By Nsan Ndoma-Neji, Calabar
One time governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke, yesterday said that Nigerian youths feel cheat, stressing that this feeling explains the reason behind the outbreak of violence mad protests in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
Duke siad this during a media chat with journalists stated that the trust deficit must be bridged in a bid to regain their confidence once again to be able to forge ahead as a nation.
Spekaing with journalists at his home in Calabar, the former governor averred that Nigerian youths reacted violently perhaps because of the bruise suffered over the years as a result of poor leadership, which had made the youths feel cheated, dampening their morale.
He said, “The youths have been badly bruised, and there scars must be well taken care of. The youths are telling us something, not in words, but in actions; they are speaking in their own manner, because people speak differently, some speak in parables too.
“The youths have to forgive us first, because we are the ones who are managing their resources and they are telling us that our management is poor, they cannot be silenced, they must be heard.
“If there is right to life, then there is right to livelihood, giving them a job or engaging them is not a privilege but a right. There is a trust deficit between the people, especially the youths, and the government; our democracy is 21 years already, we can’t wait to be fools at 40.”
Duke maintained that Nigeria was now in a situation where the rich cannot sleep, because the poor cannot eat and called for calm from the youths so as not to put the nation’s economy on the wheel.
“We have always warned that Nigeria was seating on a gun powder; from this moment, we must be very sincere with the people. We must mean what we say and say what we mean. The youths feel cheated because the older generation had better opportunities at their age.
“The youths need to know that we are listening to them, the youths should be able to hold us accountable. The engagement of the youth is pivotal. Huge percentage of our youths are idle, infact over 80 percent of them, because when you see someone carting away used toilet seat, then there is a big problem.
“Television sets can be replaced, cars can be replaced, but a bruised mind is very dangerous to handle, young people are beginning to ask questions and if the youths feel your statements are empty, they will not take you serious anymore.
“As leaders, where we got it wrong with a view to doing more, because what the youths are saying is that we have not done enough.”