By Abuchi Onwumelu
The Auxiliary Bishop of Awka Diocese, His Lordship, Most Rev. Jonas Benson Okoye, last Wednesday blessed and commissioned the newly established Anambra State Youth Mobilization, Technology and Innovation (YMTI), otherwise known as Square.
According to the Director General of the Square, located at Agu-Awka, Anambra State Capital, Hon. Engr. Emeka Okonkwo, it was designed to tackle all the challenges facing the youths of Anambra by providing corresponding solutions that would alleviate those challenges for youth growth and development, as well as technological advancement of Anambra State.
The former Transition Committee Chairman of Dunukofia Local Government Area said it would ensure that Anambra State youth was a positive first choice at all times within and outside Nigeria, stating that it was all about engaging the youths positively.
Blessing and commissioning the Square, Bishop Okoye expressed the hope that the centre would be instrumental in quelling what he described as youth restiveness bedeviling the South-East Geo-Political Zone.
‘When I was invited to this commissioning by Engr Emeka Okonkwo, I asked if it’s political but he said no, then I saw it as an opportunity to talk to our youths.
‘Youth restiveness is on the increase. It’s not something that can stop immediately but the solution will end the restiveness.
‘I implore you today, Engr Emeka, to carry these youths along and have listening ears. Advice the governor appropriately.
‘Gov Obiano is concerned about the youths and he has removed many youths from the streets by giving them appointments and contracts and established many entrepreneurial programmes for the youths.
‘I charge the youths of Anambra State today to become important to their fathers and their generations. The cult killings in Awka are uncalled for. Human life is sacred. Stop taking the lives of others.
‘Konti, how you work here will determine your future politically,’ Bishop Jonas Benson Okoye said.
Speaking, Governor Willie Obiano, who was represented by the Secretary to the Anambra State Government, Prof Solo Chukwulobelu, said that since Gov Obiano became the governor of Anambra State, there had been lots of empowerment for youths and last year, Nov 2020, Gov Obiano established the Office of Youth Mobilization, Technology and Innovation, and appointed Engr Emeka Okonkwo to be the pioneer Director General
He said it was established to serve as a socio-political conglomerate of all the youth groups in Anambra State.
The SSG said the governor recognized the importance of youths, hence the appointment of “Konti” as the pioneer DG and gave him a bigger responsibility.
Continuing, Prof Chukwulobelu said the centre was not just a centre for cross-fertilization of thoughts, but a centre for ventilation of ideas and correction of attitude.
‘During COVID-19, youth bodies in Anambra State were remembered and palliatives were sent to them by this government because of the importance of youths to Gov Obiano.
‘Anambra State, just like Lagos State, is the centre of youths, for many youths from different states live here. This office should reach out to all the youths that reside in Anambra State, not just Anambra youths; create opportunities for them, get them involved in community mobilization and secure lives in various communities for the development of youths which is very critical in any nation building. As the DG you are to corroborate with the Ministry of Youth Affairs in Anambra State,’ he said.
The SSG thanked Archbishop Jonas Benson Okoye, Auxilliary Bishop of Awka Diocese, for coming to commission the office, noting that anything that started with God would excel. He also charged all the eleven youth groups in Anambra State to work closely with the DG.
The governor of Anambra State was represented by Prof Solo Chukwulobelu, SSG; Commissioner for Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy, Professor Theresa Obiekezie.
The Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha, His Grace Most Rev. Valerian Maduka Okeke, was represented by Fr Benjamin Ogbunuko.