The University of Delaware from United States of America (USA) is seeking to collaborate with the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) in the area of culture as a catalyst for broader collaborations.

Associate Professor James Allen Anderson, Director of Orchestral Activities at the University’s School of Music who led a delegation on a courtesy visit to the Executive Secretary of NICO, Mallam Ado Muhammed Yahuza in Abuja on Wednesday, August 25, 2021 said the choice of the Institute for collaboration is informed by the fact that NICO is Nigeria’s focal agency that deals with issues relating to culture.

According to him, there are many opportunities and strong programmes that could be of mutual benefits to the University and Nigeria, stating that from such collaborations, students from the University of Delaware can immerse with others and fuse together to explore different cultures.

Professor Anderson who is also the President and Founder, Cultural Fusion Initiative said the project came out of his twenty five (25) years of experience in leading orchestra’s all over the world and the pleasure of taking students on tour to four (4) continents which Africa is next.

His words “there are pockets of strong programmes in Africa and Nigeria in particular and the concept of fusion became very important to me in the fact that we don’t have a functional orchestral western classical empirical music of Nigeria and I started the inaugural pairing of western and Nigerian cultures. That was my source of inspiration to fuse something together and do something new. I perceive a cultural tour to bring 20 students from the United States and pair with 20 students from Nigerian universities to create something that is not just made of western classical instruments but traditional African instruments. We will create new music that fuse between the two countries”

“In 2009, I took students to china and we toured china by pairing with a host institution where my students shared their music styles with their students, we toured together, we performed and had meals together and from this, I saw friendships formed the bond between our two institutions became stronger and that brought us to even broader development opportunities and collaborations with business and to the government”, he said.

Responding, the Executive Secretary of NICO, Mallam Ado Muhammed Yahuza expressed the Institute’s readiness to collaborate with the University especially in the area of cultural exchange.
While commending the delegates for their concise presentation, Yahuza said NICO’s readiness to collaborate with the University is in line with the Institute’s vast mandate that is all encompassing to handle and harness the diverse cultures in Nigeria for both national and international relations towards national development.
His words: “Our mandate is all encompassing; we handle both tangible and intangible cultural resources. I believe that we both can collaborate. NICO is the best place to be in terms of cultural exchange. We are ready to network, and corporate. Although we have about 11 agencies under the culture sector, NICO is one among the few agencies interfacing with UNESCO in the area of cultural diversity and intangible cultural heritage”.
“What we try to do mainly is to see diversity as a positive ingredient. Here in NICO, what we are doing is to turn our diversity into very rich resources. We will be in a better position to assist, and the relationship is going to be mutual because NICO is in a very better position to assist in this project. We believe that by the time we collaborate, a lot of your students will love to stay in Nigeria. In spite of the shortcomings and insecurities, this country is good and we are very ready.”
Yahuza stressed that with Nigeria as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation with diverse cultures, NICO, more than any other institution in the culture sector is the one that is saddled with a very vast mandate to harness these tangible and intangible cultures in Nigeria. He further stated that with its nine (9) state offices and six (6) zonal offices across the country, the Institute takes consideration in cultural diversity since the richness of Nigeria’s diversity remains what makes Nigeria great in Africa.
The Director of Orchestral Activities, University of Delaware, USA, Assoc. Prof. James Anderson was accompanied by Mr. Alao Adedayo; Mr. Wale Adelagunja; Mr. Gabriel Sosanya and Mr. Faith Adebola.
Directors from NICO who were on ground to receive the visitors along the ES were; Mrs. Brigette Yerima (Director Training School); Mr. Alex Omijie (Director, Orientation & Cultural Affairs); and Mr. Michael Ekoko (Director, Research & Documentation)
Caleb Nor & Njideka Dimgba