Rivers State born Elvis Luna 21, on Sunday emerged the overall winner of the maiden edition of the Niger Delta Talent Hunt (NIDETH) organised by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Luna was declared the winner by judges out of the 10 persons shortlisted from the nine Niger Delta states for the grand finale that took place on Sunday in Port Harcourt.
Luna, whose songs thrilled the large audience, received a key to the brand new car and a performance trip to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to be accompanied by Harrison Tare Okiri, aka Harrysong, a popular musician and songwriter.
It was gathered that NIDETH was initiated by the NDDC Interim Administrator, Dr Efiong Akwa, through his Special Adviser on Youths, Udengs Eradiri and supported by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana Okon Umana.
The NDDC Interim boss who expressed delight at the success of the programme said it was designed to harness the talents of young people in the region and to expose them to opportunities in the entertainment industry.
Represented by his Special Adviser on Technical Matters, Ubongabasi James, Akwa said the programme gave the youths an opportunity to showcase their talents.
He commended the efforts of the NIDETH organising team, led by musician and songwriter, Harrison Tare Okiri, professionally known as Harrysong, for putting up a spectacular event.
In his welcome address, the NDDC Director of Youth and Sports, Mr Offiong Ephraim, said that the commission placed premium on regular engagements with youths of the Niger Delta region.
He added: “The Niger Delta Talent Hunt is a youth development programme aimed at harnessing the entertainment potential of the Niger Delta youths. Talented youths from the nine Niger Delta States participated in the auditions, which took place in Edo, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states.”
“The project aims at building the capacity of the Niger Delta youths for wealth creation through entertainment. The ten finalists have demonstrated world-class talents.”
The SA, Youths to the Administrator, Eradiri on his part said the NDDC had been rebranded under Akwa and Minister Umana to get closer to the people, fill the void by creating opportunities for people to express themselves.
“It is exciting that for the past one month, we’ve been going from one state to the other trying to identify these talents and we thank God that today people have seen that truly talents abound in the Niger Delta.
“We are going, to begin with, the second phase immediately, as well as the sports talent hunt where we will be going to communities to identify football talent.
“Government alone cannot create the jobs that we desire. But government is to create the opportunities, the platforms for people to excel using their God given talent or talents that they have acquired”, the youth adviser stressed.
Eradiri, a former President, Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide and former commissioner in Bayelsa said the NDDC would continue to give hope to the people to enable them to actualise their dreams.
“This should be an opportunity for people who do not have hope to say because there is an NDDC, I can go to school; because there is an NDDC I can showcase my talent. I can move my goods from one point to the other because there is an NDDC. The NDDC truly being an Interventionist Agency, is beginning to do its work and I’m excited I’m part of it”, he said.
In his remarks, Harrysong commended the NDDC for changing the narratives saying the Niger Delta was not about oil theft and restiveness but about bundle of unharnessed talents.
He said: “I want to assure everyone that the winner, Elvis, is not going to disappoint you. Hits will be coming back to back, he is not only going to be a hit maker but Elvis Luna is already a movement to the world”.
Luna on his part commended NDDC for giving them the platform to showcase their talents and urged all youths seeking opportunities not to give up on their dreams.
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