BEING THE TEXT OF A BRIEF REMARK BY AGBA JALINGO, PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF CROSSRIVERWATCH ON THE THIRD YEAR ANNIVERSARY LECTURE AT TRANSCORP HOTEL, CALABAR ON AUGUST 27TH, 2015.
The future is what will happen in the time after the present. Its arrival is considered inevitable due to the existence of time and the laws of physics.
Due to the apparent nature of reality and the unavoidability of the future, everything that currently exists and will exist can be categorized as either permanent, meaning that it will exist forever, or temporary, meaning that it will end.
The future and the concept of eternity have been major subjects of philosophy, religion, and science, and defining them non-controversially has consistently eluded the greatest of minds.
And so the topic of my remark here, which attempts to make a case for the youth as the grail bearers of the future, may as well raise yet another controversy about the dilemma of the Cross River youth and the challenge to give meaning to the future.
The reality that our state no longer earns revenue from oil (because we are indeed an oil producing state which politics has denied a share from the revenue) requires us to think about the future with greater urgency. We must be able to create innovative solutions that will be well suited for that reality.
Young people must be empowered to explore our munificent endowments for the benefit of the state. They has to be deliberate and consistent action to open up new frontiers of hope and engagement for the emerging population because the traditional methods and failing. The vast land and resources of the state stand to recreate our story if we can adequately unleash the energy in our youth.
Cross River must return to where we started from. When the Cross River youth was still the one driving development, when the Cross River youth was very industrious and academically successful. when at very young age, Cross River youths were found worthy of high responsibilities including LG Chairmen, Commissioners, Ministers, Governor etc when most of them were only in their twenties and others in their thirties.
We are not asking for anything new, we are simply asking for space to grow. We are asking for the opportunity to contribute to the development of our state, particularly now that the whole world is facing stifling financial conditions.
Don’t be afraid that we will make mistakes and conclude that we are not competent, yes we will make mistakes, sometimes even very grave ones, but that is the reason you are there…..to guide us!
Don’t assume that we are “too young” and we cannot handle the responsibility and I will tell you why. Because if a 27 year old man who did not know anything about internet could become a commissioner and do well, his/her age mate who has internet today, is miles ahead with the world only a click away.
Don’t be afraid that if you give us space or empower us, we will come and take your place. The reason is that whether you are afraid or not, someday, someone will take over from you, if not in your lifetime, at least after your lifetime. The only thing that we must all collectively assure is that we are not competitors, we are the future, you are our guide, our compass.
Your experience and shared struggles to bequeath us a state that is the pride of Nigeria should serve to inspire us to do more for the state. The future that we glimpse is a future where competition will be stiff. Survival will require the strength and imagination of youth to drive our state out of her quagmire.
Serious progress has been made in this state through the years of your collective guidance. Matter-of-factly, none of us here have the audacity to say you should vacate your seats so we will take them. We actually brought our own seats and we are not even asking to share an inch of your space, because there is enough space for all the chairs to stay including those that generations unborn will still come along with.
We are just trying to provoke the need to help us in your hearts. The need to make conscious effort targeted at endowing multiple approaches to vent the surging strength that we represent.
We are not just talking about politics. In the sciences, in business, in the media, in agriculture, in arts, in music, in sports, we need our leaders, policy drivers and opinion makers to provide the necessary takeoff that will give us the opportunity of translating our visions to realities.
There are innumerable prospects if our energy, imagination, creativity, patriotism and number can be maximized to drive the non oil economy. Whatever tablets are being currently hatched to address this stark reality, should they leave the youthful population behind, then it must be abundantly clear that the future would also have been left behind.
Thank you and God bless Cross River State, God bless Nigeria.
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