Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), has said the one day set aside by the Head of Service of the Federation for all public servants to appear in native attires is not enough as it still places prominence on foreign dresses at the expense of Nigeria’s indigenous dress culture.
The Executive Secretary suggested that the Fridays only chosen by the Head of Service for foreign dressing should be reviewed to two or more days in a week for indigenous dressing by civil and public servants.
Ayakoroma who stated this while speaking on a Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) programme, “On The Spot” on February 2, 2011, in Abuja, regretted that most Nigerians believe that traditional attires are not in vogue forgetting that appearance is what projects one's identity.
According to him, as a leading cultural training institute in the country, NICO in her bid to ensure it carries out its mandate is at its best not only to train cultural workers to be effective in cultural practice but also to ensure Nigerians are re-oriented to look at culture as a tool for national development.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Apex Cultural Institute also said the Institute has done a lot in the area of re-orientating Nigerians as it organized workshops and training programmes for culture workers, and some of the areas of focus were those of indigenous language, dress culture and children cultural clubs.
He said part of the efforts of the Institute in realizing the purpose for which it was set up is the establishment of the Institute’s training school in Lagos which runs diploma and post graduate diploma programmes in Cultural Administration which is to prepare workers in the culture sector to be more productive. He said, “We find a situation where those who may have read unrelated courses in one way or the other come into the sector; so the training school provides the platform for those persons to have a foundation and of course for those that are in related areas, it is an opportunity for them to improve on their university education in core cultural administration.”
He disclosed that apart from the workshops, the Institute also organized a Round Table in December last year that brought various interest groups together to discuss the lingering issues on Nigerian Dress Culture, saying that the next phase of campaign will be to go to various higher institutions to ensure that those that have not come out with dress codes will do so, emphasizing that once the aim is achieved, the nation may have gradually overcome the menace of foreign incursions on our dress culture.
Ayakoroma also said the establishment of NICO Cultural Clubs, which the Institute has started inaugurating in secondary schools, is because of the realization that there is need to carry the children along if the many campaigns by the Institute will make any meaningful impact. “Once our children know that it is good to dress Nigerian and appear Nigerian right from their secondary school days, it will go a long way to correcting this trend.”
He further attributed the rising trend where many Nigerians, particularly the youth, align with foreign cultures in terms of dressing, to the rising effects of globalization and modernization, saying it will gradually become a thing of the past if stakeholders remain committed to re-orientating the youth.
In his words “It is not something you achieve in a day. Last year, we did the first national workshop on "Promoting Nigerian Dress Culture" and from there we took it to the next level by presenting a memo at the National Council of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation for the Federal Government to come up with Dress Nigeria Day” adding that, the memo which was approved at the council meeting is ready to be presented at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) by the Honorable Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq Mohammed.