Culture as a Catalyst for Economic Development by Prof. Chris Ugolo

Written by Dr. Barclays Posted in Featured Articles

Introduction

I must say I am very delighted to be called upon to present this paper on the topic, “Culture as a Catalyst for Economic Development”, as part of a programme on Cultural Orientation and Sensitisation for Secondary Schools Students in Oredo Federal Constituency in Edo State.

The objectives of the programme, I am told, include:

  1. To foster a sense of national cultural identity, pride and awareness in children;

  2. To promote cultural unity in a multi-ethnic nation like Nigeria;

  3. To create a platform to discover and expose young talents in cultural and creative arts;

  4. To encourage the appreciation of Nigerian languages, dresses cuisines, cultural dances etc. at all levels of social interaction; and

  5. To underscore the importance of culture to economic.

    I must say this is a laudable programme that needs to be encouraged and given the needed support. I therefore commend the organisers, the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) and Engr. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, the Member Representing Oredo Federal Constituency in the National Assembly.

    To begin, it is important to clarify some of the key concepts in the topic, which are “culture” and “economic development”. In simple terms, this topic is meant to address the issue of how culture can be used to aid economic development, particularly in a developing nation like Nigeria.

    Culture, simply put, is the totality of a people’s way of life. Onigu Otite, quoting Edward Tylor, defines culture as, “that complex whole which includes the knowledge, beliefs, arts, morals, law, custom and any other capacities and habits acquired by man as a member of a society” (115). Also, Frank Aig-Imoukhuede, drawing from the Cultural Policy for Nigeria, says:

    culture comprises the material, institutional, philosophical and creative aspects. The material aspect has to do with artefacts in its broadest form (namely: tools, clothing, food, medicine, utensils, housing).Institutional deals with political, social, legal and economic structures erected to help achieve material and spiritual objectives; while philosophical is concerned with ideas, beliefs and values, the creative concerns of a people’s literature (oral and written) as well as their visual and performing arts which are normally moulded by, as well as help to mould other aspect of culture (135).

    From this definition, it is obvious that culture embraces all aspects of a people’s way of life which includes the social, political, economic, scientific and artistic that aid development and make life easier and better in any given society.

    As Angela Ugo Uyah notes, “culture was no longer viewed as a dimension, but as the very fabric of society in its global relationship with development” (166). So, to a large extent, there is a relationship between culture and economic development, as the culture of a people helps them to define for themselves their process of development.

    Economic development, on the other hand, has to do with a “deliberate government involvement in planning, socio-economic engineering and effective demand management” (Omuta & Nwoye 14). Development, according to them, quoting Seers, is “a social phenomenon that involves more than increasing per capital output”. To Seers, according to Omuta and Nwoye, development meant “eliminating poverty, underdevelopment and inequality as well” (14).

    Also, the Britannica.com defines economic development as, “the process whereby simple low-income national economies are transformed into modern industrial economies”. Although the terms is sometimes used as synonym for economic growth, generally, it is employed to describe a change in a country’s economy involving quantitative as well as qualitative improvement. It has to do with how “primitive and poor economies can evolve into sophisticated and relatively prosperous ones”. The term became a major concern immediately after World War II.

    As a developing country, Nigeria must a as matter of policy take very seriously the issues of economic development in order to lift her people from poverty and low standard living, so that she can join the developed nations of the world as captured in her vision 20-2020.

    Nigeria’s Journey in Cultural Development

    The Nigerian nation state came into existence with the amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorates by the British Colonial Powers in 1914. Hitherto the territory regarded today as Nigeria was made up of different Kingdoms and Empires that consisted of the Benin Empire, Oyo Empire, Fulani Empire, Borno Empire, the Igbo kingdom, Nupe Empire and other smaller kingdoms. Modern day Nigeria therefore is a heterogeneous society.

    Onigu Otite notes that, “Nigeria’s contemporary ethno-cultural pluralism is relatively recent” (16). Nigeria is said to be made up of about 374 ethnic groups that speak about 250 languages and over 500 dialects. Therefore, Nigeria is a culturally plural society whose strength lies in its cultural diversity. She is one of the world’s most culturally diversified society, others being China and India. Chief Obafemi Awolowo has referred to Nigeria, as a “mere geographical and expression” (47).

