Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu
By Ugochukwu Alaribe – Umuahia
Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has said that the only way to avert another #EndSARS protest in Nigeria is to make the youths happy by providing jobs for them.
Ikpeazu who stated this in Umuahia, while speaking on the lessons that ought to have been learnt from the EndSARS protest, explained that if nothing is done to make young people gainfully employed, more problems await the country that could be more catastrophic.
He described the #EndSARS protest which centred on police brutality and extrajudicial killings as a metaphor for everything that is not normal in Nigeria that must be addressed to make the citizenry happy.
The Governor insisted that since the state recognised the rights of youths to make their views known, the hijacking of the protest into a platform for wanton destruction was wrong.
He urged the federal government to undertake a deep study on the remote and immediate causes of the #EndSARS protest with the view of discovering those things that are germane and agitate the hearts of Nigerian youths.
In his words; “We’ve noticed unemployment, we’ve noticed lack of capacity and we have also noticed an environment that does not support creativity. To all of this, I say that we can also look inwards to see the modest efforts of some governments like our own.
“When we started planting the foundation for Enyimba Economic City, we were targeting 650,000 jobs because we know that a day like this will come and this is not the end of it.
“Something fundamental must be done for us to tackle unemployment. I call on Government at the centre and at all levels to support the Enyimba Economic City because 650,000 jobs in Aba and Abia State is too good enough.
“It’ll also rub off on other neighbouring states and the South South. I want to say that the only way forward is to provide jobs in a geometrical progression against the rise in unemployment.
“Something must be done to check unemployment. Otherwise, if we continue to do it the way we’re doing it now, the population will continue to rise and we expect the youthful population going forward to double by 2030 which will be very calamitous.
“The takeaway for us after EndSARS protest is that it’s calling on us, beckoning on us to do a good study about the issues that led to the protest. I don’t think it’s about police brutality alone. To me, it’s a metaphor for all the things that are not in place in our country and I think we can sit down and address it. Every country has its own problems. Recent events in the USA have proved this. Only Nigerians can solve our problems.”
The Governor also advised Igbo people resident in other parts of Nigeria to remain law abiding and keep emphasizing on unity rather than things bring division.
“For us Ndigbo, we have to be careful with our relationship with our neighbours, our kinsmen and other parts of Nigeria. We are the most travelled Nigerians; we’re in every part of Nigeria.
“I can say without any fear of contradiction that Igbos are more Nigerians than other Nigerians because we’ve shown express faith in the ability of Nigerians to move from one part of Nigeria to the other to do business.
“But we must be law abiding anywhere we go to do businesses. We must resist any attempt to create friction and then emphasise those things that unite us than those that divide.”