Absolutely! it is mandatory that the youth too empower themselves, roll up their sleeves,and get into the arena of action.
“Empowerment is viewed as a process: the mechanism by which people, organizations, and communities gain mastery over their lives.”Julian Rappaport,the term originator,on empowerment in 1984.
You know,for those that would have at one time or the other, pooled enthusiastically much parts of their academic strength into writing on such a topical essay as of this, or a kind that shares semblance of unity of purpose and direction with it, would definitely agree to this: providing a picture-perfect illustration,that could in all its entirety be considered, as the topic ideal pictorial equivalence ,is usually not an easy ace to come by with.They all would have their different success story on that.
But for me, the eureka moment only came on my stumbling on a beautiful but deserted building at the outskirt of a community.One like me–inquisitive to the call,would definitely be curious on what could have made such a beautiful piece, ‘beautifully’ useless?
The building, as said by a folk of the community on my enquiry,is the most fanciful around the community ,and it’s just in its fifth year of completion, but has now been deserted and cannot serve the purpose of its construction.He said,the reason was that, its foundation had only started sinking at one end not long the employment of the place for business activities.Again,short after, the standings or pillars started showing traces of frailness.Such traces like cracks and little breakages, were quite terrifying to it’s occupants.They were recently advised to evacuate having forecasted an imminent danger by building experts, who likewise discovered that the mess as been as a result of architectural blunder,poor cementing; and financing in general.
what was all that?YES! That was the defining moment—a kind of my own success story of being able to provide a perfect illustration for the topic .After all, every nation is like a building or structure of a kind! Infact,the government would always want you to believe its various efforts towards various sectors of our national life is ‘completely’ geared towards “national building “.Then if a nation is like a building, who should be accorded the role of its foundation?Who are its pillar ? Who are to be well cemented with the neccesary materials for capabilities,for power, for sustenance because these people are it’s strength and burden bearer?
lt was from this illustration and the myriad of questions that follow on its discovery, that I was able to appreciate in full, the always clarion call to empower the youths,
which by me are, the answer to those questions above, for being undoubtedly the power house of every entity, for a stronger and more developed nation.
Thus, this have necessitated the refurbishing of the idea–strong youth, and the basing the title of this presentation as—–EMPOWER THE YOUTH And A STRONG NATION ENSUUE.
Economic prosperity is a function of availability of economic resources and infrastructural lay down over time, as one may want to on face value believe. It is true, but that is merely the poetry–an abridged view of the fact somehow. The prose, its longer narrative, is that there is no nation in the world presently, perhaps of the past, that can boast of meaningful attainment of dominance and influence on the scale of global economics and power, and will sincerely admit to having bypassed, overlooked or forgone the need of intensively investing in the empowerment of its people, which usually by demographic segregation are largely consisting of its younger populace ,in its nascent years of planning.
In an explicit breathe,for the actualization of their much development and progress,thriving economies of the world today heavily invested in their population to empower them, to power their economy. Knowing that the youth everywhere are the most active members of the population, gives us reasons these countries would have had to put on their front burner, massive investment on the youth,its agile populace, those years of struggle.
Going by Rapport’s definition on empowerment at first above.It is seen that for any people or community to “gain mastery over their lives” there must be some “mechanism”to be put in place.What could have the mechanism to gain mastery over ones life be in a less technical term than various empowerment programs?Empowerment programs that will provide the neccesary skills, exposure,enlightenment,training and ability for the youth which calls for empowerment with, are usually associated, or targeted?
More to that ,a noticeable idea of that definition and more on empowerment, is this reoccurring motif –independence.Empowerment of various kinds is gendered towards independence for an
individual.An empowered individual is an individual inspired to develop the skills for self-sustainance,with the aim of erasing the possibilities of dependency for charity or welfare for survival in the future.And it is worthy of digressing to say, this has been the workings of most thriving economies of today–Export Oriented Economies.
A look at the Asian tiger economies success stories provide a practical insight into all that I have been saying—the undeniable power of empowerment, through their various massive human capital projects. Human capital projects and empowerment are to all intents and purposes one and the same in terms of drive and direction.From the view that, both are gendered towards bringing out the productive best of an individual.Also,they are tools of education, training, experience, exposure,etc.”Education” is key here, and cannot be extracted, because when you do, both are stranded.Entrepreneurship education give awareness and power to jobless youth in empowerment programs.Education on new techniques of production,in human capital projects, improves upon the productive capacity of a worker.
Education generally in particular is cited as playing a major role in the Asian economic miracle.The levels of education enrollment in the Four Asian Tigers were higher than predicted given their level of income. By 1965, these four countries had reached a commanding height in universal primary education.This education was key in producing a knowledge based productive populace, thereby,empowered to effectively steered the frankly saddled export oriented course.
