Youths of the Niger Delta region have been urged to embrace peace and shun violence and other forms of restiveness that can impede the development of the region and the nation at large.
The youths who were given the charge in a one day summit organised by the Niger Delta Youth Peace Builders (NDYPB), in Umuahia,Abia State, were urged to engage in meaningful ventures that would take them away from violent activities.
In his opening remarks, the Convener and President of Niger Delta Youth Peace Builders,Comr Chibuike Emmanuel, said the aim of the programme was to raise the awareness of the youth through training and orientation for participation in nation building and development.
According to him,apart from poor leadership,the biggest threat to national development is mass literacy of majority of Nigeria’s population, adding that the youth form the largest part of the population.
He described the summit as one that would help to reawake the consciousness of the youth to go beyond being seen and used as disruptive elements and social media mobs, to becoming a more aware and useful youths, by developing their leadership skills and dominating the political space of the country.
Comr Emmanuel while giving reference to the ‘Not Too Young to Run Bill’, which is now an ‘Act’, said as expected,the Act would expand the field for more potential candidates, promote democracy, youth development and empowerment, serve as an opportunity for the youth to decide the future of the country, as well as, provide an agenda for model changes, especially in the introduction of young, suitable and qualified Nigerians in administrative, leadership and governance.
He added that the ‘Act’ would further enable youth to contribute to nation building through public service.
Meanwhile, Comr Chibuike Emmanuel while commending the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), for always supporting the programme of the Niger Delta Youth Peace Builders, reviewed that the NDDC sponsorship has shown dedication in their contribution to youth development and empowerment,with the aim to encourage and empower more high capacity youths to participate in politics and issues regarding nation building.
This development he said, would increase the number of talented candidates that would emerge for the electorate to choose from, as against the previous practice,where same old faces were featured.
He also pointed that with the contribution of the NDDC in sensitizing the youths, campaigns in Nigeria would simply move from finding loopholes in a candidate or political parties or fielding candidates with the fattest bank account to featuring the best brains or most qualified candidates.
Comr Emmanuel maintained that these efforts would increase the number of youths in the political space,who are eager to change the narrative for a better Nigeria.
He further added that the Summit became pertinent with the increasing security challenges confronting the nation, stating that no development can be achieved in a volatile environment,hence the need for the reorientation.
In his goodwill message,the traditional ruler of Okaiuga Alike Autonomous Community, Eze Innocent Adiele Nwaigwe, commended the NDDC for its numerous efforts in seeing that the Niger Delta region is peaceful.
According to the monarch, their contributions have vehemently doused down youth restiveness in the area, promoting peaceful coexistence.
The Royal father described peace us fundamental to nation building, stressing that no nation can record meaningful development in d absence of peace.
He encouraged the youths to shun violence, corruption and avoid being used as thugs during electoral processes, stating that the NDDC have so many programmes for the youth but lamented how they are being under utilized.
In his speech, the Special Guest of Honour and Pro Chancellor, of University of Nigeria, Nsukka,High Chief Ikechi Emenike,who was represented by Deacon Obinna Atonwu, said the youths should prepare to go and vote,as electoral violence has become old fashioned.
According to him,youths do not need to carry arms or take to violence,if they vote in right candidates.
He said,”Youths must be gainfully employed and engaged.If you can’t get a white collar job,you can get a skill.Most importantly,get your hands and brain busy to avoid indulging into criminal activities”.
High Chief Emenike advised the youths to stay away from hard drugs,as its effects are enormous, adding that the youth should vote in candidates that have their interest at heart.
As a way of recording a violent free election, the Abia APC Governorship candidate for the 2023 guber election, urged the youth not to see election as an avenue to make money, but a time to vote right.
The keynote Speaker, Barr Victor Igbokwe,on his part,said the youth should use the summit to restitute by getting into politics and avoid being used by politicians as thugs.
Barr Igbokwe reiterated that youth reorientation is sine quanon to national development, stressing that for any nation to develop meaningfully, her citizens must cultivate good values.
In their separate speeches,the representative of NDDC,Hon Tony Omah, former Board member of NDDC,Hon Nwogu Nwogu,Dr Marizu Ogbuehi, commended the NDDC for promoting peace in the Niger Delta region, appreciating the Niger Delta Youth Peace Builders,for convening the youths to reorientate and sensitize them on the dangers of violence.
Responding, some of the attendees who bared their minds, Emenike Nwokocha,Barr Donald Onwuka, charged the youths to reject vehemently candidates that do not mean well for them, saying that the era of vote buying had passed, urging them to collect any money given to them by politicians, but ensure they vote their conscience.
They described peace as golden,urging the youths to join the struggle to get it right come 2023.