Our world is changing, and changing at a speed unimaginable. Technology connects everything: continents, cultures, people, countries, ideas, and even things. From smart cars to smart diapers and even smart bed spreads, things are changing very fast and more are coming that will even shock the gods.

With this perspective in mind, Gov. Emmanuel is undoubtedly raising the 5th Generation youths in Akwa Ibom State that will drive the economic, political and social change we have been craving for, through ingeniousness, inventiveness and creative thinking. And this is the best gift for the future.

With the ravaging of the world by the dreaded coronavirus, everything has changed, including norms and values, and in the words of Gov. Emmanuel, “great leaders must seize the moment to galvanize the people to new realities”, and this he is doing by building new frontiers that will sharpen the skillfulness of our youths to suit the New World and realities.

It was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd President of The United States of America that said “We cannot always build the future for our youth; but we can build our youth for the future”.

In line with this noble call, Gov. Emmanuel from the beginning of his administration has ensured massive involvement of youths across all the strata of government, celebrating and revitalizing their creativities and ingeniousness, and they have not failed us.

The duo of the commissioner for youths and sports, Mr Monday Ebong, and the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Youth Matters, Mr. Aniefiok Iwaudofia, are exceptional in their approach towards youth affairs, complementing the governor’s efforts through advocacy programmes for attitudinal change and adoption of good morals, shunning of violence, discovering and grooming of talents and gifted children, condemnation of cultism on all fronts and promotion of entrepreneurial developments among youths. Today, many youths are engaged in businesses, without being overdependent on government and other good spirited individuals, as it was in time past. Kudos to the Dakkada Initiative, a brainchild of this administration. All other young people manning different offices have discharged their duties creditably well through the encouragement and support of Gov. Emmanuel who sees possibility and greatness in every Akwa Ibom youth.

While acknowledging the efforts of the Economy Recovery Committee headed by Prof. Akpan Hogan Ekpo, set up by his administration to make recommendations that would make the state economically viable amidst the global pandemic, Gov. Emmanuel gave glowing tribute to the Senior Special Assistant on Marketing and Brand Management, Hon. Ime Uwah, describing him as the man behind the next generation. This description does not in any way undermines the contributions of other members, which the governor equally poured praises on, but it shows his unequaled interest in the next generation: The youths.

This, no doubt informed his appointment of youths into various positions in government, training of over 30,000 youths in various skills, including ICT, solar power installation and agro-based ventures, sponsorship of youths to undergo foreign training programmes in specialised welding and other engineering fields in the USA, giving of interest-free loans to youths, among others.

Today, at a growth rate of 3.2 per cent, Nigeria’s population is projected to exceed 289 million people by 2050, with more than 60 per cent of this population expected to be youths. It was in the realization of this fact that inspired Edward Kallon, The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria to note that without genuine efforts to pursue integrated economic policies that will empower young people and initiate a sustained job creation plan for this demographic overshoot, Nigeria faces a dire future.

Already, Gov. Emmanuel, a man who sees tomorrow had already developed a 30 year plan that will make Akwa Ibom to be economically self-sufficient. Only great leaders make such moves.

The United Arab Emirates(UAE) was undeveloped, with economy based primarily on fishing, pearl diving and simple Agriculture. But a man, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan had a 20 year plan to transform the UAE to a modernized community. Today, Emirates is known for luxury shopping, ultramodern architecture and a lively nightlife scene. Burj Khalifa, an 830m-tall tower, dominates the skyscraper-filled skyline. At its foot lies Dubai Fountain, with jets and lights choreographed to music. On artificial islands just offshore is Atlantis, The Palm, a resort with water and marine-animal parks. Dubai is seemingly connecting the world economically and otherwise. This is the path that Gov. Emmanuel is driving us through, and in few years to come, we will be glad that God gave us Gov. Emmanuel.

The governor is often quoted as saying that when the passion is right, nothing is impossible. Hence, he has on many occasions called on Akwa Ibom youths to think outside the box, develop their dormant abilities inorder to remain relevant in our new world.

The 5th generation youths must be ICT compliant to compete favourably with other creative youths around the globe. The governor at the outset of his administration trained over 200 Akwa Ibom youths in Oracle, one of the ICT Masters around the world, trained about 3000 Akwa Ibom youths in Digital marketing in collaboration with the Federal Government and Google, and provided massive supports to major ICT Hubs in the state to continue to offer training to youths in the areas of Apps Development, Robotics, Block Chain Technology and Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IOT), etc.

Indeed, Gov. Emmanuel has secured the future for the next generation, building a platform for them to grow through self appraisal, capacity building and exposure to the demands of our technologically driven new world.

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