By Abuchi Onwumelu
The 2021 Youth Connect Programme organized by the Ministry of Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy, Anambra State, has ended in Awka.
Declaring the programme closed, the Anambra State Commissioner for Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy, Prof Theresa Obiekezie, described leadership development as a springboard for meaningful socio-economic development order.
Delivering a welcome address during the year 2021 Youth Connect programme at the Ministry’s Hall, the Commissioner explained that youths must be nurtured to take up leadership positions to become change makers.
‘It is important to note that leadership development for us focuses on small scale local impact, so when we say leaders, we mean learning how to become a change maker in your own community.
‘Starting with a small impact, building up to a larger scale, you have a great role to play and this is the reason why we invited you for this year’s youth connect,’ Prof Obiekezie said.
She added that the programme was designed to provide a platform for youth leaders across the state to share their knowledge and experience on issues affecting them with a view to proffering thoughtful solutions.
In a goodwill message, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs Louisa Ezeanya, urged youths to eschew all forms of political thuggery and violence, especially this electioneering period.
She underscored the importance of restraint and emotional control over issues related to security and secessionist struggles prevailing in the nation, pointing out that dialogue could be used for dispute resolution.
Delivering a keynote speech, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Services, Hon Nwabufor Nwankwo, who spoke on the qualities of a leader, said vision must be translated into achievements.
Narrating his experiences as the former State Chairman of National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), he asserted that a leader should protect the interest of his members, attract privileges and constructively engage authorities.
Mr Nwankwo, Chairman, Coalition of Anambra Youth Leaders, specifically identified effective communication and feedback mechanism as veritable tool to inspire confidence among members of any organization to foster unity and progress.
Earlier, the State Chairman of NYCN, Mr Samuel Egwuatu,described the programme as apt and impactful on the lives of youths and called for its sustainability.
For his part, the Director General of Digital Entrepreneurial Office, Engr. Ifeanyi Aniagoh said that the Youth Connect was designed to have all youth leaders and related opinion molders on a round table to brainstorm on the way forward for the Anambra Youths.
‘We focused on encouraging “sabificate” as against the craze for certificate without skills. The digital space gives us all the edge we need in as much as we are faced with a major setback “reign of more ignorant youths in an information age.
‘Time has passed when young people are mobilized for N500 and N1k; this is the era of mobilizing persons with skills and unique potentials.
‘Youth leaders should focus on ways to take advantage of various empowerment opportunities created by the State Government to lift young people out of poverty and joblessness; eschew corrupt practices in youth leadership; and initiate youth development programs as well as effective engagement for global action. The time for the youths is NOW; not later,’ he said.
During the event, the Commissioner was bestowed with patronship merit award from the All Farmers Association of Nigeria(AFAN), Youth Wing, Anambra State.
Conferring the award on her, the Leader of the association, Nze Chisom Onugha, said the award was in appreciation of her effort in facilitating agricultural inputs through the Ministry of Agriculture.
He added that the association recently held her youth stakeholders conference, agric shows and distribution of agric inputs to youths as well as installation of patrols and promoters.