There is no gainsaying describing Nigeria as the richest cultural entity in the whole World, evidenced in the way people from all nooks and crannies in Niger State and its environs trooped in adorning various traditional attires to participate in the maiden edition of the World Day for Cultural Diversity, Dialogue and Development in Niger State.
The World Culture Day, with the theme: “Creativity: A tool for Peace and National Development,’’ which was jointly organised by National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Minna and Niger State Arts Council, took place at the Main Auditorium of the UK Bello Arts Theatre on Tuesday, 21st May, 2013, in line with the UNESCO Declaration on Cultural Diversity in November 2001.
In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Niger State Arts Council, Alhaji Kabir M. Dan-Asabe, described cultural diversity as the driving force for development, not only with respect to economic growth, but also as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional and spirited life, adding that the essence of the celebration, among other things, was to foster unity and peace among the diverse ethnics in Nigeria.
The Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Mrs. Susan A Gana, appreciated NICO Minna for conceptualising the event, saying: “This year’s theme has come at the right time bearing in mind the security situation of the country. This World Culture Day will surely go some mile to help foster national unity and development, which we are all yearning for in the country. I equally hope that it will serve as a source of encouragement and empowerment to our teaming youths to acquire skills towards self-actualization.”
She therefore appealed to political leaders, traditional monarchs, community leaders and individual families to equally make it a point of duty to help inculcate the good virtues of our culture to children, as the future leaders.
There were two paper presentations by Keyna M.C.D. Eshika and Sam Egbaidho, who both spoke on the concept of creativity, which enhances innovations, sole proprietorship, hard work, and self-esteem, which are constitute the bedrock of our cultural values, adding that when the youths are creatively and positively engaged, they are very likely to be self-reliant and contribute to national development.
Goodwill messages from sister parastatals also went a long way to boost the morale of the organisers, as they harped on the need to organise such programmes every year so as to promote, protect and preserve the cultural heritages of Nigeria.
The highlights of the occasion were cultural dances by various ethnic groups in Nigeria by students and a special performance by Gwape International (the Niger State Troupe).
In her vote of thanks, the Head, NICO Minna, Mrs. Funke Ndukwe, appreciated participants, saying that it was just the tip of the iceberg, and urged them to attend all NICO programmes, especially the forthcoming Nigeria Indigenous Language Programme (NILP) scheduled for August/ September 2013.
Dignitaries at the occasion included, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Special adviser to the Governor on Cultural affairs, the Honourable Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Honourable Commissioner for Youth Development, Permanent Secretary of Niger State Arts Council, GM (NTA Minna), Director (NOA), DG (Tourism Board), State Commandant (NSCDC), Sector Commandant (FRSC), and the Controller (VIO), all affirming that, “NICO Minna is here for serious business.”