By Prince Ezeakonobi Madumere
When I received a call from one of my products, the present Special adviser to the Governor of Imo state to tell my life story on how I got to where I am today, first I felt it was not necessary for reasons I feel only Kenneth and could resolve. On the second thought, I feel strongly obliged to reach out to the youth and the young people to encourage and contribute in re-directing some of us who are already derailing from the progressive track.
Let me commend our Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha whom I learned was here few days back to speak to you on a number of issues that are of importance to your journey to success.
When we discuss youth, I always feel some-what restrained because of the sensitive nature of defining who is a youth. This is the reason, I would rather prefer using the word the youth and the young people inter-change-ably.
Most of you who still believe you are youths may feel disappointed on what my take is on that. World over, with high level of flexibility owing to variations in economy and poverty level, anyone at 30 and above has left the youth. According to UNESCO definition of youth;
“For activities at international or at regional level, such as the African Youth Forum, UNESCO uses the United Nations’ universal definition.
The UN, for statistical consistency across regions, defines ‘youth’, as those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years, without prejudice to other definitions by Member States. All UN statistics on youth are based on this definition, as illustrated by the annual yearbooks of statistics published by the United Nations system on demography, education, employment and health.
Because of fluidity of definition, following differences in development, in Africa Youth Charter “youth” means “every person between the ages of 15 and 35 years”.
Hence, I will prefer to address you as, “Young People” because it is more appropriate and more accommodating to most of us.
It is true that the word youth is associated with energy, vibrancy, curiousness, optimism. However, going by the definition of given above, most of us have left the youthful age. Yes by providence, we may all be youth at heart but surely do no longer belong to this age.
In truth, any nation that does take the future of its youth seriously cannot be said to be serious nation.
In the demographics of Nigerian population of about 180 million, over 60% of are with the young age of between 15 and 35. It follows that it is either we sow wind and reap whirlwind as captured by the Holy Scriptures. This is the same in the Principle of Cause and Effect. Any event is an effect and there another event that preceded it which is the cause it goes on ad infinitum.
My fellow young people, our success in life first begins from our immediate environment. Our parents and relations are our first contact. I know the debate over nature and nurture will always be there. Yes, in medical and biological sciences, we have learnt of genetic transmission from one generation to another in so far as lineage is concerned. To validate these discoveries, there has been established consistency of behavioral pattern, though the processes of nurturing seem to downplay some of our traits because of influences of acceptable mores, folkways and norms.
However, you cannot blame your parents for your foundational problems. This argument is so because our environment is already knowledge based. Imo State is not backward as to say we are still in the dark. Our people have accepted education long enough to the extent that even non-educated parents have come to appreciate the importance of education. This is the reason our parents had to sell lands and highly priced wares to ensure most of us have gone to school.
Interestingly, it is in school that we mix up with peer groups who also influence us in a certain way. At this level, who do you believe the moral institutions, your parents or your mates? The choices are there for you to make. This is the reason I have always subscribed to adoptability of African culture, which leaves the responsibility of training children to the society. This is the reason you see people interject when you are deviating from established norms.
Be that as it may, coming to the youth, by this I mean those in the college and other high institutions, who do you blame for the wrong choices you make? Your parents? Who are your role models? Are you fascinated by the stories of gangsters, notorious armed robbers or e-fraudsters who are associated with advanced fee fraud?
In my case, realizing that I was getting out of secondary school at Enyiogugu Secondary School, I had already known what I wanted to do. I had begun planning myself. And as soon as I left school, I had already secured myself a visa to further my education abroad. My father only got to know about it at about the time I was leaving.
Back the parental care. I owe all to my father who never allowed an inch. He was an itinerant contractor who took me along and tutored me in all these. And not only that, rather than still, I joined in the menial work, stacking bags of cement and blocks and other materials at the site. From there, I had to learn carpentry. This was how I made my money to move to the next level.
How many of us can settle for that as a passing phase. Abroad, such jobs are always there for college students. They reserve it to ensure you are not stifled. I am not saying my way is the only way out. Some of you are computer savvy. What happens to your knowledge is graphics? Commercialize it and make money in the comfort of your home. You have brochure, almanac, calendar, banners and others to make money from. Some of you are good writers. What happens to opening a blog and growing it with credible publications?
The only thing I could not fulfill in my aspiration was becoming an Engineer because I secured a scholarship under PepsiCo. And what they required was a candidate in Management. This led me into changing my course to Management. In their school brochure, I was the black student on the cover. However, I have no regrets because God also has a hand in what we become.
