The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, who is also a Visiting Associate Professor, Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK), has again, stressed the need for Nigerians to patronize Nigerian  dresses, if the quest to resuscitate our textile industry must be achieved, saying he last wore an English cloth about ten years ago.

Ayakoroma was speaking as Guest on the ‘Living Room’ segment of “Bush House Nigeria,” a Kapital FM, 92.9 MHz live programme at the Radio House, Abuja-FCT, on Thursday, 28th January, 2016, where he fielded questions from the CEO of Bush House Group, Mr. Michael Bush, aka, ‘The Boss’ on how far NICO has gone with its “Dress Nigeria” Campaign, among other issues.

According to him, it is disheartening to see people in positions of authority in the country, people who should display some exemplary character in wearing Nigerian dresses, but they wear different foreign clothes instead, saying that such acts lack patriotism.

“The last time I wore an English cloth was about 10 years ago and it is not because of my present assignment at NICO. I remember it was during my Convocation for my PhD. Since the year 2000, when I started managing an establishment in the culture sector, precisely, the Bayelsa State Council for Arts and Culture, I did away with T-shirts, short sleeves and long sleeves. I am more comfortable wearing Nigerian dresses because you can only give out what you have; and your greatest testimony is yourself. You can’t tell somebody to patronize Nigerian dresses and you are wearing suits; I don’t think that is necessary.”

Continuing, the ES lamented, saying: “I feel very sad when I see ministers at EXCO meeting wearing suits. I see them as our role models and if we are to resuscitate our textile industry, then everybody, especially those in positions of authority should display some exemplary character in wearing Nigerian dresses,” he said.

Ayakoroma dismissed the impression that some professions do not allow you to dress Nigerian, saying: “In NICO, when we introduced the Dress Nigeria initiative, specifically, those in Accounts department wanted to protest that in the accounting profession, they wear suits; and I asked what stopped them from wearing agbada, as accountants. Go to India or Pakistan, you will see that their lawyers go to court in their native attires.”

bushThe NICO Boss further disclosed that the Institute had earlier secured an approval from the National Council on Culture and Tourism a couple of years ago on its Dress Nigeria initiative and that the issue will be represented to the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, for him to take it up at the Federal Executive Council level for approval.

Speaking on the Institute’s expectations for 2016, Ayakoroma informed that NICO will intensify its training programmes, especially the Training School programmes in Lagos and Abuja, respectively: “Last year, you recall that we started the Seminar in Cultural Diplomacy series and it was quite fulfilling; so, we are going on to the next level. This time, we will not limit it to the Training School; we are looking at a programme we have tentatively titled: Talking Cultural Diplomacy.”

According to him, another priority programme lined up for the year is the Quarterly Public Lecture Series, which used to be like a Convocation Lecture but now reprogrammed, where distinguished personalities in the country will be invited to come and talk culture, so that whatever positive orientation messages they have will go down the line.

He also disclosed that the Institute had opened discussions with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Regional Office in Abuja on the NICO National Conference on “Culture, Peace and National Security for Traditional Rulers” because of the thinking of Management that, as the primary peace agents, traditional rulers needed to be sensitized every time.

Expressing optimism that there are good prospects for NICO in 2016, Ayakoroma said once the above mentioned programmes take off very well, other programmes of the Institute will also be energized, stressing that with the dwindling revenue from crude oil, the Institute will continue to look for alternative sources of funding its programmes in order not to depend solely on government.

On the entourage of the Executive Secretary were Mr. Law Ikay Ezeh Jr. (SA-ES), Mr. Ogbe Herbert (Head, Finance and Accounts), Miss Fatima Jafaru (CSO-ES), Mr. Emeka Bokolo (PA-ES) and Mr. Caleb Nor (Media Assistant to ES).

Caleb Nor

Corporate Affairs Unit

NICO, Abuja