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Yenagoa – Youths in Bayelsa State have called on political leaders and elected representatives of the state to engage in regular consultations with their constituents in order to know the challenges of development affecting them.
They made the call in an 11-point communique issued after the maiden Orange Movement Youth Convocation in Yenagoa organised by the Coalition for Development and Democracy in Bayelsa (CDDB).
Over 500 youths drawn from tertiary educational institutions and youth-based organisations attended the forum with the theme, “Building Bayelsa Together Through Participatory Democracy: The Youth Perspective.”
The youths, according to the communique, said that legislators, especially, must hold consultations with their constituents as part of a bottom-top approach to the issue of development.
They noted that the imposition of candidates was a major hindrance to development and democracy, stressing that persons in privileged positions were amassing the commonwealth to the detriment of society.
The Bayelsa youths, who noted that ignorance and poverty were the twin challenges facing the youths, said that the education system in the state lacked sufficient deliverables, adding that scholarships should be awarded by the government on merit and not hijacked by politicians for their children and relations.
They also cautioned against drug abuse and violence among youths, warning them to shun all inducements in electing the best candidates during elections.
Speaking at the event, Rueben Okoya, a foremost architect and philanthropist, urged the youths to have a clear-cut means of livelihood as politics was not a profession.
He said that Nigerians were not lazy contrary to the impression created in some quarters, noting that the average Nigerian youth had excelled in various fields of endeavour, even under very harsh social conditions.
Okoya, therefore, appealed to Bayelsa youths to recognise their talents and cultivate the right attitude to life with appropriate passion for ventures that would enable them to grow and contribute their quota to the development of the state.
In a keynote address, Charles Ambiowei, a former president of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), said that Bayelsa youths had all the positive abilities to make the state great.
Also speaking, Udengs Eradiri, Commissioner for Youth Development, represented by Mark Ake, a youth leader; Bubaraye Dakolo and Joshua Igbagara, monarchs of Ekpetiama and Oyakiri Kingdoms, as well as Douye Koroye, Special Adviser to the Governor on Youth Matters, advised youths to deepen Ijaw cultural values, embrace education and be agents of social change.
Source; Independent Newspapers Nigeria