OKIEMUTE Juliet Ikokide is the founder, Talk Sense Consult (TSC), a counseling outfit in Lagos with an outreach in Benin, Edo State. Over the years, she has nurtured a dream of ensuring that ‘lost and wayward’ children are given new direction. The Delta State indigene bagged a first class honours degree in Biology Education from the University of Benin (UNIBEN). She also holds a Master’s degree in Environment and Safety Health Education from the same institution. A member of the Nigerian Institute of Safety professionals, she tells CHIEMEREM-NNEKA UMENNE her vision for the young ones, why a child would behave differently and other young-at -heart issues.
I attended St. Francis Catholic Secondary School, Idimu, Lagos. I’m the first child of my parents’ six children. I am a conflict/ relationship manager, teacher and consultant on teenage and parental issues.
Growing up was fun, but not exactly complete because I had ideas, dreams and aspirations but there was no one to share them with. Neither was there anyone to help achieve them. I also had complaints but no one to relate them to. I was confused most of the times. Peer pressures, among other factors, contributed and I really wished I had someone to talk to. As I grew older, I decided to create a forum that would help young people meet their needs academically, socially and emotionally. I also realised that a lot of young people could choose the path of violence in expressing themselves, which some people attribute to demonic influence. Such violent act could also divert potentials. During my undergraduate days, I had the concept — Talk Sense Consults — to build self-confidence, cordial relationships between and among young people and equip them for future roles as nation builders.
Vision/ driving force
I realised through research and experience that our society could be healthier, safer and more productive if we all related with one another. When such norms are primarily imbibed in young ones as leaders of tomorrow, the society would be better. I long to build positive morals and boost confidence in the youths by ensuring that a cordial productive relationship exists among them. This, in turn, will build a better society and also a better Nigeria at large. I counsel my clients on ensuring that purposeful relations are sustained in the best possible ways and with available resources within their power. It was founded in 2004, but was registered in 2008. It specialises in moulding young people of impressionable age into moral exemplary characters in the society. It organises educative seminars for young people in schools, religious complexes and other exhaustible platforms where young people shares their ideas, social problems, learn from each other and proffer solutions. There is an over indulgence of immorality in present day Nigeria. Young people now leave school for Internet fraud (yahoo yahoo) among other bad activities. They have suddenly left good principles behind. We can’t continue to blame one another for this ugly trend other than look for a solution. Such bad morals are caused by bad influence from either internal or external peer movement.
TSC is out to curtail these downward trends. I am also concerned about individuals who find it difficult to express their dreams as a result of either not growing up in the right environment, unaware about life challenges and how to cope with them, non guidance or wrong choices made in the past. I help the individuals interpret and understand themselves. I believe in change a person, change the world. Yes we can do it.
Achieving positive trends among youths
I work with psychologists, counsellors, educators and researchers of like minds who specialises in exposing young people to life forms and practices beyond their immediate environment. I ensure that interactive sessions are observed to ascertain the child’s level of reasoning, understanding of life with a follow up activities. I ensure equal opportunity that promotes diversity and value differences with an interest to bridging the gap between information gained and information disseminated. To further strengthen this, I encourage that families keep a steady relationship with their children.
Adolescents because they are the future presidents, lawmakers, governors, professors and generally our nation’s future. We groom them today; and for the future. We implore effective communication. Children have very formative minds. It is the values they are exposed to at home they bring to the society. If not well informed, they are likely to deviate. Young people that already have problems at home and are looking for someone who would just see reason with them are ready to talk to a listening ear. I give that listening ear. I locate the problem and work with the individual to solve it.
Focus for 2010
The launch of TSC’s leadership training programme. This we hope to achieve by bringing school principals and other stakeholders in the education sector on board. We have been constantly involved in the yearly AIDS walk. We also intend to have other forums and seminars this year.
Authoring motivational books
There is need to constantly remind these lost children about life challenges and expectancy. I sorted to spice it by having a reminder book for parents as well as the kids to read. The first, Understanding your Adolescent Child, published in 2004, was written for parents to help them understand their teenage wards, have a healthy relationship with them and the winning child, published in 2006 for children between the age of seven and 12, to help them understand the importance of living right. We also publish PEARLS, a bi-monthly newsletter for the young at heart.
Convincing some parent and learning institutions that we can help them with the problems they are having with their teenager. They often wonder the magic I would perform but in the end, they see changes in the child. Another is perception of motivational speakers in the society. Finance is a major challenge because all pearls’ copies are given out free to secondary school students.
To be a foremost advocate for peoples’ relationships. To set up an international standard center for human health and social development for young people.
Rating Nigeria’s youth
Today’s Nigerian youths are intelligent as any other first class youth around the world, hardworking but sometimes, are externally influenced. We just need to be more focused and keep our eyes on the harvest.
Source of inspiration
God. My father, Dr. Zeb Olusanmi Ikokide is my role model. Dr. Myles Monroe’s books mentor me. I love reading his books. He is a great teacher and genuine motivational speaker.
I like uncommon but smart and descent looking wears. I dislike uniform dresses because they are in vogue and that is not fashion for me. Originality, I like to highlight in my outfits.
I use affordable but good pink- shade lipsticks preferably Dior. I like Marc, Iman and Mary Kay brands. I am making a trial on Orekelewa.
Never worn kit
At any point in time, I will never be seen wearing a skimpy, spaghetti or mini-skirt dress. I love native attire and casual- Jean fit but not tight.