The Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has said that if government can approve funds for the design and construction of a main auditorium and the Access Road to the permanent site of the Institute’s Training School complex in Kuje Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), it will go a long way to enhance the operations of the Institute, in terms of capacity building as well as revenue generation.
Ayakoroma stated this while defending the 2013 proposed budget for the Institute before the House of Representatives Committee on Culture and Tourism on Thursday, November 22, 2012, at the National Assembly complex, Abuja.
According to him, if the Training School complex, a contract that was awarded since 2005, can be completed and put to use, other organizations can use the facilities in the complex, such as the proposed auditorium, classrooms and hostels, for workshops, seminars and retreats, if government can appropriate funds in the 2013 budget, particularly for the construction of the main auditorium and access road to fast-track usage of facilities at the complex.
His words: “We believe that the activation of the Kuje Site will go a long way in enhancing the operations of the Institute, in the sense that it is possible for other organizations to also use the Training School because there are hostels and classrooms. It is possible for retreats, seminars and workshops to take place there. Under such circumstances, the Institute will be seen to be generating some appreciable revenue from the complex.”
Reeling out the challenge the Institute is facing in running the training programme, the NICO boss pointed out that last year, the Institute proposed the building of the auditorium at the permanent site but it was not feasible because of the “envelop” the Institute was given to work with as far as capital projects were concerned, a situation, he further lamented, that is being replicated in the proposed budget.
The ES also identified the issue of convincing cultural workers from the northern part of the country to travel down to Lagos to undergo the one year training programme as one of the challenges, especially, in terms of participation but expressed optimism that by the time the Institute will have an adequate training centre in Abuja and one or two other zonal offices, where governors have approved land for the Institute, the fear of such students going to Lagos for the Training School programme will be reduced to a large extent.
Ayakoroma, however, said the Institute is using the opportunity to train its staff, especially those who do not have a culture-related background, because, according to him: “We met an establishment where even those who studied sciences are working in the cultural sector and we feel these persons need the Post Graduate Diploma programme in Cultural Administration so that they can have adequate foundation as far as the sector is concerned.”
He continued: “The institute is meant to train workers from all culture ministries all over the federation but the challenge has been people going there; and that is why, for us, research documentation is also cardinal and while we are not looking at the calendar of festivals and so on, we are looking at the history and the background of such festivals so that we can document them and come out with materials that could be referenced.”