     

    Nigeria’s many woes and challenges started at independence when our nationalists and politicians ignored the cultural dimension of nationalism and focused on the political. All they did to culture was tokenistic in the sense that they wanted to prove to the colonialist that Nigeria had a rich cultural heritage that we all could be proud of. They did not realise that culture was a political ideology that could be used to aid development. Thus, they failed to mobilise the diversified cultures of Nigeria to firstly, create a Nigerian cultural identity and secondly define who the Nigerian people are. This, therefore, is one of reasons why there is so much tension in our political life today and consequently the different ethnic agitations that have led to our slow pace of development. Ghana got it right through Kwame Nkrumah who alongside the struggle for independence initiated a cultural revolution in every aspect of the Ghanaian life. Today, Ghana is more politically stable than Nigeria, thanks to Nkrumah who right from the onset defined for Ghana the role that culture could play in its economic development.

    At independence in Nigeria there was a cultural renaissance of a sort; a clamour to go back to our past and culture, without any attempt at forging a national culture and identity. The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) was set up which gave birth to the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) that set for itself the goals of promoting the arts and culture of Nigeria. This it has done till date.

     

    The belief of many of our leaders and policy makers is that culture was a luxury and that any concerns shown for its promotion according to Frank Aig-Imoukhuede was misplaced in the priorities of national development. They refused to see the necessity to take into account the cultural dimensions of development. By 1977 the Gen Olusegun Obasanjo administration hosted the 2nd World Black Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC). The process of having a cultural policy for Nigeria started in 1976, and went through 1982. By 1984 a review of the document was fine-tuned and it was by 1988 that the cultural policy document was finally launched. Till date, many provisions of that document are yet to be implemented particularly the endowment fund for the arts.

    Another impetus that gave rise to the speedy development of Nigeria’s culture was the Unite Nation’s declaration of the “World Decade for Cultural Development” (WDCD), which was launched in 1988, the year Nigeria launched her Cultural Policy. The United Nations declared 1988-1997 the World Decade for Cultural Development (WDCD) in which it was expected that member countries will draw attention to the role of culture in development.

     

    According to Mr. Javier Perez de Cueller, the then Secretary General of the United Nations, as quoted by Angela-Ugo Uyah,

    One of the reasons why the international community failed to attain some of the aims it has set for itself was because of the importance of the human factor – that complex web of relationship and beliefs, values and motivations, which lies at the very heart of a culture had been underestimated in many development projects (164).

    In 1992, the Nigeria Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) was set up as part of the implementation of the World Decade for Cultural Development (WDCD). It was not until 1999, during Nigeria’s Third Republic that the country deemed it fit to set up the Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism to help galvanise developments in the cultural sector of Nigeria.

    Some of the developments above brought about the explosions in the music and film industry to the extent that the Nigerian film industry (Nollywood) has become the 2nd largest film industry in the world, in terms of production quantity, after Bollywood (the Indian film industry).

    Culture as Catalyst for Economic Development:                            

    Before the World Decade for Cultural Development was launched in 1988, the 1982 Mexico City Conference had drawn attention to the role of culture in the developmental plans of governments around the world. The conference had defined development as, a “complex comprehensive and multi-dimensional process which extends beyond mere economic growth to incorporate all dimensions of life and all energies of a community, all of whose members are called upon to make a contribution and can expect a share in the benefit” (Uyah 165).

    According to Uyah, the conference established the fact that, “development should be based on the will of such society and should express its fundamental identity” (166). It went further to opine that, “balanced development can therefore only be ensured by making cultural factors an integral part of the strategies designed to achieve it, consequently these strategies should always be devised in the light of the historical, social and cultural context of each society” (Uyah 166). Uyah further notes that, the above definition adopted by the Mexico City Conference reflected the international community’s recognition, in principle, of the need to go beyond the purely economic view of development and cultural factors among the diverse components of the multidimensional development process (167). Thus, after the conference, there was:

        

  • An acknowledgement of the cultural dimension of development;

  • An affirmation of and enrichment of cultural identities; and

  • A broader participation in cultural life.

    Therefore, it became clear to the international community, including Nigeria that, there was a relationship between culture and science, culture and technology, and culture and national development.

