By Emem Idio, Yenagoa
YENAGOA-AS parts of efforts to address unemployed among youths in the Niger Delta region, the Niger Delta Development Commission, ,NDDC, has launched a novel Niger Delta Talent Hunt, NIDETH, aimed at harnessing the creativity among youths in the entertainment industry.
The Interim Administrator, NDDC, Dr. Efiong Akwa, who spoke on Wednesday during the inauguration of the programme at the NDDC headquarters said it was designed to tackle the challenges and lack of opportunities facing youths in the region.
Dr. Akwa commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Umana Okon Umana, for supporting activities aimed at harnessing the creative potential of youths in the Niger Delta.
He said: “The entertainment industry is growing bigger everyday. The Nollywood industry occupies a major platform amongst other entertainment industries in the world. When you talk of entertainment the next thing you hear is Nollywood industry in Nigeria. Niger Delta is blessed.
“Let me use this opportunity to tell the world that youths of the Niger Delta are the best you can find around the world. They are calm, confident, they seek to excel in whatever endeavour they find themselves.
“In the field of soccer the youths of Rivers State and Akwa-Ibom are taking the lead; wrestling, Delta and Edo are tops; swimming Bayelsa and Rivers are unbeatable.
“Our focus in this programme is to identify the talented youths, build them up and expose them to the world. We want to use this as an opportunity to provide a platform to expose the hidden talents in the region. If you build the youth, you build the nation.”
In his remarks, Dr. Akwa’s Special Adviser on Youths, Engr. Udengs Eradiri, described the Niger Delta youths as enterprising, observing that artistes from the region had challenges of getting support and platforms to express themselves.
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 community. We must keep the creative sector alive in the Niger Delta to develop young talents and to showcase them to the world.
“We expect that after this process, we will be able to identify unique talents that would be able to showcased to the world. If you look at the entertainment industry you have employment opportunities that are waiting for us.
“The Niger Delta youths need to be a part of these opportunities. We need to create engagements so that young people, who have a lot of energy can channel it towards talent development. The work of the NDDC is that of an interventionist agency. It is part of our job to create opportunities for young people to express themselves.The sky is our starting point. We expect that after this talent hunt which is geared towards entertainment, we will be looking at sports.”