By Francis Ekpone & Gabriel Alonta
The former president general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Dozie Ikedife, and member representing Nnewi North/South/Ihiala Federal Constituency, Hon Chris Azubogu among other stakeholders have called on Nigeria youths to be proactive and ready to take their destinies into their hands by subjecting themselves for mentorship.
Ikedife called on youths to aspire for leadership positions in the society rather than wasting their time on frivolities.
He made the call at his country home, Nnewi, in Nnewi North local government area of Anambra state during a round-table with stakeholders and official recognition cum confirmation of the board of trustees of a non-government organisation, Centre for Strategic Leadership and Youth Orientation (CENSTLEYO).
The round-table, aimed at calming youth restiveness and frustration across the country, was sponsored by a philanthropist and former governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Anambra state, Engr. Johnbosco Onunkwo.
The elder statesman argued that it was only through mentorship that good morals and values would be transmitted from one generation to another, describing those who hoard knowledge as endangering the future of the upcoming generations.
He described the programme as apt and unique due to its intent and purpose on youth training, adding that leadership was not an opportunity to amass wealth but, rather, to serve the people.
In his remarks, Engr. Onunkwo, charged youths not to be discouraged by the hard economy but use their talents to develop a concept that would distinguish them from the crowd.
He regretted that youths had lost focus in the country and harped on re-dedicating youths to discover themselves through capacity-building and other youth-friendly initiatives.
A guest speaker, Hon. Chris Azubuogu, noted that the mileage of problems facing youths in the country need concerted effort and strategic approach to ameliorate, adding that all hands must be on deck to chart a new course for youths.
He disclosed that he recently trained 450 youths on ICT and empowered over 30 of them with laptops and other valuables even as he called other government functionaries to develop a working model for the youths.
A former commissioner for works in Anambra state, Hon. Callistus Ilozumba, on his part, decried the lackadaisical attitude of youths to work, prodding them to develop a sense of responsibility, diligence and honesty while discharging their duties.
He emphasised that youths should be properly empowered to solve the fundamental problems of unemployment, while recommending for apprenticeship in skill acquisition areas such as tiling, painting, and carpentry and others, to make ends meet.
Earlier, the initiator of CENSTLEYO, Mr. Felix Imah, noted that the NGO was formed specifically for youth empowerment through advocacy programmes, capacity building, skill acquisition, sensitisation and awareness creation.
He said that he has empowered many youths to set up businesses, crafts and awarded scholarships to many indigent youths and equipped them for leadership and mentorship roles in the society.
He observed that the nature of training offered to the upbringing of many of the youths in society by some parents, relatives and politicians, contributed to the deteriorating state of affairs in today’s society as well as youth involvement in political violence.
“Apart from the various trainings and sensitisation programmes which we organise for our members, we have also mounted several workshops and have impacted values on various firms, societies, organisations and professional bodies” he said while appealing for urgent financial support for the foundation.
The newly appointed board of trustees of the NGO include; Rev. G.I. Ugwujah, chairman, Pentecostal Fellowship Nigeria, Nnewi Zone; Mr. Francis Uzodike, Chief Innocent Okoli, Mr. Ambrose Ezejelue, and Prof. Kate Azuka Omenugha, commissioner for basic education, Anambra state.
Others were; Hon. Callistus Ilozumba, former commissioner for works, Anambra state; Sir Linus Ilozue, Prof. Joseph Ikechebelu, and Sir Geoffrey Tabansi.