Monday, July 06, 2009


Dr. Reuben Abati’s “A Nation’s Identity Crisis” published June 21st in the Guardian caused quite brouhaha and some youths are still sulking over the way he dissed this generation. I read the article and was appalled by how glaring it was that Dr. Abati does not know what it means to be in this generation. Although his article was underpinned by extensive research, not void of error as Banky W clearly pointed out, his level of detachment from this generation could not be ignored.

“You may not have noticed it: Nigeria is suffering from an identity crisis imposed on its part by an emergent generation of irreverent and creative young Nigerians who are revising old norms and patterns…” wrote Dr. Abati. And I ask, is time not supposed to change yesterday? He went further to analyze how this generation of youths have bastardized the image of Nigeria that Prof Dora Akunyuli is working so tirelessly to rebrand.

I am equally pissed by the name naija as much as I am browned off with the trend of the Nigerian hip hop that lack the sense, shape and skills found in good music. But I wonder why the politicians and businessmen in the older generation spend millions to have them mime in their events if these artistes are so empty.

Dr. Abati pointed out that “the older generation of Nigerians were brought up on a culture of correctedness and completeness…” Has it occurred to anyone yet that the older generation is denying the younger generations the privilege of being brought up in that tune of correct culture? The yawning gap that exist between the two generations is created by the lack of commitment and detachment of the older generations who are more concern with acquiring more titles than nurturing the younger generation.

We do not know Flora Shaw and Lord Luggard but we know him- Dr. Reuben Abati and a handful of other prominent adults in our society. But what role are they playing to ensure that the history they do not want us to forget is properly communicated? How are they mentoring this generation that lack discipline, patience and the ability to think through a subject to its logical end from utter ruin?

I understand the issues Dr. Reuben Abati seek to address and I respect his concern. In this age of the so called identity crisis, should this generation be so quickly endorsed? We will appreciate everyone's sincere commitment in turning the tide for good. After all, the bad leadership of the older generation is what has culturally refined us. We might be on the internet and sign up to twitter but we are not twits, the name Nigeria means something to us!

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