The Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Gombe State, Hon. Samuel Adamu Bulus, has said that his ministry is interested in partnering the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), to fast-track the development of the rich culture and tourism potentials in the state.
Stating this at the Boardroom of the Institute’s head office in Abuja, on Thursday, 7th June, 2012, when he paid a courtesy call on the Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, Hon. Bulus said that if his ministry partners NICO, they would have achieved and fulfilled Article 1 of the 1996 Declaration by UNESCO, which states that every culture should be respected and revered and that every people have a duty and right to promote their culture.
The Honourable Commissioner noted that, though Gombe State is endowed with very rich culture, it has not been given its rightful place at the federal level, and that informed the creation of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which is charged with the responsibility of not only harnessing and promoting the rich culture of the state, but ensuring that the rights and values of the culture of Gombe people are protected, preserved and respected by all.
According to him, the ministry has been doing everything possible to achieve this, and that partnering NICO would ensure that most of the things needed to be done to fulfill this charge would have been achieved, adding that under the partnership arrangement, staff of the Department of Culture in the State would patronize NICO Training School programmes, because there are already people in the ministry, who have interest, as a matter of urgency, to take part in the training programmes.
He also noted that partnering NICO would enable his ministry to tap from the wealth of experience and knowledge of the Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma, to help reposition the state’s Ministry of Culture, build it up, and to take its activities to greater heights.
The Gombe State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism also used the opportunity to inform Management of the Institute that the Executive Governor of Gombe State, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, had approved an office accommodation for the Institute’s proposed State Office in Gombe, and that the keys would be handed over to the Director of Culture in the ministry, Mrs. Victoria Maimuda, for collection.
He however appealed to NICO Management to establish Zonal Training Centres across the country, and to consider citing the one for the North-East Zone in Gombe, as it would go a long way in providing people in the North easy access to cultural training, which is difficult at present, due to the distance to Lagos, adding that doing so would help ensure that the cultural heritage and values of Nigerians in the north would not go into extinction.
In his response, the Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, appreciated the Management of Gombe State Ministry of Culture and Tourism, led by the Honourable Commissioner, for the courtesy visit and commended the efforts of the Executive Governor of Gombe State, His Excellency, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, the entire Management and staff of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the good people of Gombe State, for hosting the Institute’s National Quarterly Media Workshop in February 2012, which he described as a huge success and a rewarding experience for participants, and hoped that the state would host more of such workshops.
Appreciating the efforts at facilitating the approval of NICO State office in Gombe, Dr. Ayakoroma stated that if the ministry had not taken up the matter seriously, it would not have been a reality, adding that the partnership between the Ministry and NICO is a welcome idea as the Institute had been channeling its energy in that direction for the development of the culture sector.
He also informed the delegation that in furtherance of its efforts at developing the sector, the Institute had started organizing short-term training programmes at its Lagos Liaison Office, to facilitate the capacity building process for staff in the sector, which entails training and re-training cultural workers for effective service delivery and called on the Honourable Commissioner to take advantage of the workshop to train staff.
On the need to create zonal training centres, Dr. Ayakoroma disclosed that the Institute’s permanent Training School complex in Kuje in Abuja is ready, stating that the only thing hindering academic activities is the access road, which is yet to be constructed, and that once the road is constructed, there is the possibility of admitting students for academic programmes in the campus during the next session.
Dr. Ayakoroma also hinted that when the time comes for citing zonal training centres, Gombe State, which is bordered by all states in the North-East, would be considered, and further commended the State Government for the large turnout of participants during the NICO National Conference on “Culture, Peace and National Security: The Role of Traditional Rulers and Local Government Chairmen,” stating that it is an indication that the Ministry shares a common vision with the Institute which is recognition of the paramount position of culture in the sustenance of peace and security in Nigeria.
In concluding, the ES assured his guests that the Institute would work with them to ensure that the culture sector in the state, and in Nigeria generally, grows from strength to strength because, “Culture is what we have; it is what we are made of; it is what makes us different from other people; and it is what would bring us up globally and make people look up to us as a people,” he stated.
Principal officiers with Hon. Samuel Adamu Bulus on the courtesy visit were the Acting Permanent Secretary/Director of Administration and Finance, Alhaji Abdulhamid Hussaini, the Director of Culture, Mrs. Victoria Maimuda, and the Director of Tourism, Alhaji Sulaiman Abubakar.
Jonathan N. Nicodemus