As Nigeria considers diversifying from oil, which has been the mainstay of the economy, culture has been advocated as a veritable source of alternative revenue generation for the nation.
The Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, who made this known while making his presentation at the 2013 Budget Defence, before the House of Representatives Committee on Culture and Tourism, on Thursday, November 22, 2012, at the National Assembly complex, Abuja, said it was part of the reasons why NICO had been constantly creating awareness for Nigerians to know that culture is really an aspect that can be nurtured for possible revenue generation.
According to him, the Institute, as the apex cultural training institute in Nigeria, has over the years, been engaging in capacity building and general orientation of the populace, towards promoting culture and bringing the sector to the fore in national development.
Highlighting some of the programmes the Institute had used to create such awareness about the culture sector in the year under review, the NICO boss proudly said the Institute’s National Quarterly Media Workshop for Arts Writers and Editors, has become a veritable platform to synergize with journalists on the culture desk and has proven to be invaluable, hence, people are increasingly becoming aware of what NICO does, as well as being appreciative the effort.
He went on: “Our Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme is going into the next phase. We are starting the Weekend Indigenous Language Programme. It has started in Lagos and by next year, Abuja will also start. The reason is that the long vacation programme is not just enough for people to effectively learn a language of choice and we believe that if we now graduate to a weekend programme, it will be favourable for those who are working and not only for school children, which was the initial idea when the long vacation programme was put in place.”
Continuing, Dr. Ayakoroma stated: “We have also introduced the National Conference for Traditional Rulers. We are happy to announce that the maiden conference we had in May, 2012, has yielded quite some benefits in the sense that the theme we looked at, “Culture, Peace and National Security,” has become an issue of national discourse. We are happy that the National Assembly too organized a retreat on that very theme and, of course, people are generally looking at the issue of peace and security.”
He explained that the choice of Local Government Chairmen and Traditional Rulers as key participants at the conference was informed by the fact that they are the people at the grassroots that should drive the process of sustaining peace and security, further disclosing that the Institute had, in line with the outcome of the conference, submitted a memo to the National Assembly on the Constitutional Amendment, asking for a role for Traditional Rulers in the Amended Constitution.
The ES also informed the honourable members that NICO had started decentralizing from the six zonal structure, by creating six state offices as a way of improving the Institute’s presence in the various zones, saying that, “The Institute has received the blessing of some State Governors in this direction, where Niger State Government has given us an office space and has also approved land for the institute to build a Training Centre. Gombe State Government has done the same, while Imo State Government concluding the process of approving the land. We have also acquired offices in Ibadan and Enugu to see how we can take our training programmes to the various zones effectively.”