University don and Director of Centre for Cultural Studies, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Professor Effiong Etim Johnson, has argued that the preoccupation of government agencies and entrepreneurs engaged in the cultural industries in Nigeria should understand the dynamics of culture in order to re-invent profit-making strategies, adding that national development initiatives depend to a large extent on the understanding of culture and the adaptation of its elements from educational and economic development, just as culture as a force has both its economic and political consequences in the life of any nation.
Johnson, who stated this in the 2014 Convocation Lecture of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) Training School, titled, “Repositioning Nigeria’s Cultural Industries for Economic Empowerment and Social Security,” on Friday, 15th August, at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island, Lagos, observed that the educational system, the National Theatre, States Arts Councils, the tourism, broadcast and textile industries, as well as fashion houses, need to be repositioned for the Nigerian economy to enjoy their full potentials.
He posited that, “if Nigeria repositioned arts and humanities-related subjects in the educational curricular or primary, secondary and tertiary schools, fundamental changes will be instituted in the Nigerian society;” and that, “with the cardinal vantages of what the arts and humanities offer society, the 40/60 ratio between arts and science/technology in the nation’s development agenda looks retrogressive. It should immediately be corrected.”
In his finely articulated presentation, the university don further recommended that, Skills Acquisition Centres, both public and private, needed to properly integrate into their training skills civic subjects and arts subjects, for moral, spiritual, intellectual moulding of characters for positive citizenship orientation.
It was also the submission of Johnson that, “Government and all its agencies (and agents) should repent and rescind from all the skewed, schemed and marginalized tendencies against the arts, and provide enabling environments for the thriving of the arts, at all levels of our educational training, academies, arts galleries, museums, sanctuaries, and indeed wherever genuine arts practices are carried out, for such gains as researchably communicated by Stanford, Harvard and Rockefeller Commission.”
Professor Effiong Etim Johnson, a graduate of Theatre and Communication Studies from the Universities of Calabar and Ibadan, an author of several professional texts on theatre studies in Nigeria, a visiting scholar to the University of Ghana, Cape Coast, and Tshwane University of Science and Technology, Pretoria, South Africa, has been the Director, Centre for Cultural Studies and the University Public Orator since 2003, and had presented an Inaugural Lecture at the University of Uyo, in February 2014, the 37th in the series, on the topic, “Of Theatre Arts’ Effervescence (and Infamy): Dismantling the Grotesque from the Aesthetic.”