By CALEB AYANSINA
Twenty seven years ago, the NYSC cultural festival started as the director’s Dance/Drama competition; a theatrical presentation in camps to entertain course officials and corps members during the orientation programme.
Today, the theatrical presentation has snowballed to a full-fledged cultural festival, showcasing the creativity and abundant talents within Nigerian youths.
Aside promoting government various programmes, the festival is instilling in the corps members the spirit of team work, while exposing their creative talents for possible engagement, after the service in the various sectors of the economy.
The 2012 NYSC Sport/Cultural Festival with the theme; “Sports And Culture: Tools For National Integration And Development” which held at the Old Parade Ground, in Abuja, was not only unique in its organization, but is the first time in history when the events would have private sector backing, courtesy of the Fidelity Bank Plc.
At the competitions that were keenly contested, The Minister of Youth Development, Inuwa Abdul-Kadir called on the Private Sector and Non-Governmental Agencies to partner with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), as part of their corporate social responsibility initiative, to help realise potentials that abound in youths.
He also appealed to all established sports associations, cultural groups and performing arts societies to partner with NYSC in nurturing the talents discovered at the festival.
“It is my conviction that the core private sector and non governmental agencies can partner with the NYSC as part of the corporate social responsibility initiative to help take this festival to the level where it can contribute significantly to the nation’s developmental efforts.”He said.
Continuing he said, “We seek private sector partnership, so that we can move forward from where we are. Many talents are here in NYSC that can be groomed. With your potentials, you should not have the mind that you are looking for white collar job. You can start somewhere with what you have and become something great.”
Also speaking, the Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, urged parents in Nigeria to appreciate their culture and let their children know their culture, lamenting that some children could not even speak the language of their parents, because they don’t care about the culture.
He therefore called for private sectors collaboration with the NYSC to help develop the youthful cultural potentials among the corps members.
According to him, “We have tourism sites in Nigeria that people from the outside appreciate and visited but we Nigerians don’t appreciate what we have.”
In his remarks, the Head of Fidelity Bank Plc, Abuja, Hassan Imam threw his weight behind the existence of NYSC, while calling for the sustainability of the festival.
Meanwhile, the festival ended with Zanfara, River and Edo States claiming the first, second and third positions respectively in drama, while Kogi, Ogun and Cross Rivers came first, second and third respectively in the dancing competitions. In Comedy Adamawa State came first, Ekiti State and Kebbi State came second and third respectively.
Congratulating the participants, the Director General of the Scheme, Brigadier General Nnamdi Okore-Affia prayed that the talents the corps members exhibited in the course of the festival would open up opportunities of career for them in this fast growing entertainment industry.
He applauded the sponsorship of the event by the Fidelity Bank Plc, saying such partnership will further help to enhance the scheme strive to achieve its objectives.