Mr Ekerette Nathan is the newly inaugurated youth leader of Maintain Peace Movement (MPM), FCT – Chapter, Abuja. He is also the youth leader of Ikot Ekpene/Essien Udim/Obot AkaraFederal Constituency Development Association, Abuja, as well as vice chairman, Akwa Ibom Community, Mpape branch, Abuja. In an encounter with our FCT correspondent, EMMANUEL IYOHO, Ekerette Nathan who was at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Headquarters ( WadataHouse), recently, when the top PDP gubernatorial aspirant in the state, Pastor Umo Eno, picked his form for the race, speaks extensively on the person of Pastor Umo Eno, his chances of not only emerging as the PDP flag bearer in the forthcoming primary election, but a potential winner as the governor of Akwa Ibom State come 2023 general elections. The youth leader also speaks on other socio-political and economic issues as regarding youths, women and overall development of the state.
Excerpts: Nice to meet you sir,
It’s a pleasure. My name is Comrade Ekerette Nathan. I am from Essien Udim Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State. A project consultant. By the grace of God,
I was inaugurated as the youth leader of Maintain Peace Movement (MPM) , FCT – Abuja Chapter, on the 24th January,2022 at Akwa Ibom House, Abuja.
I am equally the youth leader of Ikot Ekpene/Essien Udim/ObotAkara Federal Constituency Development Association, Abuja. In the past, I had undertaken several initiatives for the economic, social and political inclusion of youths of my federal constituency, Akwa Ibom community, Abuja, Akwa Ibom State and beyond.
One of such initiatives was the hosting of the first ever one month free digital skills acquisition, capacity building and vocational training by my office in partnership with Training Institutes in Abuja last year, among others. With this new privilege to serve in MPM as youth leader, I hope to do more given the supports of stakeholders and the government.
Maintain Peace Movement is a socio-political machinery under the grand patronship of the executive governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Emmanuel, to support the completion agenda of his administration, advocate for the sustenance of peace/development enjoyed in the state as well as his succession agenda.
Pastor Umo Eno was in PDP Headquarters (WadataHouse) recently, where he picked a gubernatorial form under the platform of PDP. As a youth leader, what is your comment on the event?
I can boldly say yes, it was a successful outing. It was a major point to authenticate the aspiration of Pastor Umo Eno for the Office of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State ahead of the forthcoming Peoples Democratic Party primaries in the state. As you noticed at the Wadata Plaza, the Maintain Peace Movement, Abuja Chapter, led by my coordinator, Mr Akpan Usenekong,gave the governorship aspirant and the national leadership of MPM the best of reception in the nation’s capital. We are committed to providing the support system to our governorship hopeful and the national leadership of MPM whenever occasion demands.
Sir, what is your take on the role Maintain Peace Movement (MPM) played during the event?
As you may recall, the Maintain Peace Movement (MPM) was established under the grand patronship of our governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, to mobilize support for his completion agenda and succession plan. Consequently, the national executive committee, local government area committees and other satellite branches including FCT, Abuja, were inaugurated too. So, since then we sprung into action of mobilization of human, material, financial and strategic supports towards the mandates. The role played by MPM in Abuja chapter during the picking of nomination forms by Pastor Umo Eno is part of our mandate and commitment to the succession plan of Governor Udom Emmanuel. The chapter leadership and the youth wing of MPM, Abuja, under my leadership is committed to this aspiration.
Do you think Pastor Umo Eno, the governor’s preferred candidate for 2023 in Akwa Ibom State, is the right man for the job?
I believe! His profile in public domain and his track record and experience in the private sector is also credible for engagement in public service. The stakeholders of the state have noticed his competence, hence the massive endorsement he has enjoyed ever since he was presented as the governor’s preferred candidate for 2023 in Akwa Ibom State gubernatorial race. Ahead of the party primaries, consultations are ongoing and I hope he will emerge as the flag bearer of the party afterward. I am optimistic about this.
