Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
At least, 1,150 youths drawn from the 23 local government areas of the state are billed to attend the Benue Youth Summit holds from Wednesday to Friday this week at the Aper Aku Stadium.
Chairman of the Benue Youth Week Steering Committee, Pastor Dave Ogbole, disclosed this while briefing journalists on the preparation for the summit in Makurdi on Tuesday.
He said the objective of the summit is to create dialogue between the youths of the state and policy actors so that demands, aspirations and grievances of the youths can be captured and then factored into governance planning and action.
“Following the #EndSARS protest in Benue State, His Excellency, the executive governor of Benue State who came out and identified with the protesters and matched with them and listened to the submission of their demands, called a stakeholders meeting and arising from the stakeholders meeting was the idea or concept of the Benue Youth Summit.
“There have been grievances bottled up for decades because the young people feel that we live in a nation that has not given them an opportunity to develop their capacity and those who have painstakingly developed their capacity have not been given an enabling environment to engage their capacity for meaningful or better living,” Ogbole said.
Pastor Ogbole further explained that the delegates for the summit were spread across political party structure, youths in agriculture, youths in sports, youths in entertainment, youths in technology, youths in enterpreneurship and crafts as well as people living with disabilities.
Ogbole posited further that the spread is to ensure a widespread coverage to enable the messages and deliberations as well as the line of action reaches the grassroots.
He expressed the assurance that the summit would be a departure from previous ones, pointing out that the expectation is that after the summit, memorandum will be presented by youth focused groups to the state governor, Samuel Ortom.
“And we expect that His Excellency is going to be responding to all that will be said by the youths.”