Abia Govt., Opposition at war over funding of Ochendo Youth Foundation

Posted by Boniface Okoro, Umuahia | 9 August 2012 | 3,989 times

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The source of funding of Abia State-based Ochendo Youth Foundation (OYF) has triggered a controversy between the government and the opposition. The opposition says that the non-governmental organisation is being funded by government, a claim government has denied, explaining that group derives its funding from sources other than government.

OYF was founded and is being coordinated by the son of the state governor, Chief Chinedu Orji, an Engineer. He said the goal of the group is to reduce youth unemployment in the state.

The group assists youths in the state with empowerment items such as buses, cars and tricycles (popularly known as Keke Napep) to enable them embark on transport business; sewing machines, generating sets, as well as refrigerators and hair-dressing facilities for setting up of small-scale businesses. About 500 youths have benefitted from the programme in Aba and Ohafia zones where the OYF youth empowerment scheme have so far been launched.

During the launch of the scheme in Ohafia recently, OYF offered to pay the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) fees for about 150 bright but indigent students.

However, one Odimegwu Onwuneme, in an article in the media, took a swipe at the state government for not causing enough development through building of infrastructure and also alleged that government was funding the OYF.

In a swift reaction, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Ugochukwu Emezue, denied that government was funding the OYF.  

“OYF is a non-governmental organisation that derives its funding from well-meaning individuals, corporate bodies and even faith-based organisations,” Emezue said.

The CPS listed Senator Uche Chukwumerije, Prince Arua Arunsi, who represents Arochukwu/Ohafia Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, and Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Ude Okochukwu, amongst others are notable Abians who have contributed immensely to the success of the foundation.

“The reason for the establishment of OYF which has been registered is to act as a platform upon which Abia youths are being empowered for the future challenges. In the past months , the foundation  has given succour to those considered the “never do wells” in Abia by providing them with Keke Napep, buses, and even cash incentives, which have changed their lives for the better,” the CPS said, pointing out that the beneficiaries have become employers of labour rather than being beggars.

“OYF will continue to play the role of laying solid foundation for the youths of Abia as its targets is to assist government in reducing unemployment in the state. No amount of blackmail will stop OYF as it is set to move to other local government areas in the state to take care of the youth,” Emezue added.

*In this photo, Chief Chinedu Orji, promoter of Ochendo Youth Foundation, is seen recently presenting a car to a beneficiary of the group’s youth empowerment programme.

Source: TBE

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