Senator-elect for Rivers East Senatorial District, Chief Andrew Uchendu, has blamed political leaders in the state for the non-empowerment of the youths.
Uchendu said this at a forum organised by the Inter-Ethnic Network for Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi (INCRA) on Thursday to celebrate his victory at the election tribunal.
Uchedu said political, traditional and religious leaders in the state do not deserve to be praised after failing to build the youths of the state.
The senator-elect said the first administration in Rivers state embarked on an aggressive educational development scholarship programme that involved training 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.
Uchendu further stated that after his graduation from the university, he had trainings 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.
According to Uchendu, the last time such empowerments were given was under the administration of Chibuike Amaechi, now federal Minister of Transportation.
He said that 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.
The senator-elect stated his readiness to use the mandate given to him by his constituents 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 also urged the youths to shun violence but look instead for peaceful and legal means of exercising and demanding their rights.