Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Political office seekers in Abia State hoping to use the youths to rig themselves into office in 2023 may be in for a shocker as the youths have declared that the era of mortgaging their future for a piece of bread is over.
The youths who vowed to take their destiny in their hands in 2023, gave red car to bad leaders and greedy politicians holding the state to ransom.
They have sworn never again to allow few individuals who allocate to themselves the powers of God to decide the future of youths in the state.
Leaders of different youth groups made the declaration Sunday in Umuahia, when they visited the immediate-past General Manager of Abia State Environmental Protection Agency, ASEPA, Hon. Okechukwu Apugo.
They vowed to stop bad leaders who they said had already stolen their future from also ruining the destiny of their children.
According to them, it is an aberration for their own children to still serve the same political lords holding them captive, hence their resolve to break their stranglehold.
They also vowed never again to sell their votes for a piece of bread, saying that money-bags waiting to bring out public funds they hoarded to buy the conscience of youths in 2023 will be disappointed.
Abia youths expressed disappointment that people they trusted and voted into power in the past got to office and abandoned them.
The youths vowed to use their votes against all those who had used their political positions as instruments of oppression against the masses, amassing wealth at the expense of the people.
According to the youths, the resolve to resist bad governance and wicked politicians was to stop them from ruining the future of their children after destroying their own.
“They have already destroyed our future; we only want to stop them from ruining the future of our children also,” yelled the youth leaders who converged from different parts of the state, mostly Ikwuano and Umuahia.
The youths who said they came from different political backgrounds, declared that the 2023 election would be individual-based.
According to them, capacity, competence and antecedents of individual contestants, and not their political parties will count.
“We are after good governance. We are tired of party. All we want is a better Abia State. We want those that will truly empower us and not give us ‘keke’ (tricycle) while storing our common patrimony for their unborn generation.”
Speaking at the gathering, one of the youth leaders, Hon. Chibueze Okankpa, said Abia youths had suffered enough in the hands of wicked politicians who used them to get to power only to abandon them afterwards.
“We have suffered immeasurably in the hands of these people. They only remember us whenever election is coming around but we will disappoint them in 2023.
“Never again shall Abia youths be used as tissue paper. Nobody will use us to rig election again only to steal our common wealth later.
“These people are evil. They give pittance to us and use our mandates to enrich themselves while we remain beggars and live in penury.”
Similarly, Leader of Action Youths, Comrade Patrick Ugochukwu, said that the era of enslaving Abia youths was over.
“Enough is enough. We have rejected them and their money.”
Hon Obinna Igwe from Anambra State who said he was born and brought up in Umuahia, regretted that politicians in the state had always used youths to achieve their selfish interests and abandon them later.
He vowed to mobilise stranger elements in the state against those using their political positions to ruin the future of youths.
Igwe regretted that the wicked politicians had always used hunger as an instrument to achieve their aims by inducing hungry youths with peanuts during election.
He urged youths to resist every form of monetary inducements and vote for honest candidates with agenda for the youths.
“Let’s not sell the future of our children because the politicians have already taken our own future. We must stop them from stealing the future of our children also. It’s time to use our PVC to retire them.”
The vividly enraged youth leaders who spoke in turn vowed to mobilise their various members across the state against “political principalities” holding the state to ransom.
They decried the wickedness and insensitivity of politicians over the plights of the masses especially the youths “whom they have rendered hopeless.”
The youths pleaded with Apugo who they commended for standing firm against god-fatherism and injustice to help provide direction to teeming Abia youths “now ready to take their destiny in their hands.”
Responding, the former ASEPA boss, thanked the youths for their resolve to take their destiny in their hands.
He harped on the need for unity among Abia youths irrespective of their political affiliations if their mission of political emancipation would be accomplished.
Apugo who said he remained a stalwart of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, however, declared that party would have no place in determining the choice of Abia youths in the 2023 polls.
“We will assess all the candidates based on their antecedents and whoever will build our state and make life better for the people will get our mandate.
“The era of buying youths over with money is gone for good. We no longer need their money for elections.
“Let’s stop collecting their money because that’s why when they get into office they start packing money they will use to buy their way through during the next election instead of working for the people.
“I’m in PDP and have never left PDP but in 2023, it’s going to be Abia first. We will listen to all the candidates and choose the best among them not minding their platforms.”
Apugo decried the high level of poverty in the state due to bad governance and urged the youths to keep their voter’s card intact.
He appealed to Abia youths to restrain from every form of violence but keep sensitising voters to join the ongoing efforts to rescue the state for the good of all.