My Experience as the Benue Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation Chairman

Updated: Feb 25

Hitherto, within the years as someone who is still studying Sociology and Anthropology in the University, I never imagined I will do well in the literary space. All my thoughts and thinking was that I'm not a student of English language or Literature. But stepping into the literary world coupled with my in-depth Sociological background and consistency paved ways for things to become a little bit easier for me. Mixing Sociology and literary activities and studies isn't easy but I have to find a way to balance it.

Writing Sociological articles and literature has been one of my greatest passion and love. Sociological articles and love gave me a home and linked with Applied Worldwide in the U.S.A and I enjoyed everything about Applied Worldwide which I have swore to take Applied Worldwide to all the young Sociologists in Nigeria. I'm a passionate lover of Sociology ever since I started studying the course in the University, my analytical thinking and analysis has been totally unique and different.

On the other hand, my passion for literary activities dragged me into a Creative Arts Foundation called "HILLTOP-CREATIVE ARTS FOUNDATION", Minna, Niger state, Nigeria. Hill-top Creative Arts foundation was founded by BM Dzukogi, the pioneer Director-General, Niger state Book Development Agency. He founded the Hill-top Arts Centre, Minna in 2004. He has to his credit ten publications in poetry, short story, essay, interview, children's story and aphorism.

BM Dzukogi is an art administrator responsible for the creation of many art programs and platforms in Nigeria which include the Annual Schools Carnival of Arts and Festival of Songs (ASCAFS), Nigerian Writers Series (NWS), Minna Literary Series (MLS), MBA international Literary Colloquium, National Teen Authorship Scheme, Book Hawker, NIFESTEENA, HIASFEST, The Nigeria Review (TNR), Literature Voices, The Blue Resolution Initiatives (TBRi) and many other literary initiatives in Niger state and Nigeria. Dzukogi pioneered the establishment of the Niger state Book and other intellectual Resources Development Agency. Currently, he's the chairman, Northern Nigeria Writers' Summit.

Beautifully, Hill-Top Creative Arts foundation is a registered Non-Governmental Organization in Nigeria. It manages an Art Centre known as Hill-top Art Centre for mentoring students in various artistic expressions at the Hill-top Model School, Minna. The centre has been in the forefront of discovering young creative minds for individual, community and national development since 2004. Hill-top Creative Arts foundation is the first of its kind in Nigeria established to discover creative artists from primary and secondary School age through to the university thereby making the organization a credible partner to work with. It's a non-profit making organization; thereby, it rely on well-wishers, sympathisers, art enthusiasts, individuals and organizations to facilitate its programmes, annually.

Hill-Top mentors young people in these areas:

  • Creative Writing

  • Painting

  • Creative Arts

  • Reading

  • Performances

  • Songs

  • Photography

  • Language Competence(English, Nupe, Hausa)

  • Citizen and Leadership Training

  • Broadcasting

  • Career talk

I have been a member of Hill-Top Creative Arts foundation for over three years. And I'm the only member from Benue State, the state where I reside. So, when the call for creation of other branches all over the 36 stetes in Nigeria was made by the founder I was chosen to be the Charman of the branch of Hill-Top in my state and I will have to get my Vice Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and Public relationship officer (P.R.O) in my branch and also get members for inuaguration to commence.

Although getting those officials and members was tedious but I was able to get them. A date was fixed for the inauguration which was 16/1/2021 and I had to select guests for the inauguration and a topic was selected from the National Headquarter in Minna, Niger state, Nigeria for the inauguration. A representative of the founder was sent all the way from Minna, Niger state to witness the inuaguration to which he came along with some gifts for us.

The event took place in District four (4) lounge, Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria. It Kicked-started at 3pm with all the members present and the venue arranged. The event had Dr. Simon Shachia Oryila of the Department of English Benue State University. He happened to be a lecturer and Benue State Hill-Top branch advisor and mentor. Carl Terver of Benue State University and the Assistant Digital Editor of Praxis Magazine, Oko Owi Ocho of Benue State University and the Creative Director of Benue Poetry Troupe and Ukan Kurugh, Humanitarian and Social Activist to which he couldn't make it to the event due to some acceptable reasons.

However, there was also Mrs Tsavnande Elizabeth of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria-Nigeria and the Principal Government Girls College Makurdi, Muhammad Yunus, the coordinator of all the 36 states branch of the Hill-Top Creative Arts foundation to which he represented the founder of Hill-Top Creative Arts foundation in the event. WADATA TV, a community based media organization in my society was also present and capturing and taking videos live in the event and everyone in the 36 states were following the event. A photographer friend of mine, Dlight photography, Sulaiman Haruna was around and assisting with snap shots.

The event started with National prayer (Second Stanza of the Nigerian National Anthem) down to recognition of distinguished guests present which I did recognized the whole guests present. There was short speech by the Chairman, Benue Hill-top Creative Arts foundation: The essence of the gathering which I did it perfectly ok. Then I moved to introducing the President of WADATA TV and also Benue Hill-top members to all the guests and people present.

Along the line, the coordinator of all the 36 states branches in Nigeria told us about Hill-top Creative Arts foundation: the journey so far, which he ended with a Goodwill video by BM Dzukogi, the founder of Hill-top Creative Arts foundation. After this, Pannel discussion took place with Dr. Shachia Oryila, Department of English Benue State University, Carl Terver, Assistant Digital Editor of Praxis Magazine, Oko Owi Ocho, Creative Director of Benue Poetry Troupe, on the topic: The Role of Art in Contemporary Nigeria. It was so interesting listening to beautiful intellectuals.

Furthermore, there was spoken word rendition/ Poetry performance to which we had three presenters and with a poem dedicated to BM Dzukogi, the founder of Hill-top Creative Arts foundation. It was followed by a creative games to which three interesting and brain teasing games were done. The president of WADATA TV, Makurdi gave the good will message with which he expressed his joy and gratitude.

A short talk/ inauguration of the Benue Hill-top Creative Arts foundation member was done by Dr. Simon Shachia Oryila of the Benue State University, to which oath of membership was carried out. After which inauguration of the Benue Hill-top Creative Arts foundation executive council was inaugurated by Mrs.Tsavnande Elizabeth of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria-Nigeria and the present principal of Government Girls College Makurdi.

Finally, vote of thanks was done by Torkwase Biam, the Vice Chairman of Hill-top Creative Arts foundation, Benue Branch to which the closing anthem/National pledge followed.

In conclusion, leadership isn't an easy task at all, it demands determination, patience, perseverance, hard-work and wisdom. This is my first experience of holding such position and I urge the Nigerian youths to be focused, dedicated, hard-working and patient. Nothing good comes easy, a lot of drudgeries accompanies any good thing.

Hassan Idris is a final year student of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria -Nigeria, studying Sociology and Anthropology. He is a poet, a member of the Creative writer's Club, A. B. U Zaria, Creative Club Gombe State University, Northern writer's Summit, Risingyouth and Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation. His works has appeared in Zdigest, Yodelehub. Com, Kano State Students magazine, and Creative Writer's Club, Kongo Campus, A. B. U Zaria. He received an Award from the department of Sociology and Anthropology Ahmadu Bello University Zaria , Nigeria as the best researcher in 2017.

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