Nigerians have been urged to stop treating the development of Nigerian cultural industries, such as theatre, dance, music, film/video, art and crafts, museums and monuments, foods and cuisine, fashion, literature and publishing, festivals and ceremonies with levity.
Professor Jenkeri Zakari Okwori of the Department of Theatre and Performing Arts, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Nigeria, made the call in a paper, titled, “The Culture of Creativity and The Creativity of Culture: Implications for Peace and National Development,” which he delivered in the 2013 edition of the World Culture Day Celebration at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
Represented by the Head, Department of Theatre and Performing Arts, ABU, Professor Sam Kafewo, the university scholar described cultural industries as being knowledge and labour intensive because they create employment and wealth, nurture creativity and foster innovation in the production and commercialization process.
He averred that treating the development of the cultural industries of any country with levity amounts to ignoring its culture of creativity, cautioning that a nation that ignores its culture of creativity has ignored its creative industries and does so at its peril.
“It is in the arena of cultural production and especially cultural industries that creativity finds most eloquent expression. So, ignoring the creative industries is not in the good interest of any nation, because they add to the economic potentials and sense of nationhood, in addition to engendering and nurturing peace and national development,” he stated.
The university don continued: “The argument should not be about creating and providing budget for the cultural ministries or departments. Instead, Nigeria should empower and strengthen the mandate of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation and National Orientation Agency to develop and monitor a mechanism in which all planning involving all ministries, departments and agencies include a cultural component that would determine the effect of intervention of that sector on the people in cultural terms. The formulation of the development programmes will be framed within the cultural challenges that must be addressed and cultural resources that must be used to enable success. The agencies would develop cultural indicators that would form basis of assessment. Such indicators should take into cognisance the cultural impacts of the development actions.”
He further said it was good to give special attention to anything that has to do with culture and creativity as culture is an essential and peculiar way of life that embodies thinking, feeling, the process of organizing, existence and development, nexus of the ability to store, use and reuse society’s knowledge and wisdom from the past to the present and also store them up for future, and that creativity is the generation of a product that is not only novel and imaginative but also useful and of good quality.
The World Day for Cultural Diversity, Dialogue and Development, with the theme, “Creativity: A Tool for Peace and National Development,” had in attendance, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Mrs. Nkechi Ejele, represented by Director, Planning, Research & Documentation, Mr. Chudi Uwandu, Country Representative of UNESCO, Professor Hassana Aliyu, Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, Executive Director, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Mr. M.M. Maidugu, Director-General, National Gallery of Art, Mr. Abdullahi Muku, Director of Culture in the Ministry, Nkanta George Uffot, as well as NICO Cultural Clubs from secondary schools in the Federal Capital Territory, that provided cultural entertainment based on the theme of the celebration.
Nwagbo Pat Obi