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Not Too Young To Run - By Barbara Adaeze Ijebuonwu

Barbara Adaeze Ijebuonwu
Barbara Adaeze Ijebuonwu
By Barbara Adaeze Ijebuonwu on the proposed Not Too Young To Run bill.

Parents listen to your children
We are the leaders of tomorrow
Try and pay our school fees
And give us sound education

My tomorrow came over 20 years ago, when I first chanted this chorus, as a pupil in International Early Learning Center, Aba. I did not know or fully understand what I was singing. Moreover, my teacher taught me that song on the assembly ground and said I had to sing it while marching into my classroom else I would be pulled out of the line. Who cared what it meant anyway? Just sing the song and don't attract aunty's cane!

As the years passed, aunty's chorus kept echoing in my head. It was mixed with confusing thoughts. How can aunty ask my parents to listen to me? Though, they had to pay my school fees cos I'm their kid, it was my right, else their daughter would be a dullard!!! But, the "leaders of tomorrow" one, I did not understand. Leader, as in, president, governor, minister. Which one was I going to become? I had imaginations. Which one exactly? I still did not know. But it did not stop me from singing that song on the assembly ground every academic year else aunty was going to flog me.


Few days ago, this song started echoing in my head again after I thought I had left it behind in my pre-secondary school memoirs. I flashed back to a grand event that took place in my primary school:
Chidera Nnaji (of blessed memory) wrote a letter to our then Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, to come build our school roads.

While I was still chanting about my tomorrow 15 years ago, a kid in a class below me (she was in primary four) had taken the steps of a 'leader of tomorrow' and brought about development. Yes! The governor visited my school and that request, he granted!

Now what is my point?

Tomorrow, logically, isn't the day after today. Every tomorrow is the today we looked forward to yesterday.

Just as we have had many yesterdays, we have had plenty todays and multiple tomorrows to come!

We have slept enough; while we were waiting, our tomorrows, on daily basis, were being converted to yesterdays!

We did not know and still do not know that our tomorrow had come and gone.

Yet we still chant we are the leaders of tomorrow.

They took over their tomorrows when it came cos they knew, and with their youthful strength, they soared.

Our tomorrow came, but when they saw we were oblivious of our time, they invaded it.

And we were still chanting we are the leaders of tomorrow.

Now their bloods have turned grey, every strength gone; and with their feeble arms they still cling onto our tomorrow plundering what remains of the mess they made of it, like it's theirs.

But it's ours.

Now we know, we want to take it back. We want to undo the wrongs that have marred the tomorrow we desire for posterity. We want to make our time count, though we can't undo the ones we've wasted. We want to be part of the justice system because we stand for what is right.

We want to be part of the system that gives hope to the hopeless; We know our heritage and we won't shy away from it because it stares at us everyday.

We want to be accountable to our Creator, when He finally asks us what we did with the talent He gave us! We want to empty ourselves wholly and give our best to its minutest bits. We are tired of sleeping.

We are ready to be who we've always wanted to be tomorrow.

All because tomorrow has come, it is here and it is now!!

Youths, it's your call. Arise and build! Be useful everywhere you find yourself. Rule your world, run it, guard it and preserve it - cos by these little steps, you might be living the tomorrow of your dreams, tomorrow, when it comes knocking. Age is just a combination of numbers, don't let it deter you; when it seems otherwise, remember the youngest king that was recorded in the Bible and receive strength.

Yes we can!




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