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Abia First Lady Empowers Young Talents -As Nollywood stars clamour for continuity

By Ugochukwu Favour-Mayor
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Aimed at harnessing, discovering and empowering young talented Abia citizens who are of secondary school age at the rural areas, the First Lady of Abia State, Chief Lady (Mrs.) Odochi Mercy Orji has embarked on the phase two of her late last year's flagged off pet project, tagged: First Abia Secondary School Talent Hunt Show and Movie Production.

The talent hunt search which has today empowered the young Abia students, through platform provision for their talents to grow and be nurtured began with its first local government outing at Umuahia North, where four schools in each area were given an opportunity to hone their skills in acting. Also, as earlier promised, the seventeen days tour at the local government areas that make up Abia state got ended with a grand finale which held late last year at Umuahia Township Stadium.

After the successful tour and rigorous selection, twenty students from the seventeen local government areas in Abia State triumphantly emerged. Currently, they have been on camp and location with other Nollywood top stars for a movie titled: My Hidden Treasure.

Holistically, her humanitarian hands which she has been extended to the showbiz industry has continued to record numerous eulogiums and encomiums from Abia and beyond, as top Nollywood stakeholders recently joined others to applaud and clamour for more of the hunt exercise, while urging the First Lady and Abia state government to sustain and encourage it.

Below are excerpts:
The First Lady of Abia State, Lady Odochi Mercy Orji is a real humanitarian and a natural mother who cares for all her children and those around her. And the way she has unfolded this project, I will say is a real experience for the children, and to what they have become. With this, their attitude to life will now begin to change positively. I mean, it was fantastic working with them. I saw the children working with ardent discipline and joy. In fact, with what our own field is all about, I must commend them specially.

There is need for continuity, because as children they will be growing and it will be good to have continuous training, so also to encourage learning. I mean, each generation should be a teacher to the next.

-Olu Jacobs
Behind every successful man, they say there is a good woman behind him. For the First Lady, I will simply say that she is a good woman, because she wants the development and growth of the next person to her. This alone she has done is something no other First Lady in Nigeria has been able to champion. It's something everybody should applaud or laud her effort, because it's for human development.

-Tom Njemanze
Alright, I will say that this project is widely toured. I will give kudos to the wife of the governor for facilitating this programme that will go a long way into promoting and empowering the participating students and even the youths, especially in the area of job creation. This is one project that should be sustained and encouraged, because it will somehow generate revenue and development for the people of Abia state. Above all, the crews are awesome!

-Ed Ifeanyi Nnasor
Personally, this is one project that I have seen where everyone on set felt happy doing the job. And everyone as well just handled everything as if they knew the facilitator's heart, and aim for this project. What else would one say than to appreciate the First Lady's effort towards poverty alleviation and art promotion? We really love this, and we urge her not to relent in its continuity.

-Christy Ijele Ozioma Ejiofor
To be plain and specific, I will say this is one of the First Lady's giant strides. Towards this direction of talent discovering, I would say she has perfectly done well. And I know she has invested so much on it, and I will assure her that with what we have seen so far, it's never a waste of resources, because the project and production worth it.

-Grace Ekeh
Honestly, the facilitator and organizers have done marvelously well. They are helping Nigerians to reduce corruption and youth restiveness in the society. This project has indirectly engaged the youths and students in using the best of their time genuinely. I think other First Ladies in the country should borrow a leaf from her.

-Udo Ogbonna
What else do I say? This is worth doing again, as you can see, the people and students here are all happy. And I think their faces should be sending a message to the First Lady, because the students especially have seen this development as a promise made and one fulfilled.

-Madubuike Mary
The First Lady has done well by extending her human kindness to the showbiz industry. As you know, there was no sentiment in the selection of talents here, and I think that is why we are getting positive results. If I must also tell you, the whole sector of this production were all professionally engaged, and we wish to see the students grow.

-Nwabichie Callistus Amandi (Don-Cally)
We really appreciate this development, because it is aimed at developing and empowering talents. For this very feat, I must acknowledge the First Lady for her wonderful effort towards the empowerment of talents here in the State. And I pray that God will provide for her so that this project could be sustained and encouraged.

-Ngozi Nkebakwu
Director of Photograph and
President Nigerian Society of Cinematographers
First, I would say it was all a success. The First Lady has through Magic Lens Pictures engaged those who triumphantly emerged. This I will say is the first of its kind in the history of Nigeria. I mean, creating such an art project for those in the academic sector. The participating students are awesome, and to them, it is more like away from home. For the First Lady, I urge her not to relent for this is worth doing again.

-Mercy Akanyak Okoye
Artistic Director
Personally, I must commend the Abia First Lady for deeming it fit to setup the hunt exercise. It worth doing again and that is why I'm lauding her on this great and giant stride.

-Ndubuisi Henry Ahamefula (ND Green)
Property Manager
The movie is so wonderful, because of the young people and upcoming artistes on it. I'm amazed at what I have seen so far, honestly I never expected that the students would deliver their lines perfectly. Even looking at the crew, you will find out that professionals were rightly engaged. For the First Lady of Abia state, I would say she is a real mother.

-Jennifer Ogbonna
In her magnanimity, she has perfectly done well, and we hope to see this programme being sustained. It is a development that Abians should appreciate, because it is coming to their doorsteps to discover those untapped talents.

-Sunny Otti
Production Manager