The Executive Secretary of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) and Visiting Associate Professor at the Department of Theatre & Cultural Studies, Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has stressed the need for government workers at all levels to be culturally oriented in order to understand the cultural environment of theirworkplace.

Ayakoroma, who made this statement while answering questions as a guest in the Living Room of ”Bush House Nigeria,” a radio live phone-in programme on Kapital FM 92.9, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, said that, cultural orientation need to be factored into retreats at the National Assembly, Federal Executive Council, States and Local Government levels, as well as the Police and the Armed Forces, because people need to understand the cultural environment where they are working.

He underscored the need for government workers at all levels, the organised private sector, corporate bodies, law makers, peace ambassadors and philanthropists to make good use of NICO Training School for better understanding of the cultural environment of their workplace, so as to ensure peaceful co-existence and effective job performance.

On the importance of his courtesy visit to the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, the NICO boss informed that, with the disposition of the Ooni, and for the fact that he (the Ooni) has just made Ile-Ife a “Centre of Culture and Tourism,” it was necessary to introduce NICO to him and also make NICO’s intention of having him as the Royal Father of the Day in the 3rd edition of the Institute’s National Conference on “Culture, Peace and National Security: The Role of Traditional Rulers,” known to him.

His words: “We felt the Ooni should be the Royal Father on the day and having been just enthroned in December, we felt we should pay him a courtesy visit, introduce NICO to him, our intention to have the programme organised this year; and, of course, the role we want him to play as the Royal Father on the Day. We were well received and we were really humbled because we met a traditional ruler, who is amiable, who is very accommodating, and who is deeply rooted in his love for culture; and like he said, he would want to work with NICO.”

The ES expatiated that the Management of NICO conceptualised the programme in 2012 because of the reasoning that traditional rulers were key to the sustenance of peace, being the primary peace agents; hence, the need for a platform, a forum to constantly interface with them, adding that NICO has built a relationship with many traditional monarchs through the programme and that the programme has been well received by many traditional rulers from the North, West, East, and South-South.

He also disclosed that funding has been a major challenge, saying, “We thought that after that the initial success, we will have some support from the organised private sector but that was not to be. We couldn’t organise it in 2013 but in 2014, by the special intervention of God, so to speak, UNESCO came to our rescue and we were able to organise the second edition.  In 2015 we couldn’t do it. This year, we are gradually working towards organising the programme and with the disposition of the Ooni of Ife, we think with his kind Royal support, our proposed national conference for traditional rulers this year will be a reality.”

It would be recalled that the NICO National Confab for traditional rulers on “Culture, Peace and National Security,” which debuted in May 2012, aims at sensitising royal fathers to the fact that they are key to the peace initiative in Nigeria, as they are the primary peace agents at the grassroots; and plans are in top gear to organise the 3rd edition this year.

Njideka Dimgba

Corporate Affairs