The Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, was on Monday 23rd July, 2012, in the Board Room of the Institute’s Head Office in Abuja, commended for being committed to the development of the Institute.
The commendation came from Senator Abubakar Tutari, a member of the Senator Hassan Barata-led Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, while responding to presentations made by Dr. Ayakoroma on the programmes and activities carried out by the Institute within the past one year, as well as the achievements and developments recorded over the same period.
Dr. Ayakoroma, who made an elaborate Powerpoint presentation to the visiting committee members, encapsulating the various programmes and activities of the Institute, planned and executed successfully over the past year, among them, the National Conference on “Culture, Peace and National Security: the Role of Traditional Rulers and Local Government Chairmen,” adjudged the best programme ever organised by the Institute, due to feedbacks from across the country, said it has served as springboard for similar programmes by other agencies.
Senator Tutari said they could see that the ES was seriously committed to the development of the Institute, but then asked: “How have you been coping with the challenge of actualizing these projects in the face of non release of budgetary allocation for capital projects as is the case presently in the country?”
Responding, the ES said it was a major challenge and that informed the Institute’s efforts at looking for alternative means of funding its programmes and activities, saying, “We had looked up to the Education Trust Fund (ETF), now Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), thinking that they would intervene in the funding, since we are a Training Institute, running academic programmes, but that has not materialized yet.”
Speaking further, Dr. Ayakoroma informed the Distinguished Senators that the Institute now partners some state governments in its media workshop series, which explains why the programme has been going on successfully, disclosing, “But on most of our programmes, where we do not have any partnership or sponsors, we stand alone and try to do them to the best of our ability, taking into cognizance the fact that our capital vote is nothing to write home about.”
Also responding to an observation from Senator Hosea Agboola that he noticed non-release of funds for some months in the year under review, wondering why that was so and how the Institute had been coping with such a situation, the ES informed the law makers that it was a general situation, faced by most government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), from the budget office, where releases are not made as at when due, stating: “This is a major challenge beyond us which for now we do not have answers to.”
The NICO helmsman further stated that, he hoped the Senate Committee Members’ visit to the Institute would mark the beginning of a new level of relationship with the law makers, saying, it was a good thing they had seen for themselves how management was coping, and appealed: “By the time you all leave here, at the back of your minds you will take home some of the challenges we are encountering in our quest to develop the Institute in carrying out our mandate of harnessing Nigeria’s culture for national development.”
He therefore urged the Distinguished Senators to use their esteemed position to see that budgetary proposals by parastatals under their supervision are met, adding, “if NICO and other agencies under you are doing well, you, members of the committee will also share in the joy of the successes recorded by these agencies.”
Jonathan N. Nicodemus