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The YouthStorySLAMS and the Imperative of the New Narrative Projects for Nigeria@61

Published by: Musa Danbata, Kano

The Independence Day Celebrations conjure up different memories for different folks. It is a time for sober reflections on how far we have come, our shared history, our challenges, and our hope for a better and prosperous Nigeria. A time to ponder about our coexistence as a people living under one umbrella called Nigeria. We have been grappling with peaceful coexistence which pivotal to the foundation of our nationhood. This existential threat has continued to elude us. The stories festering on our digital and cyberspace are exacerbating this ugly trend.

On one end of the spectrum are those who feel entitled, exudes a false sense of patriotism and pride about their contributions to society even though their actions/ inactions portray them otherwise. On the other end of the spectrum are those who are frustrated, despondent, and have lost all hopes of a better future, and their actions/inactions are not making things even better.

Between these two extremes are those who believe in this country. They work tirelessly to be part of the solutions, and their actions are consistent with their commitments. These are a selected few who often voice their concerns in the hope of enlightening us and providing us the way forward to charting a new course for our nation. They see opportunities we can tap into, even during the chaos, and solutions to our political and economic quagmire if only we are willing and ready to consider them.

It is a tumultuous era for the nation, and we must work to be part of the solutions if we desire a real change. We must realize that Nigeria is passing through a phase defined by an era. An era when things seem to be falling apart, and our fragile peace and coexistence are hanging on a scale. We must be honest in asking the right questions and what we must do to reverse this grotesque trend.

We must not succumb to parochial sentiments, ethnic jingoism, or settle for blame games. We must not expend our collective energy on mundane things that are fruitless. We must be courageous to respond and not react to issues just as we have seen in our daily lives. If our reactions are not making things better, why not devise other strategies?

Great nations emerge from the obstacles and challenges they overcome. They emerge from the great wars they fought to conquer their perceived foes. History is replete with great leaders who steered their countries out of the most trying and pivotal moments. They chart a new course for the socio-economic development and transformation of their countries. These leaders do not only wade through the murkiest of muds to come out victorious but strive even hard to position their countries strategically on Morningthe global map while making a difference in the lives of their citizens.

We need a strategic response to our current albatross. We are sick and tired of the never-ending REACTIONS from all quotas. We are tired of stories, speeches, and rhetoric that deliver little or nothing to our people. We need little talk and more action to overcome our current challenges. We need our leaders to talk less and do more for their people.

So, this led to the New Narrative Projects conceived about two years ago. They aim to provide an alternative platform for talents and ideas to grow and thrive. They also aim to provide opportunities for youth, motivate and empower them to start their innovation-driven enterprises. We plan to work closely with agencies, business corporations, and academia in institutionalizing innovation across all aspects of their businesses.

These projects include IdeaNexT Innovation Challenge (e.g., University Innovation Challenge/Varsity Innovo Challenge), StoryNexT Enterprise Challenge and Podcasts, and FreelanceNEXT (The Work Remotely Concept). We hope to unveil them to the public in November this year.

We hope that these projects may eventually shift our collective narrative in a quantum way especially among the youth, and inspire a new sense of hope for a better future. We plan to commence with the StoryNext Enterprise Challenge in the form of National StorySLAMS.

The first episode in this series was codenamed YouthStorySLAMS. This was conceived to doused the simmering tensions and anxieties in our communities and society at large. These tensions may have spun from our actions and inactions, and from the stories we tell ourselves, and share with the world, and the constant negative and stereotypical narrative we are bombarded with on a daily basis.

We need a paradigm shift in our individual and collective narrative starting either from those who govern to those who are governed or vice-versa. This should not be an isolated sacrifice or decision but a collective one rooted in commitment and willpower to be the change we all want to see. To be part of something positive, something that transcends our individual interest, things that put our nation first.

Positive somethings will inspire the current and future generations. If we cant be part of the solutions, then we shouldnt make things worse for our nation. We must break away from the shackles of bad governance and sycophancies, corruption and ineptitude; we must break away from chains of nepotism, ethnic jingoism, and profiling, and from all that is holding us back.

Our team are on a mission to collect, archive, disseminate our original stories. This mission birthed the StoryNEXT, which came from our commitment to preserving our stories for the next generation. The StoryNext Enterprise project aims to attract and empower young, talented narrators/ tellers. These individuals are willing to share their personal stories, compete with others for prizes and awards. We encourage authors, writers, journalists, students, graduates, artists, and other citizens to apply to our forthcoming YouthStorySLAMS.

We opened the portal for youth to apply for the competition on the 1st October 2021. The winner gets a Million Naira. There are consolation prizes for the finalists. You can find more details about how to apply on this link: https://apmultimedia.org/youth-story-slam/.
At APmultimedia, we believe that our words matter, our stories matter, and what we share with ourselves goes a long way to shaping how we think and act. We must educate the world about the other nuanced stories not often portrayed in the mainstream media. Join us as we chart a new course for a better and prosperous Nigeria. God bless Nigeria @61 and beyond.

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