By Abuchi Onwumelu
The member representing Njikoka Constituency II in the Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon Dr Pete Ibida, says the full autonomy of the legislative arm of government in Nigeria, especially of the State Houses of Assembly, is the primary step that must be taken in the restructuring of the country.
Dr Ibida shared this opinion while speaking to youths who converged on Awka, the Anambra State Capital, for the 2021 edition of Anambra Youth Summit organized by Anambra Youths for Democracy.
The lawmaker, while describing Nigeria’s federalism as a cosmetic military government, said it was backward and counter development, the inability of the legislative houses at different levels of government to remain subservient to the executive, thereby lacking the capability to initiate reforms that would bring sustainable development.
A publisher, Mr Cornel Osigwe, while delivering a keynote address on the theme of the summit, “Harnessing Anambra Youths for Political and Economic Development”, called on the youths to maximize their strengths as composing the higher percentage of Nigeria’s population to initiate ways to create changes that would make a better Nigeria.
He commended Governor Willie Obiano for the laudable steps he had taken to involve more youths in policy making under his government, and urged him to assent to the Youth Development Bill passed by the State House of Assembly to enable the state to truly harness her youth for development.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Trade and Commerce, Mr Uche Okafor, who was represented by Mr Chidiebele Obika, said the first option for youths to harness their strength was to empower themselves with education which would naturally put them ahead of their contemporaries, as well as seek ways to introduce positive disruptions that would help them standout.
The convener of the summit, Mr Chibuikem Uloka, and his co-convener, Mr Ebuka Onyekwelu, said hoped that youths could broker into mainstream leadership positions to become major policy makers and come together in spite of their political affiliations and interests.
Panel discussions with civil society activists, including Dr Justin Nwankwo; Messrs Chiamaka Nwogu and Tochukwu Obiadi; youths in governance, including the Director General, Anambra Digital Entrepreneurship Office, Mr Ifeanyi Aniagor and the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Willie Obiano on Political Matters and Strategy, Mr Chris Ezenwafor, called on young people to see Nigeria’s myriads of troubles as enough call to initiate change and speak out against corruption.
Topics on “Nation building: the Role of the Youths”; “Youths in Politics: Prospects and Challenges”; “EndSARS Aftermath: What Next”; “Nigerian Youths, When is Our Tomorrow?”, formed the major focus of discussion at the summit.