Former Deputy Governorship Candidate on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 General Elections in Akwa Ibom State, and former Deputy Director, Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Engr. Ben Ukpong, FNSC, has commended the Executive Secretary/CEO, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Assoc. Professor Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, for steering the Institute to achieve laudable cultural orientation programmes.

Engr. Ukpong, who is a Federal Commissioner Nominee representing Akwa Ibom State on the National Population Commission (NPC) Management Board, gave this commendation when he paid a courtesy call to the ES, NICO, in his office at the Institute’s head office in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He noted that, in the face of the dwindling revenue from crude oil to the nation’s economy, the culture and tourism sector has become a viable alternative which needs to be repositioned urgently, adding that Nigeria has abundant culture and tourism resources to achieve the desired diversification of the ecconomy in no distant time.

According to him, NICO has carried out various cultural orientation programmes, such as National Conference on Culture, Peace and National Security: The Role of Traditional Rulers; Promoting Dress Nigerian Days; sensitizing Nigerians to be culturally-oriented on Radio, especially on “Bush House Nigeria”, on Kapital 92.9FM, with Michael Bush, a live phone-in programme on culture matters; and also successfully carrying out the Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP) annually, maintaining that the ES, NICO, and his Management team, “are really doing a great work”; and to have successfully attained that feat, “I am really proud of you”, he said.

UkpongEarlier on, the Executive Secretary/CEO, NICO, Assoc. Prof. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, while welcoming his august visitor, intimated him on the giant NICO had made under his watch to promote the mandate of the Institute, in harnessing Nigeria’s diverse cultures for national development.

On Promoting Nigerian Dress Culture programme, the ES disclosed that the Institute, in an attempt to contribute to the resuscitation of Nigeria’s comatose textile industry, saw the need for Nigerians to patronize locally manufactured fabrics, NICO initiated the Dress Nigerian Days, having discovered that Nigerian fashion designers are becoming more creative in the use of the indigenous fabrics, and that the only way they can be supported to create jobs and employment was for Nigerians to patronize local textiles.

Prof. Ayakoroma stated that this idea necessitated the Institute’s Management to get a memo approved at the National Council on Culture and Tourism (NCCT) level for government to declare two or three days of the week as Dress Nigerian Days for all public servants to dress in Nigerian fabrics; and that as a starting point, Fridays had been so declared.

He disclosed that NICO staffers observe Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays as Dress Nigerian Day; but that the challenge NICO faces is the mandate to enforce compliance, saying that the Institute was working on modalities on the implementation of this directive.

He informed that, another sensitization programmes of the Institute is the National Conference on “Culture, Peace and National Security” for Traditional Rulers, a programme which was conceptualised in 2012 due to the need to orientate traditional rulers, who are custodians of culture, on their cardinal duty of ensuring peaceful co-existence among citizens and security in their communities, averring that this programme served as the impetus for the National Assembly’s Retreat later that year on the need to focus on the challenges of peace and security in Nigeria.

The NICO ES further assured Engr. Ukpong of the Institute’s readiness to partner other government and private organizations by passing across their mandate messages to their target audiences from a cultural perspective to enhance their productivity, informing that, his administration had established the NICO Troupe, a theatre performance platform, through which the Institute carries out its cultural orientation and sensitization messages to its various publics.   

The former APC Deputy Governorship candidate was accompanied on the visit by the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Brand Research & Advertising (BRA) Ltd, Mr. Maurice Ukpong and the President, Bush House Group and anchor of the Radio Programme, ‘Bush House Nigeria’, Mr. Michael Bush.

On hand with the NICO ES to receive the guests were the Director, Orientation and Cultural Affairs, Mr. Alex Omijie; the Acting Director, Admin and Human Resources, Alhaji Ibrahim Hussaini; the Head, Finance and Accounts, Mr. Ogbe Herbert; and Deputy Director/SA to the ES, Mr. Law Ikay Ezeh.

Jonathan Nicodemus

Corporate Affairs