Before I get into this, I think it’s valuable to amplify the position of the United Nations on who a youth is and at what age the privilege of being a youth terminates. For the UN, one enters this glorious demographic at 15 and exits it at 24.
This is why my appeal to every twenty-something-year-old reading this is that they should brace up. Basically.
At 18, a person in Nigeria and most other territories on earth no longer passes for the beautiful diminutives of a boy or a girl.
You’re now a man or a woman, and before you know it, in just a few years, you’ll no longer qualify for many entry-level jobs as most workplaces will soon consider you too old for them. This reality is better avoided than experienced.
You’ll soon reach the stage where biology, the law and economy will start asking you critical and often contradictory questions – I doubt if it hasn’t stated yet. I’m no sociologist but I hold the view that this reality usually is what you’ll find at the center of most of the crises that young people face in today’s society, which the society pretends not to understand or simply dismiss.
The Holy Bible had thousands had foreseen these contradictions over two thousand years ago. That’s why it warned you never to allow anyone despise your youth. It says “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” – 1 Timothy 4:12 NIV.
Of course you must be respectful and accountable, but, in addition, you must keep in mind that if the world ended tonight, your Maker will ask no one else but you to give account of the life He gave you. This is how much you matter!
Therefore, despite being a young person, you hold a bigger stake than those who call you a boy – or a girl – are prepared to let you realize. On account of this stake, conversations around crucial aspects of your society such as credible investments, land ownership/use, GDP, finances and budgets of your local, state and federal government are not beyond you. It’s not beyond you to know which countries of the world your nation aligns with, or who becomes a minister, Commissioner or supervisors, you have a say in the laws that your representatives pass etc. You should have an idea of your country’s electoral process, too. These are not beyond your age grade. After all, our parents took up these responsibilities at a younger age.
It thus makes sense to resist attempts to reduce you to a passive member of your society who is only fit to wallow in the inglorious muds of endless chatters, banters and unprofitable adventures masquerading as entertainment.
And, yes, need I remind you also that no courts around the world will commute your sentence if it finds you guilty of an offense simply on account of you being a twenty-something year-old? Even the dailies will flash headlines like “a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has convicted a twenty-one year old Man (not a boy), Lagbaja Ọmọ Lagbaja..”