The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, says the ministry and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) will explore avenues to showcase the cultural talents of corps members.
He gave the assurance on Thursday in Abuja, while closing the 2022 Annual NYSC Sports and Cultural Festival.
The festival has “Sustaining the Gains of Sports Development and Socio-Cultural Integration through Conscious Exploration and Promotion of Skills and Talents of the Youth” as its theme.
Mohammed, who was the special guest of honour was represented by the Director, Entertainment and Creative Service, Ugochi Nwosu.
The minister said it was heartwarming to see the youths showcasing abundant talent especially as many of them do not belong to the ethnic communities of the culture they have showcased.
“This has therefore reinforced my confidence in the ability of our young men and women to imbibe positive values and norms and project the good image of Nigeria both at home and abroad.
”He congratulated the winners of various categories of the competition for the feats achieved.
“It is my hope and desire that you will continue to support our strides to promote the Nigerian culture and the creative industry through avenues such as this one provided by the NYSC.
“I wish to assure you that the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture will continue to support NYSC towards the success of this festival.
“We also will work with the scheme with a view to exploring additional avenues for the exposure of the talents of these corps members including opportunities to stage performances during national programmes.
“I urge well meaning Nigerians, public and private sector organisations to give their support towards the continuous improvement of this festival especially through their corporate social responsibility.
”Mohammed also called on movie and music producers to help in harnessing the potential of the corps members through mentorship and assignment of roles and contracts.
He, however, encouraged the corps members to avail themselves of the opportunity for rewarding careers in the entertainment and creative industry.
The Director-General, NYSC, Brig.-Gen. Muhammad Fadah, said the festival remains a sustained medium for the promotion of the nation’s cultural heritage.
He said the theme of the 2022 edition was apt given the fact that the nation’s cultural diversities were great assets that should strengthen rather than divide it.
“Apart from exposing the abundant talents of corps members in dance, comedy, acting and directing among others, the festival provides further opportunities for interaction and cross-cultural appreciations by our youths.
“However, this is thereby, contributing towards the sustaining unity and peaceful coexistence among Nigerians.
“As you may be aware, one of the hallmarks of the national service is the effective integration of corps members into their host communities.
“This largely accounts for their ability to stage dances and songs that are indigenous to communities away from their ethnic and geographical zones as seen in the last three days.
“In essence, irrespective of our ethnic, religious and social backgrounds, we can build a united and prosperous nation through our shared values, spirit of patriotism and collective will,’’ Fadah said.
He also commended the corps members for their display of unimaginable creativity in drama, comedy and dance, adding that they can become stars in the entertainment industry.
The Director, Community Development Service and Special Projects, Abdulrazak Salawu, said the NYSC had demonstrated that Nigeria’s multi-ethnic and cultural diversity could be adequately harnessed through the festival.
“The various events have proven to be a vehicle of social mobilisation, promotion of diverse cultural expressions, and preservation of Nigeria’s cherished traditions through galvanisation of the talents and skills of its youths.
“It has great potential to building a virile and united Nigeria that Nigerians will be proud of.’’
The festival was instituted in 1984 following management’s decision to use dance and drama as tools to further entrench and deepen the objectives of the scheme.