President Muhamadu Buhari has received commendation for his administration’s determination to provide a direction for the culture sector to become a major player in the ongoing efforts at diversifying the nation’s economy.

NKECH EJELEPermanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Mrs. Nkechi Ejele gave this commendation in her remark while declaring the International Arts and Crafts Fair 2015, organized by the National Council for Arts & Culture (NCAC) closed on Tuesday, 15th September, 2015 at the Arts and Crafts Village, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Represented by the Director, International Cultural Relations in the Ministry, Mr. George Ufot, Ejele said the diplomatic impact created by the fair cannot be overemphasized, maintaining that apart from providing professional and social networking, the mutual understanding established across national borders and intercontinental divides are all important inputs into creating a positive image for Nigeria on the world stage.

Her words: “Many commentators have drawn attention to the rich potentials that the event offers from the development of creative talents, promoting empowerment and enhancing national peace and international understanding. We are therefore confident that the International Arts and Craft Fair has set a new benchmark in tandem with our belief that when fully developed, will be one of the instruments that can promote both national and international peace in line with the spirit of ECOWAS and the African Union.”

Ejele therefore urged participants to make the best use of the knowledge, ideas and contacts made from the fair, saying the experiences acquired will contribute towards Nigeria’s efforts at harnessing the potentials of the arts and crafts industry for the economic development of the nation and its people.

Speaking similarly, the Director-General of NCAC, Mrs. Dayo Keshi urged participants to build on the experiences, ideas and knowledge gotten from the fair, especially at the round table component and not allow it to be lost.

She expressed optimism that for many rural dwellers in the country to be the major players involved in one form of art or the other, it shows that the sector is increasingly joining hands together in transforming Nigeria’s economy, stressing that a tour of the exhibition stands during the fair depicts the height of creativity and ingenuity of Nigerians and Africans at large.

At the event, certificates of special commendations were given to Dilhatu Ndaks for Native Dress Design, Abdulraman Saidu and Dan Saleh from Katsina State and Havilah Poultry form Kaduna State, just as Akwa Ibom State clinched the 1st position for Best Designed Pavilion, Leluk Nigeria Plc and Kaduna State took 2nd position while Katsina State came 3rd in recognition of interior and exterior decoration.

For the Product and Brand Design category, Akwa Ibom State got awards for Best Metal and Raffia works, Niger State got for Brass, Kano State got award for Best Leather works, while Mororo Nigeria Ltd got the award for Best Textile exhibition.

Ghana got the award for the 1st position for participating countries while Senegal and Mali clinched 2nd and 3rd positions, respectively; while Kaduna State came out 1st position and Katsina took 2nd position in the Most Enterprising Exhibition.

However, Akwa Ibom clinched the overall best position, Kaduna/ Katsina States came 2nd, Kano State took 3rd overall position, while FCT and Nasarawa State took the 4th position in this category. 

In all, 13 countries alongside 16 states of the federation participated in this year’s International Arts and Crafts Fair.

Among dignitaries present were the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma; Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), represented by Mrs. Ruth Ogwu; Director-General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), represented by Mr. Mamman Inohua; Director-General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), represented by Mrs. Victoria Osuagwu; and the Director-General,  National Gallery of Art (NGA), represented by Mrs. Ajene  Isebe, to mention a few.

Caleb Nor

Corporate Affairs Unit

NICO, Abuja