The Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has said the House will increase budgetary allocation to the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) in the 2017 budget session, to ensure the Institute succeeds on its mandate of re-orienting Nigerians towards a culture-oriented lifestyle.
Dogara disclosed this in Benin, the Edo state capital, on Thursday, 24th November, 2016, while speaking as Chairman at the opening of a 2-day Cultural Orientation and Sensitization programme for Senior Secondary Schools 1-3 students, in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State organized by NICO, in collaboration with the House of Representatives Committee on Culture and Tourism.
Represented by the Deputy Chief Whip of the House, Rt. Hon. Pally Iriase, the Speaker maintained that NICO has a very important role to play in the society and the only way the Institute can sustain its cultural orientation campaign is to ensure there is adequate budgetary provision for the Institute to ensure continuity of such sensitization programmes.
His words: “NICO has an assignment as far as the House of Representatives is concerned that is even more important than other agencies of government. because if you can get us into the frame of mind for cultural renaissance, most of the things we suffer from will no longer be there. Our cultural identity will at once force on us patriotism and we will love and care for Nigeria and not destroy our common wealth in the name of agitation.”
“Happily, the budget session is yet to begin and I believe that we do not only talk but also do. We know without budgetary provision, NICO cannot achieve the sustainability of its supposed campaign on cultural re-orientation. We will therefore make sure that adequate provision is made for NICO in the 2017 budget;” he said.
While stressing that such a cultural orientation and sensitization programme targeted at our youth was long overdue, Dogara regretted that Nigeria is today witnessing a lot of conflicts and torment our choices in corruption, get-rich quick syndrome, lack of respect for elders as well as our carelessness about societal values.
He therefore reiterated that the programme must not only be sustained but taken to every nook and cranny of the country, saying what had taken us out of the track was the complete departure from the cultural norms of our society.
The Speaker, who said he was mindful of the fact that no country in the world today is an island of itself which makes acculturation inevitable, however stressed the need for us to guide our society on what cultural values we can copy from others and what not to copy.
He maintained that it was a wise thing to “catch them young” on this matter with a view of bringing our young ones up with a cultural identity that makes them proud of their environment, where they will know that money is not everything and to also know that there is pride in how one makes wealth.
Speaking in the same vein, the Chairman, House Committee on Culture and Tourism, Hon. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, stated that the decision to focus on secondary school students was not only predicated on the fact that they are the leaders of tomorrow but also because they serve as a critical bridge linking the present with the future, saying the continued existence of society rests on them.
He stressed the importance of establishing our youths on a very sound cultural and moral foundation through such well articulated cultural orientation and sensitization programmes to enable them appreciate and take pride in their culture.
His words: “Preserving the culture, tradition and language of our great Benin Kingdom is a commitment we all must make, especially transforming these values into our children. This is one of the reasons we are doing this today to ensure that right from the base, we begin to inculcate cultural values into our students, to enable them embrace cherished values as we have always had in the past”.”
While commending NICO for collaborating with the House Committee on Culture and Tourism to create such a platform geared towards fostering a sense of cultural identity, pride and national consciousness in our students, Hon. Ihama said sustained programmes on value reorientation for our children and youths will go a long way in addressing the challenges facing us today as a nation and also serve as a creative antidote against the ravaging effects of globalization.
He therefore disclosed that the Committee will continue to support NICO in organizing programmes and projects that are geared towards repositioning our young ones to become dependable leaders of tomorrow.
Corporate Affairs Unit