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No Country Can Develop By Prayers Alone – Lessons from Rise Networks /UN International Youth Day 2016

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Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Former Secretary General of the Common Wealth of Nations and Chairman of the occasion speaking during the #IYD2016NG event.

Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Former Secretary General of the Common Wealth of Nations and Chairman of the occasion speaking during the #IYD2016NG event.

As the University of Lagos was lit last week in commemoration of the 2016 UN International Youth Day on Saturday, August 13th, 2016. Nigerian youths have been advised to make the best of their situation by embracing entrepreneurship and innovation in order to eradicate poverty. The event had in attendance some of Nigeria’s brightest minds and successful entrepreneurs, including

The event had in attendance some of Nigeria’s brightest minds and successful entrepreneurs, including Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Kunle Afolayan, Audu Maikori, Joy Isi Bewaji, Aishah Ahmad, Okechukwu Ofili, Nkemdilim Begho and Dr. Olusegun Mimiko who was represented. One of the highlights of the occasion was the moment participants discovered that it was

One of the highlights of the occasion was the moment participants discovered that it was Audu Maikori’s Birthday yet he decided to share the day with them. Also, Joy Isi Bewaji’s bold utterances about Nigeria’s leaders whom she accused of “stealing everything and leaving the youths with nothing” was received with wild cheers from the crowd of over 2000 Students who attended the Program. She blamed religion, culture and patriarchy for the prevalent poverty problem in Nigeria while urging youths to reject everything the elders have taught them as it will not take them anywhere.

Speaking at the occasion, the Program Chairman, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, who was the first person to arrive at the event, said he does not subscribe to the opinion that “Africans own the clock while the white men own the time”; hence his punctuality. His speech focused on the International Youth Day 2016 themed Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Production and Consumption, and in his words-

  • Youths are important agents of social change and for this reason, their contributions to sustainable development are necessary.
  • Youths should embrace entrepreneurship and make use of opportunities available to them especially opportunities available in the agricultural sector.
Kunle Soriyan, Founder Olakunle Soriyan Company delivering the opening remarks during the #IYD2016NG event.

Kunle Soriyan, Founder Olakunle Soriyan Company delivering the opening remarks during the #IYD2016NG event.

Another useful advice was also given by the other speakers who spoke in turns to a captivated audience:

  • Aishah Ahmad told the participants that the only way they can benefit from the multiple streams of income available to them is by learning the useful skills, changing their mindsets and ridding themselves of poverty mentality and then looking out for problems within their locality to which they can proffer solution. She stressed the fact that wealth can only be redistributed from the rich to the poor if only the latter can create value to attract the former’s riches.
  • Okechukwu Ofili of Okada Books also spoke, saying that Nigeria lacks innovation because society makes it seem like problems can only be solved through prayers and narrating the story of how he managed to overcome dyslexia as a child, Okechukwu Ofili said youths can still survive in Nigeria if only they could strive hard to be innovative.
  • Nkemdilim Begho discussed the immense opportunities that ICT offers. She advised them to make use of these opportunities as ICT is key to the sustainable development drive.

Recounting how he quit his paid employment to pursue his passion for filmmaking, Kunle Afolayan encouraged young and aspiring filmmakers to always endeavor to develop their crafts first before wishing for riches and fame. He recognized that there are opportunities in Nollywood for the youths, however, only the talented and skilled ones can be successful in the industry.

The Nigerian commemoration of the 2016 International Youth Day event also witnessed an interactive session during which the young people got the opportunity to ask questions and air their views. Some representatives of our sponsors and partners such as Nigeria Bottling Company, Loya Milk, Printmagicng.com, Close Up and Diamond Bank gave out tonnes of freebies to the excited participants who were seen leaving the venue chatting in groups about the impact of the event on them and how much they intend to move from motivation to action.

Photos from the event:

Participants registering by the registration stand at the #IYD2016NG event

Participants registering by the registration stand at the #IYD2016NG event

There was plenty of room for audience members to ask questions as well as contribute to the discussion at the #IYD2016NG event

There was plenty of room for audience members to ask questions as well as contribute to the discussion at the #IYD2016NG event

A cross section of participants at the #IYD2016NG event.

A cross section of participants at the #IYD2016NG event.

 L-R: Kunle Soriyan, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Shade Morgan and Joy Isi Bewaji at the #IYD2016 event.

L-R: Kunle Soriyan, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Shade Morgan and Joy Isi Bewaji at the #IYD2016 event.

 The Head of Consumer Banking and Investment at Diamond Bank PLC and Chairperson of WIMBIZ, Ms. Aishah Ahmad at the #IYD2016NG event as she called on youths to develop the right attitudes and useful skills that will enable them tap into the multiple streams of income available to them.

