The Nigerian Oral Literature Association (NOLA) has added its voice to calls on the Federal Government to give priority attention to the culture sector by increasing the budgetary allocation to the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in Year 2017, to enable the country overcome the current national challenges facing it.
President of NOLA, Professor G.G. Darah gave this charge on Thursday, 20th October, 2016, at the opening of the 4th Biennial Conference of the association which held at the Faculty of Arts, University of Abuja-FCT, on the theme: “Orality, New Media and Creative Industries”.
According to Darah, it was high time government led Nigeria into a cultural renaissance that would re-launch the country from the grips of foreign economies by injecting not less than 30 per cent of its budgetary allocation to the culture sector, pointing that without oil and gas, culture has the requisite capacity to sustain an economy buoyantly.
His words: “We are proposing that for culture to become the primary and foundation of economic regeneration and recovery, no less than 30% of the budget of the Federal Government should be allocated to the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture. The theme of the conference is deliberate because we are trying to respond to the national challenge facing Nigeria now resulting into recession, our economy is dwindling, salaries are being delayed, projects are not being implemented and so there is some anxiety in the country about how to survive economically”.
According to him, if Nigeria explores her culture very well, the country can record more successes beyond the level where Nollywood has taken the economy to, drawing examples from countries like China, South Korea, Brazil, Morocco, Japan and Cuba, which have used culture to constitute the foundation of their economic activities and survival.
He maintained that the theme of the conference was tied to the idea of new media as a deliberate attempt to instigate and stimulate the consciousness and link between cultural creativity and the media of communication because the media of communication are also cultural assets.
“Our expectation here is that in the world today, the fastest growing areas are in the media. The social media is already a universe of its own and people who have adequately exploited the opportunities in these domains have been able to transform their economy to a self-reliant economy rather than import-dependent economy.
“We chose the topic so that all of us can engage in a new dialogue and help the government of Nigeria to recognise that the things that can rescue the economy are already domiciled with us and that we don’t need to go borrowing money from World Bank or International Monetary Fund where we will be indebted for the next 100 years. This is avoidable and culture has the resources to escape that yoke”; he averred.
He further disclosed that the association was working towards mobilising a “Campaign for Cultural Heritage” where scholars, researchers and experts in the culture sector will be mobilized to support the Ministry of Information and Culture to persuade the Nigerian government to make culture the first item of the nation’s budget.
Dignitaries present at the opening ceremony of the conference were Professor A. A. Kolawole (Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Abuja), Professor Mobolanle Ebunoluwa Sotunsa (Keynote Speaker), Professor Olu Obafemi (President, Nigeria Academy of Letters), Professor David Ker (University of Abuja), Professor Idris Amali (Director, Centre for Gender Studies, Federal University, Lafia), Professor Okolawole (Vice President, NOLA), Professor Segun Adekoya (Editor, NOLA Journal) and Dr. Musa Olaofe (Deputy Dean, Faculty of Arts, UNIABUJA), among others.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Associate Professor
Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma was represented by Mr. Mike Ekoko (Acting Director, Research and Documentation), alongside other support staff.
Corporate Affairs Unit