By Ogbonna Amadi
Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory lived up to its earlier billing as the nationâ€™s seat of power and glamour as residents of FCT gave a red carpet reception to the Gulder Ultimate Search heroes who had stormed the city on a road show on Monday.
The GUS 6 contestants led by the anchor of the nationâ€™s leading reality TV show had embarked on a 28-day nation-wide road show aimed at presenting each of the ten contestants to their immediate communities.
The ten GUS stars had started off in Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State, where Wale Akanbi a.k.a Yellow, hailed from.
The GUS 6 train proceeded to Akure, in Ondo State, where Elvis Abogun, from Ilaje Local Government of the state comes from. Abogun was pronounced Youth Ambassador of Ondo State by the Governor, Olusegun Mimiko in appreciation of the honour done the state by Abogun during a courtesy visit to the Governor in office.
Moving from Akure, the GUS train berthed at Asaba, in Delta State to present the Gulder Ultimate Man, Uche Uwaezeapu and the first runner_up, Melvin Oduah to their fellow Deltans who could not hide their joy in welcoming them to the State.
The State Commissioner for Culture and Information and ace Nollywood actor, Richard Mofe-Damilo was visibly excited as he hosted the Gukder Ultimate Search heroes to a sumptuous dinner.
The GUS team thereafter moved to Akwa, in Anambra State where the Governor of the State hosted the guests to another dinner in his official residence. In each of the States visited, members of the public had the opportunity to ask the GUS contestants and the anchor, Bob-Manuel Udokwu questions on their experiences while in the jungle on live radio programmes.
Thereafter fans of the GUS heroes were opportune to meet their idols at designated rendezvous where members of the public posed for photographs with them; danced and fraternized with them. Branded give items were freely given out to members of the public by the contestants in appreciation of the warm reception accorded them across the country.
All the Governors of the states visited by the GUS team spoke glowingly of Nigerian Breweries Plcâ€™s ingenuity in designing the GUS project to inculcate in the Nigerian youths the ideals of hard- work, diligence, perseverance and self confidence.
At a time most of the Nigerian youths were restive, particularly in the Niger_Delta, Olusegun Mimiko, Peter Obi and Chime Ohakim have commended the management of Nigerian Breweries for bringing back the hope of the youths in the Nigerian project through a project that has constructively engaged them.
Speaking at a dinner organized for the GUS team in Awka by the State Governor, Peter obi commended the courage and resilience of the contestants throughout the 21 days of rigorous physical and mental exercises, stressing that the initiators of the GUS project-Nigerian Breweries should be commended by every well-meaning Nigerian at this trying period in the history of the Nation.
According to him, any nation that fails to provide for the needs of its youths stands the risk of total extinction in future. He said that through such projects as Gulder Ultimate Search, the nationâ€™s youths who have been rendered idle as a result of incessant strike action occasioned by some disagreement between the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities over enhanced emolument and work conditions were being thought the art of hard work, perseverance, and total commitment to a noble cause.
The governor however, lamented the socio-economic implication of closing down the nationâ€™s Universities for about four months without either of the parties blinking an eye in the overall interest of the nation. Governor Obi who lamented the state of security in the country, blamed it on governmentâ€™s inadequate provision for the needs and aspiration of the youths over the years.
He however urged other corporate organizations and public sector institutions alike, to take a cue from Nigerian Breweries in the design of projects that would constructively engage the youths of the nation and in the process prevent them from taking to illicit acts â€˜in line with our collective efforts to rebrand Nigeriaâ€™
â€˜We all know that an idle hand is devilâ€™s workshop; all hands should be on deck to constructively engage our youths for the development of our countryâ€™, he said, adding that Federal Government should ensure that the problem of epileptic power supply and other economic infrastructure isÂ fixed without further delay.
He urged the GUS 6 contestants to be good ambassadors of the brand that have brought them fame and wealth, stressing that all the youths of the country now see them as their role models â€˜and you cannot afford to fail them through your conduct and behavior at all timesâ€™.
Speaking in the same vein, Governor Chime Ohakim of Enugu State commended Nigerian Breweries for its vision for the future of the country through adequate provision for the development of the youths through the means of recreation and handsome reward for brilliant performances.
Welcoming the GUS team to his office in Enugu on Wednesday, Chime urged government at all levels to be more pragmatic in their approach to solving problems of the youths. He noted that the youths of today are the future leaders of the country.
â€˜Therefore, itâ€™s in our own interest that we cater for the future by taking good care of the youths todayâ€™, he said. He however, announced a scholarship award for the GUS contestant from Enugu State, Vivien Okafor, in appreciation of the honour done the state through her strength, tenacity, endurance, speed and courage during her days in the jungle with her colleagues.
He commended Nigerian Breweries Plc for inculcating in the Nigerian youths the spirit of resilience, doggedness and high intellectual capacity for total mental and physical development of the participants of the annual contest.
The Gulder Ultimate Search anchor and ace Nollywood actor, Bob_Manuel Udokwu who presented the Gulder Ultimate Man Statuette to the Governors, explained that the contestants were in States to rejoice with the people of the states whose sons and daughters were amongst the GUS heroes being celebrated.
He disclosed that the ten contestants emerged from amongst over 20,000 young Nigerians who applied on_line to take part in the competition this year.
Udokwu explained that NB Plc had organized the road show in order to present the ten contestants to their respective native communities across the federation.
He disclosed that the team which had visited Oyo, Ondo, Edo, Delta, Anambra, Enugu, and Imo States as well as Abuja, was on its way back to Lagos to round off the road show with a Gulder Ultimate party on Saturday.