The Imo State governor, Hope Uzodinma has been told in very clear terms that his erroneous belief that militarizing the state by flooding all nooks and crannies with armed to the teeth police men, soldiers to ensure sustainable peace, harmony and mutual co-existence is a mirage and mission impossible.
Imo youths on the platform of Africa Youth Arise for Community Development Initiative, Imo State chapter, stated this when the executive led by the President, Godwin Egelonu paid a courtesy visit to the Publisher of Nigeria Watchdog Newspaper, and Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Imo State Council, Comrade Precious Nwadike in his office yesterday.
The group which comprises youths from the 27 local government areas of Imo State said they are passionate about entrenching lasting peace, and unity, anchored on the principles of justice, equity and fairness expressed disappointment that the Uzodinma administration is not exploring genuine and effective options for peace buidling. “Instead of genuinely empowering the youths, engaging and channeling their energy towards productive ventures that will dissuade them from engaging in restiveness and other vices that arise from idleness, frustration and lack of opportunities for a better future, the government is busy wasting resources on militarizing the state in a bid to ensure peace. This, in our opinion is effort in futility”.
“The youths should be part of the peace building initiative but regrettably, after using them to fight their political battles in different ways, they abandon them to their fate. When the youths try to express their anger about the way they are used and dumped, the same political actors arrest and send them to prison. This breeds disaffection and disenchantment that are inimical to sustainable peace and development”.
“Groups, individuals and corporate organizations in other states partner with government to empower the youths who out of gratitude support the prgoammes and policies of government. But such initiative is lacking in Imo State. All we see are armed soldiers, and policemen harassing, extorting and intimidating the people.
“We came to express our gratitude and commend your youth friendly disposition, advice and wise counsel which some of us have benefitted from and also implore you to use your position as the chairman, Caretaker Committee of Imo NUJ to project our activities aims and objectives. For instance, we intend to organize several youth empowerment programmes including event planning training, forex and blogging training among others to engage youths meaningfully”.
Another exco member of the group Uchenna Nerry Benjamin from Awaka in Owerri North said they are a non political organization that is determined to change the narrative and sanitize the system through peace advocacy.
“As youths, we know the needs, goals and aspiration of fellow youths and how best to address them”.
Reacting to the president’s speech, Comrade Precious Nwadike assured the leadership of his support while advising them to take advantage of skill acquisition at a time like this when unemployment has become an order of the day.He also advised them to support government when they do the right thing while also activating the office of Citizens’ which he said is more powerful than every other office.
Other executive who were part of the delegation were: miss Linda C Ibe, Secretary;Miss Benedicta Olekaibe, Public Relation officer;Anabel H. Ikejiaku, Program Officer.