The Honourable Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, has said that the bane of sustainable development in Nigeria is the neglect of our culture by Nigerians.
Stating this at the opening ceremony of a two-day National Workshop on Culture in the Transformation Agenda, organized by National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), in collaboration with Leading Edge Academy, Abuja, at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Central Business District, Abuja, on Monday, 8th October, 2012, Chief Duke added that the same neglect has also brought about lack of peace, unity and national integration.
The Minister was however happy that the initiative of engaging the operators of the third tier of government in a meaningful exchange of ideas, would go a long way in enhancing their capacity to meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians, informing, “I am delighted that the workshop would examine the cultural dimension of development. Lack of consideration for culture has been the bane of sustainable development, peace, unity and national integration in Nigeria. So, culture should be integrated into development plans, policies and programmes.”
Continuing, he reminded the top Local Government functionaries that as those running the closest arm of government to the people, they should realize that they have a critical role to play in facilitating development at the grassroots, because the Federal Government is fully committed to ensuring that an effective Local Government system that would serve as catalyst for grassroots development is entrenched.
Earlier in his address, the Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, the Institute considered bringing the top functionaries for the workshop because the Local Government system is pivotal to national development, adding that the Local Government Councils were designed as important agents of development at the grassroots in conformity with the local people’s cultures.
According to him, it was disheartening that a fair assessment of the Local Government system shows that the system had largely failed to perform its constitutional role of driving the development process at the grassroots, saying that there was a lot the officials could do within the confines of the constitutional provisions to foster socio-economic transformation of their areas, assuring that the workshop provides a veritable platform for an in-depth consideration of the cultural dimension of development as an alternative option.
Some of the dignitaries that were at the event were the Honourable Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke (Special Guest of Honour), former Executive Governor of Yobe State, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim (Chairman of the event, represented by his Special Assistant, Dr. Emmanuael Iwueke), HRM Igwe (Dr.) Ezedioramma M. C. Aniagu, Igwe Ezeudo Shikeaguma the VII of Ihe Ancient Kingdom in Awgu Local Government of Enugu State (Royal Father of the Day), and Professor Olu Obafemi, Director of Research, National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru (Chairman of the Technical Session).
The resource persons, Professors Sunday Ododo and Emmanuel Dandaura (Rappoteurs), Professor Steve Nkom, Professor ABC Toni Duruaku, Dr. Sola Fosudo, Dr. Abba Gana Shetima, Dr. Julie Umukoro, Maj. Gen. Mathias Efeovbokhan (rtd), Barr. Reginald Bobmanuel, and Dalhati Idris, esq., were all present for the opening ceremony.