3rd June, 2013
By John Tosin Ajiboye
The attainment of 30 years is a very significant stage in man’s life because at 30, one is no more a child but a young man or woman. The 30th birthday is special. One is officially a mature and responsible adult who has the necessary wisdom to make important decisions in life. The 30th birthday heralds one’s adult status with measured indulgence.
In the Bible time, the age of 30 is a year of a major breakthrough when some certain individual came into limelight and begin to reign.
For instance, at age 30 Joseph the 11th child of Jacob became a Prime Minister in Egypt (Gen. 41:46). Saul became the first king of Israel at the age of 30 (1 Sam. 13:1) (NIV). David succeeded Saul as the second King of Israel when he was 30 years old (2 Sam. 5:4). Last but not the least, our Lord Jesus Christ started his ministry when he clocked 30 years. (Luke 3:23).
In the same vein, things were very good for our forefathers in the olden days, in Nigeria. Most of them that were literate got the best education both at home and abroad under the colonial rule and this made them to come into limelight at the tender age of their lives.
For instance, Chief Anthony Enahoro moved the motion for Nigeria’s independence when he was 30 years in 1953. General Yakubu Gowon became the military Head of State when he was 32 years old in 1966.
But in Nigeria of today, things are no longer the same; some 30 years old youths are still struggling to get their BSc. or HND in some higher institutions. Some are in labour market seeking employment. Some are still living and being fed by their parents. On the other hand, some people in their 30s are Boko Haram members; some are chiefs among kidnappers and armed robbers while some are serving their jail terms either at home or abroad. And fortunately some few lucky ones are gainfully employed and happily married. However, regardless of the condition one may find himself as a youth in his thirties, it is good to know that God has a good plan for everybody and it is His (God) will for every 30 years old man or woman to enter into their calling in life and start manifesting. No matter how favourable or unfavourable the environment is, Nigerian youths and other African youths who have attained or attaining 30 years of age must rouse the giant in them. They must pray that their pharaoh will have a dream that only their Joseph can interpret. They must cry unto God for their Esther to become a Queen. They must seek the face of God to bring them into limelight and enter into their calling in life. This is very necessary because 30 years is the appropriate age for one to start fulfilling his mission in life. One ought to have discovered his gift/talents at the earlier stage and start manifesting them at 30.
The parents must not leave their 30 years old children alone especially those that are still struggling. They must stand by them as Solomon’s mother stood by him until he became king at 30. (1 King 1:15-48). They must not stop praying for their children and giving them the moral and financial support they need.
The society must restore her societal norms and values so as to encourage her youths. It is unfortunate that most of the youths that are supposed to be a blessing to the society have become a menace because of what our society has turned to. For instance, some of the politicians remember the youths only when they want to rig elections and when they want to attack their opponents. That is why the majority of Boko Haram members are young men in their twenties and thirties.
The employers of labour on their part will not employ the youths unless they receive bribe from them and probably sleep with the female applicants. That is why the level of corruption is increasing day by day.
Therefore for Nigeria and other African nations to start getting the best from their youths they must invest in them and make the environment conducive for them to rise. The politicians must start mentoring and nurturing the youths so that they can take over from them in some years to come as tested and trusted leaders. The employers of labour must offer available jobs to the deserving youths on merit basis.
Governments at all levels on their parts must wake up to their duties. They must always think and act on how to encourage and empower their youths by all their policies. The leaders at the executive and legislative arms of government must be willing to make sacrifice by reducing their salaries and allowances to the barest minimum to cater for the youths.
The ongoing constitution review/amendment must allow youths from age 30 and above to occupy political offices either appointed or elected. Section 131(b) of the Nigerian Constitution which says “A person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if he has not attained the age of forty years” must be changed to thirty years. For the post of Governor the eligible age should also be 30 years as against 35 years as stated in Section 177(b) of our 1999 constitution.
Another part of the constitution that must be amended is Section 146(5) which reads “No person shall be appointed as a minister of the government of the federation unless he is qualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives” because one of the qualifications for the election as a member of House of Representatives is the attainment of 35 years of age, according to Section 65 (1a). Therefore the new constitution must accommodate the youths of 35 years and above to contest for the post of the President, Governor and be appointed for the post of Minister of Government of federation and Commissioners at the state level.
The youths of Nigeria are tired of being used as political thugs or area boys. If our fathers were able to rule/lead this country when they were younger, we are also ready this time around not to rule but to lead. If the youth in other lands are leading in their countries we are also able and ready to take the leadership position of our fatherland.
Nigerian youths are educated, experienced, bold and courageous to hold any appointed or elected post if given the chance.
Thirty years is age of maturity, enthronement and beginning of fulfilment and I call on everyone that has attained/ is attaining this age to put away childish attitude and start behaving like a man. Those that have made it at this age or earlier must not forget to help their peers that are still struggling because no one knows tomorrow. And those that are still struggling at 30 should not give up. They must shun any illegal business that can spoil their reputation or career. They must be focused and be optimistic that the future is bright.
According to Harvey Allen, “the only time you really live fully is from thirty to sixty. The young are slaves to dreams; the old servants of regrets. Only the middle-aged have all their five senses in the keeping of their wits”.
•Ajiboye wrote from Osogbo, Osun State, e-mail: [email protected]