The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, says it is ready to launch a talent hunt programme aimed at discovering and exposing creative youths and women of the Niger Delta region to take advantage of the thriving entertainment industry.
The Interim Administrator, Mr. Efiong Akwa disclosed this during a meeting with some key actors in the creative industry at the Rivers State office of the NDDC in Port Harcourt where he said that the commission would continue to create programmes to address the challenges of youths in the Niger Delta region.
According to a release made available by the Director Corporate Affairs, Dr. Ibitoye Abosede, the talent hunt programme will accommodate all categories of youths, including those that are physically challenged.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer, who was represented by the Director Youths and Sports, Mr. Offiong Ephraim, affirmed that, “NDDC will continue to execute programmes that will engage the youths meaningfully, the commission is passionate and committed to youth development as part of measures to end youth restiveness in the Niger Delta.”
The NDDC boss stressed the importance the commission attached to partnerships that would enhance the development of youths, women and people living with disabilities. He assured that the commission would not relent in introducing programmes that would provide opportunities for youths to excel.
Also, the release quoted the Special Adviser on Youths to the Interim Administrator, Udengs Eradiri, saying that, “We have a lot of energetic, strong and intelligent young people. We are going to train them to ensure that they are prepared for the challenges of tomorrow. The creative industry is one area where young people thrive. We will partner with known artistes in the region as ambassadors to also pull the other ones up.
“The creative industry is one area that we can engage a lot of idle young people. We will continue to play our role in supporting institutions to create the platform to push our young people to the international society. We must keep the creative sector alive in the Niger Delta to develop young talents to showcase to the world.”
One of the leading artistes in the region, Mr. Okiri Harry, better known as Harry Song, said that the new NDDC youth programme was a dream come true for those in the creative sector, noting that 80 per cent of the entertainment industry was rooted in the Niger Delta.
He said that artistes from the region had over the years had challenges of getting support and platforms to express themselves, stressing: “Our talented youths are yearning for avenues to express themselves and that is where the Niger Delta talent hunt comes in.”
Harry said that the Niger Delta Youth Entertainment Talent Hunt, NIDETH, would organize auditions in all the nine states of the region and organize bands for them, adding: “We intend to make stars from this platform. We are going to bring in all our Niger Delta Ambassadors in the entertainment industry. These great artistes will be brought in to inspire the young and up-coming ones. We know that when we engage our youths in this platform, we will not just take them off the streets but we will empower them.”