The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has described culture as the key to ameliorating most of the problems Nigeria is facing, saying that culture remains the pride of the country.
Stating this in an interview with the management team of The Peoples Media Limited, the publishers of Peoples Daily Newspaper, Dr. Ayakoroma observed that there are certain directions Nigeria is going, and that if the country looks the way of culture, most of the problems would be solved.
The high profile interview, which was conducted by the Chief Executive Officer, Ali Mohammed Ali, General Manager, Abdulaziz Abdullahi, General Manager (Business), Hussein Abdulraham, and Maryam Hembe, saw the ES throwing light on the problems militating against the Nigeria state, which border on dressing habit, violence and animosity, Nigerian Indigenous languages going into extinction, architectural designs, concluding that going back to our culture will ameliorate most of these problems.
Noting that “Culture is our pride,” Ayakoroma called on Nigerians to be committed to culture, by putting efforts to promote it, warning that if development initiatives do not take people into consideration, they are of no use.
He said: “We have been working hard to realize our mandate, so that we harness Nigerian culture for national development. That was why when I came, I felt that the Training School was quite germane. We have given the School all the attention it deserves. The permanent site at Kuje will start at the end of this year. Many States have indicated interest in the Training School, so that it will help in training their cultural workers.”
Speaking on Nigerian Dress Culture, Ayakoroma asserted that if the cultural dimension is considered in dressing by Nigerians, it will bring out not only the identity of Nigerian people, but will boost the textile industries in Nigeria, saying that this informed an initiative by NICO on Dress Nigerian Days, for civil servants to wear Nigerian attires to work on given days, and that the ministry is expected to forward the memo to the Federal Executive Council.
He surmised thus: “If we achieve this, the National Assembly, various States Houses of Assembly and Executive Councils too start wearing Nigerian attires, soon, the awareness will reach everywhere, including our homes; because, apart from the Personal Assistants of the political appointees joining them in wearing the native attires, families will join. Then, it can spread to the Churches, banks and many other places. In NICO, we have started with the members of staff wearing native attires every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.”
Nollywood, Ayakoroma admits that there are negative aspects, but urged the Federal Government to tap on the potentials the industry offers to promote Nigerian culture even as he noted that the industry can change the Nigerian economy: “Nollywood has portrayed our culture as fetish. But these things can be corrected. That is why I blame Theatre Artists. They leave the industry for non-theatre artists. I have had a meeting with the DG of National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) on the issue of the impact of Nollywood. We are really worried about it and we are working on a conference. But Nollywood has impacted positively too on Nigerians. It is providing income to millions of Nigerians and various sectors. Apart from the actors, the directors, costumiers, etc. the industry is providing job for drivers, hoteliers, traders, the communities, among others. If the government picks interest in them, the tax they will be paying to the government will be good income. Apart from footballers, Nollywood stars are the next ambassadors of Nigeria in other countries. These stars are known more than even the politicians. So, we need the film industry to project our culture. NICO is not resting on its oars. We are seriously working so that our activities will be known all over the country. We have zonal offices and we are opening more offices in the states so that our programmes will get to the grassroots. In the next five years, we will surely stabilize.”