Wednesday, 14 August 2019

IYD 2019: How Patrick Ugbe beat Asu Okang to emerge 'best Commissioner for youth'

L-R: Comr Asu Okang, Patrick Ugbe and Chair Ndiyo Ndiyo 
14 August 2019 

The 2019 edition of the transforming education-themed International Youth Day saw the acknowledgement of erstwhile Commissioner for Youth and Sports between 2012 and 2015 in Cross River Patrick Ugbe as 'best Commissioner for Youth' thus far NEGROIDHAVEN can say authoritatively. 

The National Youth Council of Nigeria NYCN in Cross River who did her selection defended its disposition for Ugbe shying away from Okang on the premise that the immediate youth commissioner (2015 to 2019) did not perform well for youths in the state: there was no yearly subvention to NYCN, no Secretariat, no vehicle, no robustly-celebrated international youth week, and poor relationship between the office of commissioner and the youth council. 

According to the State Chair of NYCN in the state, Ndiyo Ndiyo, 'Through out that Asu Okang's tenure as commissioner all the voluntary youth organisations and the Youth Council which is the mother organisation could not get any subvention, they didn't even have a Secretariat. I think he did well for students by demanding for buses for students but the youth organisation which he is the Commissioner did not get even a vehicle from government. 

'We could not even have a well celebrated international youth day... The first year that we did was when the youth council approached the governor at the airport, he gave three million Naira. He used the three million by himself for three planting. And was doing sharing of money. The relationship between the former commissioner and the youth... There was no symbiotic relationship. 

'The other three years or thereabout after the 2016 tree planting, in 2017, 2018, and 2019 every youth week we attended was a programme organised by CUSO, we were only attending. It was a CUSO programme not driven by the Ministry of Youth. This year's edition, we could not even get the support of government. But we were given a free hand. Government did not fund the process. At least, nobody stopped us from operating as an independent organisation. And you could see that we could run a one week programme without funding. 

'For four years I have not received subvention from government. I have not gotten funding. What I did was just to step up the game, so let another government come and improve on it. We have not had this type of event so robust in youth council.'

On his part the Chair of the NYCN Planning Committee for the International Youth Day 2019, Ogban Usetu explained that 'The National Youth Council of Nigeria has adjudged that Patrick Ugbe should be awarded as best youth commissioner thus far; if that decision was reached I don't know what category Asu Okang would have been brought on board... 

'One thing I ensured was to bring on board people who are credible, people who merit the award... I didn't want it to look political. We looked at job creation, community development, sociopolitical impact and youth development'.

Monday 12 August was designated International Youth Day. It was themed 'Transforming Education' where according to the United Nations there was going to be highlight of inclusive, equitable, qualitative and sustainable education by youths, young people and youth-focused organisations. 

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