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Vision & The Nigerian Youth: Hindsight, Insight And Foresight For A Great Future - Politics - Nairaland

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Vision & The Nigerian Youth: Hindsight, Insight And Foresight For A Great Future by Chukwuka16: 4:35pm On Dec 24, 2018
The Bible: “Where there is no vision, the people perish… (Provb 29:18)”
The Bible: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me… (Hos 4:6)”
Narcotics Anonymous: “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”

I have started this morning on a spiritual note not because I am a Christian (which I am by God’s Grace), but because these verses portray succinctly and clearly the current state of the Nigerian Youth. The year is 2018 and in a few days’ time, 2018 as we all know will roll-over never to be seen again.

Currently in Nigeria, millions of Nigerian youths are gathered at various camp meetings engaging in some form of religious exercises. These annual meetings have been ongoing from the early weeks of December across the length and breadth of Nigeria. The meetings are usually not different – promises of a better tomorrow for the country (message of hope), admonitions to rededicate one’s life to God (salvation, altar calls), sessions of empowerment (school, business, family, spiritual etc.) and a host of other activities.
Re: Vision & The Nigerian Youth: Hindsight, Insight And Foresight For A Great Future by Chukwuka16: 4:35pm On Dec 24, 2018
As a growing up kid born and raised in a Pentecostal church, I remember giving my life to Jesus after watching Burning Hell. I wasn’t getting saved acknowledging what Jesus had done for me on Calvary but because I wanted to avoid the torments of hell fire. Little wonder it didn’t last then. Sincerely, it isn’t uncommon to see people make serious claims of receiving some form of spiritual blessings during these exercises – spirit baptism, sanctification, healings etc. Don’t get me wrong, it does happen. Question is why don’t we feel it.

Fast-forward to 31st December and millions of Nigerian Youths would be gathered at various cathedrals to “pass into the new year in God’s presence”, and here-in I argue lies the problem. First, these activities have become routine and so ingrained into the typical Nigerian Youth that it has become tradition. Second, the essence which these programmes should portray have become non-existent that we do not even know it. Third, the Nigerian Youths have become so brain-washed that they are not even able to decipher that these programmes offer no contemporary value anymore. Fourth, the Nigerian Youth has become so unaware of the fleeting nature of time and has lost all sense of PURPOSE, “for when the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse [they say] is inevitable.”
Re: Vision & The Nigerian Youth: Hindsight, Insight And Foresight For A Great Future by Chukwuka16: 4:36pm On Dec 24, 2018
Hindsight and the value of retrospection
It isn’t uncommon in the business world to hear of words like appraisals, retreat, end of year report etc. The business world understands that stock taking after a financial year is important to re-assess concluded operations in line with an initial vision/mission statement. “How did we fare during the last financial year?” “Where did we make giant strides?” “Where did we mess up?” “What can we do better?” Staff during these times receive feedback on their performance highlighting areas of strength and potential areas for improvement. These activities guide decisions (retrenchment, promotion, awards) and rejuvenates staff for more productivity in the new business year.

Unfortunately, December which is supposed to be a period of stock taking for many Nigerian Youths is usually spent seeking spiritual assistance for problems that haven’t been identified! Where are the individual end of year reports for the Nigerian Youths? How has he assessed his productivity over 2018? Has his time been judiciously utilised? Have resources been efficiently deployed? What areas did he do well and in what areas does he need to improve? I can’t find any! The inability of the Nigerian Youth to reflect on his activities for the year 2018 does indeed call for sombre reflections.
Re: Vision & The Nigerian Youth: Hindsight, Insight And Foresight For A Great Future by Chukwuka16: 4:36pm On Dec 24, 2018
In the midst of these happenings, various reports have been emanating that should be considered by the Nigerian Youth during stock taking. Locally, we have seen rising unemployment, shrinking economy, worsening insecurity, appalling educational standards, rising mortality and increasing poverty. On the international scene, there have been advances in knowledge and growing interests especially in artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, decarbonisation/climate change, sustainable development, healthcare etc. These and many more are happenings that should guide stock taking by the Nigerian Youth for 2018. Sober reflection calls for quietness. Rather than subjecting oneself to ministrations that give “unprofitable knowledge”, the Nigerian Youth should be spending the ending days in 2018 seriously reflecting and making amends. Leave the bar/clubs for now. Stay away from the campgrounds. Seek out quiet places to ask yourself hard and realistic questions about your life. There is no new message anywhere. What have you made of the messages you’ve been receiving over the years? Little wonder so-called new year resolutions get forgotten few weeks into a new year.

