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Lost on Social Media: The Death of Alex Ekwueme, evidence of a Youth Lost in their time

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A quiet kidnapping is happening, a thief has come in the night to take away a valuable and irretrievable part of our society. It has not come to Kidnap Aliko Dangote, or Ifediaso Chukwuma or Adeniyi Adenuga. He has not come for the rich, he has not seen the old men, he does not desire any woman above the age of 30. The thief has come and it has already stolen some, it is now working on the rest.

It has come for you and me.

THE YOUTH and THEIR YOUTH is what this thief wants.

Imagine that Chief Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, GCON (Title is the highest national honour in Nigeria and stands for Grand Commander of the Order of the Nigeria, the only other honour higher is the GCFR, reserved for presidents only). Imagine that a man who was the Ide of the Oko kingdom in Anambra State, Ide of Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, a Ph.D. in Architecture from the University of Strathclyde, a BL (honours) degree from the Nigerian Law School, a distinguished architect and founder of the renowned Ekwueme Associates, Architects and Town Planners, the first indigenous architectural firm in Nigeria with 16 offices spread all over Nigeria, who headed the Nigerian Institute of Architects and the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria, was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Nigerian Institute of Architects, was the first executive Vice President of Nigeria, ran an active Educational Trust Fund that has been responsible for sponsoring the education of several hundred youths to universities in Nigeria and abroad. And was responsible for mobilizing the notorious G34 (Group of 34 eminent Nigerians) who risked their lives to stand up against the dictatorship of General Sani Abacha during his military rule of Nigeria. And was the founding Chairman of what is arguably Nigeria’s most formidable opposition party PDP. An ELDER in the Nigerian Society, a society which respects its elders DIED on November 19th and virtually nobody cared.



I for 1 do not personally care about Alex Ekwueme as a person. I abhor the Nigerian elder ranks of today for their lack of bravery and commitment to the costs of doing good and I count him amongst the ranks of those who play it safe. But the lack of memorial reminds me of another. It reminds me of last year when Owelle-Osowa-Anya of Onitsha Chief Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the 1st President of Nigeria, a liberation fighter, one of the men responsible for the emergence of an independent Nigeria and even other African Countries, celebrated a birthday by himself. His birthdays come and go like Tuesdays, without even the fanfare accorded to TGIF. A few weeks ago the Birthday of Chinua Achebe, one of the world’s most notable writers and a Nigerian, passed like a Thursday, of course it was a Thursday, but why must it be like every other Thursday.


Africa has no legends. It kills them in dreams of them being like Americans. Africa has no youth, they are lost to Keeping Up with the Khardasians.

A quiet kidnapping is happening, a thief has come in the night to take away a valuable and irretrievable part of our society. OUR YOUTH.

Do you know that in the midst of the disregard for history and ancestors, we the people of Nigeria who by native traditions pray to our ancestors, immortalize in life the words of Donald J. Trump, Celebrate the Wedding of British Princes., while engaging in extensive arguments at the bottom of useless articles on the Nomadism of the Hausa, the Connivance of the Yoruba and the Financial Addiction of the Igbo.

In all no tangible exchange of ideas, no lessons from the past, no growth in the present, just gapping yawns for a society that works by people who do not respect the work that has been done and who do not themselves work.

Modern Nigeria is at risk of losing an entire generation to Social Media, Telemundo and a deeply confused infatuation with Western developments.

With no value placed on our cultures, traditions and history, where will we find evolution. On what foundation will our innovations stand, on whose shoulders can the future stand.

The elders are afraid of the youth, the youth are distained by the elders. The world is passing both of us by, quickly, slowly, 1mb at a time, we are losing our youth to day dreams about the fake realities of life – as seen on TV.

The youth are responsible for the future, but in Nigeria they do not feel responsible. Modern obsession with mass media and social media has exposed us to false narratives about the nature of life. Here you find desires of being the next Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Kim Khardasian etc., no locals, no fathers, no us. We do not see the future in us; rather we aspire to the future that our mates have built for themselves abroad.

Studying history we would have discovered that the playing field for Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, Adeniyi Adenuga, even the vilified like Badamosi Babangida were no more favourable than ours. They also did not have light or running water, no Universities existed in their time for the older ones like Nnamdi Azikiwe, the United Nations and World Bank fought the policies of our best governments. Furthermore for those who lived pre-independence even liberty was not available. Yet in the age of no internet Ekwueme led a multi-state architectural firm, Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu transported a nation, Nnamdi Azikiwe fought for freedom, Things fell in place for Chinua Achebe, people married, people loved, people lived, they even invented.

Our people have been youth in this land forever, and we do not know the stories of their youth so we seek meaning in the lives others live in far distant lands, we do not value our past, we are afraid of the future and in the present we do nothing as our youth fades.

In our time, we are no more relevant than a video recorder, we are not part of the story of change sweeping across the world, we are merely spectators, liking the change that others are making. Blaming the very people who we have never taken the time to know for doing nothing with OUR YOUTH.

Article Credit: King Ifeanyi Oruruo (Chairman/CEO LIVEN Capital)

Updated 1 Year ago

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Tags:     Alex Ekwueme     Social Media     Nigeria     Youth