Nigeria’s Apex Cultural Training Institute, the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), has engaged the process of strengthening bilateral cultural ties with the Chinese government, through the Chinese Cultural Centre in Abuja.

The Chairman, Governing Board of NICO, Alhaji Ibrahim Isma’il, on Wednesday, 18th March, 2015, led some Members of the Governing Board as well as Management of the Institute, on a courtesy call to the Director, Chinese Cultural Centre in Abuja, Yan Xiang Dong, intended to create a mutually beneficial working relationship between the two organizations.

According to NICO’s Board Chairman, the meeting was informed by the need for the Chinese Cultural Centre to synergise with NICO in the promotion of cultural partnership between Nigeria and China, stressing that both countries will have a lot to learn from each other’s culture.

While maintaining that China is a very big country that is known for cultural excellence, Alhaji Isma’il expressed optimism that Nigeria can benefit greatly from China in the area of culture, saying culture is one area the nation can do well, hence, it has to do with the totality of the way of life of a people.

Similarly speaking, the Executive Secretary of NICO, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma said China is a country that places culture at the fore in national development and that it will no doubt go a long way for Nigeria to identify with China, especially through the NICO platform.

He gave a brief on the activities of the Institute over its 22 years of existence to include the Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP), NICO Cultural Clubs, Children’s Cultural Extravaganza, Promoting Nigerian Dress Culture and, above all, the hosting of SONTA 2015 International Conference, which, he said, is usually hosted by Nigerian universities but for his presence in NICO.

On his part, the Director-General, Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Professor Bola Akinterinwa, who was on the delegation as a Member of the Institute’s Governing Board and facilitator of the courtesy visit, said after discussions on the challenges facing the Institute during a recent Governing Board meeting in Abuja, he realised that since the leadership of the Chinese Cultural Centre in Nigeria was known for its interest in bridging the cultural gap between the two countries, it would not be out of place to engage the process of strengthening cultural ties.  

His words: “What NICO wants, everything can be addressed in the Memorandum of Understanding on a Cultural Bilateral Relationship between the Chinese Government and Nigeria, which is still undergoing consultations. NICO looks forward to Chinese support and assistance culturally and because we know that you are known for cultural excellence, NICO wants to follow you in that line of excellence.”

Responding, the Director, Chinese Cultural Centre, Mr. Yan Xiang Dong said the Centre is into promotion of Chinese Culture through the teaching of Chinese language, working in partnership with Nigeria by interfacing in various cultural events and competitions.

He further disclosed that, the Centre usually invites lecturers from Chinese Universities, as resource persons, especially in the area of teaching ChChina1inese Culture, just as they organise art competitions for Nigerian Children stressing: “The Centre is indeed interested in collaborating with Cultural Institutes, Centres, Agencies and stakeholders in Nigeria. In fact, most festivals we have in China, we replicate them here in Nigeria. So, we are really happy that you have found time to visit us. And on our part, we look forward to when it is convenient for you so that we can also come to pay you a visit to see what you have on ground.”

Highlight of the visit included the presentation of NICO publications by the Chairman of the Governing Board, Alhaji Ibrahim Isma’il to the Centre and a facility tour of the Centre.

Also on the entourage of the board chairman were NICO’s Director, Orientation and Cultural Affairs, Mr. Alex Omijie; Co-ordinator, NICO Training School, Abuja, Mrs. Regina Onuoha; Head of Protocol, Mr. Ibrahim Malgwi and other members of staff.

Nwagbo Patrick, Caleb Nor & Sokunle Babajide
Corporate Affairs Unit
NICO, Abuja