The National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) has been commended by traditional rulers, university dons, culture enthusiasts and stakeholders, for organising the 2nd edition of the 2017 Quarterly Public Lecture Series, which held at the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja-FCT, on Monday, 10th July, 2017, with the theme, “Promoting Culture, Developing the Economy”.

One of such commendations was from Chief (Dr.) Samson Gamu Yare, Chun Mada, Nasarawa State, the Royal Father of the Day, who, in his goodwill message, said contributing to culture was apt, especially at a time like this when the country was experiencing economic recession and there was the need for all hands to be on desk to drive culture to its enviable height; and that NICO has also done well by publishing the maiden edition of its journal, CultureScope.

Also contributing, Alhaji Shaban Audu, Nizazo III, the Etsu of Kwali, FCT-Abuja, thanked NICO for organising such an important public lecture, because, to him, the lecture was apt; and that as a former student of the Institute’s indigenous language programme in Lagos, he considered indigenous language as a sine qua non for children because if they are taught with indigenous languages our schools, they will understand the foreign language or other subjects taught in English better.

He, therefore, called on the Honourable Minister of Education to give the right of indigenous language orthography for teachers to use indigenous languages in teaching in schools, just as he urged all and sundry to imbibe the culture of speaking our indigenous languages every time.

In a similar vein, a monarch from Bayelsa State, HRM King Okpoitari Diongoli, Opu Okun IV of Opokuma Kingdom, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area, aligning himself with the other monarchs, applauded NICO for the lecture series, stressing that Nigerian culture and language are what tell who we are, and that over 50 years of Westernisation, it was high time Nigerians took their destiny in their own hands; and also promising that as a monarch, he will interface with the Institute to promote our culture.

Earlier in his remark, the Regional Director, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Mr. Yao Ydo, who was represented by the UNESCO Country Programmes Officer (Culture), Mr. Ifeanyi Ajaegbu, said that UNESCO was delighted to be part of the critical discourse under the auspices of NICO.

He said that, the theme of the quarterly public lecture series was apt and timely for UNESCO to further speak directly to two out of the five aspirations articulated in the African Union Agenda 2063, since NICO was keeping faith with its mandate to promote “positive cultural values and harnessing culture for national development has achieved monumental milestones in effecting a sense of cultural direction and relationship to meet the challenges of social integration, unity, peaceful co-existence and self-reliance for national development”.

He disclosed that, Aspiration One (1) in the African Union Agenda 2063 is about actualising a prosperous Africa that is based on “inclusive growth and sustainable development”; while Aspiration five (5) envisages an Africa with “a strong cultural identity”; adding that it is hoped that with the event, culture’s immense contribution to sustainable national development will continue to be recognized.

Speaking, as one of the guests and representative of the Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA), Professor Shamshudeen O. O. Amali, former Vice Chancellor, University of Ilorin and Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK), commended NICO saying, “I want to Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma and his NICO team, for using this occasion to promote culture because this occasion is not just for Nigeria but Africa and the world. In Africa, we are known for culture; that is what we export and that is what we are known for.”

Furthermore, Hon. Moh’d Kabir Ajanah, a Member of the Federal House of Representatives from Kogi State, added his voice to encourage culture officers and stakeholders to look inward and see how culture can contribute to the economic diversification for the country, starting from our homes, where visitors are given our art works and crafts, as souvenirs when they visit and local delicacies in place of burger and pizza for entertainment of such guests.

The Vice Chancellor, National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu, an erudite scholar and double professor (of Science Education and Media and Cultural Communication), delivered the lecture, entitled, “Commodification of Culture: The Political Economy of the Hausa Popular Cultural Industries”; just as the NICO Cultural Troupe spiced up the event with a drama sketch and a cultural dance, and it had MC Miracle was the anchor.  

It would be recalled that the 1st edition of the 2017 Quarterly Public Lecture Series was delivered by the Executive Governor of Imo state, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, on Thursday, 2nd March, 2017, also at Shehu Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja-FCT, under the distinguished Chairmanship of Senator Matthew Urhoghide, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism.

Njideka Dimgba

Corporate Affairs Unit