The Ondo State Commissioner for Culture, Tourism and Special duties, Asiwaju Femi Adekanmbi, has attributed the dearth of our cultural values to Western influence, that the country has lost its cultural values and there was need to go back to the basics in reviving the dying cultures, adding: “the way we eat, speak, dress and walk have been Westernized.”
The Honourable Commissioner, who stated this recently, when the South-West Zonal Coordinator of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Mr. James Imohiosen, led a team on a courtesy visit to him at the State Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Special duties, appreciated NICO for the collaboration they have had so far with the Ministry.
While deploring the pitiable state of Nigeria’s cultural heritage, he said that, “No Nigeria, No Dubai” has been a common parlance used among Nigerians due to the influx of Nigerians to Dubai, which, according to him, has contributed about 16% to Dubai’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in terms of tourism, which could have added to Nigeria’s GDP instead.
He said some East African countries like Kenya and Tanzania have relied solely on tourism as their main source of income and that if cultural sites in Ondo State, such as, the Igbo Olodumare at Oke-Igbo, the Deji’s Palace in Akure, Oke-Maria in Oka-Akoko, Idanre Hills, Ifon Park and the Egbonmi Lake in Akoko (acclaimed to be potent source of healing water for fertility and other diseases) are developed and preserved, they would attract tourists, which in return would improve the revenue profile of the state.
To change the declining cultural trend in the society, the Commissioner said that the Ministry has lined up several programmes, such as, the Secondary Schools Cultural Competition in which children are expected to know and appreciate other people’s cultures within the state and a 3-Day Sunshine Carnival, an event to showcase the cultural heritage and values of each Local Government Area in the State, which would change the perspective of the citizenry right from their youthful age and affirm that his Ministry was ready to partner NICO towards the realization of common goals.
Earlier in his address, the NICO South-West Zonal Coordinator, Mr. James Imohiosen, thanked the Commissioner and his team for the warm reception and applauded him for his achievements within the short period of his assumption of office, in organizing cultural development programmes, including the unveiling of the Ondo State Cultural Ambassadors and 40th Anniversary of the Creation of Ondo State, which equally coincided with the 7th Anniversary of the Administration of Governor Olusegun Mimiko, both occasions that witnessed the active participation of NICO South-West Zonal Office.
The Zonal Coordinator informed that National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), a Parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, was established by Decree 93 of 1993, in response to the United Nations declaration of the World Decade for Cultural Development (WDCD: 1988-1997) that acknowledged among other things, the cultural dimension of development to revive our dying cultural values.
While appreciating the Ministry for the support and collaboration since the inception of the Institute’s Zonal Office in Akure, Imohiosen equally used the opportunity to avail the Commissioner of activities of the Institute, which include, the one-month Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP), Promoting Nigerian Dress Culture, NICO Cultural Clubs in Secondary Schools, Annual Round Table on Cultural Orientation (ARTCO), and the NICO Training School in Lagos and Abuja, which run Diploma, Advanced Diploma, and Postgraduate Diploma in Cultural Administration.
On ground to receive the NICO team with the Honourable Commissioner were Mr. Akinbami Yemi (Permanent Secretary), Mr. Lawrence Amimi (Director of Culture), Mr. John Aluku (Director, Planning, Research and Statistics), Mr. Michael Jemilugba (Director, Audit Unit), Mr. Akinmoye Oladele (Director, Finance and Admin), and Mr. Leye Adebayo (Director, Tourism).
In company of the Zonal Head were Mrs. Ruth Oyenekan (Head, Admin and Human Resources), Mrs. Ogechukwu Nwokorie (Head, Orientation and Cultural Affairs), Mr. Chris Sodje (Head, Research and Documentation), Mr. Muhammed Babangida (Head, Audit), Mr. Ogaga Anakpoha (Head, Corporate Affairs), as well as Mr. Stephen Ayomoba, Mrs. Folashade Bello and Mr. Alfanla Mustapha, all of Corporate Affairs.
Folashade Bello & Alfanla Mustapha