The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has flagged-off a unique programme targeted at youths, Niger Delta Talent Hunt, NIDETH, to harness their creative gifts in the entertainment industry.
Speaking during the ceremony at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, the Interim Administrator of the interventionist agency, Dr. Efiong Akwa, said the Commission would continue to create programmes to address the challenges of youths in the region.
He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Umana Umana, for supporting activities aimed at elevating the initiatives of youths in the Niger Delta region.
Akwa said: “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, the NDDC Director, Youths and Sports, Mr. Offiong Ephraim, noted that the NIDETH is a flagship programme of the NDDC Youths and Sports Directorate which aims at exposing the inherent talents of youths in the Niger Delta region.
He said the talent hunt programme would kick off from Ondo State with the finals taking place in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The NIDETH programme, Ephraim stated, covers the nine NDDC Mandate States.
In his own remarks, the Special Adviser on Youths to the Interim Administrator, Engineer Udengs Eradiri, said that Niger Delta youths are enterprising and noted 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 international community. 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 and consultant for the programme, Mr. Okiri Harrison, 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.
The musician stated that: “In the entertainment industry, cutting across music, comedy and theatre, the top talents are from the Niger Delta region. The main issue is that most talents remain unharnessed because there is no proper platform to identify and develop them. I am glad because this is where NIDETH comes in.”