A foundation, "Change Abia Organisation" has set aside N100 million for talent development in order to give youths in Abia State the needed opportunity to develop their budding talents and earn legitimate living from it.
President of the foundation, Mr. Reagan Ufomba made this known yesterday at his Ntigha country home when he disbursed N6 million bursary awards to 200 undergraduates of various institutions of higher learning, saying that a lot of talents abound in the state waiting to get the necessary push to break out from the bud.
He said that the fund for talent development would be spent over the next 10 years, pointing out that youths endowed with various talents like football and other sports, performing arts, music, among others would be encouraged and sponsored to develop such talents.
Ufomba, who was the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the 2011 polls in Abia State said youth empowerment remains a veritable tool for preventing young persons from indulging in criminal activities thereby contributing positively to the growth of the society.
He urged the youths, who each got N30, 000 cheque as bursary, to resist the temptation of taking up politics as a full time profession as it distorts the essence of using politics to improve the lives of the people through selfless service.
The politician decried a situation where aspiring young persons dabble into politics without building a career in various professions hence they see politics not as a call to service but the fastest means of amassing wealth.
"I want you to be successful business person, lawyer, medical doctor, engineer, or in any other profession," he said, adding that politics should be a part time job.
According to him, those that make politics their profession were the ones that promote corruption in the system and indulge in electoral malpractices to gain power because they have no other profession to fall back to if election did not favour them.
Ufomba, a businessman with bias for cement importation, told the youths that "politics did not make and cannot make me" and further advised them not to regard their being recruited as thugs or ballot snatching and election rigging as a profitable way of making a living.
He said that the bursary award which he instituted 15 years ago with distribution of education materials has blossomed into scholarship scheme for 168 students while 40 graduates have been produced through the scheme.
The philanthropist said that he takes delight in assisting people in need, a legacy he claimed he inherited from his father and would pass it to his own children, adding that beneficiaries of his benevolence should see it as an opportunity to make a headway in life.
"Don't disappoint your parents; don't disappoint your state; don't disappoint your nation," the APGA leader in Abia advised the youths, adding, "We don't want to dash you money; we are sowing seeds in your life to assist you become a successful person in your chosen profession".