Former Governor of Cross River, Sen. Liyel Imoke, said on Thursday that his foundation, Bridge Leadership Foundation (TBLF), would ensure that “no child chooses between education and food.”

Imoke gave the assurance in Calabar at the sixth edition of the foundation’s Career Day, held at Calabar International Conference Centre with the theme “Building Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs’’.

Imoke, who founded the organisation in 2011, said that the foundation’s major focus in 2016 would be on mentoring indigent students, to support them in their educational pursuit.

He said: “As part of our project for the year the 2016 TBLF in-school mentoring will commence in September.

“The Bridge Scholarship is an outreach project that provides scholarship to children from local communities who cannot afford to pay the fees, buy uniforms, books, bags and sandals required to attend schools.

“To this end we will be expanding this project to cover more students than we did last year.

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“I solicit that you join me in this laudable project to ensure that no child chooses between education and food.’’

He said the Career Day was instituted to provide opportunity for young people to be inspired by stories of young Africans who overcame hurdles of growing up to become successful.

Imoke said the event also provided an opportunity for young people to engage in meaningful discourse for solutions to the complex, very relevant and most pressing challenges of today’s world.

According to him, the foundation has been raising a generation of thoughtful and transformational leaders, and is advocating for the development of young people through education, mentoring, career and entrepreneurship development.

Imoke said the overall aim was “to raise a community of inspired, equipped and influential young leaders, who lead themselves and others.”

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Mr Ubong King, who delivered a keynote address on the theme “Building Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs’’ said that the major problem with Africa, including Nigeria, is free food and dependency.

He urged young people to learn to take responsibilities, think creatively and make use of ideas within competitive environment to excel.

King, who narrated his struggle as he grew up without a father, said he refused to give up on his dreams.

He said that now that he had succeeded in life he would continue to inspire others especially the young, to wake up and start running because laziness would always hold them back.

He said there were no reasons for young people to become slaves to jobs.

“The difference between a vulture and an eagle is appetite. If you are depending on 30 days for salary, you have a vulture mentality. The eagle hunts its own food.

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“At all stages of my transformation. I used the professional social network; identified competition; created products to meet my target; and learnt to sell locally and internationally.

“I used Information Technology; grew my network strategically and purposefully; and stay legally compliant to government agencies.

“I bought a ship in 2015 without bank funds. I refused to accept the Hold Down Syndrome.

“If you want to change your future, change your friends. It is time to make it happen.”

He also advised the young people that nothing comes easy in life and that there is no reason a Nigerian should be broke.

“Whenever you see the Glory, always ask for the Story,’’ he said.

King is the Group Managing Director, Protection Plus Services Limited, a Lagos State-based corporate security company.

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