However,it will interest you that this model of economic strategy, using education as a means of empowerment for economic buoyancy, is now on the proactive move in a certain part of Africa,Rwanda.
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda so far has been on the news for just the good reasons.He has been lauded severally , both locally and internationally, for his continuous efforts in the promotion of Education which Rwandans youths are the beneficiaries,and the results,in a summary,has been ,as reported severally , “Rwanda is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, averaging eight percent GDP growth annually”.Other African nations should emulate!
Now,coming down to the continent as a whole ,let us imagine.Africa is a knowledge driven society. Where the youth, its bedrock, pillar ,and burden bearer,the largest constituent of its population and agile workforce are widely economically engaged.Their ample have been well exposed to different entrepreneurship opportunities, so they are found in different sectors of the economy.Many have intensively been educated by good funding of academic institutions and research centers thus, they are innovative and inventive. They can’t pursue meagre ambitions or lie fallow because the intensive education received have placed on them a sense of pride and loftiness above the status of liability.They have overcome their sense of powerlessness,intimdation and dependency.As a result ,they are largely capable of sustaining themselves,their families and thereby,been a contributing factor to their communities,rather than liability,and by extension that of their respective nation.If these imaginations,by slimmest of whatever possibilities, have had a touch with Africa and its reality, then would have anything stopped the continent from taken a relatively symmetrical divide on development?What about a fair share on global economic strength?
By this,wouldn’t have Africa avoided much of the conflicts, crimes and insurgency that keep debilitating its nationalhoods?Or haven’t the ample of its agile populace see the deployment of their youthful strength into taking up arms as a means of making both ends meet? Wouldn’t had the trend been forestalled or mitigated if the larger of them are economically engaged?When, and because they are not deficient of the requisite knowledge, via empowerment or education to be able to tap into the much available resources, opportunities for their livelihood and survival.
Who knows? Maybe Africa with its relatively self-sustaining population would have avoided its much debt history?Who knows?There would have been no need,when it couldn’t pay back, to trade its sovereignty.Who knows?May be Africa could have had its own mouthwatering ‘miracle’, and wouldn’t have assumed its beggarly position on the global corridor of power? African Youth must really be EMPOWERED!
At this point, it may bestir the sense of openess to ask such questions as, is economic indepedency the only way to attainment of strong nation? What about political independence? What about military strength? These questions are best answered by an observant African, using the African scenario.
Not long the attainment of the much mouthed quest for independence than most African nations started finding themselves back in the murky waters of dependency again. This time Africa,willingly,allowed itself to be colonized from above.A chronic adverse economic depression sparked most African political unrest, and has made Africa to run one more time to its former masters, and Africa has become a target, since then, for the neo-coloniasm agenda of some predatory states.
The economic independence seems to be the major factor for the political.Even a strong military arsenal needs economic buoyancy to sustain it.That’s why, all time, we’ve always seen that the only effective tool to ruin an ‘abnormal’ military agenda is through economic sanctions.Africa really needs ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE for strength!
But can Africa do this alone?Or is this a call that Africa should be isolated in its bid to be powerful through empowerment for real self-dependency?NO! Africa still needs partnership for investment and experience.But Africa most choose its right partners.Partnership under the atmosphere, that is mutually beneficial, and fairly sauced with reciprocated respect and trust.We don’t have to look far. Such quality of partnership is already here.And l found it with THE PEOPLE REPUBLIC OF CHINA!
As a young Nigerian, and an ardent lover of local and global political happenings,and international politics, my love for China started in 2011.I had then just finished with my junior secondary school education and have moved from the south of the country to the western part to further. I have always inundated myself with the knowledge of political happenings,events, figures, and histories at the country level having always nurture this passion for politics.But I was hungry for more. I needed to know more about those of Africa in general. European affairs and those of Asia are not left out.l was keenly interested in Middle East continual upheavals;Isreal said disputes with its neighbors.Why has the hostility lingered for long?What are the dynamics responsible? I desired a constant exposure to them.
l was also interested in China.l had manage to read scantily on its ‘no nonsense’ communism,Mao and his cultural revolution.I had also learnt of the ever phony war between Russia and US, so would love to be at the behest of their constant new moves for leveraging.What of Assad Syria, Nuclear weaponry, its proliferation,economic sanctions and lots more? I was ravenously desirous of all.
Now to do these, there will be need for constant subscription on the decoder to see international broadcasting networks like CNN, BBC, or Aljazeera. But for a family whose subsistent income are divided along such priorities as getting the children fees paid ,and providing food for the family, subscription need will surely be always confined to the base of its priorities.
