An approach to understanding the ‘technicalities’ and ‘methodologies’ of being a Young Adult in Nigeria

By: Chisom Clare Akwue


God doesn’t make mistakes, at all. And Nigerians are proof of it. In His all-knowingness, He understood perfectly what being a Nigerian would entail, and on the Eighth day, while every other human specie had become ‘up and functioning’, He made Nigerians, with cement and a resilient spirit to absorb hardship, and melanin, lots of it, to absorb harshness from the sun; a prior preparation for the Herculean task of being Nigerian.

It makes us extraordinary people (whether you take that negatively or positively, na you sabi); that ability to stay strong no matter the situation, especially in the hands of people whom, when the cement was being mixed for their own production, the milk of kindness and humanness finished; the ones we call leaders.

Being a Nigerian is hard. But being a Nigerian young adult is both hard and confusing. For one, you are living as and between the generation that brought Nigeria to where it is today, and the generation that will suffer the effects in the Nigeria of tomorrow. This manual is for you, young fellow, to understand how the system functions with respect to you, and how to survive in it, to avoid unnecessary and undue high blood pressure.

The first rule is to understand that while you think education is the key to success, the doors have either been changed in Nigeria, or there are doors that open to doors that open to success. Besides, if education were that important, schools would be open, like other essential service providers during the lockdown, at least, virtually. Even the president’s senior secondary certificate is at large, so why the fuss about paper? It is not of he that readeth or of he that graduateeth, but of he whom corruption showeth mercy (Naijalations 1:7).

Anyways, since degrees are the ‘in thing’ now, you should just have one, to avoid future unnecessary complications, especially when you want to contest for public office. However, you must note that the duration for pursuing the degree is an estimated time frame that allows only for extension, in case you have set targets for yourself according to age. Factor in two or more years extra for ‘miscellaneous’, to avoid being thrown off balance when ASUU gives you a six month holiday twice a year, or your ‘A is for God, B is for me, C is for my wife’ lecturer decides to grant your degree pursuit long life for refusing to drop some cash, or fellate him in his office.

Secondly, Nigerian soil is to dreams what sandy soil is to plants. You should, as a matter of fact, be more concerned about your survival than your dreams, so that your days may not be cut short by hunger, frustration and depression. Whether it’s a skill, a business, a career, or a course you want to choose, please, let your stomach decide first. Times and situations have made us change direction, from pursuing passion to chasing money. Na person wey get life dey dream. If you follow your dreams alone here, you fit loss.

After your stomach, you must also consider your location. You are not even certain that whether you choose your path based on passion or money, there is the opportunity to ‘make it’. I would have said you go to Lagos, but Lagos has not only become cliché, there are more people in Lagos than space, opportunities and even oxygen. You even deserve the best, and nothing less, and the best form of relationship to have with this country is a long-distance relationship. So, you should aim for places like Canada, China, or anywhere else that has no geographical relationship with Nigeria. (Don’t mind that America’s orange-faced man that has made it difficult to enter America). By all means, just run. Safe journey as you do so. We look forward to seeing your Nigerian flag on your Twitter and Instagram bio as your means of pledging allegiance.

For us in the ‘we die here‘ category, who are not opportune to run, verily, I say unto you, fear not. Nigeria is a land of too many possibilities; too much magic, because, what else explains why a microbiology graduate is working in the bank, or how a lawyer is the Minister of Power, or why we have a citizen who is both the president and the minister of petroleum; an appointee of himself by himself? The point is, no matter what it is you have studied, you can always fit in anywhere.

Flexibility is the second hallmark of a Nigerian. Whenever you see a vacancy or opening, just apply. By now, you must have known that you should have two dozens of your CV and passport photographs handy. Don’t tell yourself, “Oh. They want a graduate with 2:1 and I had a 2:2” or “it’s a bank job, and I studied Engineering”. Apply. Just ensure that your surname rings a bell, or your money introduces you. You are never fully dressed for a job hunt without either or both of them, and if any of your relatives belong to the ‘upper echelon’, you only need one phone call, and you’re well on your way to work the next Monday morning. Bear in mind, however, that there are more chances of your CV being used to wrap suya, akara or roasted corn than of you getting the job, because there are people who know what you know, and have applied the same tactics. So, while submitting your applications, better learn one or two things in drop-shipping from China, or prepare to be a religious entrepreneur, feeding off the ‘seeds’ that have been sown in your church, even before their harvest, or maybe get yourself a glucose guardian, or lock your hair, get a cheap tattoo and enter the studio (don’t worry about the lyrics. Sing whatever comes as the spirit leads. Let the beat just be danceable), or at worst, buy a laptop and begin the Lord’s work of making those white people who enslaved our forefathers pay. Ignore that ‘patience is a virtue’ gospel, because you see that patient dog? Hunger don kill am. The opportunistic dog carried his bone and japaa.

I know that from the time you were born, you have been hearing that you are the future. In fact, even before you were conceived, the saying ‘today’s child is tomorrow’s leader’ had existed. Now, sometimes, whenever you listen to the news, and hear about people, whom you think are closer to their graves than you are to your graduation, and the trillions of dollars they siphon, you get this sensation in your subconscious that you will become president someday, and do so, so, and so. Well, for reality sake, perish such thoughts and revert back to rule three, because those tomorrows won’t come, and they are rather closer to their graves than you are to their offices.

You may want to argue with the Not Too Young to Run Bill, but need I remind you that laws in Nigeria most times, are proof of an existent legislative house more than they are applied? There is an underlying interpretation that provides for two categories of ‘young’ aspirants, and the average Nigerian youth does not fall under any of them.

First, the bill refers to ‘young’ persons, possibly between ages forty to sixty-five with capable pockets and political histories, and not the average thirty year old. And even when the age is below, the pocket can substitute. An expression of interest form in the two major parties in Nigeria cost between ten to twenty million naira, not to talk of other election expenses. (You know better than to contest for any office under any party asides these two, because the rest are end of the year parties).

So how do you expect to get that kind of money? Who is your godfather? Which politician’s child are you friends with, or married to? You have not even been in the corridors of power, and you want to be in power. You think it is the same thing you do when you skip terms and conditions and jump to ‘I accept’? Please we don’t do that here. Those offices are reserved for ‘older’ young persons, or young persons of financial age; the ones that stay in the Nigeria of your dreams, live and marry within their circle, count Rolls Royces and Maseratis, and show up once once online, during Eid, to trend the ArewaTwitter hashtag, and leave you wondering what you were doing when they were being sent to their families on Earth.

At this juncture, I therefore admonish us all to remain steadfast, and look forward to the Day of Reckoning, when we shall show God our Nigerian flag, for Him to see that we have been through hell already, and are deserving of some enjoyment in paradise.


Chisom is a 400 level law student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, as well as a Social Entrepreneur. She loves reading and writing. She believes in art in all its forms, as a tool of activism, and a means of effecting social change. Her area of interest in writing, in law and as a social entrepreneur is Women’s Rights and Gender Equality.
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