The United Kingdom’s leading international organization for educational opportunities and cultural relations, The British Council, has declared its preparedness to collaborate with Nigeria’s apex Cultural Institute, the National Institute for Cultural Orientation, because Nigeria is blessed with a bundle of talented artists in all areas: music, visual, dance, and so on, and the current Government is interested in creating opportunities out of these artists.
The Deputy Country Director/Director, Business Services, British Council, Mr. Amir Ramzan, who stated this when the Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, paid him a courtesy visit, said that because the Council was all about cultivating cultural linkages between British culture and Nigerian Culture, it would be good to partner NICO in areas that will boost Nigerian arts and culture.
According to Ramzan: “British Council looks at three areas: Education, Language and Arts. In terms of education, we take it to international level, and in language we help English Language teachers to develop their teaching skills. Then in the arts, we develop innovative events and collaborations that link thousands of artists and cultural institutions around the world. These we do in Nigeria here. We have been here for over 60 years. We are in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Kano. There has really been historic and cultural relationship between the Council and Nigeria. We are happy seeing NICO as a Cultural Institute harnessing the potentials of culture in Nigeria. I am grateful for your coming. We have to come together to look at areas we can collaborate, arts, culture and other areas, so that there will be partnership between us.”
Earlier in his remarks, the ES briefed Mr. Ramzan on the activities of NICO, informing that the Institute was established in August 1993, as a joint initiative of UNESCO and the Federal Government of Nigeria, as part of the World Decade for Cultural Development (1988-1997), noting that the Institute will celebrate its 20 Years Anniversary in August 2013.
Dr. Ayakoroma further highlighted programmes of the Institute: “In the Training School, we run Diploma and Post Graduate Diploma Programmes in Cultural Administration; the Institute provides training for proper understanding of Nigerian cultural realities, philosophy and practices. We have a programme that encourages our indigenous languages, Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP); we have a programme for Cultural Attaches; and we have National Media Workshop for arts Editors and Journalist in Nigeria.”
He then called on the British Council to factor into some of these programmes, since the Institute is working assiduously towards really harnessing Nigerian culture for national development, noting that one of such programmes, “Culture, Peace and National Security: The Role of Traditional Rulers and Local Government Chairmen,” comes up on May 7-8, 2012, and is expected to be declared open by President Goodluck Jonathan.
On the entourage of the ES were the Director, Orientation and Cultural Affairs, Mr. Festus Ihenetu, Director, Research and Documentation, Mr. Louis Eriomola, Deputy Director/Special Assistant to the ES, Mr. Ebi Nelson Campbell, and the Media Assistant to the ES, Mr. James Gillowei.