The Director-General, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brigadier-General Sule Z. Kazaure, has described the Annual NYSC Sports and Cultural Festival as a veritable platform for cultural integration.

Kazaure stated this in his welcome address at the opening ceremony of the Grand Finale of the 2016/2017 edition of the festival, which held on Monday, 6th March, 2017, at the Old Parade Ground, Area 10, Garki, Abuja-FCT, with the theme, “Harnessing Youth Potentials for Sustainable Development”.

According to him, the event, which started 30 years ago with competitive events in dance, drama, football and volleyball, has not only shown over the years that it is capable of sowing seeds of friendship among participants but also grown into a full-fledged festival with corps members showcasing their natural talents in many more areas of entertainment and sporting activities.

While highlighting the numerous benefits and potentials of the festival towards achieving cultural integration in the country, the NYSC Boss lamented the fact that the festival could not hold over the past three years due to paucity of funds.

He therefore called on corporate bodies, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations, to explore the possibility of taking up the sponsorship of the festival wholly or in part.

Speaking in the same vein, the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung, who described the NYSC, as an organization that has played a pivotal role in youth development in Nigeria, called on corps members to have faith in the future of Nigeria.

It will be recalled that while the NYSC Sports Festival was conceived in 1986, to serve as a platform for corps members drawn from different states to interact, share ideas and further expand the frontiers of friendship and unity among them, the Cultural Festival was instituted in 1984.

The idea was to use dance and drama as tools to further entrench and deepen the objectives of the scheme which has over the years, showcased creativity and abundant talents within the scheme, instil the spirit of team work and collective utilization of their talents for the benefits of the host communities amongst others.

It is also worthy of note that the finals of the sports and cultural festival is a culmination of zonal competitions at various centres across the country, with corps members who had displayed the highest level of discipline, professionalism, team spirit and friendship.

Other dignitaries present at occasion were the Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Usman Yusuf; Prof. Emmanuel Dandaura of the Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK); the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Assoc. Prof. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, who was represented by the Director, Orientation & Cultural Affairs, Mr. Alex Omijie, among others.

Marcus Gogo

Orientation & Cultural Affairs Dept

NICO HQ, Abuja