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Edo Women

Youth And Changing Society

With Clementina Oyakhilome

THE City of Benin many years ago was strategically positioned to attract people because of the booming trade in commerce and industry.

Wood carving and bronze casting was an integral part of life; fathers automatically taught their sons’ trade secrets which led to a geneology of bronze casting families. Their trade brought them fame, wealth and recognition within the kingdom and far beyond.

Though this period also had its own setbacks, nevertheless, life was easy to live. People were sustained by perennial farming and subsistence living; petty trading and involvement in an art form which was thriving was enough to cater for family needs. There was no need to lead an outlandish life. This was the years of yore.

Urbanization and change in value system has brought a change to society and its perception. Its nuances, rhythms, sights and sounds has drastically changed to reflect the features of a globalized city, sitting precariously on the verge of change.

The lure to get a white collar job and the struggle to at least own a car for instance took parents out of the reach of their children. This in turn took away their loving care and direction and in time, even when these yearnings to get and acquire the wealth of this life was achieved, the unity that abounded in the homes disappeared.

Life they say is for the living but only few live it well. Value system in society has changed and the youths are the worse for it.

Teaching which used to be the exclusive preserve of parents, family and community through the kinship way of life was taken out of reach into the classroom.

This is why we have even the pre-nursery section in schools; babies going to learn the foreign way of life even in their diapers. Their crying over tarry for sometime and they come out as hardened adults trapped in baby skin; toughed so hard to face the vagaries and realities of life.

Due to population density and the rate at which some schools shut their gates early in the morning against their students, the road rage is on the increase. At the Akenzua Junction axis of Airport road for instance which is a gateway or a link road for many schools operating in that area is a traffic bottleneck as early as 07.05 a.m. People especially parents taking their wards to school are terse and tensed up. They are so much in a hurry to take their wards to school yet they are stuck in traffic.

Some disembark their wards onto the seats of nearby commercial bike riders to save time especially for those schools which shut their gates against innocent children as early as 7.30 a.m. even when the reason for coming late are germane especially during school tests and examination periods which could make or mar the future ambition of these fledgelings.

The surest way to reach the heart of Jesus during his earthly sojourn was through children whom as the bible says he always held to his heart.
In the midst of the traffic you find drivers who honk endlessly at any car before them as if they wished all other road users to simply clear away from the road from them.

This leads to an outprouring of road rage from all road users as every car jostles to have vantage as everyone is definitely in a hurry. Words are used freely; commercial drivers sometimes become obstacles which delay other road users, by the way they take up available space even when they know they are obstructing the free flow of traffic.

The children and youth look on innocently as events play out but they are keen observers. In due course, they pick up their parents cars driving recklessly against the tide and against set down rules and regulations.

Society which succeeded in making toddlers adults because work places do not permit a crèche within them have to endure what youths dish out to it because these youths have learnt to make vital decisions in their prime.

As per the use of swear words, what better place to learn usage but during the early morning ride to school? Even Jesus will wink at the swear words coming from his worshippers who come daily or on Sundays to sing praises to his name. Society is sitting on a keg of gun powder.

Cultism is on the rise in our secondary school of learning. Recently, the animalistic tendencies trapped within the hearts of some school children within Benin City was unleashed by the cult related hours.

Cutlasses, irons and other dangerous weapons were brandished and used openly; heads got broken, blood flowed freely and parents were made to run helter skelter but society was the worse for it. Though the long arm of the law caught up with them, still, there is much to be desired; much to be achieved.

Youths who are the future hope of the society engage in violent crimes. Kidnapping is on the increase, youth restiveness has never really disappeared from society but more worrisome is the incidence of rape. Some days back residents of Country Home Motel road actually sent a Save Our Soul message to the comrade governor begging him to save them from the clutches of some sect of hoodlums who not only steal, attack at short notice but rape females as well. This is a sin against humanity which should be stopped.

Moreover, what if some of those boys are actually HIV positive, does it mean the lives of their victims have been snuffed just like that?

Of recent as soon as the clock chimes 6.00 p.m. people’s mind cease to be at rest. This is the hour one begins to hear gun shots. Dogs bark from night to morning. For many in crime prone zones sleep has just been killed. This act is carried out by youths who go to church, mosques, traditionalists or more recently atheists who don’t necessarily believe that there is consequence per action carried out on earth.

The only thing constant in life is change; it could be positive or negative, it could take place gradually or abruptly. Due to the poor value system and yearning to live life on the fast lane, youths are in a hurry to acquire wealth and properties. Gone are the days when the adage “The patient Dog eats the fattest bone”, used to hold sway now they tell you pointedly, “The patient dog eats no bone,” But this hurry none the less had led many youths to delete from this world to the great beyond in a hurry while in their prime when they ought to be of immense benefit to their parents, society and country.

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