The National Committee on UNESCO Memory of the World, on Friday, October 20, 2021, paid a courtesy visit on the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Ado Muhammed Yahuza, seeking for support to enable them function well.
Mr. Olagunji Idowu, who is Secretary-General, Nigerian National Commission for UNESCO (NATCOM-UNESCO) and leader of delegation on the visit, disclosed that the Committee is one of UNESCO’s national committees, meant to be a meeting point for the promotion and preservation of materials like documentaries and works of arts that will be of value to the nation.
According to him, UNESCO established the Memory of the World Programme in 1992, following a growing awareness of the parlous state of preservation and access to documentary heritage in various parts of the world.
His words “The essence is that so many of our information and the things that form part of our history will go into extinction if care is not taken. For instance if you tell some children about Nigerian civil war, they will not know anything about it”.
“UNESCO is appreciative of the fact that if history is taken away human beings, everything about them would have been taken away. All these are going to be put together by some people and that is why we are approaching all agencies working in related line to form part of this committee”.
“We are quite aware of the fact that you are relevant to the committee which informs why we decided that we should give you a call to inform you that you are part of us. We are quite aware of the enormous and wonderful work you are doing that is widely acknowledged and applauded in the public space. This goes to show that there are some of the agencies of government are doing well and these are the kind of people we want to associate with”.
Similarly speaking, the Director, National Archives, Mrs. Evelyn Odigboh, said one of the reasons the Committee decided to visit some of the CEO’s is to let them know the importance of attending meetings of the Committee so that they can have a firm grasp of what it is about and if they are to delegate, they will know exactly what to expect from them.
“Initially, the set up of the committee comprised of all the DG’s under the Information and Culture Ministry, but over time, most of them have not been attending meetings which have made it difficult to take certain decisions at the committee level”.
“We encourage our CEO’s to honour us with their presence in our meetings so we can be able to move with the speed we had earlier envisaged, without which it will be nearly impossible for us to achieve anything and the only way we can do this is to begin to articulate the way forward by holding meetings that everybody will be present where we will put minds together and share ideas”.
Responding, the Executive Secretary of NICO, Ado Yahuza who expressed deep appreciation to the Committee for finding NICO worthy to be part of them, assured that the Institute will contribute its quota in making sure that the Committee succeeds.
According to him, “Part of NICO’s mandate of researching and documenting historical cultural events and intangible cultural heritage of Nigeria encapsulates what the committee is doing which is researching and archiving past cultural event. Nigeria, being a multi-cultural and multi ethnic nation, if we don’t understand our culture and history, be it positive or negative and learn the lessons derivable from them so we can live in peace and harmony, there is no way you can promote what you don’t know”.
“If you neglect your culture, you have neglected everything because it is about life itself, even your science and technology is part of your culture”.
He therefore promised to assist the Committee to ensure CEO’s of other parastatals of the ministry see reasons to support the committee by honouring them with their presence during meetings as well as contribute their own quota to the success of the project which will be beneficial to the sector and Nigeria at large.
NICO Directors present during the courtesy visit were; Mrs. Brigitte Yerima, Director, Training School; Mr. Alex Omijie, Director Orientation and Cultural Affairs; and Mr. Michael Ekoko, Director, Research and Documentation.
Caleb Nor & Njideka Dimgba