Chief Andrew Uchendu, Senator-elect for Rivers East Senatorial District has blamed political leaders in the state for non-empowerment of the youths in education.

Uchendu said this at a forum organised by the Inter-Ethnic Network for Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi (INCRA) on Thursday in Port Harcourt to celebrate his victory at election tribunal.

He said political, traditional and religious leaders in the state did not deserve to be praised for failing to build the youths of the state.

The senator-elect said the first administration in Rivers embarked on an aggressive educational development through scholarship programme that involved training of youths overseas.

“Our state provided everything for us in our days; we went to school with scholarship and jobs were available when we graduated from school.

“Whatever I have been, I am the product of the Rivers society. I have been given every opportunity to grow, to be myself by this same state.

“From secondary school I was offered scholarship, I was given scholarship in the university and when I graduated after my service, I had about three jobs,” he said.

Uchendu said after his graduation from the university, he  had training with different government establishments for two months with a hotel accommodation.

“By the time I finished with the two months training in Niger Delta Basin Development Authority, a car was available for me with a driver and a furnished three bedroom apartment.

“That was the Rivers I was born into but there is nothing near to that today,” he said.

Uchendu said the last time such empowerments were given was under the administration of Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, now Federal Minister of Transportation.

He said Amaechi resurrected the scholarships and overseas education during his administration.

“Today I am being told that those scholarships have been cancelled and our young boys and girls are loitering the streets of London.

“These people cannot be proud of coming from Rivers.

“This is not the state we expect to have. I became GM of Rison Palm at the age of 32, so, what am I trying to infer?

“We need to apologise to this generation of young men and women; we have messed you up big time; we don’t need to be praised,” he said.

Uchendu said he had decided personally to use the mandate given to him by his constituents which was recovered from the court, to identify well-meaning Rivers sons and daughters.

“So that those mistakes and problems created for them will be reversed now.

“We should come and rebuild this state so that the youths will have the benefit some of us had in the remaining part of their life,” he said.

Uchendu said it was not going to be easy for the youths, and  urged them not to carry arms or fight anybody but must stand up and exercise their rights legally.



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