Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has called on the Federal Government and relevant stakeholders to give maximum support for the entertainment industry to thrive in Nigeria.
Okowa made the call at the Delta Talent Economic Summit with the theme “The Economy of Talent” at the Event Centre, Asaba, on Wednesday.
He said that enormous talents abounded in the country and appealed to national and sub-national governments to support the entertainment industry to identify and market talents to realise their abundant potential.
He pledged continued support of his administration to entertainment and talent development to ensure that more talents were discovered in the state.
“Sitting here this afternoon, I can see that the Senior Special Assistant on Talent Development is taking us into a new era.
“I have been a part of the journey of discovering talents in Delta State, not because I was directly involved, but while I was in government, the kind of things we used to see is people being appointed into this aspect of development.
“What you see is that these appointees organise shows and use those who are already made, but with Ogus Baba coming in, I can see a new trend.
“He has discovered that they are too many people out there who truly need some form of schooling.
“The lives of our youths matter a lot and if we cannot handle the challenges of our youths, we would not be able to create the enabling environment for government to succeed.
“When you are not able to build peace in a state, every other thing you are doing comes to nothing.
“So, I think that government needs to recognise the power in the entertainment industry. I know that as a government we have tried to have a strong relationship with the entertainment industry.
“States and Federal Government should try to realise the powers in the entertainment industry and the fact that it is able to take up a lot of our youths if we truly organise the space properly.
“And, when we try to do that, it should not be for political gain, but for economic development tool and for the right reasons,” Okowa stated.
He commended the aide for his efforts, adding that “I must also thank our brothers and sisters who have believed in him. I know it’s not easy to get people like Ali Baba and his likes here.
“I believe they have found something in the direction Ogus Baba is taking and have decided to commit themselves to being part of the process to enable him achieve success in his office and more importantly, give back to the people.
“I am glad that our children and young ones are sitting down calmly and listening to people and I am truly very impressed with what I am seeing here today.
“We have so many talents in Delta State and Nigeria, but unfortunately, many of them don’t have the right conditions and opportunities to develop their talents, hence these talents die within them.
“I believe that this process we are going through will help to build the needed structures where we can make ourselves better.
“I can see a lot of students here; I believe that even as they listen and see on stage those persons they never thought they would see in real life, something would be fired up in them to succeed and be like us in the future.
“I truly want to thank God and those who have offered themselves to be participants at the summit. We know we cannot pay you, but we pray and hope that many successful Nigerians will offer themselves in raising the younger ones for our society to be better.’’
The governor noted that citizens were in serious and challenging times, and that many of the things happening in the country were such that brought frustration even to the young ones.
He, however, stated that “what you see here today is a glimmer of hope that shows that there is a possibility to succeed if only you can work hard.
“If only you can truly focus your minds on great things, our youths will turn out to be the Ali Babas of the future.
“As a government, we will continue to give support to the SSA to ensure that he is able to reach out to more Deltans.
“I think that knowledge is the key and that’s what we are acquiring here today; please take time to listen to the resource persons because even me as governor, I have learnt a lot from them today,” Okowa said.
Welcoming guests to the summit earlier, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Talent Development, Akpobome Ogude, said he was the first to organise a talent hunt and successfully launched music stars into the entertainment industry in Nigeria.
He urged participants to pay attention to the resource persons who would speak on how the youths could create wealth from their talents.
“Today, Delta youths from different local governments are here to witness the first-ever Talent Economic Development Summit in Africa
“A lot of talents are in the streets; a lot of people can do comedy or movie but a lot of them do not understand how to make money with their talents.
“That’s why we are here today with experts to teach them how to make money from their talents.
“Delta is the first state to organise a talent search in the country and we have produced some of the best talents. However, having talent is not just enough you need to develop and market it,” Ogude stated.
The summit was attended by dignitaries, including Deputy Governor, Mr Kingsley Otuaro, renowned actor and lawyer, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Ace Comedian, Ali Baba, Ace Producer, Efe Omoregbe and entertainment lawyer, Zino Ugb