His Royal Majesty Ogiame Atuwatse II (CON), the Olu of Warri, has called on the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) to establish its presence in Delta State.

The Olu of Warri, a first class chief in the region and the custodian of the cultural heritage of the Itsekiri people in Delta State, made this call on Friday, 4th April, 2014, at his palace in Warri, when NICO South-South Zonal Office staff, led by the Coordinator, Mr. James Imohiosen, paid him a courtesy visit.

Speaking at the occasion, the Olu disclosed to NICO news that the Itsekiri Kingdom has existed for over 500 years, and expressed fear on the gradual disappearance of our core cultural values particularly the speaking of indigenous languages among the youths, noting that with the way things are going, we will wake up one morning only to find out that we are people without culture, pride and identity.

The Royal Father stressed that the situation is alarming but affirmed that he remains the last person that will allow the culture of his people to die, and therefore, appealed to NICO to establish its presence in Warri, Delta State, to partner with him in promoting and preserving the cultural heritage of the Itsekiri kingdom.

The Olu applauded NICO for the Weekend Indigenous Language programme initiative and charged the management of the Institute to establish a centre in Warri and other parts of the state, adding that his throne will support NICO fully and any of her programmes in Delta State, particularly the indigenous language programme.

He, however, regretted that the Itsekiri language was not among the languages taught in the South-South Zone but appealed to NICO to include it in as soon as possible, further urging the Institute to painstakingly carry out research and documentation of the traditional stools in Delta State.

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Earlier in his address, NICO South-South Zonal Coordinator, Mr. James Imohiosen, explained the Vision and Mission of the Institute to the Olu and his Council of Chiefs, noting that NICO is the apex Cultural Institute in Nigeria that harnesses culture for national development, with a strong zeal and commitment to reviving, promoting, and preserving our positive cultural practices.

The Zonal Coordinator assured the Royal Father that with the Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, an astute, visionary and passionate culture administrator at the helm of affairs, the Institute will certainly identify with the kingdom, honour their invitations and partner them in cultural programmes.

Mr. Imohiosen used the opportunity to intimate the Olu on the forthcoming NICO National Conference for Traditional Rulers and invited him to lead his Council of Chiefs to the programme, even as he promised to send a formal invitation letter when the date has been finally fixed for the event.

The NICO Zonal office presented copies of NICO News and a portrait of NICO Logo to the Royal Father, who with excitement accepted and appreciated the gift, directing that it should be kept in the palace, as a symbol of an established relationship between the throne and NICO.

In the Zonal Coordinator’s entourage were the Head of Admin and Human Resources, Mr. Ebi Asene; Head of and Cultural Affairs, Miss Gloria Ephraim; Head of Admin Unit, Uku Oritsewynmi, and the Head o Research and Documentation, Miss Orusoso Opokuma.

 Clifford Ugwu

Corporate Affairs, NICO SSZ