By George Odok
A former Governor of Cross River State, Mr Donald Duke, has said that Nigerian youths have been neglected and left hopelessly due to the wrongs of leadership in the country.
Duke, who spoke with newsmen on Sunday in Calabar while reacting to the destruction of properties on Friday and Saturday in Calabar by some hoodlums, said the act was not normal.
He said that the youths feel abandoned and depressed with no leaders to assure them that tomorrow will be better than today, hence they took laws into their hands by destroying private and government properties.
He said that from the videos and pictures he saw on the looting in Calabar, it shows the youths feels they have been neglected by the leaders and abandoned and their future is left in their hands with nothing put in place for them.
“We often want to blame these happenings on criminals and miscreants, but they are no such people, we created them, they are human beings.
“I find it deplorable when people regard others as miscreants. They are our children.
“If you don’t provide for them, train them and give them hope, they will take laws into their hands; but the point is this, we need to rise up and correct these things.
“We must mean what we say and say what we mean. When the youths feel that your words are empty statement, they won’t take you serious anymore,” he said.
He noted that if the tragic incident that occurred in Calabar should happen again in Calabar, then the state is “finished”.
Duke, who charged the government to be ingenuis in finding solutions to the problems, said that the uniqueness of the state hospitality has been affected.
“The youths have been bruised and we need to address that and heal their scars. My desire is to reach out to them, speak to them and ask for forgiveness; so that we can forgive them too and create a better society.
“We love Cross River, the soonest we come out, we will encourage others to do same. We need the support of everyone to do this. We should encourage the government to succeed, regardless of what we think.
“Some of the protesters are idle, if they were employed, they won’t be in the street. You can’t say you have a right to life without given a right to livelihood.
“When you see someone carting away a used toilet base, you should know there is a big problem. We need to help our young people to succeed. We need to educate, equip and sustain them,” he said.
He said that the furniture, cars and other properties that have been destroyed can be replaced, but no human live can be replaced, hence the youths should sheath their swords.
According to him, the youths were passing a strong message to the leaders, not through words, but actions; which he said have been loud enough.
“We are the ones administering the resources of this country and the youths feel the resources are not getting to them, there feel deprived and we need to hear out their demands,” he said.