The most fundamental question that confronted us before the last elections was whether or not, life will continue as usual after the elections. But truth be told, life has certainly continued and Nigeria has continued to remain united as one nation under God. Too often, movements and agitation for social change are caught in rhetorical traps, which seem peripheral to the more basic issue of life and death. We may debate political and economic alternatives until we become cold and insensitive, but the undeniable ecological reality is that an infinite developing economy of spiraling and monotonous “evolution” cannot be prevalent in a stunt and finite environment void of efforts and participation from its indigenous youths. In other words, it is of no good that we postulate alternative economic systems while we ignore the immediate ecological reality of the indigenous youths, as one of the basic essentials factoring the future and continuous advancement.

The government may assume various alternative development structures until they are hoarse. But an understanding of development, which I shall define as “the continuous knit of transition beneficial to a pre-defined space, in view of exterior extension with regards to mutual coexistence” – suggests that, if advancement in this country were to take effect, the only development structure reliable, is one which is based upon the local youthful recognition and involvement. Using Nigeria and the middle-belt region as emphasis: while forums and movements discuss anarchy, communism and democracy, it is obvious even to technocrats to note that involvements of the predominant middle-belt youth as the heart of the nation, is essential to influence rapid, successful and continuous development of the nation. The role of the youth in nation building hence becomes an in-negligible factor complementary to the transition process, without which stagnation and retrogression results.

The major reason why development structures in Nigeria have failed to yield results can be rooted in the exclusion of the Nigerian youths from mental tasking and energy sapping national policies and socio-economic participation. The Gbagyi youths as integral components of the nation have been the most non-participant youths in the nation since the evolution of Nigeria as an independent state. The Gbagyi youths have been victims to potential marginalization, which at a gradual pace portends to prevail; and with checks and balances ignored; there still seem to be no sign of complacent prejudice any time soon. Hence, the fate of the Gbagyi youths hung on individual fortification and colossal challenge, as determinants of their continuous existence; but by ecological reality, choking the development rate of the nation to a rather retarding pace than advancing.

According to Ralph Nader “pollution is violence, and environmental pollution is environmental violence”. However, in the case of Nigeria, such pollution exceeds environmental violence; it extends to ecological and cultural violence. It is a violence possessing different effects, styles and time factors than the more primal sort of violence such as street crimes. While street crimes provoke sensory opinion of raw and instinctual nature, ecological and cultural crimes generate a silent form of violence most often unfelt, unheard and unseen. This simply summarizes the resulting effect and degree of catastrophe the exclusion of Gbagyi youths from national forums and policies curtail. This also highlights the importance of indigenous participation in the development structures of nation building, which points directly towards the Gbagyi youths as the agent most conversant with the values and norms of the heart of the nation; and as a factor of communal development.

The Gbagyi youths as agents of development have so far played the key role in the nation’s advancement also as advocates of peace; especially by methods implored in dealing with a system of oppression and suppression, characterizing eco-cultural violence. The Gbagyi youths in spite of being suppressed, have never initiated a revolting militia or resolved to any violent demonstration as forms of agitation in tackling the consequent marginalization, socio-economic and eco-cultural crimes confronting them.

To deal with a system of oppression, suppression and dysfunctional policies, the Gbagyi youths must come to terms with fact that socio-economic and eco-cultural crimes poses long term effects on the future of their tradition and heritage. The Gbagyi youths must also recognize their roles in nation building:

To act as the dominant indigenous youths in the heart of the nation laden with the task of depriving polluters their unproven legitimacy as the radical destroyers of the nation’s resources and fundamental rights of the people as long as they assume conservative patriotic postures. This simply expects of us, the examination of our representatives in the government and our traditional rulers within the localities.

To be the intellects saddled with the responsibility of developing effective investigative approach towards policy implementation as one of the most fundamental prerequisites in tackling the problems of pollution and eco-cultural crimes. This could be achievable running an effective Gbagyi Youths Forum having a binding constitution with accorded the mandate to investigate and question the activities of our representatives and leaders at local, state and federal level.

To participate in the close analysis of corporate statements, annual reports, letters, and periodicals, government grants, court records, regulations, technical papers, transcripts, bureau reports and congress hearings in the verification of the portents of that conscience-stricken domestic lawyer, that rebellious company engineer, that troubled retiree or ex-employee, that intelligent and diligent worker, and that fact-laden idealist related to policy implementation. With an existing effective youth forum, of course we are blessed with young promising Gbagyi intellectuals who possess commendable competence to champion these causes.

