The Honourable Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, has expressed satisfaction over the cultural performances on display as part of activities marking the closing ceremony of the 2013 edition of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Sports and Cultural Festivals, held at the National Universities Commission (NUC) Auditorium in Maitama, Abuja, on Wednesday, 5th February, 2014.

Speaking as Special Guest of Honour at the event, Chief Duke reiterated that, having watched the finals of the cultural performances and, “as the governor of the creative common wealth of the Nigerian nation,” he was confident that time may pass but the cultures of our people are truly the most enduring assets of our people and there is a hope for Nigeria tomorrow.

His words: “Today here, we have seen performances beyond expectation, as minister responsible for Culture and Tourism, I am indeed proud of what I have seen;” further advising corps members to have self-belief in whatever they do, especially for the contingents who had distinguished themselves in the course of the competition, that culture “as an enterprise is the only opportunity to put bread and butter on your table.”

According to the Minister, the Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism will provide the necessary platform for talented youth corpers to express themselves, and that the Ministry will provide befitting performing stages for the competition in different zones and the finals in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He averred that there will be synergy between the Abuja Carnival and NYSC Cultural Festival in 2014, and that the Ministry will also endeavour to take one or two of the best NYSC Dance Troupes that performed to the Nigerian Cultural Week in China or Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, adding that there would be an opportunity to source for partnership between the organised private sector and NYSC, just as he promised showcasing the best two troupes during the presidential reception for the Super Eagles, as 3rd place winners at the recently concluded African Nations Football Championship (CHAN) in South Africa.

Earlier, the NYSC Director-General, Brigadier-General Johnson Bamidele Olawumi, in his address, expressed optimism that the festival will definitely assist to strengthen the capacity of youth corpers to forge a united and virile nation, thereby drawing strength from Nigeria’s diversity, adding that having watched the entertaining performances by the various participating states, he could say that the nation is richly blessed with abundant talents and as such could be used for national development.

Congratulating the corps members for their wonderful performances during the competition, Gen. Olawumi promised that there would be concerted efforts to have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Actors’ Guild of Nigeria (AGN) in order to incorporate NYSC cultural troupes into films produced in Nigeria.

In all, 21 States competed in the 2013 edition, competing in drama, dance, stand-up comedy, and Cultural Parade, and producing the following winners, among others:

  1. Dance competition which had eight participating States (Kogi, Anambra, Oyo, Sokoto, Gombe, Kwara and Cross River), produced Kogi State coming up first with a performance of Ogani dance; Anambra State came 2nd with Njikoka war dance, while Kwara took the 3rd position with a dance from Baruten.
  2. For drama category, Oyo State emerged winner with a drama piece, titled, ‘Question’, Akwa Ibom came 2nd and Benue State took the 3rd position. 
  3. Taraba State came 1st (Awar Samuel Iortuu) and 2nd (Godwin Ondoma), respectively, while Akwa Ibom came 3rd (Chiemeka Chidi Azubuike) in stand-up comedy.

Dignitaries present at the ceremony were, the Executive Secretary of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma; Director of Culture in the Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Mr. George Ufot; representative of the D-G, National Orientation Agency, Mr. Bulus Dabiet; the Acting Director, Office of the ES, NICO, Mr. Ebi Nelson Campbell, Acting Director, Orientation & Cultural Affairs, NICO, Mr. Alex Omijie, Representative of the Chief of Army Staff, Major-General Oti Efan, Representative of Chief of Naval Staff, Commodore Omatseye Nesiama, as well as representatives of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), State Security Services (SSS), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Practices Offences Tribunal (ICPC), and other top NYSC directors.

It could be recalled that the 13th edition of the Sports and Cultural Festivals was flagged off by the Honourable Minister of Sports on the 3rd of February, 2014, at the old Parade Ground Area 10, Garki-Abuja.

Njideka J. Dimgba

Corporate Affairs