With President Goodluck Jonathan’s approval of the composition and appointment of the Chairmen and Members of the Governing Boards of some Federal Government parastatals and agencies in Nigeria, recently, Alhaji Ibrahim Ismail was named the Chairman of the Governing Board of National Institute for Culture Orientation (NICO).

His appointment, which came after the Honourable Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, had announced on 17 August, 2013, at the maiden Convocation ceremony of NICO Training School, Lagos, that because of the strategic place of capacity-building in repositioning the culture sector, President Goodluck Jonathan had given assent to his position that NICO should not be merged with any other parastatal.

The Minister, in disclosing the position of Mr. President, also observed that NICO Training School, through the instrumentality of the Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, had gradually become a reference point in human capital development in the culture sector, which is strategic to the realization of the document on President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda.

However, the Jigawa-born Alhaji Ibrahim Ismail who was a former Special Assistant to erstwhile Military President, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, has been two-time commissioner in Kano State, where Jigawa State was created from; and apart from functioning as former Honourable Commissioner for Information and Education in Kano State, he was the Chief Legal Adviser of Kano State Urban Development Board (KASUDB), now Kano State Environmental Protection Agency (KASEPA).

After the inauguration of the boards of parastatals and agencies in the Ministry Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, the chairman who bared his mind on what intends to achieve in NICO and how he wants to achieve them said in an interview with Nico news that his board will work hand in hand with the entire Management of NICO.

The elated Alhaji Ismail stressed in the chat which took place at the premises of Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Abuja: “The truth is that Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma, the Executive Secretary is a man I have heard and read about so much. He is well versed in Nigerian culture and administration. For me it is an opportunity to work with him. Our relationship will be like that of a family. I must say that I am quite delighted for the opportunity to work in an area of Nigerian culture, which, for me, is dynamic and interesting. I am so excited because I love culture. The Executive Secretary, by his pedigree, is a man who is in love with culture too. I can say that he is really an expert in the area of culture. His advice will guide me, in my own role, which is advisory. We will work like a family. I will bring my experience to bear. I am from Jigawa State. Before the State was created, I had worked as a Commissioner in Kano State. I am lawyer. I have functioned as a legal adviser. When I combine these experiences and the ES brings his own in addition to that of all the members of the board and the entire Management and Staffers of NICO, we will take the Institute to an enviable and great height.”

He continued: “In addition to bringing together our experiences, we will use our contacts, where necessary, to build the growing profile of the Institute. It is a very important Institute to this country. Culture is paramount to the existence of any country, society and people. It should not be joked with. You can see why an Institute that has the mandate to harness the culture of a nation for its national development is quite viable. We will ensure that we promote everything the Institute stands for. That is why I say that the ES is highly experienced in culture administration, and myself as a lawyer, I specialize in the drafting of legislation, I have worked in the public sector in many capacities for a long period of time. I have specially assisted a former military president of Nigeria, in the person of Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. Other members of the Board and Management of NICO have their experiences in various areas they have functioned. All these put together will give a powerful working team in NICO that can help us realize the mandate of the Board and the intention of the Federal Government for giving us this national assignment. I am optimistic that we can contribute to the development of this country through this culture sector. We can bring serious orientation and transformation with Nigerian culture.”

It should be recalled that at the inauguration, the Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, had urged the Chairmen and Members of the various Boards of Parastatals and Agencies in the Ministry to join hands with President Goodluck Jonathan’s belief that Tourism, Culture and National Orientation are crucial to Nigeria’s quest to becoming one of the top 20 economies in the world by the year 2020.

The minister enjoined them to buy into the vision of the ministry and contribute to its realization by bringing their wealth of experiences to bear on the process of growth of the organisations to which President Jonathan had assigned them to serve, stating: “As chairmen and members of boards, they are not to interfere with the day-to-day running of the parastatals and agencies. Rather, their role is advisory and the law has provided an avenue, especially in the statutory meetings of their Boards to do this. So, cooperate with the management and staff of the ministry as well as those of the parastatals and agencies that your boards will be working with, because it is only through cooperation and collaboration we can achieve our collective goal of developing our communities, states and of course, the country at large.”

The board chairman of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Lt. Col. Edo Obi (rtd), who responded on behalf of the boards, assured that the chairmen and members will be focused in their duties in order to achieve the vision of the ministry, even as he expressed their delight for the opportunity given them to serve.

The inauguration, which took place at Ladi Kwali Hall, Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Abuja, on 24 October, 2013, had the Chairmen and Members of seven Boards in attendance, included, Alhaji Ibrahim Ismail (National Institute for Cultural Orientation), Lt Col. Paul Edor Obi (rtd) (National Orientation Agency), Chief Marcus Ishaya (National Troupe of Nigeria), Mr. Kanayo O. Kanayo (Nigerian Institute for Hospitality and Tourism), Alhaji Adamu Attah (Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation), Barr. Hippo Nwobodo (National Gallery of Art) and Gen. Braimoh Yusuf (rtd) (Centre for Blacks and African Arts and Civilisation).

Nwagbo Pat Obi
Corporate Affairs