The 6th edition of the Children Cultural Extravaganza organized by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Lagos Office came to an end, Friday, 4th December, 2015 at the Institute’s premises, National Theatre Annex, Iganmu-Lagos.

The event witnessed colourful trends with several schools participating as the venue, which wore a festive look, had all participating schools dressed in diverse traditional attires cutting across the six geo-political zones; just as members of staff were not left out in the cultural displays as they were all adorned in different colourful traditional attires.

The occasion had a variety of programmes, among which were: Yoruba Talk, with a topic: “Ipa Pataki Ti Ero Igbalode Nko Ninu Aiye Awon Odo,” (the Social Media and its Cultural Impacts on Young Nigerians); Traditional Board Game (Ayo); Catching the Train (Dress Nigerian); Cooking Competition; and Traditional Hairdo.

In his welcome address, NICO’s Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, represented by the Director, Lagos Office, Mr. Louis Eriomala, reiterated the significance of the event, stating that, “our customs, beliefs, traditions and arts are part and parcel of our total identity and existence as Nigerians;” adding that Nigeria is indeed a very rich country with a very unique cultural heritage, which must be protected, preserved and promoted.

According to Ayakoroma, it was based on the above that the programme, “NICO Children Cultural Extravaganza” was conceptualized, further pointing out that, the traditional board game, “Ayo,” was introduced as part of the Institute’s initiative to promote traditional games so as to prevent them from going into extinction in the nearest future.

The ES said the Institute was mindful of the fact that children are fast losing interest in our rich cultural heritage due to the influence of foreign cultures and globalization, which has made the children’s extravaganza a veritable tool geared towards re-orientating the minds of Nigerian children not only to think Nigerian but also to build in them the ethos of being true Nigerians.

He also decried the lack of cooking ability of many young Nigerian girls of marriageable age, expressing concern that the cooking competition in the cultural extravaganza had been won by boys in the last two years, saying that it was challenge to parents to bring up their children under culture-compliant ways.

The Celebrity Guest of the Day, a seasoned theatre practitioner and veteran Nollywood actor, Mr. Norbert Young, who was thrilled by the traditional dance displays from the various schools, affirmed the Executive Secretary’s position and admonished the children to build their passion towards appreciating a cultural life style.

Norbert Young used the occasion to encourage the children to take pride in their identity as Africans, advising them to be committed and dedicated to their studies as that was the only path way to true success.

The cooking contest, which comprised six schools, was keen and exciting, each preparing unripe plantain porridge; and it had Miss Felicia Aabdulkareem of Bedrock College International Schools clinching the 1st position; Chinyere Akabueze of Jostiana International Schools the 2nd position; while Ezinne Cosmos of Ajeromi Ifelodun High School took the 3rd position.

Catching the Train (Dress Nigerian) saw Malachy Chiemelie from Pater Noster Primary School taking the 1st position; Obakemi Ariori from Durable Children’s School taking the 2nd position; and Halimat Abayomi from Gannies Childrens School coming up in the 3rd position.

The traditional hairdo contest had four schools competing: Gannies Children School clinched the 1st position; St. Paul’s Children Schools the 2nd; and Jostiana Children’s School, Ikotun Egbe the 3rd position.

In the Ayo traditional game contest, Olarenwaju of Gannies Children Schools took 1st; Sadiq Akinola of Durable Foundation Schools took 2nd; while Evans Iguzor of Jostiana International Schools took the 3rd position.

The climax of the event was the talk in Yoruba, with nine schools participating, which saw the students putting in their best to communicate in their mother tongue in order to pass on the message.

At the end, Adewunmi Opeyemi and Oluwatobi Joshua of Kosofe Junior High School took the 1st position; Damilola Alao of Bedrock College International took the 2nd position; and Fasomoye Femi of Kings College Lagos took the 3rd position.

In his closing remarks, the Director, NICO Lagos Office, Mr. Louis Eriomala thanked all sponsors and staffers of the Institute, who made it possible for the event to be a success and encouraged all to look forward to attending the 2016 edition of the programme.

He also seized the opportunity to send forth two staffers transferred to the Ibadan Office of the Institute: Mr. Kenneth Odum, formerly Head, Research and Documentation and Mrs. Joy Nkwor, formerly Head of Registry Unit, and admonishing them to put in their best in carrying out their duties to the best of their knowledge.

The colourful event had in attendance the Zonal Director, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), represented by Mr. Afegbo Momoh; Director, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), Mrs. Ngozi Agbo; the press and a host of others.

Corporate Affairs Unit

NICO, Lagos Office