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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Orientation Meets Empowerment As NYCN Anambra Holds Innovative Business Summit


By Izunna Okafor, Awka

It was a moment of fruitful deliberation and recognition of hardwork, as youths of Anambra State, under the umbrella of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Anambra State Chapter, held their Youth Innovative Business Empowerment Summit and Extraordinary Achievers Award, for the year 2023.

Themed “Harnessing Global Business Opportunities Through Innovation, for Sustainability and Survival of Today’s Economic Challenges in Nigeria”, the event, which held on Saturday at Awka, the Anambra State capital attracted youths from different parts of the State, academics, as well as captains of industries and political office holders, among other participants.

Delivering a lecture at the event, the Guest Speaker and Director, UNIZIK Business School, Prof. Emma Okoye, who gave overviews of the key concepts on the theme, said Nigeria is performing poorly and lagging behind in harnessing opportunities through innovation, which, he said, is reflecting on the country’s economic situation. He highlighted the various global ratings on innovation, economic performance and sustainability, in which, he said, Nigeria has performed poorly, even despite being the Giant of Africa.

According to him, some of the reasons why many smaller African countries perform better than Nigeria in many global ratings hinge on their formidable institutions, infrastructure, market sophistication (linkage between some industries and higher institutions), as well as educational system, among others.

“At least, 26% of a nation’s budget should be for education. But in Nigeria, the figure is usually between 5% and 6%. And that is part of the reasons we are having the issues we are having in this country,” he said.

He further harped on the need for business owners, artisans, and others to go online, become ICT compliant, join cooperatives, explore emerging opportunities, keep innovating new products and approaches that keep adding values to their customers, and also put their trust in God.

Earlier in his address of welcome, the State Chairman of the NYCN, Amb. Obi Emeka said the event was aimed at providing solution and answers to challenges that the youths face in their day-to-day business engagement, moulding the youths for a better future, as well as recognizing some individuals who have done well in supporting and promoting the affairs of the youths for a better society. He also appreciated those who contributed in one way or the other to the success of the event, while also urging the youths to remain steadfast in achieving their dreams.

Also speaking, the Minister of Women Affairs, Barr. Uju Kennedy Ohanenye, who was an awardee at the event, condemned the rate of get it quick syndrome among the youths in the society today.

While assuring that government still has the interest of the youths at heart, Barr. Ohanenye, represented by Dr. Nwachukwu Obiakor, however urged the youths to also embrace skills acquisition and dream to be self-reliant, rather than depending solely on the government. The Minister further urged the youths to be diligent, steadfast, and good ambassadors of the State and the Nigeria at large.

On his own part, the Anambra State Police Commissioner, CP Aderemi Adeoye, represented by the Operations Officer of the Command, CSP William Odumu reminded the youths that the future of the country lie in their hands. He, however, regretted that some youths in the country now deviate from the expected norms in society and go into illegal activities that constitute problems and challenges in the country, such as criminality, cultism, cybercrime, among others. He further advised the youths to always dream to be solution providers in the society, rather than being parts of the problems to be solved.

The event also featured the investiture and decoration of the MD/CEO of the Pool King Global Investment Ltd., Mr. Gabriel Chukwunwendu as the Anambra Youth Commander, whom in his remarks shortly after the decoration, described youths as the powerhouse of every society. He recalled how he relocated his investment from Abuja to Anambra, his home-state, because of his love for his state and his interest to also make impact in his own State; even as he urged every Anambra youth to always aspire to make impacts and contribute positively in the society.

On his part, one of the awardees at the event and Anambra State Commissioner for Environment, Engr. Felix Odimegwu informed the youths that the world is full of opportunities and possibilities, adding that there is much to attain, for any youth who is focused and dedicated.

According to him, the future truly belongs to the youths, but the advocacy and foundation for the better future should start today, even as the youths themselves ought be active and participatory in shaping their dreamed future. He also emphasized the need to maintain a very clean and healthy environment at all times, as, according to him, environmental concerns and sustainability should be everybody’s business.

Others who graced the occasion include the Transition Committee Chairman for Awka South Local Government Area, Mr. ThankGod Anagor; the Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Youths, Dr. Daniel Ezeanwu; the Ag. National Youth Leader of Ohaneze Ndị Igbo Worldwide (Youth Wing), Mr. Chukwuma Okpalaezeukwu; a representative of the Department of State Service (DSS) in Anambra, Barr. Joseph Okechi; the President of Anambra State Association of Town Union (ASATU), Comr. Ken Okoli, among other personalities and groups.

Aside lectures and interactive sessions, the summit also featured presentation of awards and conferment of titles to some of the guests and other deserving individuals, including the Chairman of the Chisco Group of Companies, Chief Chidi Anyaegbu; the President General of Umueri, Dr. John Metchie; the CEO, Falcon-Nest Project Ltd., Ambassador Ifechi Clement Martins; and the CEO, Rest Assured Resort & Hotels, Umunze, Mr. Bigger Ibekwe.

The CEO, Vheluks Nig. Ltd., Mr. Henry Ezeani; the CEO, Anesta Farms and Agro Allied Industry Nig. Ltd., Hon. Stanislaus Nnaka; the CEO, Alpha Investment Nig. Ltd., Chief Ifesinachi Ibeneme; Chief Okonma Bob Emmanuel Chukwuemeka; Engr. Emmanuel Uzodigwe, were also awarded at the event, among others.

Brand new ATM machines and cash seeds donated by the CEO of De Graceland Homes Ltd., Chief Okoli Okechukwu Loveday and the MD/CEO of the Pool King Global Investment Ltd., Mr. Gabriel Chukwunwendu, for the empowerment of the youths were also distributed to the beneficiaries at the well-attended 2023 youth summit.

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