Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River state has told Cross River youths not to be limited by the circumstances of their birth as their time to take over political leadership should begin now and not tomorrow as preaached in some quaters.
He said this in Calabar at the weekend during the maiden All Progressives Congress, APC, Youth Summit, organised by the State chapter of the APC Lobby Group.
Reiterating that youths have capability to give political leadership, Ayade said the country could only make meaningful progress with youths’ full involvement and participation in its social and political calculations and therefore urged them to believe in themselves.
“Believe in yourself, nobody can change your destiny, only God. Don’t be limited by the circumstances of your birth” the governor said, and challenged the youth to always put their minds above their problems.
“I am here to tell you that the future is now and not tomorrow as people would always want you to believe.
“As a government, we are going to commence a social welfare scheme that will see to the needs of the youths in the state,” he stated.
Mr Asuquo Ekpenyong Jnr, the State Commissioner for Finance, in his remarks, said the Governor appointed him into the State Executive Council at the age of 29, being the youngest in the country as at 2015. He lauded Ayade for being youth friendly going by the number of youth in government.
“Life is a relay race. The athlete with the baton runs with all his strength on the track with his focus to handover to next athlete who is set on his marks to take over the baton and complete the race. The youths are ready on their marks to take over governance,” he stated.
Earlier, the chairman of the local organising committee for the event, Oden Ewa, said the summit was the first of its kind in the state and therefore commended the Governor for having a large heart for the young people to exhibit their talents.
Ewa noted that the Summit was organised to, amongst other reasons, acknowledge and thank the Governor for embracing many youths through appointments to drive government policies.
Also speaking, Comrade Iso Bassey Edim, Chairman of APC Support Groups in Cross River, commended Gov Ayade, describing him as “youth friendly.”
He charged the Governor to continue to open more doors of opportunity to the young people to showcase their abilities.
But in a chat, special assistant to the Governor on Social Housing, Barr Ekpenyong Akiba, disagreed, saying Nigerian youths were not yet ready for political leadership going by socio-political indices on ground.
He said: “It is important that youths continue to engage and interact but in terms of taking over political leadership, for me, they are yet to be ready.
“I say so because, in Nigeria of today, apart from the issue of build capacity and character, youth must have a known name, national connection, popularity and above all, resources to run election in our country. How many youths in the country have combination of these?”