The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Assoc. Prof. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has urged theatre artists to promote Nigerian dress culture using their numerous functions as culture administrators, ambassadors, activists, entertainers and performers.

He stated this at the Arts Theatre of Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK), on Friday, 23rd June, 2017, at the occasion of “Culture Week 2017” of the Theatre and Cultural Studies Students Association (TACSSA) of the University, just as he was given an award of recognition by the students.

Prof. Ayakoroma, who was represented by the Coordinator, NICO Training School, Abuja Study Centre, Dr. (Mrs.) Regina Onuoha, said the need to give Nigerian dress culture attention by theatre practitioners is imperative because apart from enhancing the beauty of the theatre, as elegant and expressive costumes, Nigerian dresses add value to Nigerian culture, contribute to the Nigerian economy, and could provide jobs in the textile industry.

The ES added that decent dressing edifies a society and that theatre cannot do without the society just as the society cannot do without the theatre, saying, “theatre gets the material it showcases to the audience from the society. These materials are from the culture of the people, such as the characters, the costumes, and all elements of drama and theatre. So, the point is that culture is expressed through the use of theatre. This is why the theatre practitioner is a cultural ambassador. He is one person rolled into many roles. He is a teacher; he is a philosopher; and he is an artist.”

He also called on artists not to neglect the use of indigenous languages in the profession, because it is very important for Nigerian children, as it will also help the languages not go into extinction, adding that it will help playwrights to excel, because renowned writers like Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Ola Rotimi, Femi Osofisan, Olu Obafemi, Zulu Sofola, and so on, were good in their native languages.

Recalling NICO’s efforts through the promoting Nigerian Dress Culture programmes and, of course, Nigerian Dress Days, which staffers are already adhering to by adorning native dresses on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Prof. Ayakoroma observed that the efforts of the Institute are receiving the attention of the Federal Government, stressing that, “these efforts can receive tremendous support of the general public if theatre practitioners are constant in their portrayal of Nigerian dresses in their plays on stage and the film medium.”

In his remarks, the Acting Vice-Chancellor of NSUK, Prof. Inuwa Fodio, represented by the Dean, Faculty of Arts, Prof A. A. Alagbe, commended the students for upholding and celebrating Nigerian culture, saying that the diversity of Nigeria is its strength as a nation.

On her part, the Head, Department of Theatre and Cultural Studies, NSUK, Hajia Lantana Ahmed, said lecturers are really impressed with the students for organizing the event, adding that it has proved that the students will be good culture ambassadors and will portray the department and the whole university in a very good light after their graduation.

The event, which was spiced by music, dance, comedy and drama sketches by the students, also featured presentation of special awards in recognition of outstanding contributions to the development of the theatre profession to Prof. Barclays Ayakoroma and others, including Prof. Emman Dandaura, Prof. Gowon Ama Doki, Dr. Suru Damisa, Mr. Daniel Chikada, and others by TACSSA.

Dignitaries who graced the event were the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Inuwa Fodio, represented by the Dean, Faculty of Arts, Prof. A. A. Alagbe; Prof. (Mrs.) F. E. Ukeje of the Department of French; former Dean, Student Affairs; Benue State University, Makurdi, Prof. Gowon Ama Doki; pioneer Head, Department of Theatre and Cultural Studies, NSUK, Prof. Emman Dandaura; Head, Department of Theatre and Cultural Studies, NSUK, Hajia Lantana Ahmed; Head, Department of English, Assoc. Prof. Terhemba Shija; Dr. Suru Damisa and Mr. Daniel Chikada, lecturers in Department of Theatre and Cultural Studies, as well as the TACSSA President, NSUK, Mr. James Ochayi, among others.

Those in the entourage of Dr. Regina Onuoha, the representative of the ES, NICO, were Head of Academics, NICO Training School, Abuja Study Centre, Mr. Nwagbo Patrick Obi; Head of Protocol, ES Office, Mr. Ibrahim Malgwi, and the PA to the Coordinator, NICO Training School, Abuja Study Centre, Queenette Idika.

Nwagbo Pat Obi

NICO Training School

Abuja Training Centre