The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has said that if Nigerians display the kind of enthusiasm they have towards Nigerian dishes when they travel abroad to other aspects of Nigerian culture, the country’s problems can be tackled.
Stating this at a press briefing on the Institute’s upcoming National Workshop on Culture in the Transformation Agenda, at NICO Headquarters, Abuja, Dr. Ayakoroma commended the way Nigerians cherish Nigerian foods, when they travel outside Nigeria, adding that indigenous foods serve as a medium for cultural diplomacy.
The ES, who said that culture remains the key to national development, asserted that: “Nigerians are very passionate about Nigerian indigenous foods. They are very patriotic as far as food culture is concerned, because food culture plays a critical role in Nigerian multiethnic cultures to the extent that the moment any Nigerian travels abroad, he does not joke with Nigerian food. He begins to look for what he will “swallow.” Of course, we all know how people love to “swallow” in Nigeria. They take that love outside Nigeria. There is this love and burning zeal with which Nigerians want to identify with and eat Nigerian foods abroad.”
He Continued: “The truth is that if we show that love for local cuisines towards other Nigerian cultures, we will not have the problems we are encountering at all now in this country. It is a high sense of patriotism and with that we will have meaningful development. This is typical of Chinese and their Chinese Restaurants, which Chinese people take pride in. It makes them open restaurants for their indigenous cuisines in any country they find themselves.”
According to the ES, the national workshop is to provide a veritable platform to interface with experts in the fields of culture and development, policy formulation and analysis, management and governance systems, “to thoroughly interrogate current socio-economic development failures in the local government systems and explore the cultural perspective as an alternative option. It is expected to generate authoritative submissions on possible legislative inputs and constitutional amendments to strengthen development at the grassroots and Nigeria at large.”
Dr. Ayakoroma told the media that since the workshop is aimed at taking development to the grassroots, the target participants are Honourable Commissioners, Permanent Secretaries and Directors in Local Government Ministries, Executive Chairmen, Commissioners and Permanent Secretaries of Local Government Service Commissions, Local Government Chairmen, Vice Chairmen, Secretaries, Legislators and Supervisory Councillors, Executives of National Union of Local Government Employees, and other relevant Top Local Government Functionaries.
The theme of the workshop, which NICO is organising in collaboration with Leading EDGE Academy, Abuja, is “Culture and the Socio-Economic Transformation of Local Governments in Nigeria: Setting an Agenda for Development,” and it comes up from Monday, 8th – Tuesday, 9th October, 2012, at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja.