Following the public presentation of the Handbook of Skill Acquisition Training and Empowerment Programmes at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, recently, the author, Dr Benjamin Onoriode Irikefe, hàs bagged the award of the Niger Delta Personality of Inestimable Value and Role Model to The Younger Generation from the National Association of Niger Delta Students (NANDS).
At a well-attended ceremony in Warri, Delta State recently, the national president of the student body, Lucky Emonefe, while presenting the award to Dr Irikefe, who is a training consultant with the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and a notable development expert, especially of the youth population in the Niger Delta region, stated that the group had watched over time the activities of the man they described as the trainers’ trainer, not only in the Niger Delta region, but the entire nation, adding that the author had impacted lives immeasurably in the region, and this informed the decision of the group to honour their own, while describing him as an illustrious son of no mean value.
According to Emonefe, who is a student of the University of Benin, Dr Irikefe had turned many ex-militants “from gun militants to pen militants” in his efforts at rebuilding the region for more productive venture, adding such was in line with the desires of the association, stressing that no one from the region deserved the award more than Dr Irikefe.
The student union activist called on the youth population of the region to disengage from violence and key into the “lofty policies” of the present administration, while lamenting the fate of the region in terms of lack of development.
“It is only in an atmosphere of peace that development can take root in our region, and with Dr Irikefe’s works, more Niger Delta youths can acquire skills that will make them relevant and useful in the society,” Omonefe said.
In his acceptance speech, the awardee, Dr Irikefe, commended the student body for effectively running a progressive regional body of students.
While noting that it was not easy to coordinate the affairs of students, Dr Irikefe expressed gratitude to the organisation for counting him worthy of the prestigious award.
While lamenting the situation of the youth in the country today, Dr Irikefe said it was important for Nigerian youths to acquire skills that would make them to be independent and live profitable lives.
“When a youth has a skill and he is thriving in it, then it will be difficult for him to go into crime.
“As a result of this, with the huge population of Nigerian youths, it is important for them to acquire skills that will make them useful to the society,” Dr Irikefe said.
The skills acquisition trainer also urged youths to be upright at all times, while supporting government in its various programmes targeted at making youths gainfully employed.
“You must be steadfast in your resolve to be good citizens of this country; do not allow politicians to feast on your intelligence, whether at individual or group levels. Always remember the child of who you are.
“I am happy to associate with you and hope to further my association with you, but would never be a party to any attack on the government. Call on me whenever you need my assistance, especially if it has to do with development, growth and wellbeing of the Nigerian youth,” Dr Irikefe promised.