The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, a Visiting Associate Professor of Theatre and Cultural Studies at the Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK), has postulated an A-Z Model for events managers in the handling of cultural festivals and other artistic events in the country.

The model was contained in a paper he presented at the just concluded 2016 Kwagh-hir Festival, organized by the Benue State Ministry for Arts, Culture and Tourismat the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi, on the theme: “A Celebration of Creativity.”

In the paper, entitled, “Celebrating our Creativity through the Kwagh-hir Festival: A Strategic A-Z Approach for Economic Development of Benue State,” Ayakoroma posited that the major challenge facing festival organizers today is the inability to appropriately brand festivals in order for them to contribute significantly to the economic development of the nation.

Ayakoroma’s A-Z Model consists the acquisition of a unique quality, having business plan, creating an event protocol, developing partnerships with all stakeholders, exploiting avenues for endorsements, contracting renowned artists, creating good content audio-visual jingles, harnessing sponsorships, well-designed tour vehicles, juxtaposing brand items, as well as ensuring knowledgeable periodic reviews.

Others strategies are leveraging on reliable communication system, mainstreaming vibrant tour guides into the festival, constructing or renovating vital infrastructure, having secure environment, providing basic medical facilities, having qualitative contact checks, providing responsible and reliable hospitality, systematic crowd control, thrilling events and exhilarating in-festival publicity, ubiquitous side attractions, exhibition of vibrant and veritable courtesy, wonderful press relations, x-raying of the event, appreciation of guests as well as carrying out updates.

According to him, the above Model, which has been meticulously arranged from A-Z, is imperative in showcasing the potentials of Benue State for it to become a tourism hub, as far as the enabling environment is sustained.

His words: “If we are celebrating our creativity, it means that we are publicly performing or observing an important, special and enjoyable occasion or event, full of festive activities to honour a cultural practice. In other words, the occasion of the Kwagh-hir festival is a platform conceptualized by the Benue State Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism to showcase the indigenous theatrical art, which is special, ingenuous, and entertaining. It is an activity that has the potentials of making Benue State a tourism hub.”

Further maintaining that cultural festivals are a vital media through which people express and celebrate their culture, Ayakoroma enumerated several benefits accruable in celebrating a people’s creativity through cultural festivals, such as, fast-tracking infrastructure development, exposure of the indigenes to people of different cultures, providing employment opportunities, attracting visitors to such communities, creating peaceful atmosphere, building relationships between tourists and indigenes, enhancing investment opportunities, and boosting the local economy, amongst others.

It will be recalled that the Kwagh-hir festival, which showcases the creative ingenuity of the Tiv people of Benue State, had not been celebrated for several years until the current conscious effort by the Dr. Samuel Ortom administration to revive it.

Caleb Nor

Corporate Affairs Unit

NICO, Abuja