An Associate Professor of Theatre Arts at the Alvan Ikoku College of Education, as well as Imo State University, Owerri, Imo State, ABC Duruaku, has called on government to support and encourage the culture sector to give it a boost the way it is in developed nations for the Nigerian economy to reap rich rewards.
Professor Duruaku made the call while presenting a paper on the topic, “Re-inventing the Culture Sector in a Developing Economy: A Template for Nigeria,” at the 5-day workshop on, “Repositioning Cultural Workers for Improved Productivity,” organised by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) for staffers in the Department of Culture, Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, at the Oasis Garden Hotel, Mararaba, Nasarawa State.
The university don, who decried that government at all levels in Nigeria do not take culture seriously, due to the misunderstanding and misrepresentation of culture, especially its familiarity, regretted that even when most policy makers travelled regularly to developed countries and see the imprint of culture in every aspect of such developed societies, they still failed to recognise that it was the basis for their development.
According to him, for Nigeria to re-engineer its culture sector, every government ministry, department and agency (MDA) must have a Culture-Content Unit run by qualified personnel, stressing that, unfortunately, it was only the Embassies and the Ministry that supervised culture (the Federal Ministry Of Culture, Tourism And National Orientation) that have Culture-Content Units run by qualified personnel at the moment.
His words: “There are three tiers of government in Nigeria, and each has a role to play in a top-to-down approach. The Federal Government has enunciated the cultural policy and set up institutional structures to drive it, no doubt; but it must go further to show that the policy is not a mere United Nations-inspired copycat window dressing, which it appears to be for now.”
“In developed countries, large companies and organisations massively invest in culture. To replicate this in developing economies, governments must be committed to creating negotiated, investment-friendly atmosphere for business organisations, not only for financial returns but as incentive for culture support.”
He therefore called on culture workers to continue to respond to the new initiative by creatively engaging their beliefs, saying there was an understandable depression in culture workers who were deployed to non-materials sections where they consider their briefs drudgery and find the performance areas exciting, offering opportunity for travel and visual entertainment saying it need not be so; hence all aspects of culture offered excitement.
He however concluded that while there are no problems with the broad objectives of the Cultural Policy for Nigeria, government’s contribution to the sector at this stage should dwell more on policy formulation, blaming the shortfalls in the failure to meet the objectives of the policy on articulation and implementation.