-A presentation by George H. Ashiru-
President, The Transformation Institute & Convener, NIGERIA: Town Hall Meetings Project (THMP)
A Message to The Youths of Nigeria on The Occasion of
The Balyesa Youth Power Summit (29th August 2009)
Yenagoa, Balyesa State
I thank you for the special honour and priviledge of addressing this noble body of
passionate young patriots of our beloved nation. I acknowledge our special guests and honourable and inpired leaders here present and various organisations represented at this Summit. Let honour always be given to whom it is due, and few are as honourable as the facillitators of this Summit, chiefly, Comrade Barnabas Ebiede.
Firstly, let me acknowledge that I am the least qualified to address you on matters concerning your individual destinies or that of the nation Nigeria. I myself had a checkered life. Some really positive moments and deeds and other quite inappropriate and ungodly deeds too. However, I am a perfect example of an imperfect man, who has received grace from God, pardon for sin, restoration of values, transformation of character and renewal of purpose. Therefore, in this regard, as Christian Theologians say "I am saved to serve" or "Sozo".
In November 2003 and in June 2009, I received an inspiration of divine origin concerning the destiny and nature of our great nation, and her role in the shifting paradigms and allingments of world affairs. In this revelation, I was made to understand that God has given the tools of our transformation to many in our society - whether now present, or in the diaspora. The two pillars of our transformation as a nation are VALUES and PROGRAMMES, not parties, movements, cults or persons. These pillars are gifts from God, embedded in the lives of a new Jubilee generation - that is YOU and others born after our independence from colonial oppression.
In short, YOU are the likeliest tool of God to move this nation from the shackles of mediocrity and ungodly rulership to the peaks of ascendant aspirations that we deserve to be. Over the past 49 years we have meandered purposeless in the comity of advancing nations and have arrived at no particular destination because many of our social, cultural, political and circumstantial leaders were or are people with sight but no vision. We are now faced with the question our past leaders should have asked 50 years ago;
"Who are we?"
"Where are we going?"
"What are our values?"
"What do we need to do to get there?"
YOU are the workmanship of God to deliver the striking answers. Never have we had a generation so well informed, so capable, so hardworking but so unengaged as your generation. YOU are the GREAT EXPECTATIONS of a worn and weary nation, a generation so intertwined with the modern world and so knowledgeable about world affairs in this internet age that when our leaders are struggling with questions about how to solve national problems, they only need to ask you. At a time when "Old School Activism" of the likes of Mandela and Ghandhi and Martin Luther King would be inappropriate, YOU are the Obama generation who have functional answers to issues that defy theoretical or cultural interpretations. YOU are our Great Expectations, you with discerning minds and unshakeable convictions.
Our Great Expectations are Inspirational Leaders. who walk their talk and do not light their candles and leave them under tables, hoping that somehow, their false modesty would be seen as a virtue in a murderous political environment. We are born and now live at a time when goodness is now a handicap, and evil, a strength. We walk in a time when society checks for opulent lifestyle before deciding to listen to your ideas. Where being virtously poor is seen as stupidity or laziness or ungodliness. Yet, all these false values have only made us poorer as a people and decimated as a culture. But YOU have the chance to change all that, that is the change we need as a nation. YOU are the Great Expectation that can say NO!, to cultism, occultism, godfatherism, corruption, greed, ballot snatching, stealing public or private funds, mediocre leadership, undemocratic norms, godless values and all other socio-cultural vices.
How can a densely corrupted vessel bring forth positive change? Only the deep can call to the deep. Putting a stick into water will not make it swim and neither will putting clothes on a dog make it a man. Our nation's future is certainly not in the hands of the expired generations, but in the inspired youths who have dedicated themselves as the Joshuas with personal Values and inspired Programmes. It is in the air, the yearning for change. We can feel it and smell it and taste it. But the rulers of this present darkness are blind guides whose faculties have become numbed by avarice and self bloat. The change we yearn for is not change of personalities but a change in the way we think, live, order our priorities and the values we hold dear. Change of persons without change of values or a system is just new wine in old skin - it soon erodes.
Therefore, beloved patriots, the answer is not running out of Nigeria or saying "if you can't beat them, join them". The answer is not militancy or political violence, the answer is not money, money, money. These are the reasons we never rise beyond our boiling point. But we are now at a cul de sac, of a divine arrangement of peaceful agitation, earnest desire and ideal opportunity for positive change. But it will not happen until Moses returns from Midia, until Joshua takes a step of faith, until David goes to Saul's palace, until Paul stops being a Pharisee.
Right here, now, even as you hear this, God is anointing our Great Expectations among you. If you believe shout "I AM THE GREAT EXPECTATION - OF MY BELOVED NATION". God bless you all and GOD BLESS NIGERIA.
George H. Ashiru