The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Associate Professor Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma has advocated for constant innovation of the Nzeh Mada Festival, organised by the Mada people in Nasarawa State, saying that will make it a tourist attraction, bring foreign investors and international recognition, not only to Nasarawa State, but Nigeria in general.

Prof. Ayakoroma, an astute culture administrator, who stated this in his acceptance speech after an award as a ‘Pillar of Mada Festival’ given to him by the Mada Development Association (MDA) in Andaha, Nasarawa State, added that the festival needed constant innovation because culture is dynamic.

The NICO ES, who was given the special award in recognition of his exemplary contributions toward the success of Nzeh Mada Festival since 2014, further stated that to show his support for the Mada Festival initiative, NICO will continue to be part of the festival’s rebranding process.  

His words: “To be frank with you, it is not in my character to accept awards anyhow. But this award from the Secretariat of MDA over my efforts towards the festival is welcome. I have really identified with the festival since its rebranding; I will continue to identify with it. NICO will continue to be part of the festival. The festival has great potentials and should be improved every year. The climbing of the hill by Chun Mada III (the traditional ruler of the Mada people) is very important. It can impact on the festival. Innovations need to be added to all aspects of the festival. Being part of the rebranding effort of this festival that started in the 15th Century and was rebranded in 2014, I have really seen the potentials. Nzeh Mada festival will help attract tourists, foreign investors and international recognition, not only to Nasarawa State but the entire Nigeria.”

It was a spectacle to watch as Ayakoroma was given a bow and a pack of arrows, as a ‘Pillar of Nzeh Mada Festival,’ signifying that he would grow from strength to strength; this was just as he was given the privilege of dancing round the arena after the investiture with the warriors and the elders, who were blowing the palm pipe flutes in rhythm.

Earlier, while conferring the award, His Royal Highness Samson Gamu Yare, Chun Mada III described Ayakoroma as a culture ambassador, who has deep love for Nigerian culture.

“I must say that the Executive Secretary, NICO, Associate Professor Barclays Ayakoroma is a tested culture ambassador. He is highly experienced in cultural matters. He played a big role in the 2014 rebranding. The paper he delivered about rebranding of Nzeh Mada festival was quite educative and enlightening. I call on other culture stakeholders to join in supporting this festival. It is a festival that brings peace, joy and unity to us; even as it brings about good relationship between our people and participants of the festival,” the Monarch said.

The event, which took place at the foot of the historic Numan Hills, Andaha, Nighaan District, Nasarawa State, featured a lot of cultural displays, including dances, traditional chess and wrestling, in addition to art and craft exhibition by Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC).  

The event had in attendance the D-G, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs. Sally Mbanefo, as chairperson; the Festival Director, Professor Emmanuel Dandaura; SA to the ES-NICO, Mr. Law Ikay Ezeh; The Boss of Bush House Nigeria, Mr. Michael Bush; CSO to ES, Fatima Jafaru; Staffers of NICO and Post Graduate Diploma in Cultural Administration (PGDCA) students of NICO Training School, Abuja Study Centre.

Nwagbo Pat Obi

NICO Training School, ASC