buhariThe leadership of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation has said it is ready to host the 28th edition of the Annual International Conference of the Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA 2015).

A press release signed by Caleb Nor, on behalf of the Conference Convener and Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, who is also an Associate Professor in Nasarawa State University, Keffi, and the Conference Convener, states that the conference with the theme: “Repositioning Nollywood for the Promotion of Nigeria’s Cultural Diplomacy and National Security,” is expected to have His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, as Special Guest of Honour.

The statement further states that His Excellency, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (rtd), GCFR, former President, Federal Republic of Nigeria has graciously accepted to chair the occasion, while Professor Hyginus Ekwuazi of the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Ibadan, will be the Keynote Speaker.

babagindaAlso expected in attendance are stakeholders in the Nigerian film industry (Nollywood), especially those who have the craving for knowledge as their participation will sharpen their skills and further enable them match theory with practice.

The opening ceremony of the conference, which is designed to explore the linkages between Nollywood, Cultural Diplomacy and the current peace and security challenges militating against the country, will take place on Tuesday, 4th August, 2015 at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja-FCT by 10am.

It is expected that SONTA 2015 will provide a veritable platform for the exchange of ideas among theatre arts lecturers from tertiary institutions of learning within and outside Nigeria on how to reposition Nollywood, the 2nd largest film industry in the world, in order for it to contribute significantly to the nation’s development in our quest to diversify the economy.

There is no gainsaying that Nigeria stands to gain a lot from an intellectual exercise like this where academics are coming for a discourse on how to move Nollywood industry forward with over eighty (80) research papers already uploaded on the conference website:http://www.sonta.nico.gov.ng/ for the public use.

Caleb Nor

Office of the ES

NICO HQ, Abuja