The Dean of Arts, Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Owerri, Imo State, Professor ABC Duruaku, has charged cultural workers in Nigeria not to allow the lack of attention given to the sector in the country to dampen their passion towards professionalism but rather use the global primacy given to culture to enliven their professional fervour.
Duruaku gave this charge in Abuja on Monday, 21st October, 2013, while presenting a paper at the 3-day national workshop on “Repositioning Public Officers for Improved Productivity” organized by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), with the theme, “Re-inventing Cultural Administration in Nigeria for Sustainable National Development.”
In the paper, titled “Understanding the Nigerian Cultural Environment and Adapting to the Realities of Today,” the theatre scholar stressed that as a strategic player in the propagation and preservation of life for the future, the culture worker’s commitment to professionalism inevitably allows him to be creative enough to fill the gaps created by the less-than-acceptable attention given to the sector in Nigeria, adding that, “The culture worker must perform his sacred role and be comforted that he is central to the survival of his people; and derive contentment form the approbation of a society that ought to recognize this fact.”
He however acknowledged that the many challenges faced by the Nigerian culture worker make him an endangered species because of the neglect or the token gesture to the sector; “what is arguably responsible for the little glimmer is the tourism component of culture: the demands of tourism for the commercial aspects of culture. It helps tourism to thrive especially in Nigeria where much of the ‘found’ tourism is cultural tourism. Here, government does not need a surfeit of energy, creative engagement or dedicated investment to thrive,” he said.
Duruaku, who regretted that while the advanced climes of Europe, United States, and Asia have their culture imprint in everything they do as a way of transmitting their way of life when Nigerians hardly do things to reflect their identity or culture, warned that unless our cultural industries are firmed up with financed policy drives with cultural workers navigating new ways to achieve success in spite of all odds, Nigeria will eventually lose all to the rampaging vampire cultures.
In doing so, the professor admonished cultural workers to come to terms with what we have and the inherent difficulties in order to brainstorm on how to substitute failure for progress and replace despair with hopeful purpose by understanding the range of cultural offerings, be it material or non-material culture, appreciate that the cultural policy is still only a potential, exploit the economic opportunities of culture and interface with tourism.
While reiterating that the climate of culture in Nigeria leaves much room for improvement, Duruaku stressed that only passion for the job and commitment through conviction and the adoption of a dynamic re-engineering of the cultural traits for profit by culture workers will revamp the sector; adding that, there must be a creative eye on cultural utility, economic considerations and the adapting aspects of some other cultures to encourage adaptive dynamism which should make the culture worker relevant.