The former Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Abuja, Professor Mabel Evwierhoma has called on the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) to establish Culture Academy for Nigerian Children.
Stating this in a lecture she delivered at the Children’s Cultural Extravaganza organized by the Institute, she said, the Academy would help promote peace, unity and national integration in the country. The event took place at the Cyprian Ekwensi Centre for Arts and Culture, Area 10, Garki Abuja with the theme Culture: A Strategic Tool for Peace, Unity and National Integration.
Commending NICO for the initiative, she said the extravaganza would create cultural values that could take Nigerian culture to the international level, develop the children and build a virile nation
In her words, “I commend the management of NICO for this powerful programme for the Nigerian children. I call on the Institute to establish an Academy for Nigerian children. This academy will inculcate Nigeria’s cultural relevance in the children. I appreciate the NICO Indigenous Language programme, in which NICO teach Nigerian indigenous languages and our children learn a lot from that. But, I suggest that the Institute should go a step further by establishing an Academy. The activities of the Academy will help our children affirm who they are culturally, instead of imitating the cultures of other people and imitation makes people fake”
Prof. Evwierhoma, who is one of the Resource Persons in NICO Training School, Abuja Study Centre, counseled the children to use the social media positively, saying that instead of using it to promote personal values, they should use it to promote Nigerian culture through visits to sites and tourists attractions.
“The way this visit can help culture is that when you visit places like Jabi Lake, cultural centres, take snapshot of such places, write a short history of the place and post the picture on Facebook. There are 365 days in a year. When you do this on daily basis, you cover so much on Nigerian culture. By so doing a child will keep himself or herself busy and make tremendous contribution to Nigerian cultural promotion and growth. It is better to do things that will make people, even from other cultures, come for you and not you hurrying to go to other people to imitate their culture. If you engage in meaningful activities, they will be attracted and they will surely come for you.”
Speaking further, she advised that people should stop seeing culture as meaning something fetish. Rather, she implored that culture should be seen as what will project Nigeria to the greatest height, because it is the way of life that could bring excellence to the individual and the entire society. She believes the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Information and Culture should synergize to help our children be aware of Nigerian cultural values in their schools.
Earlier in her remarks the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Culture, Deaconess Grace Gekpe, represented by her Special Assistant, Mr. Simon Tyungu commended NICO for setting up the veritable platform that would instill the right cultural values on the younger generations in Nigeria, adding: “we must learn that peace, unity and national integration are the surest ways of building a stronger and better nation. This is what NICO has demonstrated by this Cultural Extravaganza. I commend the Management, I appreciate the students.”
The Acting Executive Secretary, NICO, Mr. Louis Eriomala, said the programme is an offshoot of NICO Cultural Clubs in Secondary School and it is designed to inculcate in Nigerian children the cherished cultural values of honesty, hard work, tolerance, patriotism, respect for elders and constituted authorities among others. He further stressed that the theme of the programme was carefully chosen to underscore the importance of culture in fostering peace, unity and national integration. NICO’s commitment to the cultural knowledge of children and youth will motivate more of such programmes for the younger Nigerians.
In her vote of thanks, Assistant Director, Orientation and Cultural Affairs, Mrs. Franka Okoro thanked all the dignitaries who graced the occasion. She commended the School authorities and the children for their wonderful cultural performances that included dance, drama, debate etc. She commended the Acting Executive Secretary and praised the members of staff of NICO who worked tirelessly for the success of the programme.
The dignitaries present at the event are Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Culture, Deaconess Grace Gekpe, represented by her Special Assistant, Mr. Simon Tyungu; the Acting Executive Secretary, Mr. Louis Eriomala; the Director-General National Gallery of Art (NGA), Alhaji Muku Abudallahi, represented by Dr. Evelyn Otaigbe; Director- General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Mrs. Chika Balogun, represented by Mrs. Blessing Okafor, and the former Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Abuja, Professor Mabel Evwierhoma among others .
Nwagbo Pat Obi
NICO Training School, Abuja Training Centre