BY GODWIN ENNA, Katsina
In Katsina State, the relentless efforts of the Governor Aminu Bello Masari led administration at empowering the youths and other vulnerable groups for the future of the state’s economy, has continued to receive a boost.
Determined to change the narrative of youth joblessness in the state, the Governor Aminu Bello Masari led administration initiated different economic empowerment and skills acquisition schemes, aside from keying-into the federal government’s myriads of youth empowerment initiatives.
One of such initiatives, which aimed at spotting creative and highly talented youths, is the Katsina National Talent Hunt, which has continued to receive all the necessary support of critical stakeholders.
Only recently, the governor commissioned the 2021 edition of the Katsina National Talent Hunt Challenge (KNTHC) as one of the numerous strategies aimed at boosting the creativity of the youths and repositioning them for self-reliance.
Indeed, the KNTHC has placed Katsina state on a competitive edge among states that are boosting economic vitality through youth potentials.
The state government set up a 10-year plan to identify talents and best brains in all field of human endeavors not just in the state but across the country, preparing and equipping them with the opportunity to fulfil their dreams as future leaders and entrepreneurs.
The project has set the pace for the potential revolution in the overall drive to enable the youths freely showcase their talents. Interestingly, it is in fulfilment of the commitment of Governor Aminu Bello Masari’s target at empowering youths and equipping them for the challenges of governance.
But beyond equipping the youths for the challenges of governance, the scheme aims to assists those with the innate skills to improve their self-esteem, the economy as well as boosting the internally generated revenue of the state.
Determined to leverage on the importance of the project, the state government did not relent in extending it to all Nigerians in the Diaspora to also showcase their potentials, be it sports, academic, creative arts, innovation, technology among many others mentioned.
Notably, the KNTHC was designed in such a way that participation is extended to all interested, eligible youths who are selected and trained in different areas of specialisations.
The Katsina Public Exhibition and Innovation Centre (KPEI) hosted the recent KNTHC in collaboration with several stakeholders including Hassan Usman Katsina Polytechnic, Dangote Foundation, Interior Designer Association of Nigeria. (IDAN), Max Air Ltd, Bold Spaces Consult, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua University, National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) and Bright Entertainment Network (BEN TV).
Obviously impressed with the project, Governor Aminu Bello Masari at the public exhibition promised to sponsor some of the ‘gifted and talented children’ beyond his tenure as governor of the state.
“I am impressed with what I saw; I assure you that I will continue to sponsor some of you, even after my tenure as the governor of the State.
“My administration will continue to hunt for the gifted and talented indigenes of the state wherever they are so that we can assist them morally and financially to excel’ he said adding, “We will ensure that all hands must be on deck to assist this kind of people,”
He noted that support to gifted and talented children was imperative and essential to encouraging them to develop their potentials and become not just self-reliant but also employers of labour.
Chairman of the Project, Faisal Jafar Rafindadi, said approximately 3,700 participants submitted entries of their design concepts, which included piece that derived inspirations from beautifully crafted monuments in Katsina State, existing technology innovations, automotive, music, traditional outfit design, entertainment and architecture. He said the competition was opened to all citizens living in Nigeria and abroad; ages 8 to 40 years.
Rafindadi also recalled that at the grand finale, which took place on 5 November 100, contenders were rewarded with cash prices.
During the price presentation ceremony, there was pomp and pageantry as the first position took away N5 million and a Toyota Highlander Jeep, the second position got N3 million, while the third place winner got N1.5 million.
As the Project’s chair noted, the project is Governor Masari’s initiative with the support of some individuals.
How can a willing youth participate in the project? Rafindadi said: “We adopted the internet for entries because of the modern world, our contestants subscribe via our website: katsinanationaltalenthuntchallenge.org. to register for the challenge.
To boost access during the 2021 edition, forms were distributed during visits to remote areas across the state.
Responding to the numerous talents discovered and success made since the inception of the programme including efforts at encouraging youths who are determined to succeed, Rafindadi said “recall that the executive governor gave automatic appointment to first-class students in Katsina State University; they are 34 in numbers that we’re given that appointment. The idea is to inject fresh, talented youths into the system of government.
“Also, we’ve engaged over 120 youths on interior design through a company called Albado. We are also collaborating with the interior design association of Nigeria, Abuja branch to equally empower some students including 20 participants that were selected in the talent hunt challenge.
“ Some of the participants were also taken to Nigerian Automotive Design Development Council (NADDC) where they were given training on the automobile. The good news is that the NADDC agreed to establish an Institute of the mechanic village in Katsina.
“Again, we similarly discovered a young man that manufactured a motorcycle, and when we assessed it and saw that it was standard, we encouraged him by supporting him with finance and from six months and now as I’m talking to you he has sold over 21 machines here in Katsina.
“We have a lot of them that are already established, making huge amounts of money and generating income for the government.”
Dr Mansur Kurfi is one of the panel of judges for the grand finale of the KNTHC which held at the Katsina state institute of management studies hall. He lauded the governor for the initiative and encouraged youths to actively participate.
Hauwa Lawal,16, is among numerous talented youths that showcased their potentials at the grand finale. While explaining her artistic work, she said painting about nature, particularly things that symbolise traditions, national unity and Islamic religion are areas that appeal to her the most hence their representation in her work.