The Executive Secretary/CEO of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, who is also a Visiting Associate Professor to Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK), has advised Nigerians to have love for the country’s diverse indigenous cultures as a measure to halt its rapid decline.  

Speaking on an African Independent Television (AIT) International programme, ‘IMPACT 360 with Kambili,’ airing at 1:00pm every Sunday, Ayakoroma observed that without having love for our positive indigenous cultures, our identity as a people will be completely lost.

Fielding questions from the presenter of the programme, Kambili Osadolor, on the topic, ‘The Decline of Nigeria’s Culture,’ which touched on various aspects of Nigeria’s cultures, the NICO CEO opined that orientation and sensitization of Nigerians, a task which the Institute is saddled with, is key to arresting the decline of our indigenous cultures in present day Nigeria.

Commenting on the loss of our indigenous languages brought about by our lack of pride in identifying with them resulting in minimal usage, complete lack of use or language barrier due especially to inter-ethnic marriages among parents who find it difficult to pass across their indigenous languages to their children, he admonished couples from different ethnic backgrounds to imbibe the orientation of learning each other’s indigenous language as a way to overcome this challenge.

Prof. Ayakoroma informed that the Institute’s various platforms, the Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP), a one month long vacation intensive language programme which runs annually in August is targeted at students, where several Nigerian indigenous languages like Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Fulfulde, Izon, Gbagyi, Nupe, Tiv, and Efik, among others, are taught across NICO’s Six Zonal Offices, in Katsina, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Ondo, Imo and Kwara, its four State Offices in, Oyo, Gombe, Enugu and Niger States, as well as at its headquarters in Abuja and Liaison Office in Lagos.

He disclosed that, the Institute’s weekend version of the Nigerian indigenous language programme in all its zonal offices, the head office in Abuja and the Liaison office in Lagos, is targeted at house wives, traders and workers, who do not have the time and opportunity to attend the one month long vacation language programme.

According to him, other Nigerian indigenous language platforms by NICO include the Training School in Lagos and Abuja running Diploma and Post Graduate Diploma programmes in Cultural Administration, where the study of one indigenous language other than a student’s mother tongue is compulsory, as well as the NICO Cultural Clubs in Secondary Schools, where students carryout various cultural programmes: poetry recitation, songs, dance and drama performances, and so on in indigenous languages, just as they are taught how to prepare indigenous cuisines, make indigenous hairstyles and dress in cultural attires, as ‘catch them young’  avenues, where they can learn various aspects of the country’s indigenous languages and cultures.

Ayakoroma further informed that NICO is also advocating for what he called, ‘Dress Nigeria Days,’ through a memo the Institute had presented at the National Council on Culture and Tourism, and if passed at the Federal Executive Council level, would mandate Nigerians in federal and states Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), as well as those in the private sector to dress in indigenous Nigerian attires on certain days, adding that in setting an example as to the idea envisioned, the Institute has made it a policy that its staffers across the country dress in cultural attires every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Responding to the presenter’s query as to whether the Institute had any powers to compel other Nigerians to comply with this intended policy, he informed that the Institute had only the mandated for orientation and sensitization of Nigerians, noting that the Institute’s responsibility is to advice, which he likened to advice which is like medicine; it is left for the patient to take it before knowing whether it works of not.

Jonathan N. Nicodemus

Corporate Affairs

NICO HQ, Abuja