at an International Youth day Forum recently, and the Publicity and outreach
coordinator of Youth Alive Foundation (YAF) made a comment about youths in Akwa
Ibom not asking questions. This got me thinking about why we as Nigerians do
not ask questions about important issues that concern us. Recently the
government selected 1000 youths to train on ORACLE certification. Some
questions about this were raised. How were the 1000 selected, many people did
not hear about this. But nobody is asking the government these questions.
We need to ask more
questions to get the answers. If you donâ€™t ask, they will not tell. We need to
be the sparks for challenging, inspiring, engaging talk, willing to ask the
hard and important questions and to provide honest and authentic answers.
We need to stop conversations
that divide us from each other and create conflict in the society. Instead we need
to use conversations to rediscover and redefine our common good especially as
it relates to youth issues. "Words create worlds" and we need to use
our conversations to build a better future for us.
on these, reminds me of a conversation I had some years ago in the United Kingdom
with a fellow PhD researcher who was researching digital literacy among young
people in Africa. She is from the Netherlands, she asked me a question. She
said â€œwhy do Africans not ask questions or explore issuesâ€ Because when she had
interviews with some young people from here, they were giving YES or NO answers,
they need not go further or even ask questions, they did not even ask her why
she was asking these questions.
answer was that we have been socialized from children not to speak until we are
spoken to. I told her about an incident when I was about 8 or 9 years old, I
was in the car with my parents and they were talking about Tampax and they
seemed to be very perplexed and excited about this thing called Tampax, so I
asked, Mummy what is Tampax? The way they shouted at me to shut up, you would
have thought I just abused them. That is how we all grew up. Children donâ€™t ask
stupid questions even when these questions would give you the answers that can
help you as you grow up.
affects every area of our lives. I remember when an in-law took her son to the
hospital because he was very ill. He was asthmatic, so I went to visit and the
doctor was giving him all kinds of drugs and IV medications, so I asked her
what he was giving him. She said she did not know, so I said â€œhave you asked
the doctorâ€ and she looked at me like how can you question the doctor. She said
â€œhe is a doctor, he knows what he is doingâ€ I was shocked that someone would
entrust their childrenâ€™s life into the hands of a doctor without asking
questions. It continues to amaze me how people go through life without asking
always been inquisitive and my mother used to say I ask too many questions. But
even I was shocked when I went to start post graduate studies in the UK after a
first degree in a Nigerian university. The first class I attended, the students
were questioning the lecturer and even disagreeing with some of the points the
lecturer had raised. They were presenting their own point of view from real world
experiences. I was shocked and thought to myself how these people can
interrogate the lecturer like this. I was coming from an educational system
where the lecturer is like God, anything he says is Yeah and Amen. But low and
behold, the lecturer was not upset; in fact he was excited that the students
were engaging with him.
So we have been
socialized not to question things but to accept whatever we are given. This has
so affected us that regarding governance we donâ€™t ask questions. I believe that asking questions start
conversions on important issues. I believe in the power of conversations. When
people talk about what really matters to them, we can shape who we want to be
and what we create in the world. But, we've lost faith in the power of
what conversation can do for us, so we donâ€™t ask questions.
thinks it is time to start asking the important questions especially regarding
youth development. What are the plans that Government has for building a
sustainable future for the youths?
starting a Radio Program on Planet FM, every Tuesday at 3pm, called Youth HQ.
Youth HQ is a public space for conversations. Letâ€™s ask the important
questions on issues that affect us.
Governor was listening to you what questions would you ask him? Post your
questions here, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Youth Matters Mr
Aniefiok Iwa-Udofia has assured us, he will answer all questions as it relates
to Youths. He is friendly and approachable.
start these conversations now.