By Margaret John And Philip Agba
The Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Usani, has called on youths to become the watch dog of the society.
Pastor Usani made the appeal in Calabar Friday while speaking at the Cross River State Young and Emerging Political Leaders Forum (YEPLF) at the Calabar International Conference Center (CICC).
According to him, “It is time for the youths of Cross River State to rise out of the milieu of being used as tools for political violence.”
The Minister further asserted that, “To rise, the youths need courage to be consistent in what they know is right.”
He charged the youths to kick against every form of negative political indoctrination insisting that, “Discipline is a factor that determines how high you rise. What you will not accommodate tomorrow, don’t tolerate today; if you don’t like the devil, don’t eat his food!”
Also speaking, the Senator representing Cross River central senatorial district and Chairman Senate Committee on Finance, Senator John Owan Enoh, said any leader that is not willing to shoulder the responsibilities of his or her office, should not seek public office.
According to him, “No nation that desires progress will toil or become complacent with its energetic and vibrant youths.
“I have deep affection for young people over the years. My victory in elections have been made possible because of my strong affinity with the youths.
“We must applaud the youths who keep changing the world with the internet.
“There is a huge disconnect between youths of today and the older generation
“If as a leader, you are not interested in the discharge of the responsibilities that comes with your office, then don’t run for an election”, he said.
The spokesman for former military President Ibrahim Babangida, Prince Kasim Afegbua, who also spoke at the event, reiterated that “The place of the youth in bringing positive change to the Nation is through our voice and votes. The power of people in democracy is our tongue; we must punish our leaders with the strength of our tongue. When you don’t go out to vote on election day you are giving your oppressor the mandate to continue.”
Furthermore, Prince Kasim maintained that, “I am attending this program not as IBB spokesperson but as Prince Kasim. Leadership and Governance is not a system of competition.”
He concluded by adding that, the risk of not getting involved in the electioneering process is more than not getting involved.
On his part, Rev. Olu Martins said, “We have come to a nation where life has become cheap; we have come to create a pathetic picture of a nation that does not value its youths.”
“This is the time where we should not vote fot those whose children are not in our public schools, the time has come when only those with University certificate from Ekpoma, UNILAG, Auchi should be voted for.”
Charles Oputa, aka Charlie Boy, who arrived on wheel chair charged those present not to relent in critiquing whatever is wrong to their conscience especially as it concerns how they are governed.
According to him, “Our mumu don do, we need to decide our future by ourselves. We need to take charge of the election process, you need to take your destiny into your own hands else them go use you.”
Adding that, “People are surprised to see me on wheel chair; I told myself that even if it is on stretcher I will come to Calabar. I’m on wheel chair because I’m aging, I’m in real pains but coming here is more important than the pains.”
Earlier, the convener Mr. MacDonald Ayangbe said “There is a need for the youths to recline from the euphoria of the not too young to run law, we need a mental shift.”
He said “Governance is not a day’s job, we must exercise patience. The present day politicians are a hindrance to the future.”
High point of the event was the presentation of the Mary Slessor Award of Excellence to winners by the organizers.
Those awarded include: Mr. Agba Jalingo; Publisher of CrossRiverWatch, the Publisher of CalabarBlog; Mr. Hope Obeten, Director General of the Cross River State Signage and Advertisement Agency (CRISSAA); Mr. Stanley Nsemo, Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade on Sports; Mr. Effiom Effiwat, Director General of the State Primary Health Care Development Agency; Dr. Betta Edu, the General Manager, Tinapa Lakeside Hotel; Mrs. Justina Ovat, Ms. Marilyn Obeten and Mr. Daniel Obo.
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