Lagos — Social vices including drug abuse, thuggery, cultism, inaudinate ambition, sexual abuse, examination malpractice are common among Nigerian youths, majority of whom are students of various institutions of learning. To curb these vices, Concerned Stakeholders Forum (CSF) held its first interactive campus symposium on students behaviour and good governance recently. Yemi Akinsuyi, who was at the Federal College of Education (Technical), Akoka, Yaba, Lagos venue of the lecture reports.
The atmosphere was almost religious, last week, as students of the Federal College of Education (Technical) Yaba, Lagos, listened attentively during a lecture on social vices. Mr. Omoniyi Nayeju, who represented Mr. Adekunle Akinlabi of Platinum Bank, the guest speaker was so impressed that he said frequent enlightenment exercises would in no small way curb youths excesses.
His paper entitled "Collective War on Social Vices Among Nigerian Youths", called on the students to be self controlled and not to allow themselves to be lured into crime.
He enjoined students to be self disciplined and to acquire knowledge to be able to do the right thing at the right time.
"I don't want to believe that there is nothing you can do now as students. If you are busy attending seminars like this, you do not only stand to be enlightened, but it would make you busy doing the right thing. Be hardworking. Discover yourself. Bear it in mind that you are better than others in one particular area and make the most use of it. Strive to be the best in whatever you do and above all, love others as you love yourself".
But one of the worst problems confronting Nigeria today, and which is capable of paralysing the nation's economy in the nearest future is mass movement of the youths from the country immediately after their education, abroad.
Nayeju called on the country's leaders to create an enabling environment for youths to thrive and become productive, thereby reducing likelihood of their involvement in crime.
Describing the students as the heartbeat of the society, Lagos front line politician, Engr. Funsho Williams, who was also represented at the occasion, said if the Nigerian youths do not rise up to fight for their rights, miscreants would fight for them and that such fight would be shameful and bloody.
In his words: "Why we have not be able to fight social vices in the country is because the youths, especially students have not risen up to the task. Why things are the way they are in the country is because the youths have not come up to fight for their right. I want to tell you that if you refuse to take your destiny into your hands, Area Boys would do that for you and if they do, it would be a shame on your part and being who they are, they would make it bloody and too hot for anyone to handle".
He called on youths to shun social vices so as to better the country, enjoining them to take a queue from American youths, who he said formed a formidable force to bring about changes in the country.
Engr. Eric Adebayo Daga, state co-ordinator of CSE in his own message to the youths said elsewhere in developed democracies it has been parts and parcel of the democratisation process for youths to take the initiatives for responsible participation in the political thinking of their nations.
"Organised youths will be in position to present the needed checks and balances to the excesses of our political elites. Therefore, this sensitisation is a call on all of you, Great Nigerian Students, to rise up to the occasion now and cross the Rubicund, the challenge of which is for you to take and act more seriously and responsibly in shaping this nation's political landscape.
"It is time to drop all the youthful exuberance, which is often exhibited by some charlatans in the political arena. Consider yourselves a concerned stakeholder in the socio-political affairs of this state and of your respective states of origin and of course, our nation Nigeria. As representatives of the youths of this nation, you need to organise yourselves on this platform to articulate your views and contribute to a progressive ideology in guiding our politicians in the right and morally just path to develop and nurture our nascent political dispensation into a successful process".
Thanking the organisers of the lectures on behalf of the students, Amoo Ayoola, who doubled as the students' coordinator of the programme, promised their readiness to abide by the rule of the game and also to shun social vices.