Sir, what are your plans toward the successful mobilization of youths to this cause?
Akwa Ibom youths in the Federal Capital Territory are ready to participate in all the electoral processes at the state in 2023 and beyond. We had started the mobilization before today. Recall in the previous interview you granted me I mentioned that we have massively mobilized Akwa Ibom youths in the FCT to participate at the voter’s registration and validation exercise by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as well as the Peoples Democratic Party membership registration. Once it is time for election we shall be going home to our various polling units to exercise our franchise. We are intentional about that.
Sir, elections are around the corner, come 2023 Nigerians are going to the polls to elect new president, governors, state lawmakers, national legislators etc across the country, what will be your advice to our youths as regards to youth participation in politics ?
I call on youths to take advantage of the forthcoming general elections to elect best leaders who will address the yearnings of the youth in the country. The statistics shows that youths occupy over 75 per cent of the voting population and therefore means that if youths come together, we can install a new leadership across board. The youth must form a vanguard, identify a political party they can use to fly their candidates from the presidency to governorship, national/states assemblies from 2023 and beyond. This is a great opportunity for youths to end the decades of deprivation.
Youths are leaders of tomorrow.” In other words, youths are the nation’s future leaders, please comment on this statement.
It is rather more honourable to say that youths are the leaders of today than tomorrow. Over the years, the youth have been relegated to the background on the faulty premise that “they are the future leaders”. So, youths had long come to a consensus that they are ready to take up the leadership of the nation, states and the associated industries. The youth have been victimized and excluded in many ways. One of such deprivations is the cause of the massive migration of Nigerian youths to Europe and other continents. The trend has to stop or possibly be reversed. The government should honour every interest of the youth as contained in the National Youth Policy. Education must be used as a tool for national development and social cohesion. The youth must be intentionally empowered politically, economically and skillfully included in the scheme of things. The 2023 general election is an opportunity for the youth toprove that they are not leaders of tomorrow rather today.
My Comrade youth leader Sir, what do you think should be done by the Federal Government, states and local government councils to halt youths migration to Europe and other continents of the world?
The answer is not far-fetched! Government at all levels, the private sector and non- governmental organizations should as a matter of priority create jobs for the youth, create an enabling business environment, invest in youth development, empowerment and inclusion among others. The absence or uncomplementary ratio of these social infrastructure to the Nigerian youthful population is the cause of the youthful migration.
As a youth leader of Ikot Ekpene Federal Constituency Forum, Abuja, and a professional, do you think the proposed stoppage of Nigerian youths from going out of the country to seek greener pastures is a good development?
The matter is a proposal and not yet put to a legislation! Again, I don’t think stopping the youths from travelling for greener pastures is a good idea. Constitutionally, everyone has the right for freedom of movement provided it is not contrary to constitutional provisions. As a professional, migration in any case gives room for technological transfer, even as the opportunities are vice versa.
Finally Sir, what should be your advice for the Nigerian youths who are planning to migrate to Europe and other continents for one reason or the other, and what is your message to our youths as far as Pastor Umo Eno’s candidacy in the forthcoming 2023 general elections in the state is concerned?
I want them to travel through the approved government channels, acquire skills and certificates that will make them resourceful to themselves and the countries they wish to travel to. For those that will successfully travel, we expect them to be good ambassadors of our country Nigeria. I urge our youths who are still in the country to continue to keep faith with the country as they work toward achieving their dreams.
To this end, I hereby call on all the youth and indeed the entire Akwa Ibom people in the Federal Capital Territory to support the succession plan of the Governor Udom Emmanuel administration for the sustainability of the peace, infrastructure and industrialization development in the state. Government is a continuum and every leader will be interested in sustaining and consolidating on the gains of previous administrations. I think this is one of the reasons we have to collectively support the completion agenda as well as initiatives of the Maintain Peace Movement in this regard ahead of 2023 general elections and beyond.