Holy Family Youth Village


Archbishop Valerian Okeke, the conceiver and proprietor of the Youth Village visited some of our local Universities in his years as a priest Lecturer/Rector at Bigard Memorial seminary, Enugu. He saw the plight of our students who lived 8-15 in a room meant for two students in an environment that is nothing to cleanliness. The comfort facilities were scandalously shameful. Some students were becoming sick because of poor and dehumanizing environment and sanitation. Some students in town lived side by side with people of questionable characters and people who poor cold water on their academic dreams- okada riders, brick layers, traders etc. simply because the amount of money they could afford only let them live in that area. When he remembered that these were leaders of tomorrow, he felt grieved that our future leaders were so badly groomed. His mind went to the beautiful hostels he saw in the Western part of the globe and wondered if such could be built for the young ones who would outlive us and inherit our assets and be the future leaders. He remembered that success without successor is still failure in disguise. He remembered the words of Henry Ford “Don’t find fault. Find a remedy”. He therefore vowed to do something ever convinced with the aphorisms of J.E. Clarke that He who believes is strong; he who doubts is weak. Strong convictions precede great actions”.

At that time, he had the intention of advising governors, bishops and all-in authority position to salvage the situation. But God decided that the responsibility was not to be shifted to governors and bishops elsewhere, rather that Fr. Valerian would be the one to take up the all, elevating him from a simple moral theology lecturer to the Archbishop of Onitsha. He now needed nobody else to advise than take up the dream and vision he so clearly envisioned. Like Frederick Wilcox he believes that” progress always involves risk; you can’t steal second base and keep our foot on the first”. Thus, soon after his consecration in 2002, he started sharing his visions about youth formation, empowerment and model hostel he felt should create opportunities for our future leaders, Sam Glick says” don’t stand shivering upon the bank; plunge in at once and have it over with”. The Archbishop was convinced that the vision is worth translating into reality. He priests and lay faithful gave him every support.

It takes rain and sunshine to make a rainbow. Yet, “deliberation is the work of many men but action, is of one alone”. He immediately started with the acquisition of land, the architectural and engineering drawings, plans for fund raising and finally by divine intervention, the Youth Village is today a reality.

The Church, being an institution that is skilled in human formation came up with wonderful plan with facilities to realize the vision of the Youth Village for the actualization of her mission. The facilities include: two pairs of three storey hostel buildings each for both male and female students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University; 600 en-suite rooms with almost 1200 bed spaces complete with wardrobe, ceiling fan, beds, reading tables and baggage spaces, other facilities include outdoor and indoor game areas, common and visitors lodge and equipped laundry rooms as well as Internet café, shops, canteen and kitchen at every floor and study rooms powered by electricity and solar, 250KVA and 350KVA gen sets to ensure constant power supply, water boreholes, electricity connection with separate transformer, well organized transportation system, sporting facilities and a police post for security.

There is intention to have similar structures in other schools but the Archbishop prefers commencing with Unizik named after our revered Nnamdi Azikiwe to give the state the nobility expected of that institution so that graduating students do not just graduate with laurels but character and academic success for which institutions of higher learning are known.

Truly, the Holy Family Youth Village Hostels is a realized dream. We are already witnessing the fruits of our effort. We started with 14 students in 2009. Today we number over 900. We won the best hostel in Unizik in 2011 and the best in Eastern region in 2012. Academically, in the debate competition organized for all the students of Unizik by the Students’ Union Government in 2012, our students took the overall first, and also the first- and second-best speakers; we have free German, Spanish, French and Italian language courses for students who are interested. In 2012, the hostel came out with a movie in four parts: Agony in the Temple and Synagogue on Fire to let our people know the fact about life in our tertiary institutions; in 2013 we came up with our maiden journal (THE HOFA JOURNAL) and this year 2014 we are blessed with our maiden magazine (THE BLUE BLOOD MAGAZINE). In 2018 and 2019 we built the Holy Family Bread Factory and a house for Aquavita water factory and shopping mall. These were done from internally generated revenue and little donation from the Rector, Fr. Dominic Obielosi. In sports, we warn gold in the female soccer team competition organized by the Nigerian Federation of Catholic students. Spiritually, we have masses twice daily, confessions every Thursday and Adoration every Friday. Non-Catholics also go for their services.

We are grateful to God for the Youth village; we thank our sponsors and all the sundry architects of the success story of today. We modify Teilhard de Chardin to say: “For all that have been thanks. For all that be, yes”.


A hostel that has more than 500 living rooms and then study rooms/libraries laundry rooms, kitchens and sitting rooms and boasts of more than 969 students and 29 staff, which is just barely ten years old, has produced 8 Students Union Government top officials, about 24 Student Council Representatives, more than 20 students handling important leadership positions in their various departments, more than 20 entrepreneurs, more than 14 beauty queens of which one of the princesses was crowned the Most Beautiful Girl in Anambra State, about 10 authors, 5 singers/artistes and more than 15 sports champions and so many aspects, indeed has numerous achievements and greater ones to come.

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