OdodoThe recently concluded Society of Nigeria Theatre Artist (SONTA) Annual International Conference hosted by National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) has been described as historic, just as Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), Awka, Anambra State has been nominated to host the 2016 edition.

The Society’s national president, Professor Sunday Ododo, who stated this during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Central Area, Abuja-FCT, said the uniqueness was that apart from the fact that NICO has been the first government agency to host the conference since the 28 years of the existence of SONTA, the Institute brought remarkable innovations to the conference.

The President, who also asserted that NICO’s hosting was excellent, commended the Institute for the outstanding packaging of the events in the conference, saying that the venue and personalities that graced the occasion added colour and honour to the conference.

His words: “I must say that NICO fulfilled the high expectations of SONTA members in this 2015 edition of our conference. It was quite unique. The Information Communication Technology (ICT) compliance in the packaging was great. I mean, the whole abstracts and papers went on the website before the conference. This is quite commendable. Honestly, NICO hosting SONTA 2015 was extraordinary. It really made me thinking while I was seated with some Directors-General of other government agencies. I was thinking of the possibility of any of them hosting the conference and AGM.”

Continuing, he said: “NICO has really provided an atmosphere for “Repositioning Nollywood for the Promotion of Nigeria’s Cultural Diplomacy and National Security,” as the theme of conference goes. With the vibrant discourses on cultural diplomacy, national security and film, Nollywood has been projected for national development.”

However, on the agenda of hosting rights, Nnamdi Azikiwe University was nominated to host SONTA 2016, while, University of Port Harcourt indicated its interest to host the 2017 edition.

“I want to say that our great university, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka is ready to host SONTA 2016,” Professor Alex Asigbo, the former Dean, Faculty of Arts and now Director, Centre for Arts, Culture and Humanities, NAU, said; just as Professor Emmanuel Emasealu said that University of Port Harcourt is ready to host the 2017 edition.

Meanwhile, the SONTA President has stated that within three months, the SONTA Exco will visit the intending host to know its level of preparedness; but in the event that they are not ready, the hosting right will be given to another school.

“But I am sure that a university like NAU will be very ready to host our great body,” Professor Ododo added.

It will be recalled that during the agenda for election, a vote of confidence to carry on for the next two years was given on the Exco because they had performed creditably well.

However, the positions of Events Manager (Dr. AbdulRasheed Adeoye) and Public Relations Officers (Dr. Sylvanus Dangoji) were declared vacant as the persons had completed their two tenures.

In the elections conducted through open ballot, Tosin Tume of Federal University, Oye-Ekiti and Dr. Tayo Arinde of University of Ilorin became the new Events Manager and PRO, respectively.

Nwagbo Pat Obi

NICO Training School

Abuja Study Centre