Where two or three young people are gathered, there is bound to be incurable enthusiasm, or frustration, if those young people happen to be Nigerian. How much worse can it get, with a President who has celebrated 100 days out of office while still in office; state governors who strut the land as co-presidents, drunk on a power no one has entrusted to them; local government chairmen who are delighted to bleed the land dry while lurking in the shadows of bigger politicians; and young people for whom searching for a job is a fulltime job; for whom a Masters is no longer an avenue for deeper knowledge but an opportunity to buy another year or two from the paralysing frustrations of joblessness.
We watch, helpless, as masses of youngsters – who should be holed up in the laboratories and research institutes, creating the wonder drugs and environment-friendly cars of tomorrow – now see a future only in the seven-and-half minutes of fame that a reality TV show will bring. If you ever thought the Bible owned the copyright to the Book of Lamentations, then you haven’t seen the one being written by young Nigerians.
This sorry state of our country has left an interesting side effect. It has turned us all into comedians, people for whom no lemon is too unripe to be turned into lemonade, for whom absurdity is an instant ‘open-sesame’ for verbal ingenuity. We have made jokes about everything; composed ballads for President Yardie, turned “Turai” and “Mutallab” into verbs; and wondered why, after having a president who suffered kidney failure, we now have an acting president afflicted by “liver failure.”
Increasingly, however, we are realising that it is time to move on, to go beyond Concern, and Comedy, and make our way into the uncharted territories of Commitment. It is dawning on us that it is not enough to be Angry Young Men and Women, trapped in the online factories of Twitter and Facebook assembling jokes and status updates from our ever-increasing frustrations.
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