This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: The Christmas Talent Hunt

Wife of the former Lagos State Governor, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, last Wednesday organised a talent hunt for the youths in Lagos under Musical Youth Fiesta Initiative to encourage them not only to develop the innate talents in them but to also learn to live peacefully with one another particularly during this festive period. Mary Ekah writes

They gathered for one mission. It was for a talent discovery and cordial living. And so the theme, 'Dare to be like Joseph', was chosen for this year's edition, which happens to be second in the series.

The fiesta, a yuletide treat for youths between the ages of 7 and 21, conceived as an event of soul-stirring musical performances for youths and driven by them in the spirit of the season, was an initiative of the wife of the former Lagos State Governor, Senator Oluremi Tinubu.

Tinubu who also doubles as the Chairman, Board of Trustee, Musical Youth Fiesta Initiative (MYFI), said music and the message of Christ was the main focus of the initiative.

"Our main message is that we should not discriminate because when we get to heaven there is no white or black, Jew or Greek nor Catholic or Pentecostal, we are all one and so we better start early to live with one another. We are not a church group but this is just evangelising to the youths to love each other no matter what faith they practice. That is the message," she said.

The event which held last Wednesday at the Expo Centre, Eko Hotels and Suits, Victoria Island, Lagos was the second in the series after the 2011 inaugural edition under the theme, 'One Church'.

Speaking on the outcome of the second edition of the event, Tinubu said, "Though we started relatively late, still we had a large turnout of people but we were very strict about entry and I think people should realise that if they want to come in, you would want a gift pack and we have only made provision for those who registered. Admission was free, you don't pay anything and you even get lots of gifts and even the church groups that came were given honorariums to build their choirs and to get their choirs and music ministry stronger and that is what we are trying to do. I think the children have enjoyed themselves. So we thank God for what He is doing and we pray that He continues to give us the grace to go on. I am not a minister, I just created a platform for them, and so it is for them and by them."

On her anticipation, she said, "We have registered now but the first time we did it, we were not registered. We tried it out the first time and after that we had people donating to the programme. So we decided to register it as an initiative and so by next year we hope to plan bigger than what we had this year. We are on the right side and everything is working fine."

Tinubu who said the event was deliberately planned for Christmas, noted, "Christ is the reason why we are all Christians because the early Christians we are told acted Christ-like, so Christ is the reason for the season and so we shouldn't lose focus of that. It's about bringing the youths together for them to sing about Christ and edify the name of Christ and that is what they have done here today.

She reiterated that, "the musical event is not a competition, noting however that performance is opened to church groups, choirs and even solo acts, sponsored by their churches."

"Christ is the reason for Christmas. He is the Prince of Peace and so we should make sure that we do whatever it takes to learn to live in a peaceful co-existence. So we should learn to love our neighbours, to be tolerance and patient. These are very tough time but if we are patient enough and try to preach the gospel of tolerance, we would be able to live in a peaceful environment."

Speaking further, she said, "We need peaceful co-existence in this nation right now. When we look at what is going on in the nation today, we all live in one form of fear or the other. We don't know what tomorrow will bring. Some people don't even take the aircraft any more and even the roads are not good. But we are keeping fate and we are not afraid because Christ said he has not giving us the spirit of fear, but of love, of power and of a sound mind. So we are not afraid. We are asking the youth not to be afraid or misled and that wherever God has called them, they, they should do the best there to uphold our nation. So we have to learn to do the right thing for the love of our country."

On what inspired her to go into the project in the first place, Tinubu said, "Music! I love music! I was at a function at Mountain of fire Ministry and I saw these very talented young people on the guitar that took me back with their music to the 60s and 70s. Then I thought, what is going on? I was so inspired", she recalled.

She therefore that all she had done was to give them a platform where they could feel very special, adding, "you can see that it is not just a church environment; they are singing to the world, so I think that is great.

"My background is teaching and I know that you don't have to break a child's neck to get them to become who they are created to be. You can see that the boy that gave us the theme song, 'One Church', went on to record an album on his own. So anybody that is good should go on to do things that suits him. We are not here to direct them to go to one church or the other, but we can only advise them to go to a Bible believing church. All what we are doing is evangelizing the youths to stay the course, do the right thing and to live as good Christians"

Not less than 500 youths and their chaperons graced this year's event, which was free for as many who obtained wristbands and meal tickets at the MYFI Yaba, Lagos office. MYFI 2012 got over nine entries, with Akingbala Michael Oluseye, who composed the theme song for MYFI's inaugural edition and also released an album titled, 'All to Jesus', entertaining guests at this year's event.

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