The Role of Youths in the Development of Orogun

A speech presented at 2024 Orogun Youth Arise Conference,

By Prof. Sunny Awhefeada

Prof. Sunny Awhefeada

Nigeria has failed its youths, and the government has likewise fallen short. We must now embrace positive self-help and contemplate how we can emancipate ourselves. This lecture is dedicated to Dr. Philip Itedjere, who recently turned 80 and epitomized community development, serving as a beacon for others to emulate in uplifting their communities.


The world is in a race, and we must embark on initiatives to catch up with global advancements. Nigeria faces numerous challenges, including the “Japa” syndrome, where individuals seek opportunities abroad. However, prominent figures like Justice James Omo-Agege and late Chief Demas Akpore returned to develop their communities despite studying overseas. We must involve more youths in community engagement, starting from secondary school level and upwards.


Youth face a myriad of challenges, including unemployment, violence, cultism, internet fraud, academic failure, depression, and adopting an aggressive lifestyle.


Youths have a significant role to play in Orogun’s development. Examining the lives of past leaders like Chief Demas Akpore reveals that remarkable achievements can begin at a young age. We must stop lamenting and instead focus on strategizing and organizing to break free from poverty, disempowerment, and economic challenges.


The youth are the most functional, dynamic, energetic, and populous segments of any population. In the Nigerian context, ages 18-30 and 40-45 can also be considered, given our socioeconomic conditions. In the 2019 elections, 65 percent of those who voted fell within the age bracket of youth. Sixty-five percent is the majority. Why didn’t you vote yourselves to be President of Nigeria? Why do you have to vote an old man as President? I am telling you this to show you the enormous power and influence you wield as youths if you are able to organize yourselves. The youth are also very creative and critical thinkers, change agents, and change makers. Youth are also communicators. They are visionaries who can envision tomorrow. Ahmadu Bello and Nnamdi Azikiwe were young people who envisioned tomorrow. Youth are also advocates. Self-empowerment is also in the hands of the youth.

In 2020, EndSARS protest shook the government to its knees but it was badly managed. The youths could not organize themselves into a negotiating team.
Organize yourselves into a mass movement. The world is a global village. Youths are Presidents in France, Canada and elsewhere.

What can the youth do to develop Orogun?

If you study the life and times of Chief Demas Akpore, you will discover that he was a youth when he started Orogun Grammar School. Major Kaduna Nzeogu was 28 years old when he plotted the first military coup. Gen. Yakubu Gowon was 32 when he became head of state. General David Ejoor was 33 when he became Military Governor of the Mid-West Region. There are many examples. So, we don’t need to cry and lament that they have not done enough for us. We have lamented and agonized for too long. Let’s begin to think about what to do. How to strategize and organize to free ourselves from the shackles of poverty, disempowerment, and economic emasculation.

What can we do to move forward?

  1. Education
  2. Volunteer Service
  3. Entrepreneurship. Akpos started welding in 2012. He keeps to his words. He is faithful. His charges are moderate. He delivers on time. He is friendly. He has social skills. He has up to 15 apprentices. He is married. Has two houses. His children go to the best school in Ughelli. He has liberated himself. Another young man started in 2015. He graduated from Ozoro Polytechnic. He started by planting tomatoes. He has built a house. He is married. He employs 7 persons. He started with less than one thousand naira.

There is a lot of value chain in agriculture. There are a lot of lands in Orogun. How many of our youths, say five of you can come together and sacrifice your Monday to Thursday and be going to the farm every day. Then on Saturday, you can go and flex. If you do that for five years. There is hunger and food crisis in Nigeria. Anybody who take farming seriously will make plenty of money. The Governor of Niger State announced recently that anyone who is seen buying food items in bulk would be arrested. The herders-farmers clash is affecting food supply. The hunger in Chad, Sudan and Niger is affecting food supply. That’s what you can key into for economic prosperity. There is so much you can do as youth entrepreneurs. All you need is creativity, innovative thinking and patience. You can make use of your mobile phones to create wealth for yourself.

Youths should support youths. A classical example is Hon. Matthew Onojighofia Omonade. I taught him in DELSU Abraka before he was transferred to Oleh. He is very intelligent. He didn’t go to Government College, Ughelli. He went to Afiesere Secondary School, Ughelli but by dint of foresight and hard work, he is where he is today. Thankfully, he is here with us. He gave out free JAMB forms to youths in Orogun and across the constituency; a feat that has not been done before.

Policies and good governance are very central to our survival as youths, and so, if you can organize well among yourselves, you can produce leaders, and when they want to become selfish, you vote them out.

Youths and homeland security:
Once upon a time, it was youths who stood up to secure our community. Youths can secure our communities.

