Monday, June 18, 2012

Macmillan Day of dramatic engagements among young Nigerians

June 16

The Chairman of the occasion, Alhaji Yusuf Saulawa (right) and his wife and the Chairman of the Macmillan Literary Events Committee, Mrs. Francesca Emanuel at the event.

THE stage presentation by Igbobi College, entitled Dear Driver, has won the first Macmillan Youth Cultural Day contest held in Lagos recently. A total of ten schools participated in the competition.
   The play tells the story of how teachers in secondary schools discover and nurture creative instinct of their students who later, after graduation from the university, become employers of labour. The panel of judges comprising Mr. Nobert Young, Mr. Arnold Udoka and Dr. Ogochukwu Promise declared Igbobi College best for their engaging dramatization of the play. Kings College, Lagos; and Queen College, Yaba were jointly awarded the first runner up. St. Luke’ Junior Grammar School, Bariga, whose piece had a seamless transition and was energetic, but did not specifically address the issue raised in the theme, adjudged the second runner up.
  The ten schools that competed for honours built their performances around the theme of the programme, Break it — Removing impediments to youth employment through the promotion of cultural values.
    Other competing schools were Alakoto Senior High School, Ajegunle, Holy Child College, Ikoyi, Methodist Girls High School, Yaba, St. Bernadette Primary School, Gowon Estate, Ipaja, Foucos Secondary School, Ebute-metta and Baptist Academy, Obanikoro.
Pupils of St Bernadette Primary School on stage
  Though many of the schools had a good presentation, Igbobi College stood out and carried the day, because its story actually interpreted the theme better, proffering solution to the conflict raised in the theme of the event. This was not the case with the other presentations, though they tried to work in line with the theme but they did not specifically aligned their story effectively. Apart from the ten presentations from the competing schools, with one of schools, a primary, there was a guest performance by Footprints of David titled, Unity Dance.
   All the schools that came on stage got gifts and the only primary school among the ten competing schools got a special award for their performance and courage to compete with secondary schools.
Culture activist and Coordinating Director of the Macmillan Youth Cultural Day, Mr. Ben Tomoloju with the panel of judges: Nobert Young, Arnold Udoka and Ogochukwu Promise
  Chairman of the occasion, Alhaji Yusuf Saulawa, a veteran broadcaster, lauded the initiative, which according to him, will help in resuscitating the consciousness of the Nigerian youths about the nation’s rich cultural heritage. He pleaded with the youths not to allow modernisation to erode the nation’s culture, but rather they should uphold their cultural heritage tenaciously.
   In his closing remarks and vote of thanks, the Managing Director, Macmillan Nigeria Publishers, Dr. A. I. Adelekan, said the youth cultural programme was in line with the company’s commitment to youth empowerment and national development.
Representatives Igbobi College flanked the chairman of the event, Alhaji Yusuf Saulawa after receiving a plaque and a certificate for their feat
   The captain of the Igbobi College troupe, Master Anjorin Olatunbodun, who said he was very proud to be a student of the college and elated to be part of the winning team, thanked Macmillan for staging the event, which he described as an “awesome and fabulous programme.” He further said that the success of the school at the competition was due to the dedication of the teachers, students and the school officials.
   Miss Jesutofunmi Mafe, a student of Vivian Fowler Memorial College, also commended the organizers of the show because she really enjoyed herself, though felt bad that her school was not part of the competition. She however pleaded that the number of competing schools should be increased and spread across Lagos in the subsequent editions.
    Earlier in her address of welcome, the Chairman of Macmillan Literary Events Committee, Mrs. Francesca Emanuel told guests that since 2002, the publishing giant has been promoting the cause of youth development through its landmark activities, the Macmillan youth literary day and the Macmillan Yoruba literary day.
    These programmes, according to her, provided an avenue for the promotion of reading culture and the scrutiny of societal trends as they affect young people.
participants at the programme.
   “They also created a pedestal for capacity building for the youth in the face of critical challenges of our time. It has been observed, for instance, that cultural values which have in-built systems for child-rearing and the education of the young are being neglected, thus, the Yoruba literary day was introduced in 2004 in order to expose the youth to cultural values.
   “In view of its success, the board of Macmillan Nigeria Limited decided to expand the scope and coverage to include other cultures in Nigeria. In this connection, the board has rightly resolve to replace the Yoruba literary day with the Macmillan youth cultural day to ensure the coverage of all ethnic groups in line with Macmillan’s corporate social responsibility policy.”
   The choice of the theme, Break it — Removing impediments to youth employment through the promotion of cultural values, she said, was to tackle the problem of unemployment besetting the youth, “by sensitising and re-orientating Nigerians in the use of appropriate cultural remedies.
   “Today, it is saddening that corruption has eaten very deep into the fabric of our society. This has had negative multiplier effects on the quality of parenthood, mentorship, education, tutelage, labour, industry, and in personal and communal relationship. Core cultural values have been relegated such that the young ones become victims, lacking in direction, discretion, courage and the will to conquer.”
Competing school on stage.  
Competing school on stage.  
  The retired first female Federal Permanent Secretary emphasised the company’s resolve to right these wrongs and attain developmental goals. “This is why the Macmillan family, as a highly responsible corporate citizen, believed that civilising principles of culture should be the foundation upon which the lives of young people should be built.
   “In today’s event, some of the invited schools, under the supervision of their professional tutors, will use their creative presentations to demonstrate the barriers to youth employment, resulting from lackadaisical attitudes towards principles, ethics, norms and morals. We must therefore break these barriers, and restore the fast declining core values.
     “Our cherished value should be meaningfully incorporated and taught in our institutions. Subjects and courses on values must be fully entrenched and made compulsory at all levels of education to free school graduates from shackles of unemployment. If values are duty appreciated and taught at home and reinforced in schools, preached at religious centres, advocated by civil societies, executed in work places and held in high esteem in holding public offices, imagine how great our nation will be.
   “Our country will excel in the comity of nations and the cause of Nigeria will be advanced, as a nation where right prevails over wrong and where virtues prevail over vices. As culture is allowed to occupy its pride of place, we shall surely have the nation of our dream, with the reign of unity, peace, power, progress, and sustainable prosperity firmly rooted in vast employment opportunities for our teeming youth,” said Emanuel.

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