The UNESCO Cultural expert in the Country office, Abuja, Mrs. Nebona Adele, has called on culture stakeholders, administrators and enthusiasts in Nigeria to improve Nigeria’s culture, and link it with development so that the sector can be as important as other sectors of the economy, saying: ”All cultures are equal and all cultures can contribute to development – it is creativity.”

Adele, who made this call in an interview with NICO News, shortly after the 2016 World Culture Day Celebration with its Nigeria’s sub-theme: ”Promoting Peace and Unity Through Creativity” at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Exhibition Pavilion, Area 10 Garki, Abuja, on Saturday, 21st May, 2016, stressed the need for Nigeria’s culture sector to be diversified so as to bring about economic development.

Her words: ”You know Nigeria has ratified the convention for cultural expression, so Nigeria is a member state. It means that Nigeria should be putting her efforts together to promote creativity. Creativity and innovation are together for the promotion of development.”  

Responding to questions on what UNESCO is doing to make Nigeria’s culture an alternative to oil, the UNESCO cultural expert affirmed that, UNESCO supports and encourages countries to develop culture so that each country’s culture sector can be as important as other sectors: ”We give the opportunity and make it open for each country to think and to plan according to their priorities.”

Earlier, Director-General of UNESCO, Ms. Irina Bokova, in her message on the 2016 World Day for Cultural Diversity, Dialogue and Development (World Culture Day), encouraged all to embrace cultural diversity, which is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature, as clearly stated in the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, adopted in 2001.

The message read in part: ”Celebrating cultural diversity means opening up new perspectives for sustainable development and promoting creative industries and cultural entrepreneurship as sources of millions of jobs worldwide – particularly for young people and especially for women. Culture is a sustainable development accelerator whose potential has been recognized in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations.”

Bokova, in the message, as read by Mrs. Nebona Adele, called on all Member States ”to strengthen the spirit of this day, as a peaceful weapon against the temptations of isolationism, closure and exclusion, which lead humanity to renounce itself, ignoring its own wealth.”

Lai3The Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in his speech, welcomed all who were in attendance for the celebration, and urged them to join the rest of the world in drawing global attention to the contributions of culture to human existence and promotion of global peace and security.

The Minister’s speech, which was read by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information andPS Culture, Mrs. Ayotunde Adesugba, informed that the choice of this year’s sub-theme for Nigeria was borne out of the need to provide an opportunity to highlight and create more awareness about the creative potentials of the nation’s diverse culture and traditions and consequently enrich, strengthen and unite its citizenry as an indivisible nation.

Lai Mohammed, who reiterated his passion and vision to strategically reposition the culture sector as a revenue generating sector that would add value to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), added that with the far-reaching resolutions (on the urgent need to build resilient economy that will harness and exploit the abundant cultural and tourism potentials of Nigeria) of the just concluded National Summit on Culture and Tourism with the theme, ”Repositioning Culture and Tourism in a Diversified Economy”, and that he was confident that, the sector would enhance economic growth and diversify the economy through the zero oil economic policy.

In her Vote of Thanks, the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Ayotunde Adesugba, appreciated all stakeholders as well as invited guests, who made out time to attend the celebration, pledging that next year’s edition will showcase the positive outcome of the creative sector in Nigeria’s diversified economy.

GekpeThe Permanent Secretary’s Vote of Thanks, as read by the Director, Entertainment and Creative Industries in the Ministry, Ms. Grace Gekpe, implored all to join hands in making the culture sector the alternative sector to revamp the nation’s economy and empower the Nigerian people.

There were cultural performances from the Centenary Troupe and Government Secondary School, Bwari, in the Federal Capital Territory, as well arts and crafts exhibitions to showcase the political history and evolution of Nigeria from 1960 to date.

Dignitaries in attendance include, Director-General, Centre for Blacks and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC), Dr. Ferdinand Anikwe; Director-General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), Alhaji Abdallah Usman; Director, Orientation and Cultural Affairs, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Mr. Alex Omijie; Deputy Director/Special Assistant to the Executive Secretary, NICO, Mr. Law Ezeh, among others.

Njideka Dimgba

Corporate Affairs Unit