Retrospection helps to position oneself for maximum productivity. Time out from the norm for sober reflections provides grounding for correcting mistakes. Why do countries/nations/companies have inquiries? Simple, to identify underlying reasons for an event and develop measures to avoid a repeat. Remember, that we can never be parents of the future, if we aren’t children of the past.

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Re: Vision & The Nigerian Youth: Hindsight, Insight And Foresight For A Great Future by Chukwuka16: 4:37pm On Dec 24, 2018
Insight and the power of knowledge
It is always refreshing working with experts. The discussions and working environment are indeed priceless. When I get to see colleagues provide some depths into pertinent issues especially in simplifying complex and technical matters, I have this satiating feeling. I detest mediocrity.

We live in a world where knowledge is growing at an alarming rate and so it isn’t uncommon to have people who have what I call “broad-spectrum idea” with no vertical grounding. Let me explain. In a random discussion with a typical Nigerian Youth, he can tell you about Nigerian politics, air his views on sports and talk passionately about his academic interest (if any). It is thus not uncommon to generalise such individual as being knowledgeable. I have no qualms with that. However, such knowledge provides no insight since it already exists. My question is simple - In what unique way has the Nigerian Youth been able to synthesise available knowledge to “create” new knowledge? That Nigeria has deficient leadership is common knowledge, however how can it be linked with say eroding family values and corrupted culture? Little wonder we have low publication output from our Nigerian academics. We rarely publish for impact. Today it isn’t uncommon to see non-medical experts publishing in core medical journals (Lancet for instance) and vice versa. When you create knowledge, the world recognises your scholarship.

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Re: Vision & The Nigerian Youth: Hindsight, Insight And Foresight For A Great Future by Chukwuka16: 4:37pm On Dec 24, 2018
As 2018, draws to a close, hindsight and retrospection of unfolding events in 2018 must drive the Nigerian Youth to be creative. Thinking must be actively and consciously pursued by serious minded Nigerian Youths. A bulk of their time must be spent thinking (not day-dreaming or wishful thinking). Thinkers rule the world. When information is gathered, time must be allocated to digest such information and localise it for maximum impact. Today we have available technologies operational worldwide. Thinkers are currently on the prowl thinking deep about the prospect of such technologies in the Nigerian market. They are not in clubs or cathedrals, they are in some secluded place thinking. Resources abound in leaps and bounds waiting for the “one” who can piece them together to evolve something different.

Insight and knowledge distinguish the “la cram, la pour” from the truly knowledgeable one. They are what set-apart thinkers from the pack. In the very tight Nigerian Market Economy riddled with all its woes and ills, thinkers are either employed and well compensated or running businesses that are drawing foreign funding. Never forget that applied knowledge is power!
Re: Vision & The Nigerian Youth: Hindsight, Insight And Foresight For A Great Future by Chukwuka16: 4:39pm On Dec 24, 2018
Foresight and the power of vision
There seems to be something associated with the folks who bore the name Martin Luther – they had foresight. That the Bible is freely accessible to all today or that there are other Christian sects aside the Roman Catholics is all tied to Martin Luther. Martin Luther through his protestant actions has influenced the German language and its culture and played a key role in Christendom – taking the attention of man from the clergy back to God! That Barack Obama could be president of America may be inexplicably tied to Martin Luther King (jnr) and a host of other activists including Nina Simone. Remember that famous statement – ‘I have a dream.” Today in the USA, blacks are making considerable progress in all endeavours of life because visionaries stood up to be counted as pioneers for a future they only could see.

What do Nigerian Youths see? Do they see a bleak future or one pregnant with opportunities? Do they see a country with so many problems or bursting with potentials? Is the cup half full or half empty? Foresight will always influence perspective!
Re: Vision & The Nigerian Youth: Hindsight, Insight And Foresight For A Great Future by Chukwuka16: 4:40pm On Dec 24, 2018
When I began my doctorate in CS, there was no insult I didn’t receive from my folks back in Nigeria and even in my university. Why would you leave EEE for CS was the question? Someone even asked me if I was confused? Ahem, my folks back at Unibadan assured me that I wouldn’t be employable by the EE department at Unibadan since I had deviated. Life I had long known is a personal journey. An opportunity of full funding along with the possibility of early graduation was beckoning at me. I grabbed the opportunity and gave it my all. The result was humbling. I completed my PhD in 17 months and graduated in the 18th month with 10 Q1 journal papers. For the job forget it. I couldn’t even attend my convocation as I was in a business meeting far away in Europe on the day of my convocation!

