The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Associate Professor Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has been decorated by the Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA), with the SONTA Life Time Achievement Award, which was given to him in 2011 by the umbrella body of Nigerian theatre scholars.

This honour five years ago was conferred on him with some other personalities like Prof. Julie Okoh, Chief Wale Adenuga, Dr. Chris Iyimoga, Mr. Mahmood Alli-Balogun, Mr. Segun Oyekunle, Dr. Agbo Emmanuel Ogo-Ochi, Mallam Saddik Balewa, Prof. Alex Asigbo, and Prof. Sam Kafewo (late).

The reason for the award by SONTA was that: “Ayakoroma has made invaluable contributions to the growth of SONTA, theatre practice and scholarship in Nigeria”; and what made the decoration at Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka, Anambra State, outstanding was that many renowned professors of theatre arts in Nigeria were decorated with the NICO ES.

They were Prof. Shamsudeen O. O. Amali, Chairman SONTA Council, and two-time Vice-Chancellor, University of Ilorin and Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK); other members of SONTA Council, who are former SONTA Presidents: Prof. Ayo Akinwale (UNILORIN), Prof. Saint Gbilekaa (UNIABUJA), and Prof. Emmanuel Dandaura, alongside the incumbent, Prof. Sunday Ododo.

 ProOthers award recipients were Prof. Chris Nwamuo (UNICAL, also pioneer SONTA Editor); Prof. Henry Bell-Gam (UNIPORT); Prof. Sam Ukala (DELSU, winner of LNG Prize for Literature Drama category in 2014); Prof. Julie Okoh (UNIPORT); Prof. Alex Asigbo (SONTA Vice President I and LOC Chairman, SONTA 2016); Prof. Tor Iorapuu (SONTA Vice President II and Dean of Arts, UNIJOS); Prof. Emmanuel Emasealu (UNIPORT); Prof. Gowon Ama Doki (SONTA Secretary-General); Prof. Ameh Dennis Akoh (SONTA Editor); Prof. Tracie Utoh-Ezeajugh (Dean, Faculty of Arts, UNIZIK and Convener, SONTA 2016); and Prof. Molinta Enendu (UNICAL), among others.

Before, he was decorated at the University Auditorium in UNIZIK, SONTA emphasized: “Assoc Prof. Ayakoroma is quite dedicated to SONTA. It still goes down in the history of SONTA that it was in his time as the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), a Parastatal in the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, that SONTA, for the first time, held the Conference outside a conventional University. It was 28th Annual International Conference with the theme: Repositioning Nollywood for the Promotion of Nigeria’s Cultural Diplomacy and National Security”.

Nwagbo Pat Obi

NICO Training School

Abuja Study Centre