Taking The Youths To The Limits: The Abia Youth Enpowerment Programe Of Ochendo -By Eddie Onuzuruike

How beautiful is youth that is always slipping  away! Whoever wants to be happy, let him be so: about tomorrow there’s no knowing.
The above words of, Medici (1449 – 1492, an Italian banker and lover of arts of many years gone still echo meaningfully. As another anonymous thinker observed,

‘The youth have time and energy but no money,

The middle ageds have energy, money but no time.

And the aged have time and money but no energy.

If the above analogy or whatever you may call it is true, could it amount to why so many youths get into trouble because they have time and energy to engage in the dangerously vigorous?

As we are pondering about this, it readily comes to mind that there is an established scientific theory accounting for the restlessness that is the lot of youths today. One of the earliest scientific theories has it that air occupies space lending credence that nature abhors vacuum.

Taken religiously, the clergy will rush to conclusion that the devil finds work for the idle mind and hand. All these put together may find true expression in the programme of the Abia State Governor, Chief T.A. Orji in engaging the teeming youths of Abia in a meaningful and highly structured programme titled ‘Abia Youth Empowerment Programme.’

The above may be nothing completely new, but a close assessment indicates a well thought out programme tailored at meeting world class standard and the urgency of now. It is already taking the hue of the preliminaries of the social welfare programmes of Europe and United States of America.

Taking cognizance and realizing the transience of human life and stages, which most youths are oblivious of, a dispassionate look at Conrad Aiken’s poems will illuminate.

All lovely things will fade and die

And youth that’s now so bravely spending,

Will beg a penny by and by

Taken psychologically, the youthful age is very precarious; the attendant adolescence makes it more difficult to control the youthful who most of the time and just out of exuberance jump into any fray before consideration. The reason for this is not far fetched.

Most times due to frustration from inactivity, boredom, and all, any action is better than no action. Little wonder the statistics of people found in jails tilt towards the youth.

Along the same positive line of proffering solutions, a permanent feature of Dr. T.A. Orji’s governance style, he insightfully deciphered that the post election period is highly frustrating and

grossly antithetical for youths. If you have any doubts, sample this. Youths as free hands are drawn into so many activities. You don’t need further evidence to know that the highest number at electioneering campaigns in all the categories are youths- cheerers, jeerers, musclemen, campaigners and canvassers. Consequently, the post election casualties are youths in larger

numbers. It is just reasonable and strategic that there should be a programme to engage and mop off the youths from the streets especially now that the negative percentage of society are willing to enlist them into odious services.

We could recall that His Excellency T.A. Orji, few months after inauguration in May, 2011, instituted the 4500 jobs for youths. It is established in such a way that youth will be unjustly denied his position. Accordingly, slots were allocated to different groups including the traditional stools in all the autonomous communities. This whopping number gulps about 65 million Naira

monthly for upkeep. It did not end there. As witnessed on May 28, 2012, at the Aguiyi Ironsi Cenotaph, Ogurube Layout, in a well attended buildup to Democracy Day, 2012, Chief T.A. Orji unveiled a generous package of five hundred tricycles and 1000 sets of phone boots comprising chairs, tables and umbrellas.

Additionally, there are twenty thousand commercial phone lines already imbued with airtime to be given free of charge to youths. The glo lines are results of the robust partnership between Abia State government and the GLO network that will professionally train the youthful operators. Along these largess came five thousand antenatal, medical packs. You may wonder what this has got to do with youths. Now listen! A higher percentage of the child bearing age, are within the youthful age.

Not done with Abia Youths, he promised that the next phase will be vehicles instead of tricycles. Upon the foregoing, it is evident that our servant leader Ochendo, who knows where the shoe pinches, is killing many birds with one stone as many are going to be trained in the Agric

sector and join in feeding the population instead of being fed. Others will become environmental vanguards who will help in bridling the menace on our environment. Concurrently, they will go through citizenship education and become trainee trainers.

It is also laudable that Ochendo Youth Foundation, an NGO of Engineer Chinedu Orji, a forthright son, is already blazing trails in activities that give full meaning to the youth. As captured by Benjamin Disraeli, renown, British Author,

‘The youths of a nation are the trustees of posterity.’ And Maggie Thatcher, longest serving British prime minister concurs, ‘young people ought not to be idle, it is bad for them.’

As is wisely evident, the job of putting the youths on the right footing should not be left for government alone. All well-meaning people, citizens and foreigners, governmental and non

governmental, ministerial and non-ministerial, clergy and laity should come out to ensure that these trustees of posterity are well directed. According to Franklin D Roosevelt, ‘We cannot always build the future for the youth, but we can build our youth for the future.’



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