(By Rise Networks)

The Nigerian Commemoration of the United Nations Youth Day event which was organized by Rise Networks held on the 27th of August, 2014 at the Main Auditorium of the University of Lagos Akoka, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria. The event was organized to celebrate the International Youth Day which comes up on the 12th of August every year.

With  over 2,000 participants, the 3 part Youth Celebration event featured: An Art and Photo Exhibition, A Satirical Stage Play and An Inter – generational Dialogue on Entrepreneurship, Education, Security and Quality of Governance to critically analyze the challenges faced by Nigerian Youths and speak to the current realities that affect their mental state of wellbeing.

Notable personalities at the event included:

Senator Liyel Imoke – Executive Governor of Cross River State (Opening Keynote Speaker)

Mrs Folorunsho Alakija – MD/CEO Famfa Oil and Rose of Sharon Group (Second Keynote Speaker)

Mr. Jimi Agbaje – Chairman, JayKay Pharmacy Limited

Hon. Patrick Obahiagbon – Representative of the Edo State Governor

Dr. Joe Okei Odumakin – Executive Director, Campaign for Democracy

Ms. Kate Henshaw – Leading Nollywood Actress and Entrepreneur

Barr. Festus Keyamo – Session Moderator.


Hon. Patrick Obahiagbon – Edo State Governor’s Chief of Staff, delivering his speech at the RISEUNIYD2014 event

The event started with a short prayer and recitation of the National Anthem and Pledge. Thereafter, the Executive Governor of Cross River – Senator Liyel Imoke gave his Opening Keynote Address.

Sen. Liyel Imoke (CON) based his keynote address on the four areas that are affecting the mental wellbeing of Nigerian Youths.


Senator Liyel Imoke – Executive Governor of Cross River State, delivering his Keynote Speech at  the RISEUNIYD2014 event

Sen. Liyel Imoke shared his journey to the Government House with the audience; his early life, education, sacrifices and how he eventually got to his present position. He challenged the participants to be involved in politics, reminding them that the youths are in the majority and they should use their energy to effect the needed changes in the society. He encouraged the participants to stop seeing themselves as failures and get involved in the business of politics.

After the Keynote Address from Senator Liyel Imoke, the representative of the Edo State Governor, in person of Hon. Patrick Obahiagbon delivered his speech.


A Section of Participants at the RISEUNIYD2014 event

Hon. Patrick started his speech by apologizing on behalf of the Governor who could not make it down to the event. Thereafter, he went on to bare it all on the state of the Nation. He went down memory lane to talk about the achievements of the Nigerian Heroes with emphasis on their ages at that time. He compared their achievements with what is obtainable amongst the Youths of today. He went further by saying that the provision of Quality Education, Security, and Employment are the duties of any responsible Government. He advised the youths to shun violence and all forms of political thuggery and channel their strength towards achieving greatness. He called on the Federal Government to invest in Social Infrastructure and establishment of multi- purpose Vocational Centers as doing so will create more jobs in the country.


Ms. Toyosi Akerele, CEO Rise Networks with Sen. Liyel Imoke, Executive Governor of Cross River State at the RISEUNIYD2014 EVENT

The next Speaker was Kate Henshaw – Leading Nollywood Actress and Entrepreneur. She encouraged Nigerian Youths to see themselves as Young African Leaders as a natural succession is required. She went further to challenge the participants by asking how prepared they are to take up the mantle of Leadership. She said there is no government all over the world who can create jobs for every single citizen of their country so we as Nigerians have to be involved in the transformation of our economy and wellbeing.


Ms. Kate Henshaw – Leading Nollywood Actress and Entrepreneur, delivering her speech at the RISEUNIYD2014 event

The Third Speaker was Dr. Joe Okei Odumakin – Executive Director, Campaign for Democracy. She lamented on  the heightened level of Insecurity in the country and the attitude of the Government to the #BBOG (Bring Back Our Girls) campaign. Dr. Odumakin went further by saying that most of our youths have been brainwashed and if only our leaders realise that the youths are the Brainbox of Nigeria’s today and tomorrow, they will be more concerned about their wellbeing. She spoke on the failing standard of Education in the country, stating that education in the 21st century has gone beyond the four walls of a classroom and the Government of the day must start looking at alternative measures towards improving the standard. She said Elections are the backbone of any Government and therefore charged the participants to:

R- Register

S – Select the best and brightest candidate

V – Vote

P – Protect their vote


L-R: Barr. Festus Keyamo; Mrs Folorunsho Alakija, CEO of Famfa Oil; Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, President of Campaign For Democracy; Ms. Toyosi Akerele, CEO of Rise Network; Sen. Liyel Imoke (CON), Governor Of Cross River State & Mr Jimi Agbaje (OON), Chairman, Jaykay Pharmacy Limited at the RISEUNIYD2014 event

The Fourth Speaker was Mr. Jimi Agbaje (OON) – Chairman, JayKay Pharmacy Limited. He talked about the dwindling standard of Education in the country as a major cause of low self – esteem among Nigerian Youths which affects their choices and mental wellbeing. He mentioned some of the privileges available now that were not in existence then and how those privileges (If used judiciously) can bring about the needed change. He encouraged the youths to take charge of the Nation by participating in Elections as Electorates and Candidates. He said the youths are the majority so they should be the game changers as politics is just a game of numbers. He charged the participants by advising them to have the right knowledge and skill in relation to their dreams.


Mr. Jimi Agbaje – Chairman, JayKay Pharmacy Limited, delivering his speech at the RISEUNIYD2014 event

The Second Keynote Speaker, Mrs Folorunsho Alakija – MD/CEO Famfa Oil and Rose of Sharon Group, started her speech by giving praises to God for all he has done in her life. She shared her success story with the participants and charged them to be close and remain steadfast in the lord. She shared some of the best practices for Entrepreneurship and Business using her life as a case study. She charged participants to understand the concept of Entrepreneurship and must have at least four role models as that is the only way to succeed in any business.


Mrs Folorunsho Alakija – MD/CEO Famfa Oil and Rose of Sharon Group, delivering her Keynote Speech at  the RISEUNIYD2014 event


A Satirical Stage Play was delivered by the Crown Troupe of Africa illustrating the real state of Nigeria.

Panel Discussion.

The panel discussion section of the event was moderated by Barrister Festus Keyamo. The section gave participants the opportunity to ask questions and make comments about some of the issues raised by the speakers earlier in the course of the event and it was it was indeed an educative, interactive and life transforming session.


From L – R (Barr. Festus Keyamo, Mrs Folorunsho Alakija, Senator Liyel Imoke and Mr Jimi Agbaje) during the Panel Discussion session of the RISEUNIYD2014 event