The former Vice Chancellor, Western Delta State University, Oghara, Delta State has commended the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) for the sustenance of healthy culture debates to sensitize Nigerians towards cultural rebirth

He stated this in an interview with Nico News at the Prestige Hotel Event Hall, Airport Road, Benin City, Edo State, at the Technical Session of the Annual Roundtable on Cultural Orientation (ARTCO), organized by NICO.  

Prof Asagba who is also the former Dean, Faculty of Arts University of Benin, said NICO makes outstanding efforts to mobilize and sensitize Nigerians on cultural matters in order to sustain the positive cultural practices and rejig many cultural heritages for cultural renaissance.

The Professor of Theatre Arts stated that, “NICO is worthy of commendation for its numerous programmes, especially this Annual Roundtable on Cultural Orientation, which sustains culture debates. The programme has the potentials to establish the needed synergy between government and the people. It will also connect the people with their environment and galvanize Nigerians of all shades for a national cultural renaissance that the country needs for social political transformation. For this I am honoured to be part of NICO events. In fact, my presence in this event gives me the opportunity to air my view, further, on cultural matters and the Nigeria’s economic growth and development.”  

On the first day of the ARTCO, Prof Asagba had delivered a paper titled “Cultural and Creative Industries As Catalyst for Economic Growth in Nigeria” where he extensively highlighted cultural wealth and heritage, cultural industries and revenue potentials, performing arts industry, arts and craft industry, the film industry or Nollywood films, book industry, radio and television industry, cultural tourism industry, among others.

Observing the factors militating against cultural industries, he recommended that for the industry to thrive and contribute to Nigerian economic growth, arts and culture must be promoted as veritable economic business with revenue earning objectives. He opined that partnerships, and traditional networking should be encouraged, and that culture should be deployed as foreign policy instrument for business, entertainment and cultural tourism. He also said cultural industries should be integrated into national planning and used for budgeting purposes.

Continuing he said the need to implement these recommendations stems from the fact that Nigeria is a country blessed with abundant natural and human resources, and that Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and has rightly gained the appellation; Giant of Africa.

Professor Chris Ugolo of the Department Theatre Arts, University of Benin who was the Discussant of the paper, noted that professor Asagba made very useful recommendations that would move Nigerian creative industry forward, adding that the development of various Nigerian cultural units and practices would help the growth of Nigerian culture. “Nigerian culture is rich and powerful. We need to develop them in their specific contexts like traditional medicine, cultural technology, food preservation culture etc.”

Nwagbo Pat Obi

NICO Training School, Abuja Study Centre