Youth Vices: Implication on National Development

Posted: January 4, 2014 in Opinion, Politics
Tags: , ,

In our country Nigeria, fundamental and elementary instructions on this matter, has not taken the front burner inspite of its obvious devastating effects on our youth. The issues that amount to youth vices do not receive the requisite attention nor the alacrity they deserve from parents and teachers. As a result, young people obtain their information and orientation in perverted forms from the ‘gutter’. The world system and the wider corrupt society are quick to teach them in their own way what their parents at home and teachers at school should have taught them first in a pure way. Ignorance about teachings and appropriate counsel on the issue of vices has left most young people defenseless against subtle attacks in this regard. On the other hand, instances are common place where counsel has been relegated for a first-hand experience on the part of the youth. Young people nowadays are professionals at talking-down their parents and teachers. This is almost becoming a trend in youth development and has served as an open-door to the introduction of such vices in the lives of the youth. This presentation attempts to address this divide and cater for this lacuna especially from the perspective of the youth. It seeks to identify and prepare the youth for the inherent dangers that will definitely confront and attempt to hijack their youthfulness for foul and derogatory uses as well as the overall implication on our nation.
Concept clarification
YOUTH: There are several definitions of youth especially with regards to age bracket but generally, the term can be used to refer to any young person between the ages of 18-35 years. However, many activities that haunt or befall this set of people have no regard for their ages as people below the age of 18 years and above the age of 35 years often share similar experiences. One thing that is common with all postulations is that a youth is any young person. For the purpose of this presentation, we will refer to a youth as any young person irrespective of the age bracket.
VICE: A vice is best described as a fault, a bad habit or criminal behavior. Simple examples of vices common to us include gambling, violence and thuggery, exam malpractice, pre-marital sex, cultism, prostitution, pornography, masturbation, lesbianism/homosexuality, drugs/substance in-take and abuse and other forms of immoral behavior.
YOUTH VICES: Having satisfied both terms, “youth vices” can simply be referred to vices peculiar to youths. Apart from those mentioned above, youth vices have increased in number over the past few years and have become a consistent source of concern. These include under-age activities such as driving, voting, drinking, smoking and so on.

Causes of youth vices
Generally, vices negate progress in any life, system or organization but it becomes a thing of worry when the teeming population of youth is plagued with this predicament as they are the future of tomorrow. Apart from that, the youthful stage is the most active stage in the life of any human being. The workforce of the youth is undoubtedly the driving force of any economy and nation. Any country whose workforce is characterized by a youthful population involved in social vices will amount to an erroneous, erratic, vain and corruption-ridden society. It therefore becomes inevitable for one to overlook this predicament but imperative to diligently prosecute the issues within so as to proffer achievable solutions and usher in a new era of progress and national healing. For the purpose of this presentation, we have identified five main sources of vices in the lives of youth viz;
• Peer pressure
• Lack of proper parenting/home training
• Curriculum deficiency
• Unemployment
• Economic instability
• Law enforcement/Judicial inconsistency

Implications on National Development
There are grievous and far reaching implications for any country in the world whose youths are champions in propagating vices. Our country Nigeria is a classic example and has many pointers to that fact. We are struggling to survive on virtually all fronts especially economically, academically, socially, spiritually and even traditionally. Some of the major effects of this predicament on our country include:
• Increase in crime: Obviously, most of the vices stated above are criminal offenses with appropriate penalties. For some, under-aged participation in them amount to a crime. Youth indulgence in such vices will definitely amount to an up-surge in the crime rate.
• Low life expectancy: Vices such as prostitution, cultism and drug/substance have life-threatening effects and the potential to truncate the lives of youth at their prime.
• Disease proliferation: The health standard of our country is largely threatened by the indulgence of youth in vices. Tuberculosis, cancer and HIV/AIDS are basic examples of diseases that gain the upper hand in such scenario.
• Lack of productivity: Youths high on substances cannot serve the nation effectively. They are bound to become counter-productive.
• Increase in poverty: When youths fail to add to the productivity of the nation but depend on the already scarce resources, they tend to be a burden on others, thereby increasing the amount of hardship in the society.
• Lacuna in succession: There is a gap in the hierarchy of succession in virtually all sectors of human endeavour. As our fathers get older, aspiring and focused youths should fill the void. Youth vices have dealt a deadly blow in this regard.
• Decline in quality of leadership: When the vast majority of youths are involved in vices, there exists a great probability that the quality of leadership and governance will decline as some may find their way in these leadership positions and effect negative changes to suit their vicious appetite.

