Sterling Bank Plc, has unveiled the champions of the recently concluded iCreate Skills Festival and about 10 of them would be representing Nigeria in Russia in 2019.
The winners are Otareh Alvin, who won in the cooking category, Nejo Tolulope (graphics), Silas Adedoyin (web design), Patrick Obafemi (app development), Barnabas Kudi (robotics), Afolabi Caleb Kayode (art), Ms. Malissa Onojo (tailoring), Yusuf Abdullahi (barbing), Kingsley Ihejirika (hair dressing), Ms. Faiza Usman Adamu (make up), Joshua Olalekan (carpentry), Oladoja Peter (tilling), Kumshuan Talgang (plumbing) and Prince Isitua (bricklaying).
The bank had partnered with iCreate Skill Fest 2018 to host the premier youth empowerment festival in Abuja with the aim of transforming skill acquisition across the continent.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos, Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank, Mr. Suleiman Abubakar, said following the huge success of the premier edition, the bank has decided to sponsor the second edition, as it plans to extend credit facilities to winners of the first edition which will be fast tracked within two weeks.
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He said, “Bright Jaja, the CEO and Founder of iCreate Skills Festival gives me hope for the future of this country and there is an on-going conversation about which generation of Nigerians will salvage this country. I have started to worry if my generation will be able to do it, which is debatable, it may or may not. But it is clear to me that your generation will do it.”
“I have no doubt in my mind and I only need to meet one young man (Bright) and the belief he has in the future of the country and the energy he brought to it as well as the sacrifices he has made. I have watched the project over the last couple of months and I have started to see some of the winners come out and every single one of you have convinced me completely that generation that will salvage Nigeria is here,” Abubakar said.
The CEO who also commended the winners, remarked that, “I don’t think we prepared you for this and I don’t think we gave you a ladder to climb up.”
He noted that whether it is the work some of the youths had done in entertainment or the work that they are doing now in the technology space or the work they had done in their various areas of specialization, not just earning a living but actually bringing in respect to the various skills they have because at the end of the day, it is lack of respect that make certain people to avoid certain skills and at the end of the day, the country is stuck with it.
Abubakar said the future of the country is in jobs and there was need to do all that is necessary to create jobs in various sectors of the economy.
Also speaking, Mr. Bright Jaja, the Founder of iCreate Africa, said iCreate is one of the most difficult things he has ever put himself into. “For me it is like setting up a goal bigger than myself and growing into it, adding that the experience has made him a better person during and after the festival.
“It was not really about the event but the process to the event, learning and understanding and meeting amazing people, Jaja said.
He said the reason why young people refused to get involved in technical skill is because of societal perspective and stereotypes, adding that skill is taken as a second option when all other expectations did not work out and that should not be the case.
Anne Dirkling, Director of Partnership, iCreate Africa, said there was need to focus on the positive side of how to change the narrative, how to send out the right message by celebrating the winners that can actually change the game.
Sam Onyemelukwe, Managing Director of Trace West Africa said the media has a great role to play by communicating big ideas and respectable living people have earned with their hands.