But like they say, no matter how the sky may be gloomy, it will still have a silver lining.There was hope! CCTV (now CGTN)—China Global Television helped satisfying such desirous demands out of nothing . It is the only free station that covers news on the decoder channel lists. And with its visual and in-depth reports on news, I have been able to have a better insight that has helped shaped my perspective about global politics. Undoubtedly, from my thought, it is one of the symbols of China mission to get Africa connected to the rest of the world. And there are thousands of knowledge hungry Nigerians and Africans at large that would have benefited from this broadcasting largesse.
More so, talking about the benefit, I have been exposed to knowing some other African great leaders of the sixties I wasn’t taught in school. Through CGTN—FACES OF AFRICA ,I have come across such leaders as Samora Machel of Mozambique, and in particular, Thomas Sankara— whose ideology was bent on achieving self-economic dependency for Burkina Faso at all cost, even to worsening the country relationship with France, their former colonial lord which could no longer continue to exercise their influence on then Sankara’s self-dependent
targeting Burkina Faso.Sankara also tried to sell his ideology to other African leaders during his address to other African leaders at an AU(African ) summit. But I wonder if any bought.The
significance of all is that, though Sankara was assininated, with one like me, his idel ideology still lives on. I have bought Sankara’s ideology while watching his documentary on CGTN.lnfact,his political ideology and that of Nyere socialist Tanzania have based the fulcrum of my political ideology. And that’s why so far, my presentation has delved much into advocating for economic dependency as a means of gaining the status of a strong nation for Africa.What other advocacy could a pro-Sankara passed across on an essay gendered towards navigating a part of strength for Africa?
It may also interest you to know that, these exposure,knowledge or ideology haven’t just be watching from the side lines, they have pushed me into the arena of action.It seems vast political exposure births political hunger. I am now just in my third year of university education, and I have served in two political positions already.
I haven’t let it ended there. On my vacation recently, I joined a local political party. And I have never been intimidated for once, being the youngest member of the party, because party politics in the country, itself, is widely thought as exclusive for the aged men. It is my wish to understand the relics of party politics in the country.The errors,misconceptions,drive–at my relatively tender age.l am hoping to understand enough that will be pivotal in my bid to get to the arena of influence and power at a yet a youthful age .Also, an ample knowledge on the evils, drive and misconceptions about politics held widely by aged filled members of the party, who by a far cry lack touch with the call that political participation; hijacking of power is a call for improvement not further plundering of the society,will be useful in my campaign to encourage youthful participation in politics.We just need to bring a progressive idea to the country senescent political enterprise .Since I have joined so far, l haven’t heard of any clear cut ideology or talks on how the lots of the community can be improved upon.lt has always been “we will not cheat any member of the party”affair.Therefore,my first finding is that most parties do not really have the concern of the community on mind.l am poised to get to where there will be a change at my end.Where my ideology and vision of a stable,solid, and self-reliant Nigeria,in extension Africa, in political and economic stability will be put to test.l hope l get there and succeed!
Now, why China?Why have l considered their their relationship with Africa so far as the most viable?How has the relationship being on a relatively equally;mutually beneficial exchange?Why a partnership with such a nation will means sharing in their ever brightening presence and future? A good starting points to answering these questions at first, are using my closest of experience.
As far as l remember, getting quality mobile browsing phone at their early times of arrival into Nigeria was within only the purchasing power of wealthy populace.The prices were so lofty that the courage of telling dad to get me one was hardly gathered.Such courage could have amounted to insinuating that you prefer to use a quality phone than going to school at all in that year. But today, the case has surprisingly been on the reverse.Designed in China or “made in China” phones have stormed the market.They are our favorite.They are cheap,affordable yet of standard quality,and stand head and shoulders with heavenly priced phones from other developed countries .Now, out of pocket Nigerians can get affordable quality browsing phones.lnfact not until the storming of the market with their products, internet activities was an activities for only the ‘big boys’.That have changed, and it has been effective in connecting Nigeria youths,the largest consumer of mobile phones on the continent, through social media activities especially,and lots more.
lt has been a blessing to my political thoughts too.Through the affordability of good phones by millions, l have been able to pass my thoughts far reaching, to my young fellows especially, on social media, being a country that is increasingly moving into a full fledged information age fuelled by social media activities. And if you have been following Nigeria off late, you will agree that the social media has been the most powerful tool for politics, business, and information etcetera.One could recall how it decided the country’s last presidential election. The incubent who lost in the phony election on social media,did lost in the actual election day. Off course, China is having good market for phone sales in Nigeria,but Can we say China hasn’t ease our demand strength for the technology?Surely,ones of those low income earners especially.And haven’t they by this,indirectly, helped ample numbers of Nigerians youths to get closer,connected and therefore given them power? What more can be said? China relationship can empower poor Africans!
