The interim Administrator, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Effiong Akwa, has identified talent hunt as a means to addressing youth restiveness in the Niger Delta region.
Akwa, who noted that the commission under his watch would prioritise the development of youths maintained that the talent hunt was designed to discover and expose creativity from the region to take advantage of the opportunities in the entertainment industry.
Speaking through his Special Adviser on Youths, Udengs Eradiri, he emphasized that the programme would accommodate all categories of youths, including the physically-challenged and appealed to all budding talents to take advantage of the opportunity.
Eradiri, who spoke at the weekend in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, said that the move, which was supported by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, was part of measures to create better opportunities for the youths.
He said it was important to debunk the notion that Niger Delta youths were not enterprising.
He said: “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”.
Eradiri explained that the partnership with known artistes from the Niger Delta was meant to develop the talents of youths from across the region.
He said: “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, also 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 challenges of getting support and platforms to express themselves.
He said: “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.
He said: “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.”