The South-South Zonal Office of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), in its bid to promote and preserve Izon culture through spoken language, has kick-started an Inter- School Quiz Challenge at the South-South Zonal Office of the Institute, located at No. 41, Imgbi Road, Amarata-Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

In his opening remarks, the Chairman of the occasion, Chief John Agha, who is the General Manager of NTA Yenagoa, extolled NICO for its bold initiative to promote and preserve Izon culture through diverse programmes.

According to him, as the fourth largest ethnic group in the country, Izon language deserves to form part of the Curriculum of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and National Examinations Council (NECO). He therefore enjoined the Bayelsa State Ministry of Education and other stakeholders in the educational sector to take steps to introduce the teaching of Izon language in schools.

While welcoming guests and students, the Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma, represented by South-South Zonal Coordinator, Mr. Mike Ekoko, stated that Izon Quiz Challenge is aimed at preserving Izon cultural heritage, using language as a medium of promoting cultural identity and unity among the Izon tribe, and getting the students acquainted with their Mother Tongue (MT).

He added that the event will be a regular one in order to inculcate the speaking of Izon language among students, emphasizing that the programme will be carried out in other States of the Zone using the major indigenous languages spoken in those states. He used the occasion to solicit the support of the State Ministry of Education to include the Izon language in the curriculum of the schools system.

Dr. Ayakoroma also used the occasion to recount the laudable programmes of the Institute which include, Promoting Nigeria Dress Culture, World Culture Day Celebration, Sensitization Workshop for Cultural Workers for Improved Productivity, Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme, Quarterly Media Workshops for Art Writers and Editors, and Research on Tangible and Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICT) in Nigeria, among others.

The Permanent Secretary, Bayelsa State Ministry of Education, Dr. (Mrs.) Alice A. Atuwo, who was the Special Guest of Honour, applauded the remarkable initiative of NICO in organizing the Izon Quiz Challenge, stating that the Ministry has taken steps to promote the teaching of Izon language in schools and added that the Ministry had already prepared a curriculum and scheme of work for the eventual teaching of Izon language in primary and secondary schools in the state.

Seven selected secondary schools, drawn from both public and private schools in Yenagoa, participated in the maiden edition of the programme. The schools are Early Foundation School, Biogbolo; Spark International Academy, Swali; Basic Junior Girls Secondary School, Amarata; and New Total Child Academy, Kpansia. Others are Community Comprehensive Secondary School, Biogbolo-Yenizuegene; Community Secondary School, Agudama-Epie; and Ayakpo Schools (City of Christ), Biogbolo.


At the end of the Quiz Challenge, Master Kakar Brandy of Community Comprehensive Secondary School, Biogbolo-Yenizuegene, won the 1st Prize; while Master Ibumozi Seibarugu of Ayakpo Schools (City of Christ), Biogbolo, and Miss Agnes Jacob of Spark International Academy, Swali, won the 2nd and 3rd positions respectively.


The Chief Judge of the Quiz Contest was Mrs. Simeni Zidubadou, while Mr. Imbazi Menitare and Mr. Eneware Enekidi, acted as co-judges. The competition was witnessed by Staff of NICO South-South Zonal Office, the Press and personalities from the academia.

NICO customized exercise books were distributed to all the students and schools that participated in this competition.

Moses Omorogbe
NICO South-South Zone