Awka – Anambra youths under the auspices of National Youth Council of Nigeria, (NYCN), Anambra State Chapter, on Tuesday, protested against the continued stay in office, of Professor Theresa Obiekezie as the State Commissioner for Youths and Creative Economy, pleading with the State Governor to relieve her of her job.
The protesting youths from the various youth groups in the state, stormed the State Government house bearing placards with various inscriptions implying that the Commissioner does not have the capacity to lead the youths and has also been neglecting them.
Prof. Obiekezie was the immediate past Commissioner for Tertiary Education before she was redeployed to the Ministry of youths, following a minor reshuffle of his cabinet by Governor Willie Obiano, less than a year ago.
The protest led by the Deputy Chairman of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Anambra state, and other executive members of the Youth Council.
According to the protesting youths, the Commissioner has been ignoring them for so long and would not even talk to them when they go to her office.
Speaking during the protest, the Anambra NYCN Secretary General Comrade Ikechukwu Onuora alleged that most times when they visit the Commissioner, she would simply refer them to the permanent secretary, but at other times, she simply dismissed them, claiming she is too busy to see them.
“The subvention given to the Council has not been coming. The current Youth House, is due for rent and notice has been sent to the commissioner through the Secretary general of the youths but no positive reply from her till this day. Prof Obiekezie is never willing, ready or chanced to attend any event organized by youths in the state and sometimes, go as far as issuing instruction to her staff that they should not attend Youth Council’s events. We have put up with this for a very long time and can no longer take it. Prof Obiekezie is not ready for the job. She feels too big to even talk to us,” he said
The youths further accused the Commissioner of not having any plan for Anambra youths and is therefore unfit for the job, urging thegovernor to relieve her of the responsibility.
On his part, the Public Relations Officer of the NYCN, Anaocha LGA Chapter, Comrade Chinonso Onyeanusi, said if the governor does not heed their call, they will be force to mobilize their members and take to the streets to demonstrate their displeasure.
“All we are saying is that the governor should harken to the cry of the youths. if we cannot have someone who is a youth, who is committed to matters of the youths, who understands the yearnings of the youths, then it doesn’t make sense. We are the leaders of tomorrow but how can be so, when we are not carried along the way we should be. That is why we want the present Commissioner for youths removed for a more vibrant person to come in. Prof Obiekezie is not the first Commissioner for Youths in Anambra but we have not seen this kind of protest before. It goes to show that the youths have rejected her and the governor would be seen as ignoring us, if he does not bring someone we can identify with as our own,” he said
Addressing the youths on behalf of the state government, a government house official, Henry Nwasike, assured the youths that their request will be adhered to by the State Government.
He described the Obiano-administration as a responsive government which does not take lightly, issues concerning the youths.
The protesting youths later moved the protest to the Youths and Creative Economy Ministry, where they continued to chant protest songs.
It was gathered that the said Commissioner had come out and pleaded that they come into the office for interaction but the youths refused.
The protesting youths gave the state government an ultimatum of two weeks for their request to be adhered to which include, replacement of the commissioner with immediate effect and other requests, else they will be back with their full force.
Meanwhile, when contacted, the Commissioner said she was shocked as to why the youths decided to protest, describing their allegations as unfounded.
She claimed that the issues of subvention which the protesters were talking about has been sorted out by the Ministry and the memo forwarded to the governor, who has also approved the payment, but said it is only being delayed due to the bureaucracies of government.
According to her, immediately she saw the protesters, she quickly put a call across to the State Chairman of the NYCN, who denied authorizing the protest.
“Some days earlier, I had met with the State NYCN Chairman and reassured him that their subvention has been approved and will soon be given to them. So I don’t understand where the protest is coming from. The NYCN is under the supervision of the Ministry and if they say that I don’t attend their events, it raises the question- who authorized the events in the first place?. So, I don’t have any problems with the youths. as for empowerment programmes, the Ministry under my watch has done many of them since I came on board and is still doing more. I belief the people who came for that exercise were not informed,” she concluded.