To act as corporate executives who organize and attend symposiums in secondary and tertiary institutions with aim to counsel students and undergraduates on nation building and societal coexistence relative to one’s passion and profession. And also, to act as inspectors of formal educational curricula, in order to ensure the conformity of such, with the immediate ecological traditional operations.

To form a coalition with youth forums of other indigenous ethnic groups in ensuring that indigenes in the heart of the nation confirm considerable degree of participation in nation building; also ensuring that the curricula and government policies respond to the rights of the indigenous ethnic groups.

In a bid to contribute towards the development of the nation, the Gbagyi youths must embrace certain sensitive professions making trends in this third world. It simply means the average Gbagyi youth must consider one of the alternatives to study mass communication, journalism, law, information technology, political science, public administration, English and literature, architecture, construction technology, linguistics and international relations as choice of career. By studying any of these courses, the Gbagyi youths stand about 80% chance to attain not just national, but also global recognition. The Gbagyi youths stand the chance to evolve into some of the most influential contributors towards the nation’s advancement. The Gbagyi youths stand the chance to redeem their race from portent marginalization and ensuring the security and continuity of their future generations. The Gbagyi youths also stand the chance to influence major decisions on policies affecting his heritage and well-being, were they to study any of the aforementioned courses. Aside those, the Gbagyi youths can also be major contributors to the nation’s development by being idealistic in coming up with personal projects seeking the government’s funding assistance, and by engaging in entrepreneurial practices; as these will contribute to the growth of their communities, create job opportunities, and alleviate a certain percentage of poverty in their communities.

As key contributors in nation building, the Gbagyi youths who resolve to indulge in agricultural practice should ensure they do so with adequate knowledge of it. They should take strides in studying such in tertiary institutions, such that they stand the chance to receiving government grants and loans for adequate and efficient mechanization, large scale farming, and ease of mobility. In addition, the Gbagyi youths need to venture into industries like the sports and entertainment industries where their nation, ethnicity and individual self-representation would suffice.

Recently, the science of ecology has suddenly transformed from the obscurity of academic studies, to becoming domestic phrase. The interrelationships between man and nature are being defiled by growing technology and civilization, and are at the threat of extinction. Now, when the ordinary Gbagyi citizen questions these deferent activities, our representatives, corporate and government agencies provide readily evident answers: they call-in the public relation boys and coerce the public to take it. It is therefore imminent, that the youths being the ones with the most active five senses, are those even with little or no training who understand in broad terms, the evolution of our current predicaments. Why then don’t we study those media related courses to aid us in creating platforms for interactions and honest publications?

According to Rene Dubos “the most hopeful sign for the future, is the attempt by the rebellious young to reject our social values.” By this statement, it is expected of the Gbagyi youths to awake from their slumber and agitate for participative rights in a manner seldom known as “conservative revolution.” The conservation revolution is a system of revolution that deals with the initiation of projects which revoke illegitimate policies, with aim to redress devastating activities not operating under the rule of law. To stand as major contributors in developing the nation, the Gbagyi youths need to understand and embrace conservative revolution as a worthwhile cause operating within the law and which go down to the roots of our social philosophy. Although conservation revolution can be deceptive in making a concerned youth think that the values conservationists are fighting for have become conventional; it also possesses certain degree of advantages by developing the individual personality through ideal thinking and capacity building.

Finally, in the light of everything, recollecting the dynamic tone of demonstrations and insurgencies in the last few years, another significant question confronts us: why are so many youths resorting to violence? It is not far-fetched to be honest with ourselves on the reason being that we feel hopeless and scared, that for us, there will be no future. It is our emergent sense of frustration and hopelessness that lead us to resort to violence. How then can we establish life by destroying it?

As the most influential youths on constitutional standpoint, if the Gbagyi youths as meaningful and effective tools of development, with the support of the educated majority are to help other indigenous youths overcome their hopelessness, the crucial question would not be: is it a religious or ethnic war, or is it socialism vs. capitalism? Rather, the question will be: who can represent us well enough to effect a change? The crucial question lies with the recognition of the undeniable reality that we have been plagued with bad representatives who should be understood by us, as dictators a “radical” political stand. The question lies with the re-building of an environment which encourages life, and growth; rather than blames, death, and destruction. Quite literally, what we are striving for, is the chance to contribute to the development of our nation. Hence, our politics and economics must be secondary, and unless we focus on the curious relationship between our most basic values and their destruction by the corrupt Gbagyi representatives and government personnel, honest resentment and pressures for change at the grassroots will never be effective.

Thank you.

Chigudu Tanko Theophilus

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