who gave our youths the greatest opportunity ever to serve in his government.
But this is not enough, there’s so much potential in us waiting for manifestation.
The fact is that if we are to solve the most pressing issues of our time, we need to tap into the dynamism of youth movements and young social entrepreneurs, for they have the potential to disrupt inertia and be the most creative forces for social change.
The present Nigerian youth are designed to transform our Nation.
Today, we now operate in a fast changing world, where a new knowledge becomes obsolete within eighteen months. The present Nigerian youth grew up with technology rapidly changing and constantly at our fingertips.
Today our workforce is seriously experiencing a greater influx of digitally compliant, technologically-savvy and outside-of-the-box thinkers. Therefore businesses and organizations that wish to stay ahead must adapt and redefine themselves with this new order in order to stay ahead of the curve and succeed.
The Big Question now is- How Do We Harness Anambra Youths For Political and Economic Development.
The British council postulated that by 2030, the youth and not oil will be Nigeria’s most valuable resource. This means that by 2030 we either have an asset or a nuisance. Therefore the potential of the youth should be harvested to prevent an impending doom.
I personally believe that the youth should take charge of Governance because they are well equipped with the leadership capacity to lead and provide the complex needs of our constantly changing digital and global landscape.
We are like Jeremiah when he said in Jeremiah 20:9 the word of God is “in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed I cannot”.
It was Archimedes who said “Give me a place to stand and I’ll move the world”. The potentials of the youth are needed now in both the Political and Economic development of Anambra State.
The wheel of development of any country lies on the shoulder of how productive and creative the youthful populations are.
The youth in any society are the engine of growth and development; because, they provide the labour force for production of goods and services. Moreso, they are the critical masses of people, whose action and inaction can develop or destroy the hegemonies/fabrics of their society.
For example, According to the 2017 statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics, over 60% of our populations are youth, translating to about 80 million Nigeria youth. So, therefore, this quantum of population is a great asset for the Nigerian state if they are harnessed and utilized in the right direction.
Interestingly, the transition of society from one generation to another is critical to the formative and developmental aspiration of such society. That is why a society that prepares its youth for the sake of future aspiration will not only secure her future development; but, will prepare her next set of leaders with the challenges of national reconciliation and development.
So, therefore, the role of youth on national development is sacrosanct to the whole developmental aspiration of any society. The youth are the cornerstone to societal rejuvenation.
For Anambra State to become a resourceful state, it must harness into the creative power of its present youth.
The development of new technology is constantly changing the ways that people look for work, perform tasks, buy and make decisions. The present youth are the most technologically and media driven generations, experiencing the 4th industrial revolution, economic and social turbulences and global changes. Indeed, we are currently transforming our world.
Anambra State is yet to experience the creative power of its present youth. Whether we like it or not, this generation will eventually have a major impact on the economy of our state. We are the most educated than all previous generations, the historical relationship between higher education and economic achievement is undeniable.
We are the most vocal and we think in different ways than previous generations did. We are the generation of the digital economy and telecommuters, the digital generation of connected objects and startups.
If Anambra state truly wants to become a resourceful state, it therefore should harness the creative power of the youths because they are an idea whose time has come.
Finally, I urge His Excellency, The Executive Governor of Anambra State to urgently sign the Youth Development Bill which has been passed by this Present State House of Assembly to enable the State truly harness the creative power of its Youth.
Keynote Speech Presented By Cornel Osigwe At The Anambra Youth Summit 2021.
Cornel Osigwe. FIMC, CMC, ANIPR, CNS
Head of Corporate Communications & Affairs