The Ancient and the Youth By Francis Ogunbowale - THE BUSINESS PACKAGE


Saturday, August 1, 2020

The Ancient and the Youth By Francis Ogunbowale

Has anybody noticed that the ancient is usually very arrogant in thought and attitude? By this, I mean the septuagenarians and the octogenarians who have been at the center stage of human affairs since independence and still hold tight to power today under the deceit that there are no safe hands to take over. They are the apostles of the good old days who doze or even sleep during plenary and important official meetings. They see modern technology as evil. They only let out stress by acquiring more women, mass producing children and endangering society with money ‘miss road’ offsprings.

They extol the good old days at every opportunity, openly condemn seductively dressed young girls only to go behind to fetch some from their coordinators, smash them die with stolen cash and elevate them to the high level they may not be able to maintain after temporarily losing power and influence to another set of elite. 

In literature, we were told that life was short, nasty and brutish in the olden days. But the present generation did not live during the period of Plato, Aristotle, and Hobbes. Sometimes ago, President Olusegun Obasanjo gave an insight of how he could only see two to three bicycles in a primary school in his own time, but in the contemporary time, he could see that primary schools are replete with cars while bicycles have become a relic for the extremely poor. Then, we ask, is this a sign of backwardness?. Obviously this can only be a sign of progress in human development.

Similarly, these men of yester years cried wolf and insisted that standard of education had fallen tremendously in Nigeria and that there were university graduates who could not speak good English. But Prof Babs Fafunwa was quick to educate them that English language is not our mother tongue and therefore should not be a tool to assess the standard of education. Demas Akpore, who supported that view posited that the sing song extravaganza of falling standard in education is a false claim chanted with grotesque aggravation over time by those who themselves lack basic education and ability to assess the situation. 

There are yet others, who said that it did not lie in the mouth of the ancient to say. To them they were the ones who designed the pit in which quality education eventually fell. According to them, if truly the standard of education is falling, why would it not fall? They did not receive lectures by sitting on the window; they received bursaries and scholarship that enabled them to study well. Some of them even had so much money that they bought moblet motor cycles while they were in school? Therefore, no oldie should push the arrogance too far.

Few years back, a medical doctor was among the suspects paraded to have carried drug while traveling in an aircraft. Society was aghast on why such a young professional should involve himself in such a shameful act. But the reason is that this generation of eat it all does not care for the youths. Even in this period of Covid 19 pandemic, health workers still beg to be given what is due to them knowing fully well they are putting their lives on the line, to save other people. 

In the olden days, previous generation pursued policy of indigenization and ensured that foreigners handed over the political economy to them. So, this generation left school to become principal officers of companies and government businesses. Rather than pay back their successors in that coin, they engage in blind privatization of the existing structures and further position themselves and their children to benefit forever.

The future is not certain for the ancient who constantly shift blame on the poor youths of today because modern technology has increased their level of awareness and has further exposed the ignoble act of the comprador oldies of the society. Many of them who could not survive then, were able to stow away to Europe and America and came back better equipped to take over the mantle of leadership. 

There is therefore no basis to say that the youths are rudderless ships who have no direction. Assuming the youths have no direction, how would they be expected to have direction? Is this the way their own predecessors managed their destinies? If not for Covid 19 pandemic, if the lecturers are not on strike, their non teaching counterpart would have been warming up. A student can only know when he is admitted, he cannot know when he will graduate. Government wants every university to generate revenue, without providing the enabling environment and without patronizing their consultancy outfits. Instead, they go abroad to attend sub-standard seminars usually anchored by technicians who cannot match our local talents and come back to flaunt the certificates as a status symbol.

Granted an opportunity to start life all over again, will any oldie prefer to live in the good old days or today when twins are no longer sacrificed to the gods, when children are not wasted under the guise that they are abikus, when genital mutilation has become a criminal offence against the state, when there is equal rights for men and women, when all sorts of vaccines have been developed to make babies and adults live their lives. Would the oldies want to go back and ride Keke Napeb as a means of alleviating poverty? Would they like to park their prado jeeps and move about in Ojo Maduekes bicycles? 

They said the youths of today have stone hearts. Who puts stones in their hearts? Are they not the ones that gave them arms and ammunitions and set them against themselves so that they can be ‘god fathers’, rig elections, suppress opposition and divert public attention while they starch public treasury abroad? Are they not the ones that took staple food away from the tables of the masses? And when we complain, they ask us to shut up and further tell us that the pain we are experiencing is in our best interest. 

They make a law against deforestation and ban citizens from going to the bush to collect fire woods and yet PHCN cannot provide adequate power to meet peoples demands. The gas they provide is not at the reach of the common man who lives below one dollar in a day. Vulganizers, radio and television technicians, those who operate barbing salon, local commercial motor cycle riders, etc cannot work. They banned commercial motor cycle riders, they registered corporate commercial riders and turned back to ban the corporate commercial riders; how then do they want the common man to survive. 

We asked for national conference, they gave us national dialogue, just to tell us that they are wiser than us. If care is not taken, the King may be forced to dance naked in the market square and this may not bring a good end.

Ogunbowale is a lawyer in Lagos.

23b Adebayo Doherty Street
Beside Dowen College, Lekki Phase 1
P.O. Box 9087, Marina, Lagos
Tel: 080-2-311-6163; E-mail:

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