Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State has described the youths as the future of every nation as well as the mirror through which the future of a nation could be seen.
Governor Uzodimma made the remarks on Wednesday during a virtual meeting to mark this year’s International World Youth Day organized by the Nigerian Youth Parliament at the National Assembly.
The governor said the initiative of a Nigerian Youth Parliament can only come from a visionary generation of youths conscious of their expected responsibilities as leaders of tomorrow.
Said the governor: “A nation that has responsible, focused and resourceful youths has a well guaranteed future of opportunities and growth. Conversely, a nation with an irresponsible and unproductive youth population need not be told that its future is in a pillory, if not out rightly doomed.”
Expressing gratitude to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila for the opportunity to address the youths, Governor Uzodimma said “the worst nightmare is to imagine the future of our country without a government that consciously engages them for job and wealth creation.”
Governor Uzodimma added: “So today as we mark the International Youth Day, I congratulate Nigerian youths for demonstrating that they have the capacity and sense of responsibility to take Nigeria to the next level of a peaceful nation that will galvanise her differences for unity, not for division. I salute all Nigerian youths for this great accomplishment.”
The governor who said engaging the Nigerian youths is not just necessary for wealth and job creation, but a sine qua non for national survival, asked, “can we imagine the future of our country without educated youths?”
Hear him: “I therefore agree with the topic for discussion this year that Youth Engagement is a National Asset in Job and Wealth Creation. Can we imagine the future of our country without skilled youths?”
Governor Uzodimma said the leadership of the country under the All Progressives Congress (APC) was alive to their responsibilities to the youths in Imo State in particular and Nigeria in general, saying “I have remained conscious of the need to empower youths and make them productive partners of my administration.”
“To this end I am glad to use the auspicious occasion of this event to announce that over 10,000 youths have been trained in different skills acquisition programmes awaiting the release of a startup capital for their different enterprises. We also run a standing graduate entrepreneurship programme through which graduates are trained in different skills for self-employment,” he said.
Insisting that the youths are the only hope we have for a better future, righting the wrongs of the past, the Governor maintained that with them tomorrow’s Nigeria will be more tolerant, more peaceful and more united.
The Governor said he was committed to building a solid foundation for our leaders of tomorrow via quality education and sound socio-economic playing field to enable our youths actualize their God-given talents.
He lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for leading the charge in a strategic effort to position our youths for tomorrow’s leadership.
“With the federal government’s audacious youth empowerment programmes such as the ₦75b youth empowerment fund, the Youth Skills Acquisition and N-Power Empowerment Programmes, the Central Bank of Nigeria agricultural loan scheme and a host of other youth empowerment projects, our youths are certainly having the right incentives to grow up into responsible leaders of tomorrow,” the Governor said.
Governor Uzodimma who noted that the federal government initiatives for the youth make them believe in their country insists that “a government that is proactively engaging them to become fruitful players is the only country they can call their own.”
The Governor cited the emergence of a Coalition of Ethnic Nationality Youth Leaders in Nigeria drawn from all youth bodies in Nigeria as one that offers great promise of a new generation of detribalized leaders ready to own Nigeria as theirs.
The Governor rounded off: “So our tomorrow begins from our today. It is like the simple computer process of garbage in garbage out. What you feed into the computer is what it churns out. In like manner, what we feed our youths is what they grow up to become. If we feed them with poor quality education or none at all, they grow up to become un-analytical, unruly and unproductive. Worse still they can become veritable preying grounds for Godless Merchants of thugs and hoodlums. After all, the saying remains true that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.