The Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said cultural orientation is key to achieving the change mantra of the President Muhamadu Buhari-led administration.

 The Minister was speaking at a 2-day Cultural Orientation and Sensitization programme organized for senior secondary students in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State, by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), in collaboration with the House Committee on Culture and Tourism of the National Assembly.

ChikRepresented by the Director-General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Mrs. Chika Balogun, the Minister said NICO’s sensitization and orientation programme, which aims at achieving attitudinal change, has brought to the fore, the need to appreciate our cultural values in our day to day activities, saying good cultural orientation remains a basic requirement for the success of the change campaign of the Federal Government.

 His words: “Promoting culture amongst the youths and harnessing young people’s creative potentials and energy needs to be a priority in finding solutions to today’s challenges. One of the major challenges facing Nigerian students today is the disconnection from their roots. This is because many of our cultural values that could help promote unity and development in our society has been relegated to the background.”

 Speaking earlier in a welcome address, the Executive Secretary of NICO, Assoc. Prof. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, said there is urgent need for the youths to appreciate the worth of Nigeria’s diverse but rich cultural endowments if we must maintain, defend, protect and develop our culture.

 To him, any agenda for national development that is devoid of a special place for the youths is deficient, saying the youths are very important members of the society, as they do not only serve as a bridge between the past, present and future, but are indeed the very embodiment of the future of the nation.

 Expressing regrets that our youths today have jettisoned the cultural norms and values set up by our forefathers, such as, respect for elders and authority, sanctity of life, being your brother’s keeper, which were sine-qua-non for an ideal society in the past, the NICO ES disclosed that it was in the bid to effectively sensitize and connect our youths firmly to their roots and provide them access to various resources of history, literature and culture, that the Institute established NICO Cultural Clubs in Schools as well as Children’s Cultural Extravaganza as a platform for students to engage meaningfully in cultural activities.

 Ayakoroma therefore said for Nigeria to return to the cultural realities, norms, values and ways of life that kept our forefathers united and focused, all hands must be on deck towards ensuring a cultural rebirth for a better Nigeria.

 Dignitaries present at event included the Honourable Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara, who was represented by the Deputy Chief Whip, Rt. Hon. Pally Iriase; Chairman, House Committee on Culture and Tourism, Hon. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama; the Eson of Benin Kingdom, Chief Amos Osunbor; Director-General, Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC), Dr. Ferdinand Anikwe; as well as Professor Marcellinus Okhakhu of the University of Benin, who was Guest Lecturer, among others.

 Facilitators of the programme from NICO were Mr. Alex Omijie (Director of Orientation & Cultural Affairs); Mr. Law Ezeh (SA to ES); Mr. Segun Adegbaju (Asst Director, Cultural Affairs), Mr. Okorodudu Oremu (Head, Audit Unit), among others.

Caleb Nor

Corporate Affairs Unit

NICO, Abuja