Alhamdulillahi, I give thanks to God that I was able to fulfil the promise I made on the 22nd of June when I set up the non profit foundation The Council for Youth Empowerment. I had promised to use my funds to empower Nigerian youths in business as a direct affirmation of my belief that Nigeria will never grow rich by what is under the ground rather wealth will come by what is between Nigerian’s ears. On Thursday the 19th of August 2010, at 11:00am at the Cross River hall of the Transcorp Hilton Hotels Abuja, the first and second prize winners, Aboyowa Etchie and Ikechukwu Anthony Ndibe, were given $5000 each as well as business start up advice and mentoring by members of the council.
I thank Professor Pat Utomi who chaired the event and announced an additional training to the youths who won first and second prize. I am also indebted to Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, The Chairman and Publisher of Thisday newspapers who gave an additional grant of $5000 to each of the winners. My heartfelt gratitude equally go to my brother, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, who inspired the youths with his key note address delivered extempore. Thanks are also due to Oronto Douglas, the Senior Special Assistant on Strategy to President Goodluck Jonathan and an environmentalist who has offered an internship to the second prize winner. And then there is Doyin Okupe who made his presence felt by offering insider advice to the winners on how they can take their ideas to the next level.
At this stage, I will want to thank Reno Omokri, the CEO of the Council, who conceived of the Business Proposal contest and members of the Council led by the Chairman of the Board, Otto Williams for lending their invaluable time and intellect towards developing the Project and the Council as a whole. There were also numerous people in attendance and if I do not mention their names it is only because of space and time, but I do appreciate their attendance.
As I said before, the Council though independent of myself is not a one of event. It is a foundation which is part of a process which will never (insha Allahu) cease to function as long as there is poverty in Nigeria. With this Council playing its small part along with other like minded institutions and individuals, I believe Nigeria can as MKO Abiola said in 1993 bid ‘farewell to poverty’ in the coming decades.
Nasir El Rufai