The Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani has advocated for a change of attitude among some Youths of Cross River State towards those in authority and enjoined them to be ambassadors of positive attitude to others.
Pastor Usani who made the call in his keynote address during the inauguration ceremony of the Niger Delta Youth Network for Peace and Development (NDYNPD), Cross River State Chapter at the Jorany Hotel, Calabar, lauded the youths for the initiative of instituting a lasting Peace in the Niger Delta region, adding that reveals the readiness of the youths to sanitize their region and take up their responsibilities.
The Niger Delta Affairs boss stated that the Niger Delta Region is a complex one and its complexity has led to a lot of agitations from individuals and groups with different strategies, stressing that the initiative to seek peace for the development of the Niger Delta is the most important. He commended the efforts of the Youths in the State for taking the bold step to be the first State in the Niger Delta Region to inaugurate the Niger Delta Youth Network for Peace and Development (NDYNPD).
The Minister charged the youths to desist from asking Government contractors for what they refer to as ‘matching ground,’ pointing out that this act has led many contractors to abandon projects that such communities would have benefitted from with the excuse that the youths of such communities did not allow them to carry out the project. Pastor Usani informed that for peace to be talked about and sought after, it means a lot of things are at stake.
Hon. Usani noted with optimism that the State can be returned to her position as the safest and more secured State in the country if the youths take it upon themselves to report suspected persons and activities of the perpetrators of these crimes, stating that “if you do not have peace and experience it, you cannot propagate peace.” He emphasized that development is impossible without peace and so peace and not war should be pursued.
Earlier, the Chairman of the occasion, High Chief Eyo Etim Nyong stated that the Vision of Peace and Development in the Niger Delta Region is laudable as both cannot survive without the other, adding that peace is the foundation and a major prerequisite to achieving sustainable economic development in any society. He averred that if Nigeria as a country must experience peace, grievances of all sorts must be addressed from the grassroots.
According to him, there is a need for the strengthening of government structures to ensure that equity and inclusive political participation is promoted, adding that a government that involves the citizenry in decision making that brings development is essential if grievances must be done away with.
Giving an exhortation, Pastor Gabriel Osang in a message titled: “The Place of the Youths in the Peace and Development of the Society,” urged the youths to be focused, upright and not dispel despite challenges, adding that heights attained is not as important as the steps taken in the right direction.
Also speaking, Elder Sam Bassey advised the youths that if they destroy today, there would be no tomorrow to lead, stating that they should prepare for tomorrow by pursuing peace and saying no to cultism and other forms of social vices capable of destroying their future.
Inaugurating the Chapter Executives of the Eighteen Local Government Areas, the resident Commissioner, Niger Delta Development Commission, His Excellency, Sylvester Nsa referred to the youths as the leaders of today, noting that their choices today would determine their future. He charged them to choose mentors who will teach them hard work and not Godfathers who will expose them to thuggery, stating that, “nobody can advice you better than you can advice yourself,” informing them never to despise their little beginnings.
In his address, the National Coordinator, NDYNPD, who also doubles as the Cross River State Chapter Coordinator, Mr. Sylvester Okpo, pointed out that the organization transcend the new psychological upliftment and moral rejuvenation of the entire Niger Delta Youth from isolationist to an interactive and exalted plane, adding that the platform would afford the youths the chance to redefine their roles and exhibit their sacrifices towards extolling the region to greater heights.
In an interview, the newly inaugurated Coordinator for Yakurr Local Government Area, Comrade Yibala Omini Arikpo stated that the organization is a platform initiated for the purpose of pursuing peace and discouraging agitations that breeds bitterness and wars that leaves the Niger Delta Region worse than it was, adding it is a forum where the youths will meet to deliberate on current developmental issues and needs of the region and how to address it with civility without resorting to vandalism and other social vices. He informed that the youths have been reawakened to the reality that no substantive development can come to the region if peace is not given a chance.
The ceremony which also featured the inauguration of the NDYNPD Cross River State Chapter Executives by the Chairman of the occasion, High Chief Eyo Etim Nyong had dignitaries like the former CROSIEC Chairman, Chief Patrick Otu; Dr. Orok Duke; Barr. Ernest Eki; amongst others in attendance.