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Robert Kennedy once said, “The world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease.”

International Youth Day (IYD) is an awareness day designated by the United Nations (UN). The purpose of the day is to draw attention to a given set of cultural and legal issues surrounding youth. The first IYD was observed on 12 August, 2000.

The United Nations define “youth” as persons between the ages of 15 and 24; “Teenagers” as those between the ages of 13 and 19 and “Young adults” as those between ages 18 and 32. Youths in Nigeria includes all members of the Federal Republic of Nigeria aged 18-35.

Before I divulge any further, I must mention that this is quite a lengthy read, and most contemporary Nigerian Youths would find it unnecessary to read but would rather dive into the comment section and say, “Great Write-up!”, “Beautiful”, “Nice”, “Keep it up!”, And so on. And that, brings us to the first and arch problem of the Nigerian Youth today – LAZINESS, and its twin, PROCRASTINATION.

I recall with euphoria, an incident that transpired in April 2018. It was a moment when most Nigerian Youths took to their social media handles and other media outlets to decry the proposition made by President Mohammadu Buhari. There were Twitter wars, YouTube videos and numerous rants on Facebook with the hashtag: #LazyNigerianYouth.

I crave your indulgence to pay very close attention to the exact words of PMB. He said: “About the economy, we have a very young population, our population is estimated to be 196 million in 2018. This is a very conservative one. More than 60% of the population is below 30, a lot haven’t been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria is an oil-producing country, therefore, they should sit and do nothing, and get housing, healthcare, education free.” I carefully checked and rechecked to make sure my ears heard right, he never emphatically said, “We have Lazy Nigerian Youths.”

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But, wait a minute! What exactly is laziness? According to the dictionary, Laziness is “the quality of being unwilling to work or use energy; idleness.”

If we claim not to be the lazy youths PMB tagged us, why is there a sporadic brain drain in the last few years? Why is Nigeria one of the leading hubs of Examination Malpractices & Misconducts in the world? Why do we have lesser students opting to participate in Cowbell Maths Pedia, but more going for BBN auditions? Why do we have lesser attendees at Conferences/seminars but more in clubhouses, strip clubs and brothels?

Why do we stay up all night catching up with our latest Philippines or Indian series, but find it difficult to study for an Examination for 2 hours straight without feeling bored? What has happened to our value systems? Why do we now have to major in minors, and minor in majors? Why do we allow the old cargoes go back to Political offices over and over again, if in reality more than 60% of Nigerians are below 30? Do these youths even have voter’s cards? Would they even be patient enough to exercise their franchise?

I know we watch a lot of Hollywood and envy the lives of other young people overseas. We dream of attending college hitch-free; we dream of going on luxurious vacations and touring countries of the world; We dream of securing well-paying jobs with little or no stress. Wake up, Brother! Na Naija you dey! And for dis country, na hustle sure pass! But then, while hustling, be reminded that this is the 21st Century, where innovative ideas and creativity is the in-thing. Being a University graduate or not, has a very minimal role to play. What truly matters is how much Education (informal Education) you have. 

One major symptom of laziness is PROCRASTINATION. Now, I want you to be as honest as possible. How many goals did you set in the beginning of this year have you successfully achieved? How many of such goals have you pushed till next year or next two years? How do you spend every single day? Of what use are most of the groups you follow on social media, those posts you comment on, those chats you have? Are they pushing you towards actualizing your goals or retarding your progress? What are those things you ought to do today you deliberately pushed till tomorrow? 

One Procrastination here and another there, would no doubt result in a mountain of unmet needs, too many activities to do, with little or no time available. You start being regarded as incompetent and lazy. As people think you’re just unwilling to do the work. 

If we must get involved as youths for Global Action, as the UN suggested in IYD theme 2020, we must get rid of Laziness and Procrastination. We must become very conscious, and tackle every task on our desk promptly, meticulously and creativity.

A happy International Youth Day to you❣️

Agu, Godsdelight Chimbuchi

Writer||Conversationist||Young Leader

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