RISE, Nigeria’s leading Youth Interaction Centre has proved critics wrong by taking ‘DARE TO BE DIFFERENT’ NATIONAL INTERACTIVE YOUTH FORUM out of Lagos to 7 other Nigerian cities. ‘Dare to Be Different’ National Interactive Youth Forum was borne out of a need to encourage, empower, enlighten and educate the Nigerian Youths about issues that affect their everyday life. The Enugu event which held on the 18th July 2009 at the DANNIC HOTELS played host to over 1,800 youths from neighbouring communities like Awka, Owerri (for those who missed the Owerri edition), Ebonyi and Port Harcourt.
The Interactive Youth Forum is enriched with experiences and lessons of the excelled and established of our time, which RISE believes will help the participants work out a structure and plan for their own life and make critical decisions which will positively affect their lives. To ensure that this focus is effectively achieved, there are various sessions in the programme asides the Speakers presentation that gives the youths more opportunity to talk about issues affecting them in the academic institution, workplace environment and the society at large. The Interactive session with Guest Speakers gives the participants opportunity to ask any question from all the Guest Speakers while the Interactive session with Young Entrepreneurs borders on the topics (Sexuality, HIV & Aids, and Prostitution & Yahoo-Yahoo). The Confidence of Youth session gives chance for a little demonstration of confidence anywhere you go and Nigeria Youth Message Document Adoption which is a compilation of all comments from Speakers and Participants suggesting solutions and ideas to all stakeholders in the youth sector on how the youths can be seen as an instrument for change in Nigeria rather than a weapon for Mass destruction.
Unlike other locations covered so far (Lagos and Owerri), it was amazing to see young people troop in from various parts of the state, despite the ASUU strike. Present as Guest Speakers at the event to open the hearts of the participants on how to overcome various challenges include Mrs. Iquo Ukoh (Consumer Maximization Manager, Nestle Nigeria), Mr. Mitchell Elegbe (MD/CEO, Interswitch Nigeria Ltd) and Dr. Okey Ikechukwu (Special Adviser to the Vice President of the World Bank). Other distinguished personalities who spoke at the event are Mr. Uzoma Onwuchekwa (MD, EXP Nigeria Ltd) and Mr. Chidi Odinkalu (Senior Legal Officer of Open Society Justice Initiative and a visiting Harvard Professor). As always, Telecommunication giant, MTN was there to ensure the participants had a Y’hello experience. Other major brands present to ensure the success of the Event include NESCAFE, DANA AIR, NIGERIAN BOTTLING COMPANY, MACLEANS AND VERVE.
Young entrepreneurs were celebrated in the course of the event and the participants were engaged in a thought-provoking session of what they thought RISE stands for. The participant, Aja Reuben, who won the prize for this session made a very spectacular statement. In his opinion, “RISE makes you a crocodile amongst lizards”.
While the Enugu Youths are still reeling in the euphoria of the RISE event, Benin youths have rolled the drums out for the National Interactive Youth Forum scheduled to hold at the Peniel Chapel, Benson Idahosa University, 2nd Ugbor Road, GRA, Benin City on the 1st of August, 2009.