NwanThe Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Culture and Tourism, Hon. Ben Nwankwo has said with the functions of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), he is convinced that the Institute has all it takes to re-invent and re-enact a true cultural identity for Nigeria.

Nwankwo said this Wednesday, 16th July, 2014 when he led Members of the Committee to the head office of the Institute, located at No. 23, Kigoma Street, Wuse Zone 7, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, to perform their statutory oversight functions.

Disclosing that although cultures may differ, Nwankwo said the cultures must be articulated and communicated, stressing that Nigerians cannot continue to say they are a people without a true national cultural identity when the cord that connects all tribes and composite units of the federation is the cultural identity, which centrality can only be built by NICO.

His words: “The things I have seen in NICO are different from my perception. I see that you are large and organized into functional departments. I see also that even the office structure is tight; I see also that you have a language class that should have been a Language Studio or Laboratory, for a more enhanced or accelerated language assimilation and learning. Also, I see that your function is central in re-inventing or re-enacting a true cultural identity for Nigeria. You cannot say that you are a people without a true national cultural identity; it must be articulated and communicated and the cord that connects all tribes and composite units of the federation is the cultural identity.

“Irrespective of cultural diversity, we can be articulated to see ourselves as not just a people but as Nigerians; and as Nigerians, what is our culture? Not necessarily Igbo culture, Fulani culture, Yoruba culture, etc. In other words, in the midst of the diversity in culture, there can also be centrality of national culture so that there will be things that will be identified as truly and proudly Nigeria.”

The lawmaker commended the Executive Secretary of NICO, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, saying as a scholar, he has tried to reposition NICO properly from being an ordinary executive agency to a proper Research Institute that it should be, giving it the academic flavour it rightly deserves.

He therefore charged the leadership of NICO to continue with the laudable initiatives that have kept the Institute on a sound pedestal over the past few years, saying, “I know that you are very versatile in this area and I know you are doing quite a lot. Your indigenous language initiative is a commendable one and if I have my way, it should be mandatory for all top public servants, shakers and movers of the public sector; directors up to permanent secretaries and ministers should have elementary knowledge of major Nigerian Languages.”

Earlier, NICO’s ES, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, had briefed the lawmakers about the programmes and activities of the Institute to include Indigenous Language Programme, Dress Culture, National Conference on Culture, Peace and National Security, Capacity Building Programmes, participation in World Culture Day alongside the Ministry, amongst others, and solicited support from the Committee in the area of budgetary allocations to facilitate the Institute in performing its statutory functions.

Other lawmakers that accompanied the Committee Chairman were Hon. Tobi Okechukwu representing Aniri/Awgu/Oji River Federal Constituency of Enugu State, Hon. Yusuf Bala Mikala representing Mikagwo Federal Constituency of Kaduna State, Rt. Hon. (Mrs.) Eucharia Azodo representing Aguata Federal Constituency of Anambra State, and Hon. Morouf Akinde Fatai representing Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency of Lagos State.

Caleb Nor

Corporate Affairs Unit

NICO, Abuja