#EndSARS: Okowa says Nigerians need collective responsiblity to rebuild nation

Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has tasked the youths, women and elders to brace up with the challenge of rebuilding Nigeria.

The governor gave the charge on Friday at a Town Hall meeting with representatives of #ENDSARS protesters, civil society groups, students, social groups, community youth leaders and other stakeholders in Delta North Senatorial District.

According to the governor, “everything that glitters is not gold. The way we are making our demands, I am glad that we are speaking from the dept of our hearts, but nobody is talking about how to fund many of these things that we do.”

He said that the forum provided a platform to get the people educated about governance and the need to look at the whole nation holistically and forge ways to partner together.

While thanking the youths for attending and for speaking boldly to seek ways of solving the nation’s challenges, Okowa noted that in political arena, nobody actually leaves the ground for another.

He said as youths, there was the need for them to cash in on opportunities. “You have to fight with faith not by carrying gun but fight intelligently while depending on the Grace of God to stand out.”

He challenged the youths to be the example they wanted by being the role model of change in the various localities.

He noted that the change the youths sought was not about police brutality alone, but about the governance structure, adding that both the elders and the youths have roles to play in rebuilding the nation.

“So, there are basic foundations that we have lost as a nation. It will require everybody to fix it; the elders, youths and women.

“Unfortunately, the elders do not want to give up and the youths who have been given the opportunity, have not become role models either.”

He noted that politics is about picking the good things from people and letting go those bad things seen in politics.

He tasked the youths to organize themselves in truth with a common goal and focus to elect people who will lead for a common goal of all not those who would turn against the people as soon as they got into positions.

He said that there was the need to create platform for youths in the state to be trained in politics.

He said that the ongoing process for the creation of new wards in the state is to correct the imbalance in ward delineation in some local government areas.

He explained that by the existing law, every local government area in the state should have a maximum of 20 wards, adding that the ongoing process by the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DESIEC) is to right some wrongs.

The governor expressed optimism that the Electoral Bill will be signed by President Muhammadu Buhari this time, and said that the refusal to sign it before the 2019 general elections was political.

He said that there is the need for leaders to build consensus or conduct free and fair primary elections for aspirants to avoid imposition of candidates and ensure that youths didn’t spend much to contest in the processes.

“We are building a new Nigeria with the youths and we must shun acts capable of reducing us when we leave office.

“We will continue to allow youths, including females, to be part of the governance process because in learning you are building yourself for the future.

“If you are a youth and you want to be active in politics you must respect your leaders and you must learn to pray a lot.

“I am encouraged to see many more youths go into politics and I hope it is for the right reasons.

“The act of leading requires deep thought, sincerity and leadership qualities because there is a difference between an orator and the person who is able to lead,” he said.

On agitation by the youths that Delta’s contribution to the daily oil production quantum of the country should be declared, the governor said that the state government had made representation to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) for the information.

According to him, “We are yet to receive a response from them. We will intensify efforts towards ensuring that they review it because it is not right to continue to rely on the same oil production quantum.”

He deplored the delay by DPR in providing the information, saying that such a delay was part of the demands by #ENDSARS protesters in the state, because it is known that new discoveries of oil wells were made in the state recently.

“We have had lots of new discoveries and oil production in large quantities in several communities and these have not been factored into the state’s production quantum,” the governor said.

Earlier, the State Commissioner for Youths Development, Mr Ifeanyi Egwunyenga, in his welcome remarks, said “the more we increase the active participation and partnership with young people, the better they are served”.

He said that the town hall meeting was designed to establish a sense of communication between the government and the youths in realisation of the critical role they played in nation-building.

The youths representatives and the CSOs among other participants agreed that the ENDSARS protests were as a result of impunity of security operatives; extortion and brutality by the disbanded SARS and corruption at all tiers of government, resulting in hardship in the country.

They called on the government to sponsor regular programmes on fundamental human rights and for the introduction of fundamental human rights in school curriculum.

The youths also called for the revamping of all farm settlements in the state to engage more youths in agriculture.(NAN).