The Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, has commended the leadership of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), under Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, for the high level of professionalism in its activities and called on other arms of the sector to borrow a leaf from NICO.
Duke gave this commendation on Friday, October 4, 2013 in his office during the official presentation of the Report on the 3 Day Workshop on “Repositioning Cultural Workers for Improved Productivity,” organized for staffers of the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation by the Institute in July this year.
The Minister, who after watching a mini-documentary produced and packaged by the Institute from the workshop, expressed delight and pledged his support to ensure the sustenance of professionalism in the sector: “I want to say that I am extremely delighted to have this report from the leadership of NICO and I will like to use this opportunity to reiterate the determination of the leadership of this ministry to escalate the cerebral content of professionalism in the sector.”
He therefore disagreed with professionals who work in other sectors like health, works, petroleum, who often times, have the misconception that culture is levity and that there is nothing scientific about culture, saying, “they feel there is no great thought behind what we do and I think that this kind of thinking belongs to the past. In this Transformation era, we are determined to reposition culture as a major platform for any nation’s transformation; therefore, it is very important for us to reposition culture as the greatest asset of our nation.”
“Often times, we look at our assets in terms of the physical attributes; however, the intangible assets of our country, the values and the systems with which we became what we are today, are the most significant collateral that any nation will be proud of. And so, it is important for us to propagate that culture has the intellectual component; that culture can predict circumstances; that culture can be used as a tool for national cohesion; and that culture is everything;” he said.
While calling on Nigerians not to lose focus but pay greater attention to our culture with a caution that failure to do so, we risk losing the very essence of who we are as Nigerians, which will not speak well of our present generation, talk less of the legacy that we hand over to younger Nigerians, to our youths and Nigerians yet unborn, Duke said the ministry will continue to engage with the wider Nigerian public to ensure that aspects of our culture are communicated across the country and used to ensure the restoration of national cohesion.
He further disclosed that the ministry and stakeholders have also worked fervently on the new Cultural Policy for Nigeria saying that the document is now ready to be placed before the Federal Executive Council (FEC), not only in fulfilment of the ministry’s mandate, but in line with the expectation of global conventions.
Earlier in his presentation, the Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, extended on behalf of the Management and Staffers of the Institute, sincere appreciation to the Honourable Minister, Chief Edem Duke and the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Nkechi Ejele, for the unique opportunity for the Institute to organize such a workshop for cultural workers in the ministry.
According to him, the programme has made the Institute to launch out where arrangements have been made to organize workshops of that nature for Directors and other cultural agencies across the country, adding, “On 21st October, 2013, we are going to do one of such workshops for Directors of Culture from the various states of the federation and by the 28th October, 2013, we have another for Developing Media Strategies in the Culture Sector.”
In the company of the Executive Secretary were the Director, Finance & Accounts, Mr. Godson Ordu, Acting Director, ES Office, Mr. Nelson Campbell, Acting Director, Orientation & Cultural Affairs, Mr. Alex Omijie, Assistant Director, Research & Documentation, Mr. Mike Ekoko, Assistant Director, Administration, Mrs. Jane Anigala, and Chief Cultural Officer (R&D), Mrs. Regina Onuoha.