By Oraye St. Franklyn
Nothing best defines the interest of the youth of any society than their very survival. Nothing can best capture their interest as much as issues that have direct bearing on their success, development and the actualisation of their own aspirations.
In truth, young people are dreamers. They long to make new things happen. They aspire to be better at something and renowned for it. They are also energetic. They have the strength to work in order to add their own contributions to the development process in society as well as in their own lives. Youths are truly the builders of Nations. All over the world, societies that continue to lead development and innovation are those that have become skilled at planting and harvesting the wealth of the youth for the general good of all.
Unfortunately, in Nigeria youths are belaboured by the distractions of complex national crises and calamities. These distractions, especially as engineered by patrons of acrimony under the current APC-led dispensation, have made it increasingly difficult if not entirely unrealistic for young people to find meaningful opportunities for self development and growth, since they, the young people themselves, mostly need stable societies and creative spaces to thrive. On a national scale, jobs have continued to be lost on account of the mismanagement of the economy. Hopes have continued to be dashed among the youth with many companies closing shops in the country.
This sad reality was Governor Wike’s agenda to change when he set out to ensure that the State became peaceful and safe for investments to thrive in it. His determination in equipping the Police and other security agencies to do their work has paid off in huge returns as it has boosted investors confidence in the State. His deliberate interface, interaction and friendship with opposition politicians within the State may pass for political correctness, dexterity and sagacity. But subliminally it has gone a long way to neutralize the aggressive and offensive politicking that was the order of the day in the State prior to his emergence, and during the early years of his term, as Governor.
Today, apart from thousands of jobs that he has created through his aggressive infrastructural development of the State, solid jobs are flooding into the State through both foreign direct investments and sundry business expansions.
Already the multi-billion naira partnership with Siat, a Belgian company has opened up opportunities in the agro-sector for thousands of youths in the State at Risonpalm. The existing multibillion dollar gas gathering plant at Emohua has already changed the narrative about Rivers State and her potential for shared prosperity. The soon-to-be commissioned Next Mall in the State, which is one of the largest in West Africa, bears testament to the fact that Wike’s good politics is truly creating unbelievable opportunities for the youth of Rivers State.
His gifts to the Rivers youth beyond the proliferation of jobs through projects, is a stable society where dreams can thrive and devoid of the distraction of combative politics. Things have truly become new.
Although one must concede that there’s still a lot to be done in terms of consciously nurturing the creative industries of the State to become a vibrant and a thriving economy, driven by the youth of our dear nation, we cannot but acknowledge that we are no longer where we used to be.
It is therefore on this score, that we the youth of Rivers State owe it to ourselves to creatively maximize the emerging opportunities and ensure that we never relapse to the years of hate, division and acrimony that Governor Wike has taken us far from. Our support for him must remain unflinching as we work together to keep him in office beyond 2019 in our own best interest. We must let our PVCs speak loudly for us. Nothing more would suffice. After all, things are getting better in Rivers State.