    The challenge to Nigeria, I believe, was to determine how to apply culture to economic development, and also, to see how culture can generally drive the process of development particularly in a developing nation such as ours.

    As stated earlier, even as at today, Nigeria has not seen the need to begin the process of inventing a national culture and consequently a national identity. Attempts at national unity even after the 1967 civil war have been tokenistic. The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) established in the seventies, and attempts at Federal Character Principle in appointments at the Federal level have yielded no positive results as ethnic bickering have continued to threaten national unity with the formation of ethnic based pressure groups like Arewa, Odua Congress, MASSOB, IPOB, Egbesu and the various Niger Delta Militant groups and others that have called for a fair distribution of economic resources. This has led to several constitutional conferences and calls for a Sovereign National Conference, particularly in the last decade.

    These issues, to my mind, have not been adequately addressed by any government. The fundamental issues to my mind revolve around the question of a national culture and issue of national identity. Politicians have further heightened the problem through ethnic cleavages and loyalty to their ethnic groups rather than to the nation. Nationalism at independence did not direct attention to the nation in order to build patriotic citizens who are loyal to the Nigerian nation state.

    Rather, what became obvious was that citizens would rather owe allegiance to their ethnic groups than the nation state of Nigeria. Everybody wants a share of the national cake. This seems to be the bane of Nigeria’s present development challenge that has given birth to corruption at the highest level of governance. So, rather than see how the national cake can be baked for the overall interest of the nation the agitation is for the sharing and outright stealing/looting of the national treasury.

    Therefore, it becomes obvious the commonalities of the shared cultural norms and values of our peoples in Nigeria, which should have been identified and exploited to aid development, have been thrown overboard. Onigu Otite notes these common norms and values to be:

  1. The Culture of respect;

  2. The Culture of hard work;

  3. The Culture of a sound moral life;

  4. The Culture of communication harmony;

  5. The Culture of mental creativity and symbolic life;

  6. The Culture of reflection; and

  7. The Culture of communalism      

     

    These seem to be the common cultural values of our people that can be harnessed to develop a “culture of cultures” (National Culture) for the Nigerian nation state.

    I am of the opinion that from the broad-based definitions of culture that we have outlined earlier which suggest in summary that culture is the totality of a people’s way of life, including their scientific innovations, architectural designs, legal systems, customs and traditions, religion, cuisines, costumes, language, creative arts including the visual and performing arts, crafts and technology, etc. If these are properly harnessed along the line of their world-view, there will certainly be development in concrete terms, of the social, political and economic life of the people.

    In this way, culture will become the driving force in every aspect of their development. It will determine their aesthetic choices and taste. In the case of Nigeria for instance, our taste for foreign goods and attempt to borrow technology from the West which has rather slowed our economic development can be checked, so that our development will be internally driven rather than being externally induced from the developed nations of Europe and American. Thus, neo-colonialism that has visited poverty on our people will be checked.

    China did it during the reign of Mao when he closed China’s doors to the rest of the world in order to redefine for itself an ideology that is internally driven based on the cultural norms and values of their society. Today, China has become a model of development and has joined the league of the developed nations of the world.

    Presently the Nigerian economy is gradually being taken over by China. I dare say that Nigeria’s multi-cultural society is an advantage that is begging to be exploited to our advantage for economic development. Also, our population of 170 million people is an advantage in terms of market for our goods and services.

    Therefore, instead of our multicultural status being a challenge to our development, it should rather be an advantage to moving the Nigerian economy to the level of our being a developed economy and taking us from the reign of poverty to prosperity in concrete economic terms.

    With Nigeria having the 6th largest gas reserve in the world and also being the 8th largest crude oil producer, backed by about 37 solid mineral types and a vast expanse of land for agriculture, including a population of 170millon people, we have no business being a poor nation. I believe very strongly that if our cultural diversity is properly harnessed and made to dictate our economic development through the diversification of our economic base and consumption patterns, Nigeria’s economy will be an Eldorado that we can all be proud of.

    Issues of ethnic clashes and majority and minority cultures will be a thing of the past, while ethnic agitations and militancy that have slowed economic development will be reduced to the barest minimum.

