Report and Pictures from the Rise National Youth Forum 2010 in Calabar, Nigeria by Esther Eshiet

The New Arts Theatre of the University of Calabar came alive on Saturday, the 13th of November 2010, playing host to the RISE National Youth Forum Calabar edition. The event which drew the attendance of over 3000 youths featured seminar presentations by Iquo Ukoh, Oronto  Douglas and Toyosi Akerele.

The Calabar event which marked the last in the series of RISE events whose train has visited Lagos, Ibadan, Akure, Owerri, Asaba, Port Harcourt, clamoring the need  for Nigerian youths to wake up and be the change they want to see in the society.

The keynotes:  Oronoto Douglas ,the Senior Special Assistant on Research, Documentation and Strategy to President Goodluck Jonathan,  spoke on the topic: A framework for national Youth Transformation; youth at the centre stage. He stressed the need for young people not to wait to be employed but rather to be employers themselves.

Based on her over 30 years of corporate experience; Entrepreneurship and the road map for school to work transition was thoroughly facilitated by Iquo Ukoh , the first and only female Director of Nestle Nigeria PLC.

According to Ukoh, “If you want to predict  your future, you have to create it” She narrated the stages which young people have to take in planning their lives, through a clear goal setting, having a dream and following such dream through. She also stated the processes of setting up a business, the obstacles that exist in running a business and the need for every entrepreneur to be creative in overcoming such obstacles.

“You have the luxury of your parents home now,by the time to graduate you would be thoroughly irritating them” -Iquo Ukoh, admonishing young people to plan their future

Toyosi Akerele, Convener of RISE charged young people in her speech to think differently, organize differently and act differently for the attainment of the Nigeria of our dreams. She young people to be build themselves that leadership starts now. In her words ‘”When I was a child I was told i am the leader of tomorrow, and uptill this age we are still singing the same slogan; its either we were told a lie or we are living in an illusion. On the 2011 elections, Toyosi stated that Nigerian youths need to take their rightful place in the scheme of things in the country. According to her:

If we allow 2011 to pass us by without us electing the leaders of our choice and dreams, Nigeria would never change again! – Toyosi Akerele – Convener, RISE

Side attractions at the event included comedy, debates and raffle draws.

Some pictures…

Post Author: Esther Eshiet

Esther Eshiet is a human sexuality educator and women's and girls' rights activist. She served as GYCA's Nigeria Focal Point in 2007 and a Regional Focal Point in 2008. She is a graduate of Girls Power Initiative 3-year Comprehensive Sexuality and Life Management program, and has worked as a peer health educator and volunteer for the Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria. She played lead roles in several projects such as the "Youth with Future" project, a youth mobilization program, and the "We are one" project, an HIV/ AIDS integration program. Esther was also involved with the Global Youth Action Network/World Bank "Youth in Action" project, the GPI's HIV/AIDS work place policy drafting committee, and a World Citizen educational program. Currently, she is involved in a Youth Action for Change-Forgotten Dairies project and also studying social work at the University of Calabar, Nigeria.

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