My young people, I believe that Owelle Rochas Okorocha led administration has created an opportunity for every home and every child to go to school. Through free education policy, our leader and Governor has reduced the weight of the burden on our parents.
Most importantly, how many of us can defend our courses of study. I am an American trained Management expert. You can’t beat me on this. If you understand what you have studied, it reflects in everything you do. Proudly show it off. My brothers and sisters, please do not go to school for certificates.
Go to school to acquire knowledge and skills. Some of you run away from some electives. Stop looking for easy way out because the layer for easy way out is saturated. You need the hard way out where competition is mild and small.
A group of new graduates who recently came to me to support a campaign theme: not too young to run,” I engaged them. I was impressed by the fact that most of them have come out as professionals – lawyers, Medical doctors, Marketers and what have you. I picked some pitfalls from that discussion. I told them issue of politics is not something you dabble into. You need to under study the intrigues and the unfortunate meandering that are part of the game of politics. I also discussed issue of handling difficult challenges. Yes, we resolved that young people must all get involved because it is only through participant method that you learn the trade. It is there you bring your background and professionalism to bear especially in problem solving. Where I forbid is handing power to ignoramus who could be nice but lack the needed vision backed up with knowledge and finesse to administer a people.
When people jumped up to readily use Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron, to buttress the need to join the mucky waters of politics. This brings me back to the question who is a youth? Macron must have left school before the age of 24 and passed through the process. He was already prepared for leadership. Read below as culled from Wikipedia;
Before entering politics, he was a senior civil servant and investment banker. Macron studied philosophy at Paris Nanterre University, completed a Master’s of Public Affairs at Sciences Po, and graduated from the École nationale d’administration (ÉNA) in 2004. He worked at the Inspectorate General of Finances, and later became an investment banker at Rothschild & Cie Banque.
Macron was appointed Deputy Secretary General in François Hollande‘s first government in May 2012, having been a member of the Socialist Party from 2006 to 2009. He was appointed Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs in 2014 under the Second Valls government, where he pushed through business-friendly reforms. He resigned in August 2016 to launch a bid in the 2017 presidential election.
In November 2016, Macron declared that he would run in the election under the banner of En Marche!, a centrist political movement he founded in April 2016, and won the election on 7 May 2017.
Macron, at the age of 39, became the youngest President in the history of France. Upon his inauguration, Macron appointed Le Havre Mayor Édouard Philippe to be Prime Minister. In the June 2017 legislative elections, Macron’s party, renamed “La République En Marche!”, together with its ally the Democratic Movement (MoDem), secured a comfortable majority in the National Assembly, winning 350 seats out of 577, with his party alone winning an outright majority of 308 seats.”
Any society that wishes to make impact should not allow the blind to be the leader. Macron understands French systems. He had the knowledge of how things worked. He has the knowledge of French economy, fiscal policies and the political culture of the people. Our past leaders even at their young age also grew through the ranks and were experienced. The difference between a leader and others is the ability to have a vision, know where to be and mobilizing the people towards getting there, which will bring succor and better deal for the people. Leadership is never selfish but rather bears burden of sacrifices.
In politics, to the glory of God, I followed My Leader, Owelle Rochas OKorocha when he beckoned on me to join him in an effort to join hands in uplifting our people. It is about 25 years now. Yes, mind you, I was in the corporate America where I did well for myself before joining my Oga in the murky waters of politics.
If you want to make progress, be humble and loyal to learn. Not just learning the style but also learning the behavioral pattern of the people. Be patient and be noble even in your character. For, I have received the best training the world has ever known. From the experience I have gathered through the magnanimity of our Leader, Owelle Rochas Okorocha and having been involved in international, national and local negotiations, I doubt where I will be a misfit. All thanks to my leader, His Excellency, Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
I am a giver by nature. What I give to people cannot be bought by money. I take fellow young people, mentor them and give them task; I allow them to sort themselves out. In the course of all these, they learn what not even Harvard would teach them. My boys are numerous… They are among you and they are even indoctrinating most of you at the moment.
My people, you are all great leaders but bear in mind that leadership does not end in politics; you can be a great economic leader, leader in strategic bodies or even a leader in science and technology. What is important is that you created a value for yourself, which makes you shine brighter than many other stars like you.
Tell me of any political leader that would not feel honoured to be associated with Dangote, Adenuga, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gate and many others by their success story. For me, I am proudly an administrator, if you like, a Management expert who has got a lot to bring to the table and impact positively to the people. The choice is yours.
Thank you and God Bless.
Prince Ezeakonobi Madumere mfr, ksc (fnim, fsm) is the Deputy Governor of Imo State