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Youth Council matters: The governor must hear this

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Youth Council

By Sunny Ikhioya

MAN is the problem of man. If you are looking for reasons for the destruction of any setup, look no further than the men running its affairs. This is because, a man in authority, once in position of power, forgets how he got there, man wants to remain or retain power at all cost. But, wise societies have ensured that they put these extra ordinary tendencies of man in check.

Thank God for great institutions, America’s democracy would have been totally rubbished by the immediate past President, Donald Trump. Every leader, at whatever levels in the world, must learn from this: that power is ephemeral but institutions are durable and enduring structures.

In Delta State, somebody is trying to abuse power and it is very important that the person be put in check by virtue of the institution set up to guide the affairs of the body. I have been informed that the governor of Delta State is not in the picture of the rumbling going on at the Delta State chapter of the National Youth Council of Nigeria,NYCN. So, he should please find time to look closely into the affairs of the body and stop the illegality that is presently going on there.

When you set down a bad precedent, you are setting up confusion for the future, even if your gain is temporary. Why destroy what has taken years of hardwork by good men to set up? A body’s future is assured by strict adherence to stable rules and regulations, presented in the form of a constitution. The governor must insist that the NYCN, Delta State chapter, runs according to the constitution setting up the body; that has been the standard practice right from inception. That is the only guarantee for the future of the body in Delta State.

Why must the governor take action? The NYCN is run by a constitution and this covers all of its activities, including criteria for selection of leadership. It is a non-profit and non- governmental body, registered as an incorporated trustee with the Corporate Affairs Commission. The Ministry of Youth Development does not dictate the operations of the NYCN, and is not allowed to be participants in the selection of leadership but only to be present as an observers to ensure that the body works in line with established traditions, as dictated by its constitution.

What the Ministry of Youth Development is trying to do in Delta State is to impose a candidate who does not meet the criteria into its leadership. Mr Kenneth Okorie is a past leader of the NYCN, Delta State chapter, but as at today,  he is ineligible for that position by reason of his age. The law says that “no person shall hold an office or be returned elected in any office of the Youth Council  if he/she has celebrated his/her 35th year birthday on the day of commencement of congress”.

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Hence, only persons below 35 years of age are eligible to hold office in the Executive Council. This is contained in article 12.2(1), page 38 of the NYCN constitution 2018. It is an open secret that Mr Okorie is much older than 35 years, as evidenced by his current international passport at the Warri passport office. So, on account of this, he is not qualified and if he insists otherwise, he will be guilty of perjury.

The second reason why the governor must correct this illegality is that a non-elective congress is an illegal gathering under the NYCN constitution of 2018(as amended). There are only three congresses recognised, these are: Elective Congress, Extra Elective Congress and Annual Congress. This is contained in article 10.1(A), (B) and (C) at pages 16 and 17 of the NYCN constitution. Therefore, the non-elective congress held on January 12,  2021, at the Becca Event Center, DPPA, Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State and all decisions reached there are unconstitutional.

It is very unfortunate that a permanent secretary in the youth ministry, who should be conversant with the rules, will sit down and supervise such illegality. Mr Benneth Morka, a representative of the youth ministry was appointed as a Chairman of the illegal electoral committee, being not qualified. Article 12(vii), page 49 of the NYCN constitution, 2018,  clearly stipulates that the presence of the representative of the Ministry of Youth Development, in an electoral committee shall be as an observer.  It is important that the Governor intervenes and call his Ministry of Youth Development officials to order.

The bodies in the NYCN predate all of us: the Red Cross, Boys Scout, Boys Brigade, Girls Guide, St  John Ambulance, Nigeria Paramilitary Guard and many others. They have been there, adding value to youth development in our societies; some of us leaders of today once passed through them. It will be very wrong for any government official to disregard the roles these organisations play towards the peaceful existence of this nation, by trying to subvert the rules guiding their existence.

At the federal level  the youths are now factionalised as a result of undue interference of politicians and people in government. The more reason government could not see any group to negotiate with during the EndSARS protests. We must have an organised body of youths in society known to law to complement the efforts of government.

They must run in an open and transparent manner, where every member will know the focus and direction of the group. There must be no room for divide and rule tactics and partisan politics. Their main mandate should be the building of a well coordinated, focused, productive and gainfully engaged youths. When government is involved with corruption at youth level,  what type of leadership are we breeding for the future? It must also be observed that funds disbursed for subventions are often not administered in a transparent manner.

This is what the Ministry of Youth Development should handle in concert with credible youth organisations. Genuine youth bodies are deprived of funding because they do not kowtow, in a subservient manner, to the leadership of the council. In the event,  subvention funds are dispensed as it pleases those using this as a tool to deny members of their rights.

One is sounding this alarm because of the future of the NYCN in Delta State. If laws were used to stop erring members from participating in leadership succession in the past, why should Okorie be the one circumventing the rules now? It is also necessary to stress here that his actions have made other groups to take recourse to the court of law, something which could have been avoidable.

Government must act now before the situation gets out of control.

Ikhioya wrote via:

Vanguard News Nigeria

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