Encomiums trail Ekwunife’s milestone convention of Youth Leadership Summit

…..As stakeholders canvass support for annual convention of the Summit, to be sponsored by South-East Governors

By Tony Ezike

In effort to create more awareness in the area, Youth leaders from the five States that make up the South East zone have deep appreciation to the Director General, South-East Governors Forum, Senator Uche Ekwunife CON, at the just concluded South-East Youth Leadership Development & Values Reorientation Programme.

This voluntary expression of trust and confidence coming from Youth Leaders from Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States at the tail end of the summit held at Amadeo Event Center Enugu State is a clear indication of their wholesome acceptance and appreciation of the contents and proceedings of the landmark capacity building programme.

Participants were invited from various youth organizations like Voluntary Youth Organizations VYOs, Community Based Organizations CBOs, Statutory Youth Organizations and other Apex Youth Bodies like the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and Ohaneze Ndigbo Youth Wing.

According to the Student Leaders who spoke to Citypost during the event, the South-East Youth Leadership and Values Reorientation Programme is one of its kind and first time in history for a DG of the South-East Governors Forum to bring young people from the Sister States together, for such a strategic summit, providing the requisite enablers to engage and ensure efficient, hitch-free delivery of resource materials, carefully packaged to unlock the extraordinary potentials of young people.

The Governor of Enugu State, His Excellency Barr Peter Mbah who represented the South-East Governors through his Deputy, His Excellency Barr Ifeanyi Ossai declared the Summit open with a classical presentation, detailing the purpose of youth independence and the need for participants to embrace the idea of values reorientation programme, imbibe the lessons learnt and take actions that will reposition them as veritable partners in the region’s development roadmap.

The Keynote Speaker Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe expressed deep concern over the growing spate of insecurity across the region in particular, contending that the senseless wave of violence pervading the South-East region is absolutely condemnable. He cited his recent meeting with the embattled leader of the Indeginous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who made it clear that he does not support a situation whereby criminal elements operating in the zone have hijacked the primary aim of genuine agitations, unleashing mayhem on innocent citizens and jeopardizing all efforts to restore sanity in the area.

Other Speakers like Prof Udenta O. Udenta, Dr Sam Amadi, His Excellency Amb Elijah Onyeagba, Prof Vincent Pius Okoye, Ezinne Nwazulu, and Dr Ike Neliaku were assertive in emphasizing the compelling need for immediate change of mindset amongst Nigerian youths, and the need for government to periodically consider and implement the genuine demands of young people within the region.

Senator Uche Ekwunife had earlier in her welcome address highlighted the challenges and prospects of youth development in the zone, but specifically noted the expected results of the Leadership Summit and its anticipated impacts across the states.

The regional DG of the exalted forum urged the participants to emulate the accomplished sons and daughters of Igbo extraction who have leveraged their chosen careers to make significant contributions to the society in many positive ways.

She enjoined the youths to persevere in the face of daunting economic challenges and focus on plans to rewrite the ugly narrative associated with some young people who tend to lose focus, yield to negative influences and consequently pose danger to the society.

Speaking further, Senator Ekwunife emphasized the advantage of the youth population in every community, noting that no contrary force can match, let alone overwhelm the numerical strength of our youths, which means that with proper orientation, the South-East has what it takes to withstand and subdue criminal elements fomenting trouble or constituting any form of nuisance within the region.

Ekwunife expressed deep gratitude to the South East Governors, especially the Chairman Southeast Governors’ Forum and Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma CON, for their collective demonstration of willpower and uncommon passion for genuine democracy through unity of purpose and regional integration.

She further attributed the successful implementation of the leadership summit to the unwavering support and leadership prowess of the state governors of Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states, noting that their dedication to youth empowerment and development is truly commendable, having set a viable framework for the much desired good governance within the South-East region.

Responding to issues raised by the participants, Senator Uche Ekwunife called for patience and continued support, while assuring them of her determination to present and follow up with their interests and submissions to the forum for consideration and anticipated approval.

The Youth Leaders in their separate remarks suggested that a day like July 5th be set aside for annual convention of young people from the South-East zone, to be sponsored by the South-East Governors. They concluded by expressing gratitude to Senator Uche Ekwunife, contending that what she did was absolutely spectacular, and first of its kind in the historical trajectory of regional leadership, with particular emphasis on the South-East zone.

They prayed for God’s infinite grace upon the South-East Governors, the SEGOF DG, the youths and the entire South-East region, as they look forward to more invitations for more expanded, more engaging and rewarding leadership development sessions in the years ahead.

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