Nigeria’s Apex Cultural Training Institute, the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), has been called upon to extend its capacity-building programmes and activities aimed at repositioning cultural workers to other Public Servants in the Civil Service of Nigeria.
Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Culture and Tourism, Hon. Ben Nwankwo, made this call on Thursday, November 22, 2012, at the National Assembly complex, Abuja, during the 2012 budget performance report analysis and 2013 budget defence, by the Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma.
Hon. Nwankwo, who advised that the Institute should design a curriculum that creates contemporary training programmes with short courses with Nigeria’s cultural content, maintained that such programmes, which will basically focus on the nation’s culture, will not only help in the understanding of Nigerian culture for development, but also enable every public servant to reflect on such.
According to him, “You can approach the Head of Service or Secretary to the Government of the Federation to make it mandatory because if you are working for Nigeria, you should be able to truly know Nigeria and its culture. You should also be trained on being more tolerant and how to love your country.”
Commending NICO for its training programmes so far, which he said it has been doing quite well, the Committee Chairman charged the Institute to step up its activities and programmes in accordance with its mandate of effecting a sense of cultural direction into the citizenry, stressing that Nigerians need a lot of orientation now more than ever before.
Clearing the air on the mandate of NICO, which many mistake to be a replication of the role of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), the Lawmaker explained that while NICO drives national orientation and integration development campaigns, using the Nigerian indigenous content, NOA talks about national orientation from the socio-political dimension without cultural content.
Further emphasizing that the country needs a lot of orientation at this point in history, Nwankwo called on the Institute to make regular, its orientation programmes, particularly its new initiative of interacting with traditional rulers.
He commended the NICO National Conference for Traditional Rulers, which was held in May 2012, saying, “You should make regular, your interactions with traditional rulers, even at zonal levels. You should be able to do strategic consultations with traditional institutions at the zones and then do the main national traditional rulers confab regularly, thereby bringing them closer to government and making them to understand themselves and also promoting exchanges between one traditional institution and another.”