1. Curriculum upgrade: As a matter of urgency, the academic curriculum at all levels of education should be upgraded to cater for and satisfy this crucial aspect of the lives of the youth. Our country cannot afford to waste her future generation to the vast ignorance of the tendencies and capabilities of these vices on the lives of the young ones especially at the elementary education level.
2. Extra-curricular engagement: We must begin to explore ways of harnessing the skills and talents of young people. The more we frown at extra-curricular activities, the more we give away the youth to these vices. Many young people are obviously not interested in academics or rather, fare better in extra-curricular activities like sports, drama, music, arts/crafts and so on. These young ones must be taught and encouraged on how to use their skills and talents for the glory and honour of God and country.
3. Legislation: Nigeria will fare better with her youth if proper legislation is enacted at the national assembly and domiciled in all state and local assemblies to stipulate specific penalties for crimes associated with youths and such should be accommodated in the afore mentioned curriculum upgrade. These laws should also be revisited regularly as youths are good at manufacturing vices from time to time.
4. Effective and efficient enforcement of the law and jurisprudence: It is common knowledge that men of the force indulge in some of these crimes or even propagate them. After a thorough internal cleansing process, the law enforcement agencies must rise up to the occasion to stem the tide. Judicial officers must also ensure the prompt prosecution of folks caught indulging in these vices.
5. Establishment of rehabilitation centres and juvenile correction facilities: For specific vices such as drug/substance abuse, prostitution, homosexuality that have extreme human depletion effects on the youth, there is need for programmes that will help them re-integrate with the society and function as normal citizens. This will enable them regain the psychological damage done to them by the vices they indulged in. At the same time, youth prisons should be established to punish this peculiar set of people especially those younger than 18 years.
6. Enlightenment on the economics of family planning: Many parents endanger the lives of their children as they do not have the means to cater for the multitude of children they bear but keep on producing them. Due to lack, some become destitute, urchins and beggars on the streets and are prone to these vices. Such parents need to be enlightened by the medical and social departments on the dangers of their action and be taught how to exhaust their appetite without conception. The social department should also ensure the retrieval of children from such families and place them on advertisement for adoption by capable Nigerians so as to give them the befitting life they deserve.
7. Proper parenting: It is sad to say but many parents have created alcoholics, drug addicts, masturbators, pornography addicts and prostitutes out of their children due to excess love for them. A child showered with every requirement of his/her life without restriction is bound to go wild. Others have actually failed to educate their children at home of the dangers of these vices from the home front. To this end, a manual on proper parenting can be developed to assist parents who have challenges in this regard.
8. Guidance and counseling: Academic institutions must have a functional guidance and counseling department. Certain things a young boy/girl may not be willing to tell his/her parents can be told to his/her favourite teacher and passed on to the guidance and counseling department where solutions can be proffered.
9. Economic sustainability: This recommendation requires governments at all levels to urgently enact policies and programmes that will improve the lives and fortunes of the entire populace. This will afford a lot of destitute children the opportunity to receive basic education in tandem with the millennium development goals.

We are living in a time when our standard of living is very high and threatening to go higher and higher. We enjoy mechanical conveniences and physical luxuries such as the world has never known. But no other generation that has ever lived on the face of the earth has had as many cares of life as our generation. Never has any generation faced the perplexing problems we face today. Despite all of our efforts and technological advances, misery is being piled on top of misery. With famine and diseases stalking many lands, the economic crisis, political instability, religious and ethnic bigotry, global warming, to mention but a few, mankind, both as a whole and individually, stands in dire need. There exists a strong mentality of insincerity, falsehood and lack of trust leading to this great downpour of negativity on our generation. Personal experiences and the media never cease to prove these every other day. Every cadre of humanity has wholly or partially contributed to the stronghold of this mentality but chief among them is the youth. To that effect, we need to be on alert on all fronts in an effort to undo the quagmire we are in. As youth, we must be positively creative to add to the development of our country. We must eschew all attempts to indulge in these vices. Your life as an individual is an eloquent gospel. It is mandatory that you be the change that you want to see and our world will be a better place. One healthy youth is worth more than 1 million old men in terms of productivity, smartness and alertness. We cannot afford to lose our usefulness to the trivialities of this life. Inspite of the anomalies, I remain confident that I’m the leader of tomorrow. How about you? Shalom!

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