“Responding to the Challenges of Youth, Family, and Society; The Millennial’s Response”. This is the theme of the conference organized by the African Cultural Heritage, in collaboration with the Catholic Women Organization Nigeria (CWON), attended by over 200 young people from Nigeria.
The two-day event was held in the diocese of Awka. Speaking to those present, Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor of Awka, reminded parents and educators that young people need reference figures to orient themselves in life. Bishop Ezeokafor stressed, in particular, the need in being shining examples and present them with heroic lives of saints because “they are an invaluable source of inspiration and encouragement to them”. “Some of the saints were martyred because they refused to bow to the pressure of sex, money, worldly glories, idolatry and profanation. Reading their lives helps to spur us on in our own individual journeys”, he added.
Bishop Godfrey Onah of Nsukka charged youths to realize that they are leaders of today and not tomorrow, challenging them to participate actively in community services so that people can spot their sterling leadership qualities.
Bishop Onah, however, urged young people to avoid negative lifestyles by stating that: “indecent sexual relationships or affection should be avoided, while youths must learn those community and cultural values that promote hard work and resilience under older people”.
Bishop Callistus Onaga of Enugu also called on elders, especially parents, to check youthful exuberances among young people by telling or showing them other people, who, through hard work and obedience, succeeded within their environment.
“Young people,” he said, “must know that every responsible person must act with integrity and positive virtues to impact positively on society”. For this reason, he urged youths to embrace skill acquisition to defeat unemployment.
President of CWON, Mrs. Nwanneka Okolo, noted: “since present socio-economic and political developments are throwing a lot of challenges on them: unemployment, drug abuse, indulgence in violence, wrong sexual affection, excessive leisure, Internet scamming and engaging in misinformation.”