Our youths and the unconscionable pursuit of money (Part I) – Prof. Afis Oladosu


Wealth and children are the adornment of this worldly life… Quran 15: 46

They are youths whose souls appeared to have been sold to Mephistopheles. These are youths who have become scribes and clergies in the cathedral of Beelzebub; cathedral of materialism; a cathedral where ‘libations’ of blood and death are constantly poured to appease the gods of money, of wealth and the craze for quick fortune. They are usually called ‘leaders of tomorrow’; we often refer to them as futures of the nation. But they do see themselves as belonging to the future. They prefer the pleasures of here and now; they prefer the chimerical and the delusional; they constantly run after the ephemeral not the eternal.

Youths of today. Not of tomorrow. These are youths who compete among themselves not in erecting pillars of love and peace but in destroying the flowers of hope. They take drug. They kill. They plunder. They maim. They have chanced upon the magic of life- how to devour, like human lions in the jungle, their fellow humans in the pursuit of the world.

But by what do we know them? Yes. By their brands and logo. By their names and nomenclature. Names of Fisq – Badoo. Eiye. Planks.

Where exactly do they reside? In our homes. On our streets. In the underground. In our universities and colleges. In our secondary schools. They are there. Young boys and girls. Yes. Girls. Girls in secondary schools who have incisions on their femininity. Incisions of darkness. They are like birds of Ababil –Ababil not of and for righteousness and good conduct but of and for evil. They are angels in their homes. As soon as they arrive the underground, they become devils with horns of thunder and fire.

Youths of today. Not of tomorrow. These are youths who constantly work in cahoots with the shrine; they have firm beliefs in the extra-physical. They rely on the powers of darkness. On the herbalists. I never thought herbalists could be found in the north of our country until recently when three agents of hell in search of the unknown murdered a policeman and plucked his eyes out in the knavish thought that eyes of their fellow humans could become the magical wand and the fountain from which naira could flow.

But whatever happens in the north does not stay in the north; whatever begins in the south usually end up in the north. Yes. In this instance, two other instances from their roguish and fiendish ways bear recollection. Yes. The unfortunate girl never knew that it had been her destiny. She never knew she already had a destiny with death and that she would first be deprived of her eyesight, in the most fiendish way, before she would be sent to the great beyond. That happened to be the unfortunate destiny of the university girl in the south-south. She was murdered by three young boys who wanted to live life before their time. He was murdered too.

Victor was murdered by youths in search of lucre and illusions of life. They abducted him when he came to his homestand in Osun state to see his grandmother. Again working in alliance with an herbalist who was reported to have given the prime suspect information about their unfortunate victim, these liquidators of hope and happiness entered the room where their victim was sleeping at night, subjected him to the most inhumane attacks and forced him to transfer N3m to the account of one of them. Out of their desperation to prevent the victim from seeking redress, they bundled him into the booth of his vehicle, took him to the outskirt of the town and ultimately sent the vehicle ablaze.

In other words, the youths who perpetrated these heinous crimes always have just one target in mind. Money. Quick money. They are youths of these nations. Muslims and Christians. They are youths who have lost touch with their Creator. They are youths who appear to have lost contact with their origin. They work only with a warped imagination; they do not engage in deep thought- nothing else matters; it shall all end up here. These are youths who bear Islamic and Christian names but are completely disconnected from their religion. You see them in churches and mosques but their minds are actually in the shrine and the underground.

I always wonder- where have we got it wrong as a society? Why is it that our society constantly produces these elements that constantly remind us of the evil in us as a nation? Where have we got it wrong?

I am of the strong opinion that we all know that gangsterism and youth violence thrive whenever and wherever youths are attracted by money, power and glamour. Whenever youths dream not of anything else but of riding in flashy cars, of wearing massive gold jewelry and of having big bank balances; whenever youths dream of becoming the controllers of the underground and the underworld; whenever youths lose touch of the solemn and most profound meanings of life then gangsterism becomes the order of the day. Of murder, robberies and kidnappings.

But this has always not been new. In other words, human history teaches us that every centre of civilization always runs the risk of becoming and producing centres of barbarism. Societies and families that produce heroes and heroines are usually the ones that produce villains. But not always by force. Most of the time by choice. By conscious intervention of the critical segments of the society. The Almighty says: O you who believe! Protect yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are [appointed] angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded. (Quran 66: 6)
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Afis Ayinde Oladosu Ph.D
Professor of Middle Eastern, North African and Cultural Studies, Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

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