AMB. CHIJIOKE IHUNWO GOES EDUCATIONAL
BY AMADI EZE
Are you aware of the news, it is everywhere, on social media and on main stream media. Am sure you must have heard or seen it. If you have not, go to my Facebook timeline or the Facebook page of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Rivers State Chapter, and check it out. That Amb. Chijioke Ihunwo, the Chairman of National Youth Council of Nigeria, Rivers State Chapter and South-South zone, has embarked on giving out educational materials to schools in Rivers State, as a way of supporting education in the State.
The project started on Thursday April 29, 2021, with Amb. Chijioke Ihunwo flagging off the project, at Western Ahoada County High School, Ahoada East local government area of Rivers State. We were meant to understand that prominent son’s and daughters of Ahoada, attended that school. Before going to the school, we first met with the Executive Chairman of the local government area, Hon. Ben Eke, who gave us his full support. The Principal of the school thanked Amb. Chijioke Ihunwo, for the support as he said the book will go a long way in helping the students to learn. The Senior Prefect of the school also thanked the Chairman, saying the books will relieve their parents the burden of getting books for them.
We also went to another school that same day, named, Model Boys Secondary School, at Omoku, in Ogba Egbema Ndoni local government area of Rivers State, to also support them with books. We were told that the former Peoples Democratic Party Chairman in Rivers State, Bro. Felix Obuah, and the Rivers State Commissioner for Youth Development, Hon. Ohia Prince, attended this school. The teachers and students were happy to get the exercise books and thanked the Chairman for the kind gesture.
Educational support for the young ones is what Amb. Chijioke Ihunwo has precipitated in Rivers State. Before his emergence as the number one youth leader in Rivers State, there has been this narrative that the youths of Rivers State are known for violence. Upon assuming leadership as the Chairman of National Youth Council of Nigeria, Rivers State Chapter, he took deliberate steps to change that narrative about our youths. He started encouraging education, advising youths to go into skill acquisition and human capacity building, among others. The distribution of educational materials to schools in Rivers State have started. Amb. Chijioke Ihunwo has gone educational, and that is why am happy because am a young man that loves education.
Amb. Chijioke Ihunwo relate the Thursday movement as a step in the right direction. Yes, it is a project embarked upon under his leadership, not done by anyone in the history of the Council. Others are thinking of what they will collect from the government, he is thinking of how he will give out in other for we to have educated youths and a better Rivers State.
The Chairman said he believes in education and love to see educated youths because education is vital in the development of any society. Just as Kofi Annan said, that, “knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress in every society, in every family”. Education and it’s support, in whatever form, will help our youths to gain knowledge, their knowledge will generate wealth, create employment for them. The economy of the State will be boosted and invigorated courtesy of an educated mind. Criminality will reduce, as youths in the State will be meaningful engaged.
There are lessons i learnt from this educational project. One is to allow someone who is ready, who has leadership capacity to lead, instead of handpicking someone to occupy a sensitive position such as the youth body. Youth leadership is not about enriching yourself or going to sleep in your shell after emerging a youth leader. You must live up to the task of being a leader. It is about service. It is about being ready to stick out your neck in anything that concerns the youth and the State. It is about rising up when occasion demands.
Sadly, in this State, you see and hear people talk about youth leadership and how they are eager to serve. And opportunity is given to them they will sleep with the leadership position. To the extent that no single meeting will be held in their tenure not to talk of engaging in things that will enhance the youths of their area.
Another lesson. We have an adage in Ikwerre that says, when you go to the market, you should concentrate on who you are doing business with, and forget about the noise of the market. If you dwell on the noise, you will go back home empty handed. In other words, focus is key in leadership. If you must achieve anything in your position as a leader, you must be focus. And this is one lesson I have learnt from Amb. Chijioke Ihunwo. To be focus on what am doing ignoring all distractions. If Amb. Chijioke Ihunwo was a man prone to distraction, some persons would have ensured he got nothing done as the youth leader of Rivers State. And they would be the first to ask: what did you achieve as a youth leader? But the Chairman keeps his focus. He set his face like a flint and ignore all distractions. He says to me, “Amadi Eze, youth activism is a serious business, no distractions”.
Another lesson. No matter the situation, stay on course, soon, people will start singing praises. Like the Biblical verse that says, the vision is for an appointed time, it will not delay. If it tarries, wait for it, for it shall come. The youths of Rivers State have been waiting for this kind of effective leadership. A leader that will represent and be there for them. A leader embedded with the rudiments of leadership. An exemplary leader. A leader that can achieve an extraordinary things. As Brian Tracy opined, “leadership is the ability to set extraordinary achievement from ordinary people”. A leader that believes in education because he knows education is the passport to the future as said by Malcolm X. A leader that is ready to occupy the position of servant leadership. Today, we have Amb. Chijioke Ihunwo exemplifying all these attributes of a leader. In serving the youths and the State, through his little window.
Am sure you have heard or seen the news now. The distribution of exercise books to schools in Rivers State, starting with Ahoada East local government area and Ogba Egbema Ndoni local government area. Next is Ahoada West, Abual-Odual, Ikwerre, Obio/Akpor, Emohua, Phalga, Oyigbo, Eleme, Tai, Khana, Gokana, Andoni, Opobo, Okrika, Ogu-Bolo, Akuku-Toru, Asari-Toru, Degema, Bonny.
After making the post about the exercise book distribution at Ahoad East local government area and Ogba Egbema Ndoni local government area of Rivers State, i went to read the comments. Some people thanked Amb. Chijioke Ihunwo for the kind gesture and wished him well. But others were spitting as if they ate poison, turning themselves into wailing wailers. These are persons that can’t render help to their next door neighbour. I learnt something, no matter what you do for people, you will still have enemies. Just remain resolute, you will see yourself getting into where you are headed.
In our team discussion with the Chairman, he admonished us that: “together as a team, we can change the negative narrative outsiders have about Rivers State youths, and more importantly, together as a team we can do much more for our State. And I agree with him into to. It’s all about been liberal, broadminded rather than been parochial and we will have a much better State.
Amadi Eze is the Senior Special Assistant to the Chairman of National Youth Council of Nigeria, Rivers State Chapter and South-South zone.