As Governor Umahi Calls for National and States Conferences with Elders and Youth
BY Francis Nwaze
As the recent nationwide protests following the police brutality grounded socio-economic activity leading to loss of lives and property, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State said there is an urgent need for a summit that will alter negative attitudes that trigger social unrest among the youth of the Southeast region and the nation in general.
Governor Umahi disclosed this on Friday at the Ebonyi Int’l Airport site, Onueke, Ezza South LGA during a statewide situation tour, ascertaining the progress of work at the airport, level of destruction and damage at the police stations burnt as a result of the protest and level of compliance to the curfew in the state.
The Governor who was visibly saddened by the unfortunate twist of events, where hoodlums hijacked the peaceful protest process and engaged in destruction of property belonging to both the state and private organisations.
According to him, the youth as the future leaders need a moral rebirth and attitudinal change tutelage, a platform, the summit billed for 2021 will provide. He added that youth of the southeast were not tainted neither are they associated with violence, but the place of oneness in the nation-building especially in a plural society like Nigeria will be part of the activity of the proposed summit.
“But honestly, I feel that there is a need to have a National Conference and State Conference in each of the states. It is important that the youth will come to a roundtable with the elders and political office holders because there is a lot of misinformation. People think that a leader must make magic. If you are building infrastructure and empowering people, they will say no.
“Do you know the number of jobs this Airport will create for our people? This is like bringing the world to Ebonyi State. They prefer to just share the money. But I want everyone to understand that we can’t survive without everyone making up his or her mind that we must all work together. I think politics has killed us in this country: graduates no longer want to work, even Doctorate degree holders want to be local government councilors.
“Our Elders, how many of them are willing to remember the younger ones? Just imagine, when we asked the young protesters to give us leaders time, they said no. When I asked why they said the leaders will take bribe. Then it portends danger if the young ones are not able to elect their leaders. So there is a need for a national conference. That is my suggestion for these agitations…
“The system has gone bad. This is very important, and if other states are not doing it, I am going to convoke youth and elders summit in Ebonyi early next year so that we sit down and harmonize…”
The Governor particularly beckoned on the youth of the State to take advantage of government investments in agriculture, infrastructure, commerce and industry to improve their economic wellbeing. He continued: “We have a lot of Rice Mills. How many youths can come together and bid for it? Even if they don’t have the money, we will do it for them. We have many Cassava Plants we did, and nobody is taking it. We have one man, one hectare of land program, which one can take advantage of.” The governor again commended the maturity of the security men in Ebonyi State for not applying brutal forces while the protests lasted.