By Matthew Ajai-Kume
Governor Samuel Ortom has said the policy goals and commitment of his administration is to ensure every young man and young woman in Benue State is empowered to actualize their potential.
He added that, it is to this end that, his administration has set a target to ensured every young person in the state sees his or her future clear and within his reach.
Governor Ortom disclosed this Wednesday in an address, during the opening ceremony of the Benue Youth Summit, held at Aper Aku Stadium .
“We are determined to ensure that, every young person in Benue State has a preparation and the perspective to face life with confidence, and the assurance that he or she will have opportunity to succeed,” He stressed.
The governor used his life story as an illustration, noting that, he was forced out of school in his junior secondary class due to the inability of his parents to pay his fees.
“I could have closed the road to my future by bitterly lamenting my circumstances, blaming everyone and neglecting to improve my prospects for a better future,” he encouraged.
He called on the youths to emulate the life of our pioneering entrepreneurs such as late Chiefs Tilley Gyado, Padopads Awunah and Obande Obeya who died not having formal education but worked hard to build a successful enterprise by building schools and health facilities that have contributed greatly to the growth of the state.
According to Governor Ortom, the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) and digital revolution has created opportunities that earlier existed in fiction, while he stated that, many youths, including few from Benue State have already been made notable figures in this new world and urged the youths to key into the ICT revolution as it is a dependable path to self a reliance.
Governor Ortom called on the youths to continue to find new doors of opportunity in transportation, agriculture, education, health, trade, banking, mining, construction and real estate, manufacturing, media and many other industries.
“A few years ago, who would have thought that, Uber, Jumia, Konga, Air bnb, Interswitch, Influencers and numerous others would be such huge enterprises employing millions and worth billions of naira,” he asked.
The governor said the state had comparative advantage in agriculture, noting that, his administration is making deliberate efforts to support farmers through subsidy on fertilizer as well as farm machinery, while he called on the youths of the state to use the partnership the state had with the Bank of Industry, to access loans on 5% interest rate to start their businesses.
He assured the youths of the state that, his administration is keen to help youth as they prepare to seize the future as the state government is ready to engage them with better understanding on how to support the better in their quest to bridge the gap between the present and the future.
On his part, the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, Dr George Akume represented by a former Commissioner in Benue State, Dr Terlumun Utsev charged the youth as the leaders of tomorrow to work hard to secure their future, while he called on the youths to key into the social and investment programmes of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to improve their lives.
Addressing the summit, the Commissioner for Youth and Sport, Mrs Laadi Ajene, said the summit would bridge the youth and stakeholders as well as enable them to hold their future in their hands.
In an address, the National President, Nigeria Youth Congress, Solomon Adolo, charged youths of the state to use their potentials to move the state forward.
Papers were presented on the Role of Youth and Government in Youth Empowerment by Oryiman Alu and Youth Preparedness for Governance by Dr Victoria Daaor.