The NICO North-Central Zonal Coordinator, Mr. Ohi Ojo, has said that the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), a Parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, was established by Act 93 of 1993 with a view to preserve the Nigeria’s rich cultural endowments as well as in response to the United Nations Declaration of the World Decade for Cultural Development, which acknowledged, among other things, the cultural dimension of development, the need to broaden participation in cultural life, and the promotion of international cooperation among member nations.

Mr. Ojo stated this on Wednesday, 1st February, 2017, at the Conference Room of the Zonal Office, when he played host to a team of 400 Level students from the Department of Performing Arts, University of Ilorin, who were on a Study Tour to the Zonal Office, as part of their academic activities.

The Zonal Head, while responding to some of the questions from the visiting students, reiterated that those who regard culture as archaic or fetish were just being ignorant of the concept of culture and that was why the Institute, under the Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma-led administration, had not relented in its efforts to enlighten Nigerians, vigorously pursuing and sustaining its mandate of serving as the apex and leading cultural training institute in the country.

While explaining further, Ojo said the efforts of the Institute could be seen in the running of programmes like Nigerian Dress Culture, World Culture Day Celebration, NICO Cultural Clubs in Schools, NICO Training School, Quarterly Media Workshops for Arts Writers and Editors, One-Month Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP), as well as the Weekend Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme presently running in the various zonal and state offices as well the Institute’s headquarters in Abuja, with Hausa, Yoruba and Efik being languages taught in the North-Central Zone.

He added that the rich Nigerian cultural heritage, if adequately harnessed, will not only make Nigerians, especially the youths, take pride in them and restrain themselves from other foreign cultures but also make them self-reliant.

Present with the Zonal Coordinator were heads of the various units, namely, Mrs. Abolarin Shalom (Administration), Mr. Anthony Olaseinde (Research and Documentation), Mr. Ariyo Adeoti (Orientation and Cultural Affairs), Mr. Samuel Hedima (Corporate Affairs), Mr. Olagoke Olayinka (Audit), Mr. Christopher Bello (Rep. of Head of Accounts), Mr. Naseer Saeed (from Research and Documentation), and Mrs. Wasilat Ibrahim (from Orientation & Cultural Affairs), who all took turns to enlighten the students on the functions of each of the units, activities carried out by the zonal office since inception, as well as responding to questions asked by the students.

Responding on behalf of the visiting student, Mr. Babatunde Oluwashogo, who could not hide his feelings, expressed satisfaction with not just the activities of NICO but also with the warm reception accorded them, and the benefit derived from the visit.

This was just as he promised that they would also join the advocacy train of cultural orientation by preaching what they had learnt during the visit.

Highlights of the visit were the showcasing of a local food warmer designed and moulded in 2015 by the zonal office in collaboration with Dada Pottery Makers and the presentation of NICO handbills to the students.

Ahmed Mohammed
NICO North-Central Zone