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Why Nigerian Elders Do Not Deserve Respect

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Joke Adeyemo

In Nigeria, there’s an unspoken rule that elders must always be respected, regardless of their actions or the state of the country they’ve left behind.

As a member of Generation Z, I’ve grown weary of this demand. Respect is not an entitlement; it must be earned. And frankly, the Nigerian elders who have overseen the degradation of our nation do not deserve it.

For decades, Nigeria has been plagued by corruption, mismanagement, and a blatant disregard for the welfare of its citizens.

Our elders, who have held positions of power and influence, are largely responsible for this dismal state of affairs. They’ve built their legacies on the backs of ordinary Nigerians, pocketing public funds and leaving essential services in shambles.

Education, healthcare, infrastructure—these sectors have all suffered from the neglect and greed of our leaders. Schools lack basic resources, hospitals are underfunded, and roads are death traps.

The consequences of these failures fall squarely on the shoulders of the generation that promised progress but delivered decay.

Respect is a two-way street, yet our elders expect it to flow only one way. They demand respect from us while showing none for the younger generations who have to live with the fallout of their actions.

We are told to be patient, to wait our turn, while they continue to hold onto power and resist any meaningful change.

The hypocrisy is staggering. These are the same elders who rig elections, suppress dissent, and stifle opportunities for the youth.

They have built a system that benefits the few at the expense of the many, yet they expect us to revere them simply because they are older. Age alone does not bestow wisdom or integrity.

Instead of blind respect, what Nigerian elders need is accountability. They should be held responsible for the choices they’ve made and the harm those choices have caused.

This is not about generational conflict; it’s about demanding better from those who have steered our country into its current crisis.

Accountability means answering for the years of unchecked corruption and economic mismanagement.

It means acknowledging the environmental degradation and social inequities that have become entrenched. It means facing the reality that their legacy is not one of honor but of failure.

For Nigeria to move forward, we need to break away from the toxic cycle of unearned respect and blind deference. Our generation must redefine what respect means and who deserves it.

We should honor those who work towards progress, integrity, and genuine development—regardless of their age.

The current state of our nation demands a reevaluation of who deserves our respect. The elders who have overseen decades of corruption, mismanagement, and societal decay do not deserve the deference they demand.

Our elders had their chance, and they squandered it. Now it’s our turn to shape Nigeria’s future.

We need to foster a culture of meritocracy, where respect is earned through actions and results, not demanded by virtue of age.

We need to build a society where leadership is accountable, transparent, and committed to the common good.

It’s time to hold our elders accountable and to build a new Nigeria on the foundations of merit, integrity, and true respect for those who earn it. Our future depends on it.

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