The Arts editors and journalists in Nigeria have revealed that no parastatal in the Culture and Tourism sector had given them the kind of opportunity the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) is giving them through its media workshops, saying NICO has used the platform to bring culture to the people.

The National President and Secretary of Arts and Culture Journalists Association of Nigeria (ACJAN), the umbrella body of arts and culture writers in Nigeria, Mr. Sola Balogun and Mr. Ozolua Uhakheme, respectively, stated this at the July edition of the NICO Quarterly Media Workshop at the National Arts Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos.

Commending NICO for all the programmes aimed at promoting Nigerian cultural values, the ACJAN leadership and its members also called for the presence of officials of Ministry of Education in the workshop in order to incorporate it in Nigerian education programme.

Mr. Uhakeme, the Arts Editor of The Nation Newspaper, while giving the vote of thanks, described the workshop as a huge success, noting that it has given the arts journalists with the editors the opportunity to learn from the Resource Persons, just as the Ministry of Culture and Tourism had drawn from the experiences of the journalists.

“The truth is that this workshop is a huge success just like the earlier ones.   NICO has done very well with the workshop. No agency in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has given arts and culture journalists in Nigeria this kind of opportunity NICO is giving us through the workshop. It is a good idea. We sincerely thank NICO for the opportunity. The truth is that the ES of NICO, Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma, is moving the Institute forward with the cultural programmes he has been doing. I commend the Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme so much. It is a well deserved programme. But it is just that there are challenges before such a project could be realized. I believe that NICO will try their best.”

Earlier in his goodwill message, ACJAN President, Sola Balogun, who is the arts editor of The Sun Newspaper, commended the workshop initiative, saying NICO has used it to bring Nigerian arts and culture editors and journalists together, adding that with the workshop, NICO is championing the course of cultural democracy in Nigeria.

“The point is that this workshop is an opportunity for Nigerian culture to get close to the people. The arts and culture journalists report the events in the culture sector. So, bringing us together in a workshop of this nature is very good for the masses. The culture, which belongs to them, will get closer to them. It is good as it will enhance cultural democracy. With such situation we will have more than enough to report on culture in Nigeria. It is a feat which we need to commend NICO about. It is good for cultural journalism in Nigeria.”

On his part, McPhillips Nwachukwu, the arts editor of The Vanguard Newspaper, while lauding the workshop, called on NICO to notify the Ministry of Education about the workshop so that it will be included in the educational programme: “I must be frank with you. The workshop is a nice thing to the culture sector. I urge NICO to let the Ministry of Education to be aware of this workshop, so that it will be incorporated into the educational programme. It is worth the while. Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma is doing well.”

Chuka Nnabuife, the arts and entertainment editor of Nigerian Compass Newspaper who expressed his satisfaction over the quality of the papers presented by the resource persons, described it as an avenue for those in the culture desk to draw knowledge about Nigerian culture.

Earlier in his remarks, the ES, Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma, assured the arts editors and journalists in Nigeria that the Quarterly Media Workshop will soon become a monthly event, saying it is being repackaged and will also be taken round the county as the programme has generated interest in state governors.

The workshop, which attracted more than 40 arts and editors, also had many dignitaries, top government functionaries, artistes, musicians, culture diplomats, cultural administrator, and stakeholders in the culture sector in Nigeria in attendance. The resource persons, Professor Sophie Oluwole, Malam Garba Abdul Ganger, Maj-Gen Mathias Efevbokhan (rtd), represented by Barr. Reginald Bob-Manuel, dwelt extensively on the theme of the workshop: Sustaining Nigeria’s Democratic Process: The Imperatives for the Culture Sector.

Nwagbo Nnenyelike

Corporate Affairs