The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Assoc. Prof. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has called on the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency expedite action on the establishment of the National Endowment Fund for the Arts.

Ayakoroma gave this charge while delivering his welcome address at the opening of the NICO Quarterly Public Lecture delivered by His Excellency, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, the Executive Governor of Imo state, entitled, “Promoting Culture, Developing the Economy: The Nigerian Perspective”, at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, on Thursday, 2nd March, 2017.

According to him, the Endowment Fund for the Arts, which has been long awaited, if established, in line with the Cultural Policy for Nigeria, will not only provide the much-needed financial support for key players in our creative industries but make the sector respond adequately to our need for a diversified economy.

His words: “It is no longer news that Nigeria is in recession and the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is committed to the diversification of the economy in order to minimize our dependence on oil. While we commend the attention being paid to the Agriculture and Solid Mineral sectors currently, we make bold to say that the culture sector has better prospects if priority attention is given to it as many countries have done”.”

The NICO ES further called on government not to wait until our oil wells dry up before looking towards the direction of the culture and tourism sector, saying, culture, which is the vehicle that drives tourism is patiently waiting to be explored to enhance our economic growth.

“Our festivals, dresses, foods, natural tourist sites like lagoons, lakes, rivers, mangrove forests, waterfalls, warm springs, mountains, rocks and natural resorts are waiting to be explored and exploited”, he averred.”

Prof. Ayakoroma expressed optimism that even if others are doubtful of the potentials of the culture sector to generate revenue that can boost the nation’s economy, the Management of NICO, under his leadership, has the strong belief that as long as government gives the sector the needed attention, it can contribute significantly to Nigeria’s economic development.

Caleb Nor

Media Assistant to ES

NICO HQ, Abuja