Should we leave the youths alone? No. That’s why the President General of Orogun, Chief Barr. Benson Ndakara, sent Chief Dr. Achugbue to represent him. That’s why Dr. Otive Igbuzor is here. That’s why I am also here, despite our very tight schedule.

How do we support the youths to help them realize their destiny and contribute their role to the development of Orogun?

  1. Education: We must empower our youths through good education. Fortunately, we have the Federal Polytechnic. Development is at our doorstep. We must now prepare our youths to join in that development. It doesn’t matter if there are not enough teachers. Some of us who are educators and non-educators can do volunteer Teaching. I read English and Literature. I can volunteer at Orogun Grammar School, Orhoera Secondary School, or Imodje Secondary School to teach English and Literature maybe twice a month or once a week. Dr. Achugbue can teach Government, Economics, and Geography, once a week or twice a month. All Orogun Professionals and Academics can organize themselves to give back to the community.
  2. Mentoring and adoption: If I adopt one youth, Dr. Otive adopts one, Dr. Achugbue adopts one, Hon. Omonade adopts one, and Foster Akpore adopts one, we’ve already had five youths. For every child you mentor, when he becomes successful, he is like a big tree providing shelter, fruits, succor, and sustainability.
  3. Skills Acquisition: I must tell you the truth, Universities worldwide are collapsing. They are sacking lecturers. People are dropping out of school because a new world order is upon us. It is skills that sustain people nowadays. Even if you went to school and have a PhD, am I not a Professor? I still have many other skills to complement my teaching job as a Professor because what we are being paid at DELSU, Abraka, is not enough to feed. Dr. Otive, who is a Pharmacist, has many other skills like writing, speaking, and advocacy skills.

Yours can be hair cutting, fashion designing, welding, mobile app development, ICT. You don’t need to go to the four walls of the university to get education. There is what is called Open and Distance Learning. In your farm at Ugono-Orogun, you can study at the University of Lagos. You can use your phone to discuss with and ask your lecturer questions. Then you can diversify after doing hairdressing or laundry work into say, fish farming, poultry, and other ventures. Africa’s richest woman, Alakija, used to be a tailor who was sewing for Mrs. Mariam Babangida and other high-ranking Military Officers and when Babangida became Head of State, she was introduced to him and that’s how she became very rich.

I want to charge the President Generals of all the communities. Let them set up committees on education to monitor what happens in our primary and secondary schools. If anything is wrong, they should call us. There are some persons I can talk to. If it’s a leaking roof, Hon. Matthew Omonade can talk to someone who can be of help. I can come and teach. This is the sacrifice we can do to help our people.

We need to involve all our youths from all the communities by linking them up with the various NGOs led by Dr. Otive Igbuzor, Foster Akpore and others so that they can help link them up with various youth and women opportunities like the Girl child education, youth empowerment so that Orogun Youths would not be left behind. Let Orogun sons and daughters who are well to do be called upon to give back to the development of Orogun.

  1. Youth Clubs, Voluntary Organizations that our youths can register with. Youth Consciousness like what we are doing here
  2. The Rich can set up cottage industries to employ our youths. Orogun has vast arable lands to utilize its agricultural potentials and the value chain, where youths can find job opportunities after graduating from university.
  3. Youth Multipurpose Cooperatives. Like the Yorubas, Orogun Youths across each community should set up cooperatives but the people should be very honest and faithful
  4. Sports and Entertainment
  5. Orogun Diasporas should come home regularly to contribute to community development.
  6. We cannot underestimate the place of Power and Electricity in the transformation of Society
  7. The Power of ICT. I charge Foster to organize another program on ICT. Our people who are doing well can come together to build ICT clusters in Orogun so that we can utilize the opportunity that comes with the Federal Polytechnic

Five Recommendations:

  1. Orogun President-General-In-Council should develop Orogun Youth Development Plan which should be followed and executed deliberately. The first instance should be for five years.
  2. Replicate and expand the Annual Orogun Youth Conference and invite students from SS1-SS3.
  3. Data bank of Orogun people to adopt someone and mentor them because if it’s not well for our youths, it will also not be well for us.
  4. Orogun Youths should help themselves positively. Mobilize during elections and vote in credible people and have leaders arise from among your and execute your positive agenda
  5. Tech Hubs. Collaborate and establish little tech hubs so that we can join the ship of the fourth industrial revolution.

I thank the organizers for putting this together. Orogun is where God has planted us, and we must work to make Orogun flourish. We will never be tired of talking to our people or being advocates on behalf of our people. Let leaders arise around you. Hon. Matthew Omonade is an example for our youths to follow. It will be well with Orogun Kingdom.

Thank you and God bless you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial