…As sporadic gunshots took over the air at the state secretariat of NYCN
By Simeon OSAJIE
Management of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Edo State Chapter have called on Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Marcus Onobun to call former Edo State Chairman and National President of NYCN and former Speaker of EDHA Hon. Elizabeth Ativie and Edo State Commissioner of Youth and Gender, Mr. Adaze Emwanta to order over the imposition of Ms. Sarah Igunbor as State chairman of the council.
Recall that Edo State Electoral Committee and the Congress Planning Committee of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, (NYCN), yesterday dissociated themselves from any purported election of the council that was alleged to have taken place at S&T Barrack, Usulu in Egor local government area of Edo State.
The protesters staged protest from the Edo Youth Council House at Akpakpava Road to Edo State House of Assembly with different inscription: “Hon. Elizabeth Ativie, Stop Parading Elders As Youths”, “NYCN Is Not Arm Of The Govt”, “Edo Youth Say No To Illegal Election”, “Commissioner For Youths And Hon. Elizabeth Ativie Hijacked Edo Youth Council”, “Edo Youths Supports Inclusive Election”, “Hon. Elizabeth Ativie Sold Youth Council To Deputy Governor Shaibu For N1 Million”, “Edo State Govt. Should Call Youth Commissioner To Order”, “NYCN Edo State Is Yet To Hold Her Election”, “S&T Barrack Is Not NYCN Secretariat, “Edo Youths Say No To Illegality” and “Commissioner For Youth Must Go” to registered their displeasure over the activities of Ativie and Emwanta.
Before the arrival of the speaker, the youths were chanting solidarity songs calling on Edo State governor and Mr. Speaker to rescue Edo State Youth Council from agents of destruction.
Addressing Mr. Speaker, one of the management of the youth council, Comrade Peter Aguebor appealed to Speaker Onobun to you his good offices to intervene into the crisis currently rocking the council.
According to Aguebor, “Mr. Speaker, today we are coming out to state categorically that the youths of Edo State are resolute and because we are peace loving individual, that is while we are on peaceful protest to register the illegal activities of Hon. Elizabeth Ativie and Commissioner Emwanta.
“We are tired of the abnormality that is happening in the youth council and Ativie and Emwanta are deceiving the deputy governor of Edo State. We are not ignorant in the fact that the National Youth Council of Nigeria stated categorically that the government ministries and agencies will play a supervisory role in the activities of youth council and other youth’s activities.
“The Commissioner of Youth and Gender Issue, Mrt. Andy Emwanta supposed to play an advisory role in the affairs of the council just as the Chairman of the Edo House of Assembly Committee on Youth, Hon. Frank Okiye is playing advisory role, but it is unfortunate that the Commissioner has hijacked the process by conniving with Elizabeth Ativie to organized a kangaroo election at the S&T Barrack against the constitution governing the activities of youth council across Nigeria. They went to conduct non-inclusive election that was postponed by the Congress Planning Committee and the Edo State Electoral Committee and go ahead to conduct parallel election at the premises of S&T Barrack.
“We therefore call on the our most respected Speaker who has passed through the youth council to become speaker to invite Commissioner Andy Emwanta to explain his role in the kangaroo congress,” he said.
While presenting their displeasure over the activities of those they said supposed to mediate and find lasting solutions to the present rift surrounding the activities of the state council, one of the aspirants for the position of state chairman of the council, Comrade Charles Osagie appealed to Speaker Onobun to invite Commissioner Emwanta to explain his role in the non-inclusive election that took place at the S&T Barrack.
According to Comrade Osagie, “Mr. Speaker, our attention has been drawn to the unlawful inauguration of one Sarah Igunbor, who was mysteriously and clandestinely imposed as Chairman of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Edo State Chapter, against the will of Edo youths and relevant stakeholders.
“In a caricature style, Ms. Sarah connived with one Elizabeth Ativie, alongside the Edo Commissioner of Youth and Gender, Mr. Adaze Emwanta, amongst others, using state machinery to desecrate the democratic tenets of the Youth Council of Nigeria by allowing herself to be used by some agents of the state who wish to make the NYCN a personal tool for selfish political reasons.
“It’s important to note that Mr. Speaker, no election was carried out yesterday in Edo State by the Electioneering Committees of the Youth Council of Nigeria, as the election was postponed to a later date, which makes any other gathering and the inauguration of any individual null and void.
“Sarah Igunbor is a card-carrying member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and, as a result, cannot be welcomed in a neutral and unbiased organisation like the Youth Council of Nigeria.
“Sarah Igunbor is not and has never been a member of the Edo chapter of the National Youth Council of Nigeria.
“Sarah Igunbor is a current Senior Special Assistant to the Edo State Government, which disqualifies her from participating in the processes of the NYCN, which is a non-partisan youth body.
“Sarah Igunbor is currently a member of the Edo Youth Parliament and has had no singular impact on the youth constituency of the state since becoming a member.
“Sarah Igunbor is a known personal friend to the wife of the Edo State Deputy Governor and the Deputy Governor himself, and by extension, a stooge and a puppet of the Edo State government.”
Going further, Comrade Osagie pleaded with the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and Speaker Marcus Onobun to “To suspend Ms. Sarah Igunbor as one of the aides to the wife of the Deputy Governor for her public misdemeanour and callousness in making herself a ready tool in the hands of some mischievous elements within the State to cause rancour within the Edo NYCN.
“Commissioner Emwanta should also issue a statement to revert the kangaroo youth council election and he should also issue statement dissociating himself and also call for credible Edo State Youth Council Election.
“And lastly, do away with the Commissioner of Youth and Gender, Mr. Adaze Emwanta for his misuse of office and power, thereby bringing the Edo State government to public ridicule with his mischievous acts.
“We also call on the various security agencies and the national body of the Nigeria Youth Council to immediately hold an emergency meeting to forestall peace in Edo State and uphold justice and fairness in the electioneering process of the youth body.”
Responding, Speaker Marcus Onobun said, “We have listened to your grievances over the purported election that was held November, 30. We have listen to you, and as a House, we are here to represent you. I have go through the rank, I am and I was as is then was under 35 a member of the National Youth Council. And from childhood, I belong to the boys Brigade of Nigeria who is also an affiliate body of the youth council. I understand what it means and understand the constitution. I have also participated and gotten involved over the years in those that have become leaders of the youth council.
“It is as a result of those of us who has grown above the mandatory age of 35 that some of us have step outside and watch other younger people grow in the youth council.
“I am happy with the way and manner you people have conducted yourself. We are happy that we have a listening governor in the state. Go and formally write your petition and be rest assured that we will look into it and find a lasting solution and make sure the matter is settled amicably”, Speaker Onobun assured.
Meanwhile, there were sporadic gunshots at the Edo state secretariat of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) as the new leadership led by Sarah Igunbor officially took over administration while some members of the association protested the handover exercise claiming there was no proper election.
During the shooting, the Secretary of the Edo NYCN Congress Planning Committee, Comrade Blessing Igbon sustained injuries and her phone was damaged in the process.