The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), a sister parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, while celebrating its 40th Anniversary, has maintained that, culture is a viable alternative to Nigeria’s revenue generation drive instead of the overdependence on oil and gas.
This was the position proffered at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Maitama, Abuja, during a Visual Arts Exhibition with the theme, “Showcasing the Inevitable Role of Culture in National Development and Economic Diversification,” mounted by the Council in collaboration with the Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA), as part of the activities marking “NCAC @ 40.”
In her welcome address at the opening ceremony, NCAC’s Director-General, Mrs. Dayo Keshi, noted that culture is the alternative to oil and gas in Nigeria, and the earlier the country realized this and put efforts towards repositioning the culture and creative sector to boost its economy, the better for the country.
She informed that with this orientation, concerted zeal and pursuit, the country can, out of the culture sector, build an industry bigger than oil and gas, noting that the synergy with the Society of Nigerian Artists was a welcome development towards helping to showcase the works of Nigeria’s multi-talented artists and creating access for marketing creative art works in line with best global practices.
To ensure the repositioning of the culture sector to achieve the above, Mrs. Keshi stated that NCAC, along with other stakeholders, were in the business of advocating for a deliberate policy on culture, ensuring fiscal and non-fiscal policies for the sector, reviewing the arts syllabus in schools to train pupils, encouraging the imprints of local artworks as postal services motifs, promoting competition in the Nigerian music industry, as well as immortalizing accomplished Nigerian artists, which would serve as a morale booster for intending and up-coming artists as measures towards arriving at that destination.
Speaking further, she informed that NCAC was already empowering its skills acquisition centres across the country to achieve this vision and urged the private sector to assist the Council by partnering it to galvanize the arts and culture sector towards becoming the alternative of revenue generation to the oil and gas sector of the Nigerian economy.
On his part, the Special Guest of Honour to the event, Hon. Patty Etette Ineme, a former Member representing Ikot Ekpene, Obot Akara and Essien Udim Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, stated that culture occupies and plays an important role in the development of individuals and the nation at large, noting that the challenge lies in how to use the creative aspects of culture to encourage the economic development of individuals and the country generally.
He informed that on his part, he is making his own contribution to the development of Nigerian culture by supporting the establishment of Anang Museum in his Ikot Okoro community in Anam Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State to help promote and preserve for posterity, the creative and rich cultural artefacts of his people.
The Honourable thus called on stakeholders and other individuals to look for ways on how to use the diverse aspects of our culture to help bring about foreign investments to Nigeria, further challenging the culture sector to get the good aspects of our indigenous culture and use same to expose the country’s various unique cultures and charged the council to ensure that Nigerians are better sensitized to key into this programme of promoting the rich array of our creative cultural products to the world.
Among the dignitaries who witnessed the event and inspected the NCAC’s Visual Arts Exhibition was the Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation, (NICO), Associate Professor Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, who was accompanied by the Director, Orientation and Cultural Affairs of the Institute, Mr. Alex Omijie, Deputy Director/SA to the Executive Secretary, Mr. Law Ikay Ezeh, the Asst. Director/Head, Cultural Affairs Unit, Mr. Segun Adegbaju and other NICO staffers.
Other Special Guests at the exhibition included the Director, Chinese Cultural Centre in Nigeria, Mr. Yan Xiang Dong, Director-General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Mrs. Chika Balogun, the representative of the President of the Society of Nigerian Artists, Mr. Tochukwu Okide, and the Director, Arts and Craft, NCAC, Mrs. C. J. Abara, among others.
Jonathan N. Nicodemus