The alleged feud and stalemate between Chapter Youth Leaders of the Akwa Ibom State Chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Special Assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel on Youth Matters, Comrade Aniefiok Iwaudofia, has been put paid to by the overwhelming show of solidarity and support from stakeholders and youths across the state.
In an on-the-spot chat with newsmen in Uyo, Comrade Iwaudofia said the alleged situation could have been as a result of misinterpretation of the main reason for the gathering, adding “It was never a political rally but a sensitization rally for youths of Akwa Ibom which is purely the administrative function of my office.”
“I have a clear duty to mobilize and sensitize youths in the state on state government programmer; like the agriculture revolution of Governor Udom Emmanuel especially in Cocoa cultivation and cassava; the need to embrace the Akwa Ibom Enterprise and Employment Scheme (AKEES) and many more.
Again, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in collaboration with the state government, is giving out N1million grant to youths’ cooperative societies which I have to sensitize the youths on the need to form these cooperatives in order to access this loan. My colleague, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Marketing and Branding, Mr. Ime Uwah is handling that aspect because of his expertise in cooperative management. My intention is to instill in the youth the zeal to form cooperative societies and take advantage of the CBN offer,” he explained.
The Governor’s Special Assistant on Youth Matters denied the allegation that the youth programme, Nda Ye Udom Thank You rally, was initiated to disrespect PDP, saying “as a founding member of PDP, the rally is not to spit on or disrespect the party as it has no political undertone and I tell you, these youths are loyal to the party.”
“My watchword has always been honesty, transparency and accountability. And these, I have kept in entirety all through my climbs in life. I cannot and would not mortgage the interest of the Akwa Ibom youths,” Comrade Iwaudofia emphasized.
To buttress the submission of the Governor’s aide, a stakeholder in the Akwa Ibom Project, Chief Asuquo Akpanobong, said “it is only in Akwa Ibom that we politicize everything. To me, the sensitization rally was without political party leaning and it should not be, no matter the odds. I asked a pertinent question that has not been answered: are the PDP Chapter Youth leaders not sons of Akwa Ibom State? Are they not youths of Akwa Ibom State? Why do people always try to twist the obvious?”
“I do not know the barometer use in measuring popularity, but I have watched that young man’s climb from childhood and I can authoritatively say he is popular and admired by the youths. And if there is anything the corporate institution instills in a man, it is accountability. Having worked as the image maker of an oil firm, Universal Energy Resources Limited, I know he is what he said he is,” Chief Akpanobong noted.
Many respondents who spoke independently, toed the line of Comrade Sylvester Ebong, a youth lader, who said “I am a youth leader. I have worked and related with the SA to the Governor on Youth Matters at several fora, he has never been found wanting. I know him very well; he is a good man and very humble. I wish our youths will learn to play politics without biases and envy.”
The Special Assistant on Youth Matters has enjoined youths of the state to come out for the rally on Thursday by 11a.m at the Ibom Hall Grounds in support of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s youth empowerment efforts.