Understanding the Northern Youth


Northern Youth Need Sympathy and Mental Shift

By Obadiah Tohomdet


When you are dealing with somebody who thinks he or she knows but does not really know, that person needs sympathy rather than castigation.

We are dealing with a deep seated habit and culture here. It’s like cancer which needs time, patience, perseverance and long suffering to be extracted from its victim. The North, for years, has used religion, politics, culture and regionalism to hypnotize and capture the minds of the youth. Even the issues of insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and killings in the north, have been framed from these perspectives.  Only very few people are raising their voices on these issues up north because of such framings.

Their comments on social media, and traditional media as well as various platforms have shown northern youth displaying certain deep seated attitudes and behaviours to the discomfort of other Nigerians. Always choosing religion, regionalism or “Arewaism” over national issues yet claiming to be in support of one Nigeria.

There is also this innate fear of domination by the south that the elders keep on pumping into their youth, probably due to the unacceptable educational standard obtainable in the north. The question is, who is to blame if the north did and does not make education a priority?

Northern Youths should be saved and rescued from themselves and released from the grips of their manipulative elders. When there is a national issue, the so-called elders and even clerics will quickly frame it as a war against Arewa, religion, and regional politics. These issues are enough reasons to turn the brains of both the semi-educated or uneducated youth upside down. At this point, they cede their minds and souls to the manipulative elders.

It’s the same old process. When something happens which has the potential to threaten the position of the elders, they would quickly craft or frame the narrative around religion, politics and Arewa. And boom!!! the ignorant youth will jump in with sticks, cutlasses and other dangerous weapons as if they cannot face their colleagues with dialogue. That is the more reason why Government(s) should deliberately focus on proper education in the north to reduce illiteracy, ignorance and unemployment.

Let it be known that the war of today is the war for the control of minds not tanks, guns, stones, knives and cutlasses. With proper education, minds and souls cannot be refocused to understand and accommodate others manipulated.  It is unfortunate that youth from the north will prefer to be foot-soldiers rather than applying brain-work in these modern days. Northern youth are, no doubt, seriously in need of mindset liberation.

I am seeing some posts from our youth from the north spewing abuses and threats of war.  Please forgive them and save them from themselves and the grips of the elite elders. It is a habit that has been planted for years and would take time and efforts to uproot. This entitlement, dependency-mentality and patronage-culture up north must be uprooted as it breeds subservience as well as allows manipulation. Problem is that some youth even think that without these manipulative elders they cannot achieve anything in life. Wrong mindset. Youth should begin to see themselves as global citizens who can stand their grounds anywhere rather than reducing themselves to tribal or regional champions.

The #ENDSARS protests and the so-called Pro-SARS groups have really shown how some youth can be manipulated to work against themselves and even their own interest. To check-mate future occurrences, this might be an opportunity for Nigerian youth to commission a study on manipulative schemes and strategies applied by the elites, elders and even clerics to divide the country.

I believe that there are some remnants in the north who can raise their voices as well as stand up against these manipulative tendencies by our elders, politicians, clerics etc. By writing this piece, I am not creating an excuse for youth of the North but just to deconstruct situations to enable their colleagues from other parts of the country to understand their worldviews, mindsets and carry them along with sympathy, patience and long suffering for a NEW AND UNITED NIGERIA.

It’s a matter of time and the cobwebs will be removed.


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