Valentine Ozigbo, the frontrunner in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the Anambra governorship election, has praised Nigerian youth for waking up to their civic responsibilities and expanding political participation.
Mr Ozigbo, who is the immediate past President and Group CEO of Transcorp Plc, also promised that if he is elected governor of Anambra State come November 2021, he would be “a relentless champion of Anambra youth”.
Ozigbo made this known while speaking at a youth and political parties’ dialogue session organized by the Center for Strategic Leadership & Youth Orientation (CENSTLEYO) with the theme: “Hoputa Ezigbo Onyendu” (Choosing a good leader).
At the event held on Friday, April 30, 2021, at Oma Event Center, Awka, Ozigbo expressed his delight at seeing youths waking up and taking responsibility for their political future.
He also commended the youth for acknowledging their strengths and values and making conscious efforts to ensure that their voices are heard in the relevant quarters.
“I am gratified to see that the youths are waking up to their responsibility. They realize their strengths and values and are saying enough is enough,” Ozigbo said.
“It’s about our future. It’s more about your future than our future because you have more years to live. If we take a critical look, we will find out that the youths are the more significant stakeholder in our society.
“So it a thing of joy to see that you have realized the innate value you have and defined the criteria for selecting your leaders,” he added.
Ozigbo, one of Nigeria’s most celebrated CEOs, stressed the importance of prioritizing leadership above politics. According to him, this is the only way to solve the numerous issues bedevilling our society.
The prominent philanthropist seized the opportunity to reiterate his commitment to partnering with the youths to actualise “an Anambra State they can all be proud of”.
Responding to a question from one of the participants who harped the importance of youth in governance, the respected business leader said there was no need to preach to him as it amounted to “preaching to the converted”. He declared that he had consistently made the youths a focal point of all his activities, even before his foray into politics.
“I am called the King of the Youth. This name was not given to me by chance. Even before politics, I have always taken youths as a priority,” Ozigbo remarked.
“I founded a company, Feet ‘N’ Tricks International, which is currently the largest promoter of freestyle football in Africa. In addition, I am an Executive Producer for one of Nollywood’s biggest movies, ‘Merry Men’.
“Furthermore, I am an investor in technology, and I have been an active player in sectors where the youths hold sway.
“In the last seven years, hundreds of youths have benefitted from the activities of my foundation, which includes empowerment, business grants and mentorship I have provided.
“I have always partnered with the youths, and I don’t think I’ll stop when I become governor,” Ozigbo submitted.
Ozigbo further explained the importance of the youths in the grand vision that he has for Anambra State.
“The world has gone digital. But, sadly, we have not caught up with the rest of the world. If we want to change that narrative, we have to look towards building a digital economy, creating an industrial hub in Anambra State, harnessing the technology potential of the state,” he said.
“All these are avenues to engage, empower and let the youths take their proper place in leadership.”
CENSTLEYO is a Non-Governmental Organization aimed at raising political awareness among Nigerian youths. Ozigbo was the only governorship aspirant who attended the forum.