By Ubon Marcus
Few nights ago, the world was appalled by the abysmal performance of some contestants in the just concluded Miss Akwa Ibom 2017 Beauty Pageant tagged “Ndoko Akwa Ibom” when asked questions bothering on contemporary issues. Although futile attempts have been made to defend the misnomer with lame excuses such as stage fright, discerning minds are of the opinion that those young ladies could have done better, considering the far-reaching implication of their blunder on our collective identity and perception as a people.
If you take a minute to reflect critically on the present set of youngstars around us, you will no doubt agree with me that there has been a steady intellectual decline amongst majority of them in recent times. Look around you and you will notice that those Ndoko Akwa Ibom contestants who could not answer questions properly are not the only ones lacking in depth. You and I know that some of the people mocking those girls would have done worse if placed on that stage.
Should we be bothered? Of course we ought to be. I should be very worried that all around me I see people who cannot differentiate between simple words like ‘am’ and ‘I’m’ and have consistently been unable to exhibit a proper usage of them. They fail to realise that ‘I’m’ is the contraction of ‘I am’, while ‘am’ is a primary auxiliary verb ‘to be’ for example: is, are, was, were, am, be, being, and been. The difference between ‘I’m’ and ‘am’ is: ‘I’m’ is the first person singular pronoun ‘I’ and auxiliary verb ‘am’ while ‘am’ is just an auxiliary verb that can’t start a sentence. Hence, it is wrong to write: ‘Am going to Church’ instead of ‘I’m going to Church or I am going to church’.
Worrisome also, is the attitude some of them exhibit when confronted by the larger society on issues such as this. They immediately get defensive and ask “who u epp?” the moment you frown at their intellectual backwardness.
Furthermore, It irks me that a greater number of the people guilty of this are people who have attained some form of formal education even up to the tertiary level? Recently a young man who asked me to help him gain some favour from someone up there was asked to do a formal request through me. I could not believe my eyes when he gave me what was supposed to be a formal letter addressed to an Institution. That letter had offended all known rules of letter writing. This was coming from a graduate of a tertiary institution. I could not believe that someone who attended English classes in secondary school, wrote SSCE, and further attended Use of English lectures in the University could write such a letter. When I pointed it out to him he simply shrugged and said it does not matter. I told him it does and asked him to rewrite the letter. He snatched it from me and walked away. Till today the young lad has not called my line but has gone round town telling people how I refused to help him.
Here comes the question: WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUNG PEOPLE OF THIS GENERATION? Why are most of them so intellectually backward? Could it be our educational system? Could it be caused by the APC? Oho!!! Maybe Jonathan and his PDP took the sense away from our young ones in the 16 years of PDP administration. I mean, someone has to be blamed for this. Should we blame Buhari?
Is it true that our youngstars channel their energies to ephemeral issues other than things which edify them? Is it also true that the youths of this generation are more interested in mundane things and transient pleasures? Permit me to ask: what defines you as a person? Is it the quality of attire you wear or the monetary value of your apparels? What impression do you create when you open your mouth to speak? Could this be what truly defines you? Does your attitude or lifestyle in anyway play a role in defining who you truly are?
Several factors suffice for this intellectual poverty amongst our youths; major amongst them is our dwindling value system as a people. Our young people have taken a lot of things for granted and it is gradually becoming the norm rather than the exception; it is becoming a way of life, the fashionable thing to do. Some of them are also very lazy. They would prefer to cut corners rather than pass through the process.
What is our value system as a people? What do we cherish most in this society of ours? There was a time that a man was respected for his integrity, decent means of livelihood, academic exploits, and other virtues. Sadly, that now belongs to the past. This society had long moved on. Materialism is now the order of the day and our young people as energetic as they are, have fallen into it headlong. It is shameful that the values which our forebears held in high esteem are no longer being cherished by this generation. Youths are now being led by the desire to impress, forgetting that appearance is not reality. The basic values of the true African Society has been eroded. Hardwork has been thrown to the gutters. Decency, self-discipline, and integrity are only heard of in Sunday school classes and discarded thereafter.
The intention of this writer is not to denigrate others but to ignite our cerebral capacities and serve as a wake up call for us all. Parents should make sure that occupants of their homes watch less of Telemundo/Zee World and more of CNN, Channels TV, Aljazerra, Discovery World, and our dear faithful NTA and AKBC who have been with us over the years. Smart phone browsers should be used to open less pornographic sites but more sites with intellectually stimulating contents.
The September 22nd incident once again brought to the fore, the pitiable intellectual state of our youths. It is time to wake up. YOUNG PEOPLE EDAKKAEDA!!!!!!
– Comrade Ubon Marcus,