The Umuobasi Youth Association (UYA), an umbrella body uniting all the youths of Umuobasi within and in the Diaspora has embarked on the building of a multi-million naira ICT Centre in Umuobasi community in an effort aimed at bridging the digital divide between the youths of the area and youths from technologically developed economies.
Umuobasi is a sprawling border community in Mbala Isuochi, in the Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State, which shares boundary with Enugu and Anambra States to the North and West respectively, with very enterprising, urbane but culturally proud young men and women, who have over the years continued to sustain the cultural heritage and values bequeathed to them by their forefathers.
Mr. Sheriff Zadok Emeka Eboh in an interview said the youth association embarked on the project in fulfillment of the election campaign promises made by his team to the youths during the association’s general election in August last year.
“Recall we made promises during our campaign to resign if we fail to start a record-breaking project within six months after our election, and here we are with such a project ever initiated by a youth body in Nigeria.
“It may interest you to know that we decided to embark on building this Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Centre to provide access to information to our teaming youths through telecommunications, intelligent building management systems that will lead to improved student learning and better learning methods as well as increase students exposure to ICT education through curriculum integration,” he said.
Eboh, who is also a Special Assistant on Students’ Affairs to the Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, stated that the youth body embarked on the project, bearing in mind that worldwide research has shown that ICT can lead to knowledge with sometimes, practical and presentation skills, assuring that when completed, Umuobasi youths will have proper access to Information and Communication Technologies right there in the village.
On what motivated the youth association to embark on the project, Eboh said the essential component of the centre would be a place where ICT knowledge is imparted through cutting-edge information knowledge economy and transfer initiative, using communication technologies and sophisticated knowledge sharing processes and education.
“It would help to promote business development and partnerships with public, private sector and ICT industry. It will facilitate opportunities for new business development, availability of venture capital to stimulate start-ups and provide entrepreneurship training in order to turn innovations into business.
“At any point in time I remembers that this Centre, when completed, will be a place where our youths and next generation is educated, trained and skilled to take positions at all levels of development required in this modern days, I get motivated by the team of my excos and the entire members of our youths in general,” he said.
He noted that at the moment, the project is funded by little donations and contributions of the youths and some of the people from the community who share the same idea of developing the youths and the community, adding that it is a project that everybody must contribute to, to ensure timely completion.
The youth president said that government has a lot of roles to play in the project and expressed his administration’s readiness to welcome whatever contribution governments at any level can offer to see to the realization of the project. “We hope to reach out to public, corporate and private organizations to assist us in equipping the Centre. We would continue to reach out to all and sundry for assistance until this project is completed.”
While assuring that efforts will be made to build the human capacity needed for the centre, the youth president said that with the enormous support and solidarity so far received from both sons and daughters of the community, the association shall periodically organize seminars, workshops, conferences and similar events to strengthen the success of building the Centre as a capacity development delivery mechanism, tried and tested and found to be valuable in other developed countries.
Eboh stated that the Centre when completed, would house a Mini-Conference Hall with over 200 sitting capacity, a Sitting Library, Archive and an ICT innovation centre with an office. He, therefore, advised the youths to remain focused and committed to their aspiration in life, while at the same time remaining faithful to God.
“The youths must never indulge in acts that could tarnish the image of our community; they must shun cultism, prostitution and drug abuse at all times. We must join hands to develop our community and say no to whatever that could lead to the disintegration of the Umuobasi Autonomous Community,” he said.
The Umuobasi Youth Association has been in existence for over 35 years, producing six different presidents before the emergence of the current president.