altThe Executive Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, has said that a significant proportion of global conflicts has a cultural dimension, and that any effort to promote dialogue and development must utilize culture as a platform for engagement.

Governor Ahmed, who stated this as the Special Guest of Honour at this year’s World Culture Day Celebration, organised by NICO North-Central Zone, in collaboration with the Kwara State Ministry of Social Development, Culture and Tourism, said the theme for this year’s celebration, “Creativity: A Tool for Peace and National Development,” at the time many parts of the country are facing security challenges, draws attention not only on our creative industry, but also on its capacity to demonstrate how our diversity can be a source of strength, rather than weakness.

Represented by the Hon. Commissioner in the Ministry of Social Development, Culture & Tourism Mr. Samuel Olaseinde Bamisaye, he expressed sincere appreciation to the Honourable Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, and the Executive Secretary of NICO, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, for working tirelessly towards promoting Nigeria’s cultural heritage as a tool for national cohesion.

Earlaltier in his welcome address, the ES, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, who was represented by NICO North-Central Zonal Coordinator, Mr. Ibrahim Lawal, had said the fact that the World Culture Day was not declared as a public holiday, its observance demands total meditation on the country’s cultural values.

He added that the theme for this year’s celebration, as chosen by UNESCO, to awaken the consciousness of Nigerians and affirm the belief that creativity is central to our way of life, must be exploited positively to achieve peaceful co-existence, respect for elders, constituted authority and human life, and our strength then lied in our diversity, which defined the pervading security situation in the society.

Also speaking, a former Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Makanjuola Suleiman Ajadi, who was the Chairman of the Occasion, called on the Federal Government to give more powers to National Institute altfor Cultural Orientation (NICO), saying that empowering the Institute had become imperative, especially now that the Institute had a cultural technocrat, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, as the Executive Secretary, whose commitment has been moving the Institute forward an awakening the cultural consciousness in the people.

altThe Guest of Honour and Kwara State Commissioner for Social Development, Culture and Tourism, Elder Samuel Olaseinde Bamisaye, whose address was read by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Alhaji Magaji Nuhu, said in spite of all attempts by government, judicial and religious bodies, to restore law and order in the country, the attainment of peace and stability had been elusive, and that the last resort was the cultural sector.

According to him, the cultural sector offers a practical solution of promoting creativity and its translation to self-employment and self-reliance, which would eventually lead to self-actualization instead of people searching endlessly for white-collar job.

In his lecture on the theme of World Culture Day 2013, Dr. Gunu Umar of the Department of Business Administration, University of Ilorin, highlighted several areas of creativity including, the nature of the creative process, areas in which people can be creative, and the creative climate, noting that these are all factors that impact on national development.

altThe Royal Father of the Day, Emir of Shonga, Dr. Haliru Ndanusa Yahaya (OON), who discussedalt the paper presented, said although not much was said on how creativity can enhance peaceful co-existence, the paper had been well presented, and lauded the tireless efforts of the ES, Dr. Ayakoroma, urging him to remain resolute as the task ahead in restoring peace in the country through culture was challenging.

Apart from Kwara State Arts Council that presented a dance drama that revolved round the significance of creativity, members of NICO Cultural Club, Okelele Secondary School thrilled the audience to jokes and cultural dances; and there was also Nigerian Dress Parade by Federal Staff School (Primary and Nursery) and Government Day Secondary School, Okesuna.

However, a performance that blew the emotions of guests was by students from Kwara State School for Special Needs, where blind students sang and danced after deaf students had done theirs.alt

Invited guests at the occasion included, the Nigeria Police, Nigeria Customs Service, the Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Civil Defence, Tiv Community, Fulani Community, members of the National Forum of Federal Government Establishments, Kwara State chapter, Permanent Secretaries, Heads of Boards of Establishments, Representative of Michael Imodu National Institute for Labour Studies Board Chairman, Kwara State Arts Council, and students from various secondary schools, among others.

Naseer Saeed Atiegba