Towards Curbing Youth Restiveness


It is a general notion that positive and meaningful
development across cultural settings are usually engineered, fostered and
shaped by the generation of youths in that society. This is because the youth
remain one of the greatest assets that any community or state can be proud of.
Potentially, youths are the greatest investments for a society’s sustainable development
and future. Therefore, any society,
whether micro or macro, that allows a good percentage of its youths to
be misdirected, risks its future.

Regrettably however, youth restiveness and social vices have
apparently become a threat to the realisation of our individual potentials in
our various communities and States in Nigeria, that we need concerted efforts
to win the battle against them.

Youth restiveness is a despicable act being perpetrated by a
significant proportion of our youths in our various communities. As the name
implies, it is a combination of  actions,
conducts or acts that  constitute
unwholesome socially unacceptable activities engaged in by the youths in any

Youth restiveness is a phenomenon which in practice, leads
to breakdown of law and order, economic misfortune due to disruption of
economic activities, increasing crime rate, intra-ethnic hostilities,
harassment of prospective developers and other sundry criminal tendencies.

It is often opined that an idle mind is the devil’s
workshop. True to this fact, youths who are not employed or engaged in any
legal means, often resort to vices which are capable of disrupting the social
order of the society.

Some of these tendencies to crime and deviant behaviours
among youths are party due to the fact that a good number of them are being
brought up by single parents. Statistics have shown that nearly 24 million, out
of the 72 million children in America, as at 2008, under the age of 18, were
without biological fathers. It is a fact that a generation of children who grow
up without father or mother will certainly be prone to crime and deviant

In every good society, good governance is required for the
growth and development of the citizenry. Unfortunately, Nigeria is characterized
by bad governance, resulting in disjointed development.

The world Bank (1992) identifies the main characteristics of
bad governance to include, failure to properly distinguish what is public and
what is private, leading to private appropriation of otherwise public
resources; arbitrariness in the application of law and rules and excessive
rules, regulations, licensing requirement and so forth which impede the
functioning of markets and encourage rent-seeking.

Other forms of bad governance are priorities that are
inconsistent with development, thereby resulting in misallocation of national
resources, and exceedingly narrow base or non-transparent decision making.

Poverty is another cause of youth restiveness. There is so
much poverty, inequality and social injustice in Nigeria. Due to poverty, many
youths in urban centres in Nigeria have taken to hawking on the streets just to
eke out a living. The sales they make per-day and the profit margin on their
goods are so small that they can hardly live above the poverty line.
Disillusioned, frustrated and dejected, many of them seek an opportunity to
express their anger against the State.

Again, many of the youths lack quality education. Quality
education has a direct bearing on national prestige, greatness and cohesion.
The knowledge and skills that young people acquire help determine their degree
of patriotism and contribution to national integration and progress. But many
Nigerian youths out there do not get the opportunity to go to school, perhaps
due to the prohibitive cost of acquiring education. The effect of this
situation is that thousands of young people roam the streets of Nigeria for
lack of something reasonable to engage themselves with. Those who manage to
finish secondary school, have no opportunities to acquire tertiary education.
Having being denied the chance to reach their potentials, they are
disorientated and readily available for anti-social actions.

Meanwhile, most rural communities and urban slums in Nigeria
have no access to potable water, health facilities, electricity, communication
facilities, etc. Behind social unrest and youth restiveness in the country is
the agitation for equitable distribution of resources. And the youths are
willing tools.

The consequences of youth restiveness on our society are
better imagined. Besides the social disorderliness it tends to create, it has
grave implications on the nation’s economy.

One sure way of addressing this social vice is by giving the
youth a sense of belonging. This can be achieved through creation of more jobs
for the teeming population of youths, provision of social basic infrastructures
needed to encourage small scale businesses. There is the need for the youth to
be liberated psychologically and economically from the control of self-seeking
business and political elite who often use them to cause social disorderliness
in the society.

Above all, more awareness need to be created, for the youths
to change their orientation towards positive contribution to the development of
the society. As the future of our country, the youths should lay a good
foundation for tomorrow.

Joshua is of the Department of Mass Communication, RUST,
Port Harcourt.


Chiepaka I. Joshua