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Sterling Bank unveils Africa’s skills champions

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[FILE] Sterling Bank

Leading lender, Sterling Bank Plc, has unveiled champions at the recently-concluded, iCreate Skills Festival, with 10 of them to represent 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); and Afolabi Caleb Kayode (art).

Others are 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).

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The bank partnered with iCreate Skill Fest 2018, to host the premier youth empowerment festival in Abuja, aimed at transforming skill acquisition across the continent.

A statement from the bank in Lagos, quoted the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Suleiman Abubakar, as saying that Sterling Bank’s decision to sponsor the second edition of iCreate, followed the huge success of the premier edition.

He added that the bank will also extend credit facilities to the winners of the first edition, and that such loans will be fast-tracked within two weeks.

Abubakar said: “Bright Jaja, the CEO and Founder of iCreate Skills Festival, gives me hope for the future of this country. 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 has convinced me completely that the generation that will salvage Nigeria is here.”

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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 specialisation, and not just earning a living, but in actually bringing in respect to the various skills they possessed.

Abubakar, noting that Nigeria’s future is in jobs creation, stressed the need to do all that is necessary to create employment opportunities in various sectors of the economy.

Also speaking, the Founder of iCreate Africa, Bright Jaja, 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 me and growing into it, and the experience has made me a better person during and after the festival.

He noted that young people refused to get involved in technical skills because of societal perspective and stereotypes, adding that skill is taken as a second option when all other expectations failed, which should not be the case.

The Director, Partnership, iCreate Africa, Anne Dirkling, reiterated the need to focus on the positive side of the change narrative, and how to send out the right message by celebrating the winners that can actually change the game.

Also, Managing Director, Trace West Africa, Sam Onyemelukwe, said the media has a big role to play by communicating big ideas and how respectable people have earned a living with their hands.


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