The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Culture and Tourism, Rt. Hon. Ben Nwankwo, has stressed the need for all Nigerians of goodwill to join hands with the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) in reviving the nation’s ailing cultural values and norms.
Hon. Nwankwo stated this on the occasion of the One Year Anniversary Celebration of NICO Enugu State Office, with the theme, “Culture, Our Heritage and Pride,” at the National Museum of Unity, Enugu, on Thursday, 13 March 2014.
The Ranking Member of the House of Representative, who was represented by Dr. Edwin N. Aguiwo, hailed NICO for its pioneering efforts in Nigerian’s on-going cultural renaissance policy, which according to him, has been a cardinal aspect of the Federal Government’s Transformation Agenda.
The Executive Secretary of NICO, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, represented by the Director of Research and Documentation, Prince Bamidele Olusa, had earlier in his welcome address, called on Nigerians to take advantage of their culture in providing enduring peaceful co-existence for the progress of the country, thanking NICO Enugu State Office for attaining commendable heights within a year, despite what he described as “a journey with rocky ground and thorny parts.”
In his lecture, titled, “Culture and National Development: Challenges and Prospects,” the Permanent Secretary, Enugu State Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs, Sir Ferdinand Anekwe, called on the Federal Government to integrate the nation’s socio-cultural diversity into a national policy frame work for a more functional society where peace, justice, economic freedom and prosperity would prevail, stating that the greatest bane of the nation’s development had been the neglect of core cultural values in the society.
In a second lecture, on the topic: “Mother Tongue as a Veritable Tool for National Development,” Rev. Fr. Ikechukwu Ogara noted that even the church as a miniature society has been infiltrated with foreign cultures, stressing that effective use of mother tongue would go a long way in building bridges of friendship, good neighborliness and national unity.
Goodwill messages were also delivered by representatives of the Enugu State Commissioners of Culture & Tourism and Education; Comptroller of Immigrations, Enugu State, Mr. Chigozie Nnaji; Enugu Zonal Director of FRCN, Mr. Chigozie Obialo; Curator, Nigerian Museum of Unity, Enugu, Mrs. Caroline Ifejigwa; Executive Secretary, Enugu State Arts Council, Mr. Eddie Okolo; Chairman, Enugu State Tourism Board; and former Director, NICO Training School, Chief Innocent Azuobu, among others, who all harped on the need for preservation of the Nigerian culture for posterity.
Clad in Igbo traditional attire, Enugu State Head of NICO, Mr. Nwajagu Nnaemeka, while thanking guests and staff of the State Office, noted that no nation can achieve meaningful development without culture, emphasizing that culture is the strongest vehicle for national cohesion.
The event was spiced with traditional breaking of the kola nut by HRH Igwe (Barr.) Raphael S. N. Ezeh (Ochendo I of Obige Obukpa), who chaired the occasion, scintillating Igbo high-life music from the albums of the legendary Osita Osadebe and Oliver De Coque, a drama sketch performance on the need for effective use of mother tongue particularly in the family as the first agent of socialization and cutting of the anniversary cake.
Specially prepared “abachaa,” a popular mouth watering local cuisine in the South-East, was also not left out in the entertainment segment.
Other dignitaries in attendance were Igwe (Dr.) Emmanuel Ugwu (Anyanwu n’Awara Oha of Ibagwa Nike Kingdom); Permanent Secretary, Enugu State Ministry of Inter-Ministerial Affairs, Chief Innocent Enejere; Permanent Secretary, State Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Barr. Peter Odo; Rep. Ministry of Education, Dr. C. C. Ozuokolo; the Acting Director, Office of the Executive Secretary of NICO, Mr. Ebi Nelson Campbell; NICO South-East Zonal Coordinator, Mrs. Chioma Duru, and Seventeen (17) Heads of Federal Establishments in Enugu State, among others.
Otobo Frank Ariwera
NICO Enugu State Office