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Ex-C’River gov, Duke, urges Nigerian leaders to seek forgiveness from youths

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By Joseph Kingston, Calabar

Former Cross River governor, Mr Donald Duke, has advised leaders to seek forgiveness from Nigerian youths, who he said have been bruised terribly.

Duke said this in Calabar, Sunday, in a chat with journalists, few hours after gun and matchets-wielding young men went on wanton destruction of public and private properties across the metropolis.

The former presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the last general election, warned against casting aspersions, and posited that for the nation to move forward, the fatal wounds inflicted on Nigerian youths over the years should be consciously made to heal.

According to him, Nigerian youths were now feeling cheated by reason of where their leaders have placed them, and reiterated that the older generation still lording over the country needs the forgiveness of the youths; noting that the trust deficit must be bridged so as to regain their confidence.

He said: “The youths have been badly bruised and their scars must be well taken care of. The youths are telling us something not in words but in actions. They are speaking in their own manner, because, people speak differently; some speak in parables too.

“The youths have to forgive us first, because, we are the ones who are managing their resources and they are telling us that our management is poor; they cannot be silenced, they must be heard. If there is right to life, then, there is right to livelihood, giving them job or engaging them is not a privilege but a right. There is a trust deficit between the people, especially the youths, and the government.”

The former governor further submitted that Nigeria was now in a situation where the rich cannot sleep because, the poor cannot eat.

“We have always warned that Nigeria was seating on a keg of gun powder, from this moment, we must be very sincere with the people. We must mean what we say, and say what we mean. The youths feel cheated because, the older generation had better opportunities at their time.

“The youths need to know that we are listening to them. The youths should be able to hold us accountable. The engagement of the youth is pivotal. The huge percentage of our youths are idle, infact, over 80 percent of them, because, when you see someone carting away used toilet seat, then, there is a big problem.

“Television sets can be replaced, cars can be replaced; but a bruised mind is very dangerous to handle. Young people are beginning to ask questions, and if the youths feel your statements are empty, they will not take you serious anymore.

“If they were gainfully employed or engaged, they will not come out in their large numbers. We must create jobs; we must find ways for them to earn money.

“The government must be ingenious in finding solutions to these problems. Let’s assure our teeming youths that they are not alone. If China can create jobs for billions of its citizens, then, Nigeria can also do it. What we experienced in Cross River was a deep-seated resentment from the people, who feel a certain state of hopelessness,” he stated.

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