Professor Wole Soyinka addressed Nigerian youths during the official launch of Solution 17 held in Lagos.
He advised them to be useful to themselves, use their time wisely on the internet and stop typing rubbish online.
Nigerian youths are full of spunk outside but when they are inside Nigeria, they are full of gas. We are building a generation of illiterates. They are the first to comment on the internet on issues they are ignorant about. When you talk about education, I get texts from the New Generation and can’t believe these texts are from the youth.’
The Director of the United Nations Information Centre in Lagos, Nigeria, Mr. Ronald Kayanja, recounted his experience as a student in the UK saying, “When I was studying in the UK, many of my friends were Nigerians and whenever we were uncomfortable as African students, we asked the Nigerians to speak for us.
“But when I came to Nigeria and saw the kind of life that Nigerians had accepted, I was shocked. I ask why Nigerians accept abysmal conditions with all of Nigeria’s resources”.
“Africa cannot continue to agonise over poverty, colonisation, and slavery. There is a need to wake up and do something. We cannot wait for the government. Every Nigerian is a leader. Leadership not only refers to political leadership, but a leader is a person who excels in what they do.
“The UN goals are universal and should not be split between developed and developing nations. Do not expect the UN to support you when you have not done anything.”
Kayanja stressed that the UN wanted to mobilise enough Nigerians to make changes using the template of the UN 2030 goals and SDGs adding that the focus should be on mobilising Nigerians who cannot accept to live in pathetic conditions.
Soyinka tasked Nigerian youth to be proactive in demanding their rights from the government.
He said, “The Nigerian youth schooling outside the country reminded me of what it was like to be a student in racist England in the 50s. You always wanted to have a Jamaican with you when you were in a fight because Jamaicans never understood the term, ‘surrender’.
Soyinka added, “They are waiting for Wole Soyinka to lead a march to Aso Rock. It is about time to get off your feet and stop writing rubbish on the Internet about things you do not understand. I do not know how to describe the New Generation beyond a generation of Internet trolls.
“When I decided to build my century in the forest, I bought a second-hand diesel generator and asked someone to dig a borehole. I wanted it to be self-sufficient. What I want to pass on to you is that I thought of the possibility of being self-reliant. This entails that I can come to cooperatives with others and demand things from the government by any means necessary.”
Concerning the details of Solution 17, Soyinka noted that experts have studied the model and it is important that we focus on the details. Quoting the popular phrase, he recalled that “the devil is in the details”.
Kayanja further disclosed that while Nigeria had yet to adopt the Solution 17 UN-endorsed Sustainable Development Goals proposed by the CEO and Project Director of Creative Youth Community Development Initiative, CYCDI, Mrs. Foluke Michael, it has been approved in India, Morocco, and Switzerland as a model to alleviate the major problems facing today’s society.