altThe Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has called for the diversification of the revenue base of the country through effective funding and promotion of festivals and other cultural activities.

Dr. Ayakoroma made the call while presenting a paper titled, “ Between Crude Oil and Cultural Festivals: Creating an Atmosphere for Local Government Development,” at a 4-day workshop   for Local Government Chairmen, Councillors, Political Secretaries, and other top government functionaries at the local government level on, “Effective Local Government Administration,” organized by the Bayelsa State Ministry of Local Government & Community Development, in collaboration with the Bayelsa State Local Government Service Commission and the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON).

The ES stated that the nation’s economy is in dire straits, due to over dependence on revenue from oil and gas, adding that over reliance on oil and gas has killed our creative thinking as a people and country, thereby making us to abandon the once thriving agricultural sector, which was the mainstay of the economy.

He stated that as long as the nation continues to depend on revenue from crude oil, which has become more of a curse than a blessing, the nation’s economy will not be free from the vagaries of economic turbulence that pervade the global economy.

Ayakoroma stated that cultural tourism holds veritable potentials that can diversify the nation’s economy if properly harnessed, and advised local government chairmen and other key players in the local government system to identify unique cultural festivals and other cultural activities within their domains and take practical steps to promote such festivals and activities, stating that tourism is all about marketing the unique cultural activities of a people and that effective promotion of culture will not only attract investors but will provide employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths in the country.

Those at the workshop include, the Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Local Government & Community Development, Deacon James Dugo, Chairman, Bayelsa State Local Government Service Commission, Hon. Talford Ongolo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government & Community Development, Evang. N.A. Ayibakeme, Chairman, Civil Service Commission, Elder Bob Ozaka, the chairmen of all the eight Local Government Councils in the state, and the Zonal Coordinator, NICO South-South Zonal Office, Mr. James Imohiosen, who led a team of the zonal office staff to the event.

Moses Omorogbe