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MYTH: THE AGED ARE WISE AND THE YOUNG FOOLISH.

Every now and then the scene in James Bond’s ‘Skyfall’ where James Bond first met his new young-looking Q (Quartermaster) replays in my head.

Bond was shocked to say the least.

The idea of entrusting the design of his life-saving gadgets in the hands of a young man was just too rude. Too rude that he asked if it was a joke. Q understanding James’s dismay said ‘age is no guarantee of efficiency’ and Bond quickly replied and said ‘youth is no guarantee of innovation’. Q bragged about his ‘efficiency’ and soon afterwards they shaked hands and business began.

Both of them were right. Age does not guarantee efficiency and youth does not guarantee innovation. And our country Nigeria is in dire need of both, in fact African at large.

Robert Mugabe is 92,Ellen Sirleaf Johnson is 78,Jacob Zuma is 74,Al-Bashir is 72 and our very own Buhari is 73. These are all serving Presidents of some leading African countries.

Given how geriatric our ruling class is, one would wonder why there is a peg on age in the Civil Service. This is somewhat peculiar in our African societies. Maybe because we connote age with wisdom and youthfulness as unruly and wild.

This may be politics and democracy where the person with the highest cheer wins the race. But we forget that all a Nation can become is the vision their leader sees. After a certain age, ones future becomes past and the vision of their days of youth becomes history of today. But we live in an evolving world where even the new knowledge of today is no match to the futuristic traits of today’s world. Talk more of the wisdom from yesterday.

Feel free and ask any young Doctor how distrustful patients are of them because they are young. Or any young professional in any profession. Maybe this is why we are where we are today. We refuse to engage the intellect of our younger generation.

Our Youths are not exactly showing promise. Some say they are not given the opportunity to show what they can offer. That is partly true. The President of Nigeria today was once the Head of State over 30 years ago. Some of the past Military Administrators are serving members of the Senate or functioning in other capabilities in today’s politics. If not for the natural process of death or ill-health most likely, all the past leaders and administrators would have vied for stakes in our contemporary politics.

When then would new contenders be allowed to emerge. If we hold onto the aged because of the ‘wisdom’ they hold. The system saturates, leaving little room for the Youths and whatever innovation they may offer.

But on the other hand, a certain percentage of the Youths do not show fate. In the olden days, once a person comes of age, they set-out on their own to try to eke out a living. Some Youths still do that today. But unfortunately, some others rather sit back, smoke some weed, drink some wine and complain of everything that is going wrong. Thereby wasting away their (youthful) brain full of new ideas and their muscles full of strength.

Too bad some miscreants put their brains and muscles into criminal use. Serving as pawns in the hand of their masters. While the children of the masters live abroad in more sane climes, prospering and doing great exploits. In exchange for pittance, the pawns mortgage their future, wasting away in thuggery, cyber crimes, militancy, drugs, etc.

The young should know when they become grown so they can begin to take up responsibilities and the old should know when they have aged, so they leave the responsibilities for the young.

Young Q exuded excellence, it was not so hard for Bond to believe that he was equal to all tasks. It’s up to our Youths of today to exude excellence and prove that they have a quota to contribute to our Nation building.

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