PHILANTHROPIST VALENTINE OZIGBO DOLES OUT CASH PRIZES AS VCO FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF ANAMBRA TALENT UNLOCKED

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Valentine Chineto Ozigbo (VCO) Foundation, one of Nigeria’s most recognisable charity organisations, has concluded its maiden virtual talent contest, Anambra Talent UNLOCKED.

Anambra Talent UNLOCKED is a platform for indigenes of Anambra to showcase their creative talent by competing in four performing arts categories – drama, dance, music, and comedy. The contest had 78 valid entries from a pool of over 100 initial entries sent in from the 21 local government areas of the southeastern state.

Announcing the talent competition winners at an elaborate event held at Emmaus House, Awka, on Friday, June 4, 2021, Sir Izuchukwu Oraelosi, the General Manager of the VCO Foundation, said that the winners were selected by a panel of judges, which include three past winners of the foundation’s initiatives.

The judges for Anambra Talent UNLOCKED Aziza Uko, a Nigerian publisher, who is the Communications Director of the VCO Organisation Worldwide; Blessed Ezeakabudu, the 2018 Nigerian Freestyle Football Champion sponsored by the VCO Foundation; Sharon Ifedi, a two-time winner of the Akalabo Talent Hunt Competition, another youth empowerment initiative of the VCO Foundation; and Arthur Ezechukwu, the Programmes Manager of the VCO Foundation and a second-place winner of the foundation’s business plan competition.

At the finale event, Valentine Ozigbo, the foundation’s founder, told the audience that the primary reason for launching the Anambra Talent UNLOCKED platform was his passion for nurturing young talents, especially in his home state, Anambra.

“We created this platform, Anambra Talent UNLOCKED, because we believe there is innate greatness in every one of us. But that pool of talent needs an opportunity for expression,” Mr Ozigbo, the immediate past President and Group CEO of Transcorp Plc, said.

At the launch of the contest, Ozigbo had said, “I firmly believe that the arts play a unique role in the renewal of the collective consciousness of our people, a revival that is important and urgent if we are to walk into the bigger, better, and brighter future of our dreams.

“Through performing, visual, and literary arts, our talents can send messages of equality, kindness, and altruism that will resonate in the hearts and minds of our people. When these happen, the sense of perfection that is in every one of us is stirred and made manifest.”

Announcing the winners in the four categories, Sir Oraelosi said it was not easy to judge given the pool of incredibly talented contestants who entered the competition.

Ikenna Damian emerged as the winner in the keenly-contested music category while Ikebundu Chukwuebuka and Ikechukwu Onyilimba emerged first runner-up and second runner-up, respectively.

Ifeanyi Ndogo won the drama category, pipping Desmond Okonkwo and Chiamaka Lovelyn, who came second and third.

The grand prize of the dancing category went to Gabriel Onoja. Ndukwe Chibuike emerged second, and Timothy Umejiaku came third.

For comedy, Kalu Daniel Onyebuchi came first, followed by Nnaemeka Nlebedim and Chukwudi Nnadi, the first runner-up and second runner-up.

The winners of each category took home a trophy and N50,000 cash prize each. In addition, each first runner-up was rewarded with a plaque and N30,000 cash, while the second runners-up also got a plaque and N20,000 cash. The fourth and fifth-place finishers were not left out, as they got a consolation prize of N10,000 each.

In total, cash prizes of N500,000 were given to the winners and finalists.

Anambra Talent UNLOCKED is one more youth development initiative of the Valentine Chineto Ozigbo (VCO) Foundation, a non-profit organisation founded by Valentine Ozigbo, a respected business leader and change champion. He recently resigned from the boards of Transcorp Plc, Transcorp Power Limited, and Trancorp Hotels Plc to dedicate the next chapter of his life to public service.

Mr Ozigbo is widely regarded as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) frontrunner ahead of the November 2021 Anambra governorship election.

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