Our correspondent takes a look at the empowerment programme of the Ochendo Youth Foundation led by Engr. Chinedu Orji
‘I thank God for Ochendo Youth Foundation. The tricycle I now use to earn a living was given to me free of charge by the Foundation. This was after I had lost the one I was driving on a hire purchase agreement due to the greed of the owner. To me, Ochendo Youth Foundation is God sent.”
These were the words of Mr. Ikechukwu Nwogu, beneficiary of a tricycle from the Ochendo Youth Foundation (OYF). It could be taken as the opinion of most youths across the state who have benefitted from the empowerment programme being champion by the Engr. Chinedu Orji led Ochendo Youth Foundation.
According to the Coordinator of Ochendo Youth Foundation, Engr. Chinedum Orji, the gesture was borne out of the desire to ensure that Abia youths with no means of livelihood are provided with tools to earn a decent living.
He argued that youths should be empowered rather than being neglected, stressing that when youths were empowered, crime would be reduced in the society, and promised that the second phase of the distribution would commence soon.
Engr. Orji, whose alias ‘Ikuku’ rent the air each time his name was mentioned at youth empowerment programmes across the state, decried the rate at which youths worked for the success of the party at the polls are being branded thugs called for a change of attitude of the part of the representatives.
“Hence, I will do my best to plead with all our representatives to remember the people who voted them into office. Senators, Rep members, State Assembly members, Commissioners, Special Advisers and other officials should do something at intervals to make the people happy. We will ensure that those who work enjoy the fruits of their labour,” younger Orji said.
In Aba, Osisioma Ngwa and Ohafia councils were the Foundation has empowered youths, it has been one sort of carnival or the other as people commend OYF’s initiative to make life better for the less privileged.
At the Women square of the Aba South Local Government Secretariat where the group donated 3 buses and 20 tricycles to youth groups and individuals in Aba North and Aba South local government areas of the state. A cross section of youths who spoke to journalists expressed gratitude to Engr. Orji and appealed to him to extend the gesture to all nooks and crannies of te state.
The benefiting groups include Aladinma Abia Youth Organization, New York City Youth Movement, Colombia Youth Movement and Down below Boys Youth Organization.
According to him, “The youths should be encouraged to be self reliant. We condemn the practice whereby youths are neglected and regarded as thugs after helping candidates to win elections into office. The PDP will no longer condone such practices. Every officer holder is now required to make a monthly return to electorate.”
Expressing happiness at the donation, the Chairman of the Aladinma Abia Youth Organization, who simply gave his name as Izubundu, thanked the government for their kind gesture, promising that his members will put the gift to good use.
At the Osisoma Ngwa council , the OYF also donated various items to youths to enable them engage in meaningful means of livelihood.
He told the youths and other stakeholders at Ngwa High School, Osisioma, venue of the empowerment ceremony, that the OYF was desirous of wiping out unemployment among Abia youths.
Orji, who was earlier conferred with a chieftaincy title of Enyioha 1 of Osisioma, by chairman of traditional rulers council of Osisioma Ngwa, His Royal Majesty Eze Ikechukwu Chiavoghilefu, urged the beneficiaries to make maximum use of the opportunity offered by the empowerment scheme of OYF.
The items handed over to the beneficiaries include 11 assorted brands of vehicles, 28 tricycles, 39 sewing machines, 20 generating sets, 20 clippers, 20 hair dryers, six grinding machines, 10 vulcanizing machines, 100 pieces of wrapper as well as MTN notepads, tables and chairs.
Orji warned the beneficiaries against selling off the items given to them instead of wallowing in self-pity and complaining that times are hard when they should be making conscious efforts to break out of joblessness.
He advised the youths to be hard working and refrain from engaging in criminal activities so they could become useful to themselves and to the society.
Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly, Hon Ude Oko Chukwu, lauded Orji for his concern for the welfare of youths of Abia, noting that many in his position would ordinarily not bother about helping the youths since his father is the governor.
He said that the OYF founder has been complementing the effort of his father, Gov. Theodore Orji in laying a solid foundation for the state, pointing out that the governor has been empowering many youths across the 17 councils of the state.
Appointment of Coordinator for the 182 wards in the state.
“There is a great need to appoint coordinators for the 182 wards in the state. The essence of this is to have the Foundation firmly rooted in the wards. The Ward Coordinators would also assist to select people who genuinely need to be empowered.
The foundation should embark on aggressive media campaigns using the newspapers, electronic media and internet based media outfits. This would help to sell the message of the Foundation and make it a people oriented movement. That is to say, the foundation truly should be for the people.
Engagement of elected/ appointed as well as other political leaders.
Political leaders should be made to cue into the vision of the Foundation. They should be made to regularly make contributions to a common purse to assist OYF realize its objective of empowering the less privileged youths.