By Victor Gotevbe
Any contact with Ibe Christogonus Chidiebere will definitely leave you with a positive impression following his perspective on socio-economic issues. The confidence he exudes on issues bothering on leadership and crime prevention tells us he knows his onion. A few days ago he was Vanguard Youthful Vibes and he tells about this unique passion. Excerpts:
My Humble background
Like most African kids, I must confess that I have my story which definitely didn’t come from the red rugs in one of those mansions in Abuja or Lagos, rather from a humble clan called Umu isi afor, in Umuokehi, Eziala, Obizi, Ezinihitte, Local Governmnt Area of Imo State.
My parents are Elder Nze and Lolo Alison and Victoria Ibe. We are nine: six men and three female, although we lost our first daughter eight years ago and my dad also joined his ancestors five years ago too. I am blessed to have come from the Ibe’s family where brotherhood love is embedded in our blood and I consider it as the most treasured value and gift God gave us as a family.
I was raised up in Bai Kuke, Meme Division in the South West Province of Cameroon and upon my return to Nigeria in 1992, I was enrolled into Town School Obizi where I sat for my common entrance examination and finally got admitted into Obizi High School.
Quest for greener pasture
During my SS2, my brothers moved me to Niger Grammar School in D/Line Portharcourt where I sat for my SSCE which enabled me to be admitted by the University of Portharcourt as a Basic student in the department of Mechanical Engineering and it was at this point I started nursing the idea of traveling abroad based on the fact that most of my friends had started leaving the country to study overseas.
In my effort to achieve my dreams of traveling overseas, I abandoned my studies in Uniport for Lagos where my friend arranged a visa agent who assured us visa for the trip but despite all efforts, we couldn’t get the visa.I was left in big confusion of not knowing where to go since I had abandoned my studies..
It was at this point that my senior brother, Prince Dr Emmanuel C. Ibe decided to show me great love when he visited Lagos and he invited his friend, Innocent Chukwuma of CLEEN Foundation to plead with me that I go back to school.
Returning to school gave me another life opportunity to reflect on the kind of person I wanted to be and this made me to put extra efforts in getting myself back to the academic system . I had to do two diploma programmes before finally gaining admission to study a degree course in Human Kinetics and Health Education in University of Lagos.
University of Lagos became the greatest environment that provided that opportunity for the discovery of my total person through partnership with LEAP Africa even though it came as a way of diverting our attention and energies against the proscription of the student unionism in my school back then.
In 2008, I was nominated amongst many other students by Unilag to undergo a Youth Leadership Programme organized by LEAP Africa and after the one year training, I discovered a new me who was ready to take on life’s challenges.
We were challenged to come up with unusual initiatives that will fix significant needs in our society; with the mindset that you can drive your destiny to any direction you so choose and this daring challenge gave birth to my pet project (youths and crime prevention) which later metamorphosed into a full NGO called African Youths Initiative on Crime Prevention (AYICRIP). We have successfully organized leadership and crime prevention programmes that target young people in different communities, tertiary and secondary institutions across Nigeria.
Our activities have ushered me into the global community as a global citizen and has given me great opportunities to share experiences with some great minds in the field of leadership and crime prevention in five continents of the world. I no more look for visa as my trips are planned by my hosts abroad.
Recently the American government announced my nomination as a participant at the upcoming International Visitors Leadership Programme (IVLP) and the Institute of Social Justice in New Orleans, USA also at the 2013 National Symposium on Crime prevention gave me an award for my work.
Our programmes include Youth Leadership and Crime prevention summit, Nigeria Campus Marathon, Crime Prevention Ambassador awards and AYICRIP football academy: raise a soccer star project. It gears towards engaging the youths, preventing crime and empowering the youths through soccer and we have succeeded in taking footballers abroad for our international trial tour and seven players were selected in Jordan.
Our challenge has been lack of adequate support from government agencies, private sectors and even well meaning individuals who ordinarily should see our activities as adding value to the society. The most challenging is the fact that the Nigeria security managers do not believe in the prevention approach of crime fighting and by this, they do not see us as partners in the global fight against crime.
I wish to advise young Nigerians to think carefully before seeking to travel out of the country irrespective of how bad Nigeria may seem to them. They should identify their strengths, appreciate their weaknesses, take their opportunities and also recognize those traits that might pull me down. We shall succeed.
YOUNG NIGERIANS MAKING THE DIFFERENCE
OBIJIAKU CHUKWUEMEKA UDENWEZE
Emeka is the founder of Reel Football Services International and Technical Director of FC Reel Youth Football Academy. This vision was borne out of Nigeria’s victory at the Youth cup in Japan, 1993. He was still a student of the Nigerian Navy Secondary School, Abeokuta. He started with compilation of football data such as match reports and football pictures. This love for football grew into a passion for news reporting and made it possible for him to work with the Media icon, Larry Izamoje, who encouraged and inspired him.
Emeka has organized several football tournaments such as Gabriel Okolosi Cup and Festac Unity Cup just to mention a few. His academy boys have played and won several tournaments too. Currently, Emeka is restructuring and re-organizing the Academy. And he is working on recruiting and giving trials to passionate and talented young players from 19 years.