The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has made a commitment to youth empowerment and cultural celebration, emphasising the significance of celebrating the region’s rich cultural heritage and promoting sustainable development.
Speaking on the Commission’s support for music and culture at the inaugural Niger Delta Cultural Music Festival, known as NIDCUM Fest, in Port Harcourt, the NDDC Managing Director, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, described the event as a convergence of culture, music and development.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer, who was represented by the Commission’s Director, Corporate Affairs, Mr. Pius Ughakpoteni, spoke on the theme: “Empowering Youth and Celebrating Culture.”
He said that NIDCUM Fest was more than just a cultural extravaganza, noting that it was a manifestation of NDDC’s unwavering commitment to the Niger Delta’s future.
Ogbuku remarked: “It is a platform where our differences become a source of strength, and our unity is celebrated through the universal language of music.
“This sentiment underpins the festival’s core mission of fostering appreciation and understanding among the region’s diverse population.”
Ogbuku made it clear that NIDCUM Fest was not merely a celebration but a commitment to ensure that traditional music and art forms were passed down to future generations. He urged elders of the region to share their wisdom and encouraged youths to connect with their cultural roots.
The NDDC boss acknowledged the economic potential of cultural tourism and committed to boosting local economies by attracting tourists and generating revenue for businesses in the region. He said that it wasn’t just about music but also about creating a sustainable source of income for the communities.
Ogbuku said further: “The festival aims to educate attendees about different cultures, broadening horizons, promoting cultural exchange, and fostering appreciation of the region’s diversity. It provides a stage for the region’s untapped artistic talent, offering artists and groups an opportunity to showcase their creativity and potentially turn their dreams into reality.”
He emphasised the importance of entertainment, ensuring that NIDCUM Fest created unforgettable memories through vibrant performances, joy, laughter, and celebration.
A significant moment in the address was Ogbuku’s pledge to support young entrepreneurs in the Niger Delta region through targeted skill development initiatives. He stated: “We recognize that empowering our young musicians is not only an investment in their future but also in the future of the Niger Delta.”
The Managing Director celebrated the transformative power of supporting cultural music talents, drawing inspiration from artists like Asu Ekiye, Burna Boy, and Yemi Alade, who had risen from the Niger Delta to achieve global recognition. He noted that these artists became employers, creating opportunities for others and shedding light on Nigeria’s cultural diversity.
Ogbuku said he envisioned a future where the talents of the Niger Delta’s cultural musicians enriched the world’s cultural tapestry while uplifting the region and its people.
He charged the attendees: “Let the harmonious celebrations begin.”
In his welcome address, the facilitator of NIDCUM Fest, Asu Ekiye, noted that, “NIDCUM is a platform where we, Niger Deltans, can celebrate our cultural heritage. It is also a crucial step in preserving and embracing the culture that has shaped us into who we are today as a people.”
The Creative Minds of Bayelsa State, a music and cultural group won the first prize of three million naira, while the Ekemini Theatre Troupe from Akwa Ibom State went home with two million naira for taking the second position. The third prize of one million went to ThankGod Enas Team, a cultural troupe from Delta State.