Today, there is a “Dr” appellation before my name and that’s all that matters! My PhD was practically an EEE based research spiced with some social science perspectives. I published in the top journals there in EEE. All that was different was the route. I had noted during my masters the sudden proliferation of social scientists into the energy scene and was worried that their research was overshadowing the research of core EEE practitioners. However, during my PhD it became clearer that core EEE researchers had reached organisational inertia. They were unwilling to embrace change and adapt to trending research and today we can attest to the results.
Re: Vision & The Nigerian Youth: Hindsight, Insight And Foresight For A Great Future by Chukwuka16: 4:40pm On Dec 24, 2018
Why this long epistle? I have taken my time to write this morning to my fellow Nigerian Youths because of some worrying trends that portend grave dangers for our future.

As a very young man that I am, I am privileged to be involved in leading projects that are well funded and working with international partners listed in FTSE 500. I am well paid and learning quite a lot. I am pushing boundaries and building amazing networks of professionals. I’m in a work environment that is mentally challenging and I have amazing colleagues and a fantastic boss. I am not from a rich home. If any, my parents are first-generation graduates of their families. I attended okay private schools and Unibadan (not some fancy ivy league). However, hard work, diligence, foresight and God’s favour have been underlying factors that enabled me secure full funding for my MSc and PhD studies. As I write this epistle, I am fine-tuning my life plans for the next 7-years. I am seeking out ways of buying the future by heavily investing my time in activities that will yield sustainable profits for life.

I am thus sad when I get to chat with Nigerian Youths mostly older than I am and they do not seem to have a picture of what they want from life. They seem to live a life of chance – “what will be will be.” No sir, it doesn’t work that way. Whatever happens to one is consequent on one’s previous actions. When someone goes to university and graduates with a 2.2/3rd class and doesn’t feel angry or defends him or herself with Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates, then that folk needs to be avoided like a plague. Agreed that life could spring surprises – death of parents/loved ones and other ills, however, the gift of life is enough motivation to get to the top. We’ve had folks who despite their circumstances left indelible marks on humanity. This morning I will briefly touch on the following:
Re: Vision & The Nigerian Youth: Hindsight, Insight And Foresight For A Great Future by Chukwuka16: 4:41pm On Dec 24, 2018
1. You are solely responsible for your life: as I take stock of my growing-up life and reflect on the friends and acquaintances I have had through high school to university (undergrad), one fact remains – we are where we are at any time solely based on our decisions. When I made the decision to take my books seriously as a high school student, folks told me it was unnecessary. They drew my attention to Jay Jay Okocha and Kanu Nwakwo who without degrees were well paid as footballers. That mentality and mindset altered the perspective of many students then. They decided academics wasn’t it and made up their minds to be hustlers. The result, they are still hustlers today! How many Nigerians today are “made” from football or basketball or some other sports? I can tell you – 0%. I have no idea where many are today. From time to time I do get to bump into some and the stories and circumstances are not always palatable. As an undergrad, when I decided to be serious with my life, many folks then thought I was too dull. Some even said I was myopic while others said I was missing. Well, today and years after, I look back and the story is still the same. Great decisions in life result in great life opportunities.

