altOn Monday, the 18th of March, 2013, history was made in a rural community, called Inyi, in Orji River Local Government Area of Enugu State, the hometown of Rt. Hon. KGB Oguakwa, former ranking Member and Chairman, House Committee on Tourism and Culture.This was the day that the 2013 Annual Rural Crafts Prize Winning Competition was held at the FGN/Rural Redemption Cultural Industry Centre for Pottery, Raffia and other Crafts, situated in Umuome, Orji River.

This year’s theme, “Towards Sustainable Self Employment via A resurgence of Indigenous Knowledge (IK) Skills,” was targeted at complimenting the declared mission of the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation (FMTCNO), to provide an active platform for engendering wealth creation through the promotion and commercialization of indigenous knowledge skills.

The Honourable Minister, Chief Edem Duke, in his remarks, said that the centre was the most vibrant among other centres located in other parts of the country, noting that it was chiefly due to the fact that Rt. Hon. Oguakwa, a son of the soil was a lover of culture with the passion of seeing that traditional knowledge skills were transferred to the next generation.

The minister, who was represented by Mr. George Ufot, Director of Culture in the ministry, went further to say that the exhibition was to highlight the potentials of our creative industries, which, if properly, harnessed will reduce joblessness and contribute immensely to the country’s drive to economic development.

Rt. Hon. Oguakwa, who also serves as the Acting Curator of the Centre, in his speech, admitted that the centre has a lot to gain from its partnership with the Federal Government in the promotion of Art and Craft.

altAccording to him, the FGN Centre, while nurturing these individual repositories of Indigenous Knowledge skills, has also been following up the capacity of the local artists and craftsmen to mentor the next generation for sustainability, and that part payment is provided in advance to all craftsmen within Inyi, who produce their crafts as an incentive and this had led to a resurgence of craft activities in the area, thus validating the raison d’être of the FGN in establishing the centres across the nation.

There were prizes in different categories, ranging from N20,000 to N 5,000: 1st Overall Prize in Pottery Design, Best Pottery Utility, Best Wood Craft, Best Raffia Craft, and Best Visiting Exhibition, just as the craftsmen were further motivated in having the centre to buy up all their works for permanent exhibition.

The South East Zonal Coordinator of NICO, Mrs. Chioma Duru, was in attendance with some staff from both Owerri and Enugu.

© NICO news, Owerri