In the past two years, I’ve followed Nigeria’s politics as avidly as I might a serial drama on primetime TV. It’s had it all, too, complete with winding plots, unforgettable characters and mind-wrenching twists.
More intriguing, though, is the audience demographic. It’s widely acknowledged that Nigerian young people have not shown this much interest in political goings-on since maybe 1993. And I think that’s amazing. I mean, I actually run into friends, on the street or online, and the conversation turns to politics. What’s happening in government is becoming as important as what’s happening in entertainment or the Champions’ League. Like never before, we care.
But I wonder: where did this interest come from? Can our parents take the credit? Did we see them take on the responsibility for making things right, even when it might put them at risk? Did they model for us anything like patriotism? Did they, at the very least, actively attempt to cultivate in us any sense of our personal power, any faith in our ability to make a difference?
Or did they only warn us (as my father is wont, bless his cautious soul), to be careful not to “get into trouble”?
And we: will we train our children to care?