The Head of Consumer Banking and Investment at Diamond Bank PLC and Chairperson of WIMBIZ, Aishah Ahmad at the #IYD2016NG event as she called on youths to develop the right attitudes and useful skills that will enable them tap into the multiple streams of income available to them.

 Some of our volunteers at the #IYD2016NG event

Some of our volunteers at the #IYD2016NG event

Prominent Nigerian filmmaker, Kunle Afolayan discussing the opportunities present in Nollywood for Nigerian youths at the #IYD2016NG.

Prominent Nigerian filmmaker, Kunle Afolayan discussing the opportunities present in Nollywood for Nigerian youths at the #IYD2016NG.

A cross section of the audience showing engrossed youths as they listen intently to the speakers during the #IYD2016NG event.

A cross section of the audience showing engrossed youths as they listen intently to the speakers during the #IYD2016NG event.

 L-R: Kunle Soriyan engrossed in discussion with Chief Emeka Anyaoku as the latter listens intently at the #IYD2016NG event.

L-R: Kunle Soriyan engrossed in discussion with Chief Emeka Anyaoku as the latter listens intently at the #IYD2016NG event.

The MC of the occasion Oscar Gbemileke coordinating the event at the #IYD2016NG

The MC of the occasion Oscar Gbemileke coordinating the event at the #IYD2016NG

Audu Maikori, Lawyer and Music Mogul speaking on the need for Public-Private partnership in the entertainment sector at the #IYD2016NG event.

Audu Maikori, Lawyer and Music Mogul speaking on the need for Public-Private partnership in the entertainment sector at the #IYD2016NG event.

One of the speakers Nkemdilim Begho, CEO of FutureSoft speaking on the importance of ICT as a useful weapon Nigerian youths can use to combat poverty at the #IYD2016NG event.

One of the speakers Nkemdilim Begho, CEO of FutureSoft speaking on the importance of ICT as a useful weapon Nigerian youths can use to combat poverty at the #IYD2016NG event.

Joy Isi Bewaji, Feminist Writer, delivering her speech at the #IYD2016NG event as she expressed her concerns that the older generation is stealing everything and leaving the youths with nothing.

Joy Isi Bewaji, Feminist Writer, delivering her speech at the #IYD2016NG event as she expressed her concerns that the older generation is stealing everything and leaving the youths with nothing.

Sade Morgan, the Legal, Public Affairs and Communications Director of the Nigerian Bottling Company delivering a brand talk during the #IYD2016NG event.

Sade Morgan, the Legal, Public Affairs and Communications Director of the Nigerian Bottling Company delivering a brand talk during the #IYD2016NG event.

Guest Speaker Okechukwu Ofili of Okada Books delivering his speech at the #IYD2016NG event.

Guest Speaker Okechukwu Ofili of Okada Books delivering his speech at the #IYD2016NG event.

Kunle Afolayan, responding to questions while Nkemdilim Begho, Okechukwu Ofili and Kunle Soriyan looks on at the #IYD2016NG event.

Kunle Afolayan, responding to questions while Nkemdilim Begho, Okechukwu Ofili and Kunle Soriyan looks on at the #IYD2016NG event.

 Group Photography; L-R: Oscar Gbemileke, Nkemdilim Begho, Okechukwu Ofili, Kunle Afolayan, Kunle Soriyan and Lanre Olu-Adeyemi.

Group Photography; L-R: Oscar Gbemileke, Nkemdilim Begho, Okechukwu Ofili, Kunle Afolayan,
Kunle Soriyan and Lanre Olu-Adeyemi.

Lanre Olu-Adeyemi, Senior Special Assistant to the Ondo State Governor on Special Duties, Research and Strategy representing the Governor at the #IYD2016NG event.

Lanre Olu-Adeyemi, Senior Special Assistant to the Ondo State Governor on Special Duties, Research and Strategy representing the Governor at the #IYD2016NG event.

This Program was hosted by Rise Networks, Nigeria’s Leading Social Enterprise on Youth in Education, Entrepreneurship and Public Service in partnership with the UN Office in Nigeria to mark the 2016 Celebration of the United Nations International Youth Day.

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BellaNaija is a Media Partner of Rise Networks

4 Comments

  1. Work and pray

    August 23, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    That’s what the good said,we have to fight crime in all sectors to bring back the dignity of labour,lawlessness as encouraged a lot of our people to try the short cuts.There must be strong reprimand and consequences for all criminal acts.

  2. Prince

    August 23, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    I totally agree. In as much as prayer is very important, a country cannot succeed on it alone. The bible says faith without work is dead.

  3. Deji

    August 23, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    I am happy the speakers see the dangers of an overly religious society. It hasn’t taken us anywhere.
    Over reliance on book knowledge, I am first class etc. The 21st century does not care about those things! Our society needs a paradigm shift esp. We d youths.

  4. engr

    August 24, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    i wish i was in LAGOS……….. Youths are important agents of social change LET CHANGE THE WORLD

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