United Nations Information Centre Lagos Nigeria, in collaboration with an NGO – Strategy for Mentoring Initiative and Leadership Empowerment (S.M.I.L.E) organized a Forum on Monday 12 August 2013 to mark International Youth Day. Organizers of the event

The event which was held in the context of the global celebrations theme: ‘’Youth migration: Moving development forward’’ at Ogudu GRA Recreation Centre, Lagos,
attracted about 500 Youth participants, NGOS and the media. Also in attendance were the Permanent Secretary, Office of Youths and Social Development, Lagos State – Dr. J.A. Oshinyimika and Head of Lagos Office, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) – Dr. Omolaso Omosehin.
Cross Section of Participants
The highlight of the event was the Discussion forum which addressed some pertinent issues bothering on the well-being of Nigerian youth. The panel resource persons comprised of young accomplished and passionate individuals from different walks of life who specialize in the areas of youth development and capacity building and are well known to the Nigerian youth and the public.

Prior to the Panel discussion, the President of S.M.I.L.E. – Mrs. Bimpe Bamgbose-Martins, in her welcome address, highlighted the objectives of the event as celebrating the youth; re-awakening their hope; addressing their challenges as well as pointing them to the potentials and opportunities ahead of them.

Mrs. Olajumoke Araba, the Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Lagos read the Secretary General’s message.

The Guest Speaker – Mr. Gbenga Folayan (Managing Partner, Rosettes Associates) who spoke on the theme of the day, had the following advice for the Nigerian Youth before they migrate: “Explore fully the local economy for emerging opportunities and ways to position yourself. Look to position yourself through education, specific skills development and an entrepreneurial spirit. Think of areas where you can make a difference and set up something of your own”; “Consider temporary migration to acquire education and skills”.

In his Goodwill message, Dr. Oshinyimika- Lagos State Permanent Secretary, Office of Youths and Social Development, reiterated that “Using migration situation in Lagos state, as a case study, the fast growing population of young people in the state as a result of influx from other states of the Federation, has compounded the challenges confronting the State and the youth themselves”. He said this is a burgeoning issue that calls for synergy of all relevant stakeholders to proffer solutions to these challenges.

Dr. Omosehin (UNFPA), expressed his concern over decline in moral standards as a reflection of our society, adding that the enduring values of parents usually robs off on their children. He emphasized the need for parents to model good values to their children because moral standards learnt from the school is inadequate.

Observations from Discussion Forum

Youth asked seventy-five questions ranging from migration, career development, skill acquisition, handling peer pressure, building self-esteem, cultivating good values, parental influence in decision making and starting out as entrepreneurs to which the members of the panel were able to answer almost all with the exception of a few within the stipulated time.

Pertinent Points raised by the youth

Directed to parents:
Parents are enjoined to understand their wards, guide by modelling sound character, help in career choice without impeding on the preferences of their children. The reality is, times have changed.

Directed to Government:
Should come up with developmental programmes that are beneficial to them. Provide basic infrastructures and create platforms for them.

Directed to the media and entertainment world:
As they are a major influence on the teeming youth, who can impact lives either negatively or positively, they are enjoined to project good values that esteem both gender and promote our culture.

Music and Entertainment
Participants were entertained by two youth Comedians – Saco and Mc Morris and a Music band- Posse Immaculate