The National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) on Tuesday, December 15, 2020, organized an Annual Roundtable on Cultural Orientation (ARTCO) at the Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK) to empower a section of Nigerian youths on self-reliance and skill development.

The programme did not only present an opportunity for participants to learn, understand and appreciate the intrinsic role of culture in the spheres of economy, social and national development but also demonstrated the numerous opportunities embedded in the cultural and creative industries.

Speaking at the event with the theme: “Optimizing Opportunities on Youth Empowerment through Cultural and Creative Industries”, the Executive Secretary of NICO, Mallam Ado Muhammed Yahuza in his welcome address, said the event is targeted at exploring the opportunities available in the cultural and creative industries with the aim of achieving poverty eradication, social inclusion and cohesion as well as strengthening social capital and national development.

According to him, the cultural and creative industry are thematic areas on the same pedestal with other industrial sectors because it serves as a boost to the economy of any nation through indicators such as Gross Domestic Products (GDP), employment, tourism, skill development, investment promotion and poverty alleviation.

In his words “There is a strong synergy between culture, traditional knowledge and management of natural resources whereby traditional cultures and creative industries get revitalized for national development”.

“There is a dire need to continuously arouse the latent creative and innovative spirit of the Nigerian youth in order to enhance human resources development while simultaneously curbing youth restiveness. This can be achieved through youth empowerment in the cultural and creative industries”, he said.

Yahuza maintained that it is in line with the Institute’s primary responsibility of harnessing the nation’s cultural resources to meet the challenges of social integrations, peace, unity and national development that the Institute has continued to organize training workshops, seminars, public lectures, roundtable conference and teaching of Nigerian Indigenous Languages amongst other programmes.

Six (6) thought-provoking papers centred on the cultural and creative industries and entrepreneurship in Nigeria were presented at the training which include: “Understanding the value chain in the Nigerian Cultural and Creative Industries” by Professor Sunnie Ododo, General Manager, National Theatre; Film Making as Avenue for Youth Empowerment” by Professor Osakue Omoera of the Federal University, Otuoke; and “Financial Avenues for Young Entrepreneurs in the Nigerian Cultural and Creative Industries” by Professor Nicholas Iwokwagh of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State.

Others are “ICT: Digital Transformation to Empower the Youth through the Cultural and Creative Industries” by Dr. Uche Mbanaso; “Youth Empowerment Windows in the Nigerian Radio/TV Creative Industry” by Mr. Greg Odudayo, Managing Director/CEO, Royal Roots Communications & R2TV; and “Mapping the Economic Opportunities for Youths in the Nigerian Fashion Industry” by Ms. Esther Yaji, Managing Director/CEO, EstherYaji Clothing.

Dignitaries present as invited guests were: the Director General/CEO, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR)/Sectors Skills Council of Nigeria, Alhaji Nura Sani Kangiwa who was represented by the Secretary of the Institute and Council, Mr. Philip Maga; Director General, National Gallery of Arts (NGA), Mr. Ebeten Ivara was represented by Mr. Magnus Ojeonu, the Director of Special Duties as well as the Director General, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mr. Folarunsho Coker who was represented by Mrs. Fibi Ikilama, mni.

In company of the Executive Secretary of NICO was Mr. Alex Omijie (Director, Orientation and Cultural Affairs); Mrs. Chioma Duru (Director, South East Zonal Office) and Mr. Segun Adegbaju (Deputy Director, Cultural Affairs).

Caleb Nor
Media Asst.-ES