Another thing worthy of saying in the area of technology, is the transfer of technological knowledge to Nigerians. While most technological advanced countries prefer our consumer position,because of our population , China is looking beyond. They are not just giving us fish to eat, but how to also dig for it.2005 is reminiscent of this. In that year,China helped Nigeria to launch its first satellite, the Nigeria-Sat-1, training 15 young scientists in the process. In another year, Nigeria made available 84 scientists to be trained in the building and maintenance of the space facility .Again, Chinese scientist trained 87 Nigeria scientists in the building of NigeriaSat- 2.Then in 2014, from the experience gathered from the Chinese scientist, Nigeria scientists built NigeriaSat-X themselves .Today Nigeria is regarded as the giant of satellite technology on the continent. China can make Africa a favourable tech giant!
What more? China understand our problem! Yea,they have this sense of urgency to tackle the root causes of our problems.They understand that Nigeria’s beastly impediment to full fledged development has been overtime been lack of constant electricity.Prospective investments in their numbers various times, have either scorned ,or absconded the country,all due to our inherent electricity problem.”Despite being one of the largest economies in Africa, over 40% of Nigerians live without access to electricity”, according to a World Bank report.Now, roll down for the reality check, because this is about to change!
The Chinese Export-Import Bank to finance 85% of the ground breaking $5.8 billion Mambilla power project, with the Nigerian government contributing only 15%.
The 3,050 megawatt hydroelectric power project has been termed as the final stroke to solve Nigeria’s
electricity woes on completion .And it doesn’t end there, “(Mambila) will have a transformational effect on all of Nigeria’s socio-economic development,” Says the country minister of power,according to a more pleasing report . And again ,through a government spokesman, “It will have considerable positive impact on electricity supply nationwide, productivity, employment, tourism, technology transfer, rural development, irrigation, agriculture and food production”,he said. Without doubt, this will surely get the youth interested in many ventures;stem the tide of crimes ,empower great a number of them and be pivotal to Nigeria economic independence super flight.You don’t get to see many Chinese troops coming to tackle our insurgency problems, but their economic troops are here, live and well.Because, they understand the problems and the lasting antidote: the economic solution. Therefore, China is poised,while pursuing it’s interest,to make Africa fly!
Using my direct experience to prove the value of Africa-China relationship, shouldn’t carry us away from the whole reality. The reality is that ,China is all Africa encompassing. The country aims at empowering and developing all Africa states together. No region is seems to be left out.Below is an instance.
l have recently managed to learn of Mombasa-Nairobi railway in Kenya and the blessing it has been in meeting transportation convenience in that country.However,Mombasa quickly reminded me of Lagos-Ibadan railway which is presently under construction by the Chinese with Chinese loan in Nigeria.
A knowledge of the history of that route journey by coated road, is quite disturbing. The route is the most economic significant.Significant for connecting Lagos, the business hub of Nigeria ,to the rest of the country, yet it’s the one that has been termed the most deadly in the country, as it has led to the death of thousands due to its poor state .China urgent construction of the railway will be checking of the menace.Many youths will be encouraged, and empowered to engage in retail enterprises,SMEs(which China again recently, has pumped $60 billion funding support for into Africa) , because of ease of transportation to the business hub of the country — Lagos.
As in Kenya, so it is in Nigeria, and the rest of the continent, an all Africa encompassing China!
On a final note on China, Africa needs a united community of vision with the country. China have systemically navigated their part to their present economic development.The good news is that
,another one has been rolled out—The Belt and Road initiative.
Africa must do all to share in this vision for a brighter future through regional connectivity.The Belt and Road
Initiative is undoubtedly very important to China, but it goes far beyond benefiting China alone.By 2050, 25% of the world’s nine billion population will be Africans and most of them will be under 30.The main focus of the initiative are infrastructure investment, education, construction materials, railway and highway, automobile, real estate, power grid, and iron and steel.Now imagine such a youthful population of Africa in the future, having a full fledge benefits from those foci of the initiative ?We will live to see the strong Africa we pant for!
Before taking a final bow, l will like to remind that we should not be unaware that Africa leadership problem without positive change can ruin the opportunity with China for development.Therefore, it is mandatory that the youth too empower themselves, roll up their sleeves,and get into the arena of action.We have for long been hypnotized with the believe that which have for decades kept us passive, that we are the leaders of tomorrow—the greatest insult l consider to our intelligence.To see the nation we desire therefore, lt behooves us to bring into governance our virility and patriotism, into agriculture our exposure , into commerce our ambition, into technology our innovation, into businesses our sense of equity, and our passion into sports.Because it’s only by these,by us(the youth),that we can navigate a part to the status o f e c o n o m i c m a s c u l i n i t y f o r o u r d e v e l o p m e n t !
Adeniyi Pelumi Junior
Adeniyi Pelumi Junior is a student of Obafemi Awolowo University,OAU .He is currently an honorable representative of the faculty of Arts, and have served as an executive member in the department of Linguistics and African languages .
He also write poems and play football.
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