(By Rise Networks)

Oil is not the greatest asset of our country, however, it is the most dwelled upon and our overdependence on it has created a setback in our economy

In a move to build the capacity of young Nigerians towards embracing radical change and innovation in preparation for the diversification of Nigeria’s Economy, the HANDS ON SKILLS campaign was conceived. The 6th edition of the Rise National Youth Forum (Umudike Session) was held on the 21st of March, 2014 at the Michael Okpara University, Umudike, Abia State and it was indeed an educative, interactive and life transforming event.

The event which took place at the school’s largest auditorium (Pius Anyim Auditorium) had over 2,000 participants in attendance.


Cross-Section of Participants at the Rise National Youth Forum, Umudike Session.

The event which was tagged “Nigeria Beyond oil” with the aim of making Nigerian youths see the need to embrace vocational skills instead of waiting for the unavailable white collar jobs, was graced by five Dynamic Change Agents that included: Professor Pat Utomi, Lagos business school; Mr Reginald Nworka, Head of SME projects, International Finance Corporation, Mr Onyeka  Akumah, Founder of Qwikgist.com, Mr Nnaemeka Ikegwonu Founder/CEO Small Holders Foundation and Jerry Eze, President of Streams of Joy International. The school’s Vice-Chancellor, his wife and other principal officers were also in attendance.

The speakers took to the stage to deliver excellent lectures backed with beautiful PowerPoint presentations to explain the need for every Nigerian youth to embrace vocational skill as the solution to the current unemployment menace ravaging Nigeria’s Economy.


Speakers From L-R (Mr Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu- Founder of Small Holders Foundation, Mr David – MTN Nigeria, Pastor Jerry Eze – President of Streams of Joy International, Mrs Gina Edeoga, Wife of the VC, Prof.Pat Utomi – Lagos Business School, Prof Hilary Odo Edeoga- VC of Michael Okpara University, Umudike,Abia State, Miss Toyosi Akerele – Founder of Rise Networks, Mr Reginald Nworka- Head of SME projects and Mr onyeka Akumah-Founder of Qwikgist.com)

Mr. Reginald Nworka spoke on the topic “SME GROWTH, BEST PRACTICES AND THE RIGHT TOOLS OF TRADE IN THE DIGITAL AGE”, explained the challenges, opportunities, weaknesses, and strengths of setting up an enterprise. He encouraged youths to invest the little they have to set up small scale businesses rather than stay idle waiting for company jobs.

Professor Pat Utomi which was the second speaker spoke on “BETWEEN NIGERIA’S HUMAN RESOURCE AND OIL WELLS, HOW SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP WINS CAPITALISM” He made the youths realize that oil is not the greatest asset of our country, however, it is the most dwelled upon and our overdependence on it has created a setback in our economy. He also said that our country needs to create jobs for her populace so that we can lead other world economy.

The third speaker Mr Onyeka Akumah drove home the need for Nigerian youths to harness the potentials within them to make wealththrough his topic “OPEN AND CONNECTED: OPPORTUNITIES, CASE STUDIES AND LESSONS IN NIGERIA’S TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS” He emphasized that the youths should know when opportunities come and how to grab them. He defined entrepreneurship in his own context as a means of starting or running a business especially when it involves taking risks. In addition, he said “if you don’t build your dream someone else will hire you to build his own”

The last speaker, Mr Nnaemeka Ikegwonu spoke on “AGRICULTURE AS A VIABLE BUSINESS FOR SUSTAINABLE JOB CREATION IN NIGERIA” he charged the Youths to embrace agriculture as a Business. He shared some of his pet projects in schools across his home town. He went further by giving cost analysis of starting some agricultural produce in Nigeria.

Jerry Eze, who was introduced by Miss Toyosi Akerele, Founder of Rise Networks gave the closing remark by charging the youths to make something meaningful out of their lives.

A raffle draw was organised by the lead sponsor (MTN) of the event where three lucky individuals emerged and walked away with a Laptop and Internet Moderm each.


The MTN team with the Three Lucky Raffle Draw Winners with their Laptops and Internet Modems 

The VC’s wife, Mrs Giwa Edeoga thanked everyone for participating, said words of prayers and thanked God for a successful program and the forum was officially brought to an end.