The National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), in collaboration with the Office of the Member Representing Ogbia Federal Constituency (Hon. Sodaguwo Adegadiza Festus-Omoni), on Tuesday, 21st November, 2017 at Dr. Gabriel Okara Cultural Centre, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State,organised a one-day Cultural Sensitisation programme for stakeholders in Ogbia Federal Constituency.

In his welcome address at the occasion, NICO’s Executive Secretary, Assoc. Prof. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, informed gueststhat NICO was organising the programme, as part of its mandate of inculcating positive cultural values in the citizenry, adding that the Institute was providing a platform the Member Representing Ogbia Federal Constituency,Hon. Sodaguwo Adegadiza Festus-Omoni, to interface with the constituents to talk about the rich cultural endowments of the Ogbia people.

The ES used the opportunity to inform guests that NICO runs academic programmes leading to the award of Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Post Graduate Diploma in Cultural Administration,as well as one-month long vacation and weekend editions of the Nigerian indigenous language programmes at its headquarters, zonal, and state offices in the six geopolitical zones of the country.

He noted that His Excellency, the former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR) and Chief Melford Obiene Okilo are from Ogbia, and therefore appealed to Ogbia brotherhood to liaise with the Bayelsa Office of the Institute to sponsor the teaching of Ogbia language in the August and weekend Nigerian indigenous language programmes of NICO.

Earlier, the ES had recalled that the sensitisation programme was unique to him in different ways; firstly, because Ogbia is the home of one of the founding fathers of Bayelsa State, Chief Melford Obiene Okilo and His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, the former president of Federal Republic of Nigeria; secondly, the former president made his appointment as the ES of NICO possible; third, he is married to an Ogbia woman, saying he is “Ayakoroma marrying anAyakorowoman (in Ogbia)”; and fourthly, it was probably his last time to address a people as the ES,NICO.

In her speech the host of the event,the Member Representing Ogbia Federal Constituencyin the National Assembly, Hon. SodaguwaAdegadiza Festus-Ornoni,described the one-day cultural sensitisation programmes, as a call to revive the core cultural values that unite the Ogbia Kingdom, which is centred on peace and unity.

The Hon. Festus-Omonistated that the Ogbia people are unique because of their passion for peace and unity and their core cultural values rooted on oneness and love for one another;regretting that the positive cultural values which the kingdom,overtime, had been known for that promotemutualco-existence and mutual respect were going into extinction, particularly the language, fishing festivals, music,traditional wrestling, sports and dance.

She therefore, called on the royal fathers, Ogbia Brotherhood, sons and daughters of Ogbia Kingdom as well as the youths, to come together and work as one body and promote the core values of love and unity and leave a good legacy for generations yet unborn.

The chairman on the occasion,former NigerianAmbassador to Italy, HEBarrister Eric Awhorabhi, remarked that the event was timely and more appropriate, applaudingthe good relationship between Hon. Festus and the ES-NICO,in this timely collaboration to promotethe culture of peace and unity, andchargedthepeople to revive, preserve and promote the cultural heritage of Ogbia Kingdom.

The programme also featured the presentation of a paper,entitled, “Peace and Unity as Critical Factors in National Development, the Ogbia Experience”, byProf. Teddy Charles Adiah, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics), Federal University,Otuoke, Bayelsa State.

In the paper, Prof. Adiah identified the challenge sustainable national developmentin Nigeria as a result of the absence of peace and unity, identifyingOgbia Brotherhood as a strong force in maintaining peace and unity in Ogbia kingdom as well as other Niger Delta communities.

He opined that the Niger Delta had been peaceful until the discovery of crude oil in the Niger Delta in 1956, which brought about militantagitations and uprising against the state and the national government as well as the oil companies; concluding that Ogbia people were very peaceful and united; and that there was need to promote sustainable national development; just as he charged Ogbia Brotherhood to continue its good work of engaging in every legal approach to promote peace and unity and the development of Ogbia Kingdom.

Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR), represented by Hon. Tobias James, in his speech, thanked the hosts of the event and recommended that the sensitisation programme should be a continuous event in Bayelsa state and should be extended to other states in the Niger Delta and Nigeria at large.

The eventhad several dignitaries, including, Hon. Fredrick Agbedi, represented by Mr. FunakpoOwei;the Executive Governor of Bayelsa state, His Excellency Hon. Henry SeriakeDickson, represented by the Honourable Commissionerfor Culture and Ijaw National Affairs, Hon.Austin Dressman; the DeputyGovernor of Bayelsa state, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John-Jonah (rtd), represented by his Senior Special Assistanton LG Administration and Chieftaincy Matters,Chief M.C.I. Amangala;Special Adviserto the Governor on Niger Delta Affairs,Dr. Felix Tuodolo;and Chairman of Ogbia Brotherhood, Chief Benson Agadaga, among other eminent personalities.

Also present were the Director, Orientation and Cultural Affairs, NICO Headquarters, Mr. Alex Omijie; SA to ES,NICO, Mr. Law Ezeh Jr.;and Staff of NICO South-South Zone led by the Zonal Director, Mr. Nelson Ebi Campbell.

The Bayelsa State Cultural Troupe entertained guests with danceswhile selected secondary schools inthe state did traditional fashion parade.

Clifford Ugwu

Corporate Affairs