Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Bridge Leaderhsip Foundation has empowered over 40,000 youths in Cross River in nine years with capacity building and technological innovation. It is founded by former governor Liyel Imoke in 2011.
Since then, young Cross Riverians underwent training in leadership and community development, teachers support, transformational mentoring and grooming enterprise leaders.
Speaking at the ninth career day of the foundation in Calabar with the theme, Technology and Innovation: Opportunities, Challenges and the Future, Imoke said it was selected to deepen the knowledge on technology and its radical life changing innovations.
He said: “There is need for governments at all levels to increase funding in technology and its relevant infrastructure to enhance youth productivity. Today, we have over 5,000 young participants in this hall who are ready to share the thought of a new generation. So far have empowered over 40,000 young persons. We are happy that we are raising a generation of transformational leaders.
“Since 2011, the Foundation has addressed gaps in the provision of practical leadership model for young people and has over the years provided platforms designed to develop, mentor and empower these young people to maximise their potential.”
Also speaking, Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State commended Imoke for sustaining the programme for 11 years running and even after leaving office since 2015. He said the country was in dire need of honest leaders with new ideas that could move the nation forward: “In the new age of technology and innovation, it was important for youths to explore their skills by using technology for self-sustenance.
“Nigeria is in dire need of honest leaders with new ideas. In this age of technology and innovation; if you work hard, you will attain greatness. I must commend Imoke for investing knowledge, technology and innovation in the minds of our future generations.”
One of the speakers at the event, Mitchell Elegbe, founder of Interswitch, said technology has the power and ability to transform a society. He pointed out he attended the event to inspire young Nigerians to look inward by using technology to create wealth for themselves.
A beneficiary, Ms Juliet Egbe, also commended the foundation for giving the youths an opportunity to discover and grow their talents in various fields: “This is a rare privilege and we thank our former governor Imoke for embarking on such entrepreneurial training.
“The experiences and the training we have received would take us through life challenges. If the youths are empowered like this I think employment problem would have been reduced dramatically.”