The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Mallam Muhammed Ado Yahuza has solicited the corporation of the Institute’s Governing Board in order to add value to the mandate establishing NICO as the foremost cultural institute in Nigeria.

Speaking during his inaugural meeting with the NICO Board since his assumption of office in September, 2020, at the institute’s Headquarters in Abuja on Thursday, November 12, 2020, Yahuza said as a team worker, he needs the prayers and corporation of the Board to succeed.

Top on the agenda for the meeting was the issue of access road to the NICO permanent road in Kuje, Abuja, which Mallam Yahuza explained that the office recently visited the site with the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), and discuss on how the FCT Development Authority can assist in constructing a major bridge linking the office permanent site in Kuje. He said the FCDA assured that the project has been captured in 2020 budget and in no distant time, would commence work.

Also the NICO fund raising committee which was scheduled to brief the Board on their strategies to actualize the reason why they were set up reported that due to COVID-19 Pandemic lockdown, they have not been able to meet to chart a course on how the Institute can raise funds.

The update on Mr. A.C. Mkpadobi’s dismissal was discussed by the board as part of the agenda. The Executive Secretary reported that Mr. Mkpadobi has attained the statutory retirement age of 60 years in January, 2020 and as such the issue of his re-instatement has been laid to rest.

Yahuza further presented the activities NICO had organized since he assumed office as the ES/CEO. He said under his watch, the Institute had its 2nd edition of the Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP) in Barracks, tagged, ‘Language in Barracks’ both in Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Headquarters Airport road, Abuja and Police Barracks Ikeja, Lagos.

He said that the office had four of its Zonal Intervention Programmes or constituency projects by the National Assembly on 19th – 20th October, 2020 at Edo Central, Edo state; another one on the 20th -23rd October at Esan West, Edo state; the one held at Owan, Edo state on 30th October -2nd November, 2020 as well as that of Umana in Rivers state on 2nd-4th Nov. 2020. He added that four of such programmes will be executed before the end of the year.

The NICO ES informed the Board about NICO’s successful Durbar Horse Riding cultural festival outing in Kano to kick-start the process of getting approval for its inscription on UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List.

He further highlighted the outcome of his familiarization visit to NICO Lagos office in October, 2020 and how he presented his vision and mission to the staff as well as discussed issues of funding of the two offices (NICO Training School and NICO Lagos Liaison Office) as he merged them together for effective productivity.

One of the memos presented by ES at the meeting was the request for the approval of NICO 2020 staff promotion results conducted on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 by the board. According to him, the examination exercise had 194 members of staff that participated but only 164 met the promotion requirement of 60% and above as stipulated in the Public Service Rule (PSR) to be recommended for promotion.

Senior staff recommended for promotion from CONRAISS 14 to 15 were 6 in number; CONRAISS 13-14 had 3 members of staff recommended; one staff on CONRAISS 12-13; and 5 staff from CONRAISS 11-12. Meanwhile, out of 46 members of staff on CONRAISS 10 going to CONRAISS 11 who wrote the exam, 14 staff were recommended for promotion, 3 were not recommended while 1 had a pending disciplinary case.

CONRAISS 09 going to 10 had 96 staff due for promotion and 91 of them made the list. Staff on CONRAISS 08-09 were 36 in number out of which 28 of them passed and were recommended for promotion. 15 staff were recommended on CONRAISS 8 out of 21 that wrote the promotion examination.

There were 5 staff on CONRAISS 06 to be promoted to CONRAISS 07 only 4 were recommended. CONRAISS 06 had 2 members of staff recommended, whereas 04-05 had just a staff. Also CONRAISS 03-04 had just a staff who was due but was not recommended.
The ES informed that there were two staff of the Institute, Mr. Alabi Ezekiel Opeyemi and Mr. Mohammed Alhassan, who are currently facing disciplinary actions because they reported the institute to Nigerian Police Force (NPF) and Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for personal matters that should have been resolved internally by the Institute’s disciplinary mechanism for tackling such cases. And for that reason they were stopped from participating in the 2020 promotion exercise. He explained that the decision was informed by the Public Service Rule (PRS), which states that on no account should any staff implore external mechanism of conflict resolution without first exhausting the internal mechanism of that establishment.
Furthermore, Yahuza said due to the plea of the labour union of NICO Chapter, the management ordered that they withdraw their petitions and write an undertaking. He muted that as at the time of the Board meeting Mr. Alabi Ezekiel Opeyemi had complied with the directive of the management and that Mr. Mohammed Alhasan refused to comply hence he was suspended from the institute pending the next Board meeting when his case will be presented to the Board for further disciplinary action.

Earlier, the Chairman, NICO Governing Board, Alhaji Yusuf Shittu welcomed the Executive Secretary to his first meeting with NICO Governing Board as he pledged the board’s support and a cordial working relationship with the Executive Secretary.

The 8th Meeting of the Governing Board of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation which lasted for 2-hours approved the 2020 promotion results presented to it.

Present at the meeting were Prof. Habu Galadima (National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies); Dr. Gerald Adewele (National Council for Arts and Council); Mrs. Pamela Ogwuazor Momah (Nigerian Institute for International Affairs); Mrs. Memunat Idu-Lah (Federal Ministry of Information and Culture); Samuel Osebayo
(Federal Ministry of Youth & Sports Development); Muhammad Nuhu (Centre for Management Development, Lagos).

Njideka Dimgba
Media Unit
E S Office, Abuja.