The ultra-modern Dr. Gabriel Okara Cultural Centre, Ovom-Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, housing the Bayelsa State Council for Arts and Culture was enveloped with a deafening ovation and excitement immediately the Executive Secretary of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Associate Professor Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, stepped into the main auditorium on Friday, 23rd September 2016.

The Executive Secretary, who had earlier held a meeting with staffers of NICO South-South Zone at its office complex located at No. 51 Imgbi Road, Amarata, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, stopped over at the Arts Council to watch the Bayelsa State Cultural Troupe rehearsals in preparation for the this year’s National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST), holding at Uyo, Akwa Ibom State from 2-8 October.

Staffers of the Arts Council and artists of the Cultural Troupe all struggled to greet and hug the NICO Boss even as some wanted to lift him up in excitement and jubilation; and the Acting Director of the Council, Mrs. Payeboye Festus-Lukoh, was not left out, as she was highly elated to welcome her former boss.

Addressing the artists after the rehearsals, Prof. Ayakoroma encouraged and advised the artists to improve on their communication skills in the use of indigenous languages for effective and clearer communication with their audience while on stage, recalling the how it all began with the Troupe and expressing gratitude to God for bringing it thus far, especially to the level of international recognition.

byca1Responding, the Acting Executive Director of the Council, Mrs. Payeboye Festus-Lukoh, thanked the NICO ES, Prof. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, for his good initiatives when he was in the Arts Council and above all for putting the Cultural Troupe on a very sound footing for which he will ever be remembered for in the State.

She promised that the Council, under her artistic leadership, will always strive for the best in all outings, further assuring that the artists will not let him down in the forthcoming NAFEST 2016 at Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

It will be recalled that Prof. Ayakoroma, before his tour of duty to NICO, as the Executive Secretary/CEO, was the Executive Director of Bayelsa State Council for Arts and Culture from August 2000 to November 2009.

The Bayelsa State Cultural Troupe became very popular under his tutelage as the Executive Director, just as he started “The Glory Beats”, the live musical band of the Arts Council, which was very versatile in highlife, owigiri, gospel and contemporary music; and his administrative savvy, the State Troupe travelled widely both within and outside Nigeria, winning trophies and awards for their excellent cultural displays.

Clifford Ugwu

Corporate Affairs

NSSZ, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State