At a time Nigeria’s universities are shut down as a result of strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), a former member of the House of Representatives, Prince Ned Nwoko has described the youths as hope of the future if their potentials could be harnessed through quality education.
This assertion was made during a recent Back to School Programme organized at Onicha-Ugbo in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State by Anioma Youths Network for Development (AYND); a non-governmental organization(NGO). The former lawmaker was chairman of the occasion.
Speaking through Mr. Chike Okolo who represented him, Nwoko harped on the need to celebrate the youths because according to him “they are the future of the society. He further quoted South Africa’s former nationalist and President, Nelson Mandela as saying that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” adding that “no society can make any meaningful progress without education.”
According to him, there must be a deliberate effort towards providing empowerment for the youths through education. Towards achieving this, he assured that he would continue to make impact through support to the education of the less privileged ones in the society, just as he called on those willing to join him in keeping the vision on education to come on board.
Earlier in his welcome speech, the founder/convener of Anioma Youths Network for Development; Mr. Odita Sunday said the NGO was historically founded with “the youths as its centre-piece” and among other things, to advance issues that affect their lives. He added that the maiden edition of the Back to School Programme “ was strategically planned to take place now that primary and secondary schools in the country are about to resume for the 2017/2018 academic year.
According to him, “it is a period parents are usually under pressure to pay school fees and buy all the necessary books and materials for their children and wards” stressing that “we are very much aware of the fact that there are some children in our communities whose parents are not well placed to cater for their needs at this time of school resumption, hence we have chosen to lend some support, no matter how small.”
No fewer than 130 students and pupils from various secondary and primary schools in Onicha-Ugbo, Ubulu-Uku, Issele-Uku, Obior, Igbodo all in Anioma area (Delta North Senatorial District) were given high quality school bags, note books, mathematical sets, biros and other accessories to aid them as the 2017/2018 school year begins.
One of the special guests; a former Deputy Comptroller-General of Immigration Service (DCG) Dr. Brasca Ifeadi in his goodwill message said, he did not initially believe in AYND when he got to know about its existence “because over the years, so many non-governmental organizations had existed only on the pages of newspapers as some desperate Nigerians had used such platforms to feather their own nest without positively impacting the lives of people they claimed to be working for.”
According to Ifeadi; his impression however changed when he had the first physical contact with the leadership of AYND in December, 2016 during which himself and one other illustrious son of Anioma (Barrister Mike Ejiofor) were honoured by AYND for “serving the Federal Republic of Nigeria meritoriously and retiring gracefully after 35 years of service.”
The former immigration boss added that, “this award was unsolicited and not for sale, because if it were so, I would not have been considered as I do not have the kind of money that would pay for it. I saw it purely as a recognition that came from sincere hearts.”
He commended the AYND particularly for the effort to assist the less privileged ones and added that he would always give a helping hand as the NGO has shown “that it is on divine mission to uplift fellow human beings.”
Speaking in the same vein, Barrister Mike Ejiofor who retired as a Director, Department of State Service (DSS) few years ago challenged Nigerian electorate to use their votes during elections to put good persons in positions of leadership as what AYND has done through the Back to School Programme ought to be the responsibility of government.
He decried the deplorable state of Nigeria’s educational system and called for urgent intervention with a view to bringing back the lost glory.
In the words of Delta State Chairperson, House of Assembly Commission; Chief (Mrs) Josephine Kachikwu, “it is regrettable that level of education in Nigeria has fallen to such deplorable state that some children in senior secondary schools cannot even communicate in simple English Language.”
She encouraged parents to ensure that they provide adequate parental attention to the upbringing of their children both in academics, moral lessons and cultural values as these form the foundation of any child, stressing that once the values are out of place in the life of a child, the future of such a child remains bleak.
The Onicha-Ugbo monarch, His Royal Majesty Obi Victor Chukwumalieze I, who was the Royal Father of the Day, was highly enthused that the maiden edition of the Back to School programme which he considered a very laudable initiative was held in his domain. He commended the convener (Mr. Odita Sunday) and members of AYND for the programme which attracted many other dignitaries like Hon. Emeka Nwaobi of Delta State House of Assembly, Chief Madu Nwayorbuije (The Ihama of Onicha-Ugbo) , Delta State Police Commissioner, Mr. Zanna Ibrahim who was represented by the Command’s Public Relations Officer; Mr. Andrew Aniamaka.
The Ihama, at the occasion announced a financial support of N500,000 towards the Back to School Programme. A few other guests also made some contributions including the Delta State Police boss who donated some hundreds of note-books .