The Acting Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Mr Louis Eriomala, has said that culture can enhance Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), thereby ccontributing to Nigerian economy if a strategy towards that is fashioned out.

Stating this at the opening ceremony of the Annual Roundtable on Cultural Orientation (ARTCO), organized by the Institute, he said the choice of theme was informed by the need to draw national attention to the importance of culture in economic development.

The event took place at the Prestige Hotel Event Hall, Airport Road, Benin City, Edo State, with the theme, Mainstreaming Culture in the Nation’s Economic Agenda.

He explained that the strategies to be fashioned out would not only enhance the GDP, but contribute to the overall national development, arguing that that gone are the days when culture was seen as mere entertainment.

According to him: “ARTCO is an intellectual platform designed by NICO to bring together scholars, interest groups, stakeholders to exchange ideas on a specific topical issues and to make recommendations that would impact on government policies and their execution. The theme of the 2018 edition is Mainstreaming Culture in the Nation’s Economic Agenda. Our decision to choose this theme was because of the critical importance of culture to economic development. Culture can enhance GDP, gone are the days we see culture as dance, drama and music.”

Mr. Eriomala urged the private sector to join hands with the government to reposition the culture sector, so that Nigeria’s rich, vast cultural heritages, arts, culture and cultural tourism will take robust position in the global context as well as make culture pillar of sustainable development

The Director Cultural Affairs and Orientation, NICO, Mr. Alex Omijie in his vote of thanks, thanked the dignitaries who attended the programme in spite of their tight schedules. He also thanked all the stakeholders in the culture sector as well as members of staff of NICO.

The dignitaries that graced the event are the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the chief host, represented by Augustus Babajide Ajibola, Director Entertainment and Creative Services of the Ministry; His Excellency, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, the Executive Governor of Edo State, the Special Guest of Honour, represented by Hon. Osagie Osemwegie-Ero, the Commissioner for Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Edo State; the Acting Executive Secretary of NICO, Mr. Louis Eriomala; Professor Sam Guobadia, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Ben Idahosa University, Benin; Professor Eghosa Osagie of Benson Idahosa University; Prof. Austin Asagba, Prof. Chris Ugolo, Prof. Kokunre Eghafona, all from the University of Benin; Prof Ben Omojimite, Delta State University; Director-General NTA, Mallam Yakubu Ibn Mohammed, represented by Pauline Igbanor of Zone D NTA Benin; Mrs Ivie Igbinoba, an indigenous language writer in Edo state, among others

Nwagbo Pat Obi

NICO Training School, Abuja Study Centre