The Katsina National Talent Hunt Challenge (KNTHC), which started about two years ago was organized by Katsina Public Exhibition and Innovation Center in collaboration with stakeholders from the academic and industrial sectors.
No fewer than 7,000 youths from within and outside the state were said to have shown interest and participated in the competition geared towards inspiring youths to overcome adversity and never give up on their dreams by encouraging them to work hard and do well in school and other fields of endeavours.
The competition was not limited to students alone but open to all interested people from across the country.
Governor Aminu Bello Masari expressed pride in the KNTHC committee for being able to identify so many talented youths from Katsina State whose talents and innovations were not known even by their immediate communities.
He said, “It is, therefore, our pride as a government to identify people from our communities who will serve as models and raise the position of Katsina State not only in Nigeria but among the international community.”
While reiterating one of the restoration agendas of his administration which is focused on training, skill acquisition and empowerment of youths and women in the state, Masari said
“so far the State Government has successfully trained over 1,500 youths at Community Skills Development Centers and about 500 at the Business Apprenticeship Training Centers on skills acquisition and in various trades to become self-reliant and employers of labour.”
In addition, the Governor said “about 2,104 youths benefited from training recently organized in Katsina, Daura and Funtua with the beneficiaries expected to establish small scale enterprises.
Similarly, Masari said no fewer than 950 unemployed youths were empowered to be self-reliant during the Vocational Agriculture Skills Training Program held across the state recently.
Also as part of the initiatives of the Katsina National Talent Hunt Challenge Competition, “the State Government accepted the proposal of the committee to identify and employ all Katsina State indigenes that graduated with first class in any field of study and gave directives to the Head of Service of the State to submit a recommendation for their employment. So far a total number of 36 First Class Graduates were employed by the State Government to inject fresh blood into the state civil service to achieve greater height in terms of quality output and service delivery.”
In the same vein, during the recent convocation of the Katsina State College of Nursing and Midwifery, two qualified Nurses and Pharmacists were given automatic employment by the Katsina State Government as a result of their excellent performance at their final examination.
In acknowledgement of the giant stride of the Masari led government towards building industrious and enterprising youths in the state, Mr Aliyu Zailani, the Director-General National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), disclosed that the Federal Government has decided to construct an Automative Mechanic Institute at Hassan Usman Katsina Polytechnic. The Institute will train mechanics, panel beaters, painters, electricians, among others on Modern Computer Automotive Technology.
Through the talent hunt, some citizens of the state, have excelled in the fields of Arts, Science and Technology, not only in Nigeria but across the globe.
One of them is Abdulkarim Bashir, who emerged the overall winner of the maiden edition of the Katsina National Talent Hunt Challenge (KNTHC) and was rewarded with the star prize of the sum of N5 million and a Toyota Highlander Jeep from the Katsina State Government.
Governor Masari made the presentation of the star prize to Bashir last week at the grand finale of the KNTHC held at the conference hall of the State Secretariat Complex.
Bashir invented an IT Security Software Solution Provider, Known as “Chiniki Guda,” an Artificial Intelligence Technology for classifying and detecting human actions which include suspicious activities in retail, public space and airports by analysing videos from CCTV Cameras.
Bashir has since been invited by the Government of the United Kingdom for further development of the technology.
The Katsina Governor also presented prizes to the top 3 winners in each of the four categories of contestants and equally splashed N10 million as consolation prizes to 100 other contestants, with each of them receiving an N100,000 at the grand finale of the KNTHC.
The four categories of contestants who participated in the KNTHC are the ICT design, art and design, automotive modelling and products as well as the Music & Entertainment category.
The winner in each of the four categories was presented with the sum of N5 million, while the first and second runner up in each category also received the sum of N3 million and N1.5 million, respectively, from the Katsina Government.
The Art and Design Category was won by Usman Aliyu Haji, with Ahmed Lawal Ahmed and Rahama Aziz as first and second runner up, respectively.
The Automotive Modelling and Products Category was won by Muhammad Usman followed by Kabir Abubakakar and Sada Idris Kankia in the second and third positions respectively.
Similarly, the Music and Entertainment Category was won by Salisu Hussaini with Salisu Abubakakar Arabi and Suleiman Ukashatu Ajuba as first and second runner up.
However, the winner for the ICT Design Category is still pending and undergoing further scrutiny. Nonetheless, the first and second runner up went to Muhammad Khalilulah and Ahmed Rabiu respectively.
Speaking during the grand finale and the award presentation ceremony, the National Coordinator of KNTHC, Faisal Jafar Rafindadi commended Governor Masari for his foresight and commitment towards initiating the noble idea which gave youths from diverse backgrounds of the state and the nation at large the opportunity to participate in the competition.
Faisal expressed optimism that Katsina State and Nigeria at large will get things right with this calibre of youths who are blazing the trend through their innovations and creativity.
He said: “Most of the innovations witnessed today are products of the youths. We are proud to know that we have youths in Katsina state and the country at large who possess the talent and can compete favourably anywhere in the world if given the desired support.”
He called on government at all levels and well-meaning individuals “to take advantage of such windows of opportunities to encourage innovation which will, in turn, create more jobs for youths in the country.”
On the way forward, Faisal said plans are in top gear for the next edition of the talent hunt competition which will commence very soon.