The Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has called on Nigerians to use indigenous foods, as a medium for cultural diplomacy, stressing that if they apply the passion they have for their indigenous foods to other spheres of life, the nation will be a better place.
Ayakoroma was speaking on a variety of issues raised on the nation’s cultural influence during an interview, conducted in his office on Wednesday, August 15, 2012, by Gabriel Ochang Odu, a Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) reporter.
According to him, although Nigerian indigenous foods are constantly under threat by western foods, Nigerians are, however, very patriotic as far as food culture is concerned. His words: “I can say, without fear of contradiction, that if ten Nigerians leave the shores of Nigeria to go to London or New York for five days and they don’t see Eba or Semo (swallow), there will be trouble. So, that means we are passionate about our food.”
Ayakoroma noted that Nigerian restaurants outside the country are mostly small scale enterprises, which have not blossomed to a level, where other nationals will patronize them but just to service few Nigerians, maintained that if Nigerians are to effectively promote our food culture outside the shores of this country, there is need to improve on them in order to attract other nationals just as Nigerians are attracted to Chinese Restaurants in the country.
On dress culture, the NICO Boss reiterated that Nigerians have a dress culture, which is peculiar to them. Although he associated the Babanriga (Agbada) to the northern part of the country, the Buba or Shokoto to those in the western part of the Nigeria and the Etibo to the Ijaws of the Niger Delta, Ayakoroma emphasized that both are, more or less, national dresses because anybody can wear them, and that once you wear any of such dresses, people will know that you are a Nigerian.
“In the last few years, since President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan assumed office, the Niger Delta dress culture has become a national dress, which is a very formal dress pattern. This one I am wearing is an everyday official dress that you can wear and go anywhere,” he said.
While decrying that Nigerian youths are not always proud to wear Nigerian dresses but prefer to use jeans and T-shirts, which, he said, are walk dresses and not formal dresses, Ayakoroma maintained that the Nigerian youth can always adapt indigenous dresses to suit any occasion.
To further buttress the importance placed on the use of indigenous dresses, the NICO boss re-iterated that for the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, are Nigerian Dress Days, particularly, as the Institute is about cultural orientation, stressing that on such days, you will never see any staff of NICO in a shirt, tie or suit.
He therefore called on Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, to enforce the use of cultural wears to work which is the only way to measure the acceptability level of the Dress Nigeria Policy, which was recently emphasized by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.
According to him, once that is done, textile companies in Nigerian that had been comatose will gradually come up, especially, with the intervention fund made available by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.