2. Take advantage of your youth [in making mistakes and working hard]: life will never always turn out the way we expect it to especially in our growing years. However, such mistakes are better made when we still have strength. Remember that it is always good for a man that he bears his yoke (burden) in his youth. Two years post high school, I was at home. That looked like a setback, right? Initially it did, but over the years I’ve had reason to be grateful for that interlude. That period meant I got into university 2 years older than the average age of my colleagues. That meant I was more mature and could easily be advised by my seniors. When my roommate then advised me to strive hard to graduate with a 1st class, it was easy for me to assimilate and ditch other plans for that singular and life changing target. Making mistakes in my youth meant I had strength and vigour to address them. Also, I had no “reputation” to protect as a youth and so no shame when I made such mistakes. In addition, I know that it is impossible now for me to be as hardworking as I was during my undergraduate/postgraduate days. As an undergraduate I could go 2-3 months on 15-18 hours daily simply researching. During my PhD, I could go 18 hours for a whole month simply because I wanted to crack an algorithm. Today, I find it hard getting up from bed after sleeping for 7 hours! Someone says laziness (na you sabi).
Re: Vision & The Nigerian Youth: Hindsight, Insight And Foresight For A Great Future by Chukwuka16: 4:42pm On Dec 24, 2018
3. Nigeria is never your problem: from time to time as I interact with Nigerian Youths, I find it quite shocking when people are so desperate to just leave Nigeria without a plan. They feel that going to “the abroad” will just mysteriously solve their problems. My attempt at enlightening them about the difficulties of living in “the abroad” is met with the statement – “wetin you sef dey find for there.” They are right! What am I doing in “the abroad?” Planning is everything. When opportunities open up, I assess to see how they align with my overall goals. Believe you me I turned down a partially funded PhD in the UK for full funding in SA. Rounding off my PhD in SA I was already preparing to return to Nigeria before an offer opened up in the UK. While in Nigeria (as an undergrad) I made every bit of my stay there count. I have never viewed Nigeria as my problem. Yes, the country has its own unique way of scuttling one’s plans. Yes, life in Nigeria could get really hard. But hey, no pain, no gain. The hardship and prevailing situations rather than make one develop the mindset of an escapist should build in one resilience and perseverance. The problems facing Nigeria are enough research opportunities for multiple PhD’s in any endeavour – arts and humanities, social sciences, healthcare, science and engineering. Don’t view “the abroad” as a means of escape. Trips to “the abroad” should be for developing capacity and getting exposure that would help one take advantage of the opportunities back home. Remember that even in “the abroad” their citizens still sleep in parks, underground tunnels and are still jobless! There is no utopia anywhere. If you don’t have a plan going to “the abroad” then the chances are that one will end up in the cycle of perpetual doom – working one’s ass off (multiple jobs) just to pay bills! A times you get to see Nigerians working odd jobs and ashamed to go back home. Life would be much better in Nigeria for them but they seem to view themselves as privileged because they have internet, running water, good roads, governance and electricity. If visionaries lived for only these things, they wouldn’t have made the impact they did on humanity.

4. Develop capacity/see the future/stay relevant: folks with knowledge that is relevant will always be needed. To stay relevant, one must be able to see the future and develop the right skills-set. Knowledge today is increasing at an alarming rate and is capable of precipitating knowledge overload. The ability to sift through knowledge and acquire what’s relevant depends largely on one’s ability to envision the future and ask the right questions – what is the current craze? Today we have natural language processing (NLP) becoming popular. Think about Alexa and Google Home. Tomorrow don’t be surprised to see conversational AI forming an integral part of major industries – construction, energy, aviation etc. Thinkers are already positioning themselves to be relevant then. 15 years ago, we didn’t have data scientists or AI engineers. 10 years from now, we aren’t sure of over 40% new job descriptions. Yesterday, social scientists were very comfortable doing their normal research. Today we find them in energy (energy burden, energy poverty, energy justice), climate change (adaptation, lifestyle) and big data (ethics). Everyone who wants to remain relevant in the future is re-inventing and acquiring new skill-sets that will make them needed then. No more excuse especially with regards to access to information. Data is very cheap in Nigeria and accessed by a large percentage of Nigerian Youths.
Re: Vision & The Nigerian Youth: Hindsight, Insight And Foresight For A Great Future by Chukwuka16: 4:43pm On Dec 24, 2018
As I conclude, I must caution sceptics and critics alike – any attempt at rephrasing this write-up as an affront on Christianity is clearly an exercise in futility. What made the Berean Christians notable was their ability to inquire from scriptures how true Apostle Paul’s teachings were. Today in Nigeria, youths have handed their brains over to clerics to do the thinking on their behalf. Same way I was conceived and born is the same way any human was conceived and born – sperm was involved. Just as any cleric has a brain, so also do I. Christianity does not condone stupidity or cowardice. Jesus had to contend with the Scribes and Pharisees. Apostle Paul had to defend his apostleship before the church in Galatia and Corinth. The present-day idea that sees mere mortals acting as “gods” and spewing obscenities from the altar is not only a slap on Christians but an affront on God. “Put them in fear, O Lord: that the nations may know themselves to be but men.” There is a widening gulf between the supposed goals of the church in Nigeria and her actions. When so-called men of God begin to have issues with succession, then it becomes obvious how much they have failed in leadership! The church in Nigeria has failed to allow youths the time and space to think for themselves. Productive time is now spent in church “doing nothing.” The church has now become so bold that it holds services even on workdays and within working hours!

Building a house, giving birth to children or getting a contract or even receiving one healing or the other during church programmes is not capable of guaranteeing a successful future for anyone. If proper and candid stock taking is done by the church in assessing the quality of life of its members and their potentials to be world changers, the results no doubt would be shameful. The Nigerian Youth must arise and take charge of their destinies. No one can decide your fate except yourself! “Be not deceived, whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.” Get profitably busy with your life and chart a course for yourself. Be a positive addition to humanity and not a burden. Contribute, make a mark, advance the cause of humanity! Make God happy that your path crossed earth.


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