The Oasis Reporters
August 12, 2020
~By Deji Adesoye (HRM)
(As a part of the 2020 commemoration of the International Youth Day)
A lot has been said about how the youth are the bone of state, the core of society, the energy that spins action and progress. Yet it seems we focus so much on the state, society, action and progress that we lose sight of the youth.
Or the state, society, action and progress afford us opportunity to sap humanity of its own rescuer virtue whilst such sapping requires the neglecting of young people as well as their debilitation. In simpler terms, it seems we tend to use up the youth in sustaining society, instead of the society in sustaining the youth and other components of society.
And since it is believed, as we have observed in the opening lines, that youth are the driver of society, their sustenance means unequivocally the sustenance of society.
We do not have an egg and hen paradox. Sustain people, and society would have been sustained. However a society that survives upon the debilitation of its people, the youth mainly, is only tending to oblivion. I think we have a diagnosis of the current state of widespread social malaise.
But we can fletch this diagnosis further. If we hold as a dogma that youth are the driver of society, we must also pay close attention to its logical implication. The youth cannot be dormant. The youth is always active. The youth is driving the society at all times.
What can be of contention is the direction to which they pull society, which ultimately depends on the state of the youth, and the state of the youth varies not only from time to time, but also from country to country, state to state, class to class etc. We mean, the youth is always active, and never dormant for once.
Thus, when a society fails to sustain its youth, the youth will sustain itself. The youth sustains itself by disengaging from society. Whereas the youth would normally be engaged in society if he has sustenance in society, he in most cases disengages from society in order to seek sustenance. The recent rise in the business of fraud and cyber crime is an apparent evidence for our proposition. But that example is too superficial for our claim.
The notion of being engaged with society has at its core the consciousness of being responsible for oneself and the shared space in the primary instance, and then the reasoning and feeling of being accountable to oneself and the shared space. The human society has a debilitated population of young people who live in dehumanizing poverty, stricken by hopeless unemployment and stark economic situations.
Job loss, uncertainty of job positions, and general insufferable wretchedness that make suicide attractive. It is not only that the despondent seldom remembers virtue, but that he loses the sense of responsibility to oneself and particularly to the shared space in most cases, and will not certainly fear punishment; and in society where compliance to normalcy thrives upon punishment or the fear of it, the despondent person will most likely lose touch with respect for rules, and laws, and the norms that promote good social living. If this is the case, then to think of despondent people disengaging themselves from society, (rather than engaging) is not hard.
If young people disengage from society in this way, i.e. if they lose sense of responsibility and accountability, they will still drive society, but to destruction, and no amount of participation in the social or political process can change this direction.
For responsibility and accountability are the primary, mental level components of social engagement. Disengaged youths will find their way in various ways—some would embrace disregard for laws, some go into full crimes, some develop apathy, others develop greed, and yet some others will find their way into religion and politics to exploit, steal, and to steal and plunder the people in the respective cases.
Social actors and leaders who emerge in this manner would often be disengaged from society likewise, that is, they would have no sense of responsibility and accountability.
Do we have a diagnosis already?
How do we then promote youth engagement for global action?
Society should begin to address the poverty problem, specifically all factors including unemployment and unpromising business environment. Policy makers national and global should deal with these lethal matters urgently.
This indicates that policy makers themselves might urgently need to understudy their personal selves to check for subsisting disengagement from sense and decorum. This way we can promote policy, as well as responsible and accountable governance. If we maintain a minimum sense of responsibility, we wouldn’t need to fear accountability.
Young people will have the advantage of learning accountability from leaders as well. We feel we can advise young people too that they, in hardship, should try to always examine themselves for traces of disengagement from normalcy and decorum, and leverage on the institution of hope from time to time, as things really do get better; but we doubt that in the deep of an unending, agonizing and dehumanizing poverty vis à vis the recklessness and the unforgivable impunity of leaders, we doubt youths will be able to try this.
HRM, Oba Ayodeji Williams Adesoye
Elepè of Epe-Ekiti
He holds a B.A and an M.A in Philosophy from the University of Ado Ekiti and the University of Ibadan respectively.