Communiqué on the 3rd National Workshop on “Repositioning Nigerian Cultural Workers for Improved Productivity” Held by National Institute for Cultural Orientation (Nico), from 1st – 3rd December, 2009 at Hamdala Hotel, Kaduna
The 3rd National Workshop on “Repositioning Cultural Workers for Improved Productivity” held at Hamdala Hotel, Kaduna, from 1st to 3rd December, 2009, under the auspices of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), headed by Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma.
It had in attendance, Chief George Ufot, Director of Culture in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture & National Orientation, representing the Honourable Minister; Mrs. Deborah Bature, Director of Culture, Kaduna State Ministry of Culture & Tourism, representing the Kaduna State Governor; the Chairman of NICO Governing Board, Ambassador Abubakar Ibrahim Ganyama, Prof. Olu Obafemi of the University of Ilorin, Dr. Elizabeth Ben-Iheanacho, a Director with the National Council for Arts & Culture, Messrs. Ash Okoro and Eleanya Okoji, Directors of Imo and Abia States Councils for Arts & Culture, members of the press and other people from different walks of life.
The chairman of the occasion, Prof. Olu Obafemi, who also chaired the technical sessions, commended NICO for the great job it is doing in promoting intellectualism in the culture sector and formally welcomed the new Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma. He expressed confidence that with the experience of the new Executive Secretary, NICO will record some far reaching achievements.
In his Welcome Remarks, the Executive Secretary of NICO, Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma, informed participants that the workshop was conceptualized as a platform where professionals in the culture sector at the Federal, State, and Local Government levels meet annually to share ideas to be kept abreast of developments and trends in the sector in order to enhance their productivity.
Dr. Ayakoroma said that NICO is fully aware of the plethora of challenges militating against professionals in the culture sector, which include wrong perception of culture even by policy makers, degeneration of values, growing decline in the use of indigenous languages, threats to cultural identity and national pride posed by globalization. He said this brings to the fore the urgent need to make culture responsive to the clarion call for a diversified economy, as part of the present administration’s 7-point agenda.
In his address, the Chairman of NICO Governing Board, Ambassador Abubakar Ibrahim Ganyama, said the workshop marks yet another turning point in the Institute’s determination to fulfil its statutory responsibilities by serving as the power-house of the Ministry through training of cultural workers who will in future implement the culture and tourism policy of government to the benefit of Nigerians as well as placing Nigeria appropriately in the competitive global tourism market.
The Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, who was represented by Chief George Ufot, commended NICO for the initiative in realizing the critical importance of manpower development in the culture sector.
He said this is cardinal to the Ministry’s vision of repositioning the Tourism and Culture sector for economic growth and development and to re-orient the citizenry to build an orderly, responsible, and disciplined society where core values of hard work, honesty, patriotism, democratic principles, and ideals are upheld.
Declaring the workshop open, Mrs. Deborah Bature, Director of Culture, Kaduna State Ministry of Culture & Tourism, who represented the Kaduna State Governor, commended NICO for choosing Kaduna as the venue for the programme.
She said the Kaduna State Government, under His Excellency Arch. Mohammed Namadi Sambo, is committed to the development of the culture and tourism sector; thus, the state will readily collaborate with NICO to organise workshops of this nature in Kaduna at regular intervals.
The following papers were presented at the technical session, which was chaired by Prof. Olu Obafemi:
1. “Nigerian Culture: An Overview”
2. “Cultural Tourism and the Nigerian Economy”
Dr. Elizabeth Ben-Iheanacho
National Council for Arts and Culture
3. “Cultural Documentation and Structural Analysis”
Prof. A. O. Adelakun
Department of Sociology
University of Jos
4. “Cultural Research and Report Writing”
Prof. Barth O. Y. Oshionebo
Department of Theatre Arts
University of Abuja
5. “Indigenous Languages and National Development”
Dr. A. A. Olaoye
Department of Linguistics and Languages
University of Abuja
6. “Cultural Industries and Sustainable Development”
Dr. Mohammed Buratai
Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
7. “Cultural Diplomacy and Globalization”
Dr. Abba Gana Shettima
Department of Sociology
University of Maiduguri
8. “Black and African Culture and Aesthetics”
Dr. Douglas Anele
Department of Philosophy
University of Lagos, Lagos
However, the workshop observed that:
- Culture has been reduced to stage managed activism in the forum of command performances due to wrong perceptions by policy makers and top government officials.
- Emphasis has been placed on tangible aspects of our culture neglecting the intangible aspects that build up the individual.
- Culture is an inexhaustible asset unlike oil that can diminish in quantity with time.
- Nigeria is blessed with cultural manifestations that make her a tourist haven which are yet to be tapped.
- Indigenous language is a vital tool for national development as it is by it that people formulate thoughts, ideas, and needs.
- Nigerian culture risk extinction due to inadequate documentation and appreciation.
- Indigenous languages are dying due to negative attitude of Nigerians towards speaking them.
- Globalization has broken down African core ethics and values of solidarity, togetherness, and family spirit, which have presented the Black African Culture as inferior to the European Culture.
- Most nations that have developed have tapped their traditional industries in their technologies which are sustainable since it is internally generated.
- Culture has a vital role to play in international relations but that government has not taken concrete steps to re-brand and repackage our culture so that Nigerians can tell the rest of the world who we are and what Nigeria is all about.
In the final analysis, the workshop resolved that:
- Culture should be properly repositioned to its central role in national development.
- Nigeria should embark on Cultural Revolution before Economic Revolution like China, Japan, and Korea, to bring out the best values in her citizens.
- Nigerian elites should take pride in speaking their mother tongues; and that education of our children should start with the mother tongue while the minority languages are allowed to develop.
- Government should undertake well-funded researches and documentation of all aspects of our culture to preserve it for the education of the future generation.
- Nigeria’s Cultural Tourism potentials should be adequately harnessed through proper exposure of festivals, fiestas and sites, continuous interface of internal/domestic tourism that guarantees the inflow of international tourists and adoption of the village, one product strategy.
- Culture should be placed at the centre piece of national development
- We must begin to reappraise what it means to be an African and a Blackman, and not lose our identity in the rampaging boom of western cultural imperialism.
- There is urgent need for the establishment of the enabling environment for the funding and financing of cultural industries on sustainable bases.
- Nigeria can advance its image and relationship with the rest of the world through cultural diplomacy by promoting the positive aspects of things that are distinctively Nigerian in music, sports, artwork, movies, clothing, cuisine and literature.
10. African Cultures are rich and deserve to be on the same pedestal as any other in the world.
The participants expressed appreciation to the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, His Excellency Arch. Mohammed Namadi Sambo, the Honourable Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, and the Director of Culture in the Ministry, for the whole-hearted support for the workshop. They further enjoined the National Institute for Cultural Orientation, under the leadership of Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma to sustain the annual workshop, and organise it at the zonal level to draw participation from the grass-root.