    Conclusion

    So far, we have been able to establish the fact that culture is crucial and can be a catalyst to economic development. This fact has been underscored by the United Nations in declaring the World Decade for Cultural Development (WDCD).

    The Nigerian government needs to study more critically the Mexico City Conference report on culture and economic development, particularly the area on the multidisciplinary and inter-sectoral approach to development, using culture as pivot. A Regional Centre for Craft Development needs to be set up to be an incubation centre for local technological innovation.

    There must be a deliberate attempt to orchestrate the different sectors of the economy like education, health, science and technology in order to relate environment to development, using the cultural approach and tapping on the rich cultural diversity of Nigeria to evolve policies that will enrich and aid economic development. It is hoped that this will bring about a culture-driven approach to economic development and engender growth in our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the Per Capita Income (PCI). It will certainly bring about the elimination of poverty, unemployment and inequality, which are hall marks of a developed economy.

    The misconception that corruption is embedded in our culture is a falsehood that needs to be eliminated. It is a known fact that the culture of hard work and high ethical and moral standards are well engrained in our different cultures. Corruption in Nigeria can be linked to greed and the dislocation of our psyche, in view of the effects of colonialism on the citizenry. It is certainly not culturally based. Therefore, it should not be used as an excuse to create an albatross to our economic development.

    It is the view of this writer that if we refocus our developmental plans to take into cognizance the vital role of culture in economic development, we will be better off for it. Thank you for giving me your attention.       

    Works Cited

    Aig-Imoukhuede, Frank, “The Nigerian Cultural Policy: Analysis, Implementation and Projections”. In Perspectives in Nigeria’s Cultural Diplomacy. Abuja: National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), 2006. Print.

    Omuta, G. O., & Nwoye, Ifeoma. “Development and Planning in Nigeria: The Legacy of Andrew G.O Onokeroraye”. In Okafor, Francis C. (Ed.), Critical Issues on Nigeria’s Development. Abuja: Spectrum Books Ltd, 2011. Print.

    Otite, Onigu. “An Overview of Nigerian Cultures”. In Perspectives in Nigeria’s Cultural Diplomacy. Abuja: National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), 2006. Print.

    Ugolo, Chris. “The Economics of Culture, Tourism and Entertainment as Veritable Tools for Economic Development and Job Creation”. Being an Unpublished Paper Presented at Nollywood Project 101 Conference, August 2016.

    Uyah, Angela Ugo. “World Decade for Cultural Development in Nigeria: Implications for Development”. In Perspectives in Nigeria’s Cultural Diplomacy. Abuja: National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), 2006. Print.

    *****Prof. Chris Ugolo is of the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria. This Paper was Delivered at the 2nd Edition of a “Cultural Orientation and Sensitization Programme for Secondary Schools in Oredo Federal Constituency, Edo State”, Organised by National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) in Collaboration with the House Committee on Culture and Tourism, on 22nd November, 2017 at Emporium Events Centre, GRA, Benin City.

Theatre, Economic Recession and the Quest for Economic Survival By Professor Charity Angya

Written by Austine Posted in Featured Articles

Theatre, Economic Recession and the Quest for Economic Survival

 By

Professor Charity Angya

Former Vice Chancellor

Benue State University, Makurdi

Keynote Lecture delivered on the occasion of the Opening Ceremony of the Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA) Conference held at the University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, on 1st November, 2017

Permit me Vice Chancellor, Convener, organizers, distinguished Delegates and Guests to welcome you to this auspicious occasion, which marks the opening ceremony of the annual conference of the Society of Nigerian Theatre Artistes. It gives me a lot of pleasure to be given the honourable task to address this august gathering. I want to begin by giving my appreciation to the Vice Chancellor of University of Port Harcourt, our distinguished host who kindly invited me to present this keynote address. I remain highly indebted to you, Sir, for the privilege of sharing my thoughts with my highly esteemed colleagues. I would like to thank you for your support to the Theatre Arts Department culminating not only in hosting the conference but extending an invitation to me to attend my Society’s Convention as your guest and in this very special capacity. My appreciation also goes to those who have extended their support in one way or another to the LOC. I would also like to thank the LOC for hosting us in the Garden City and for keeping the SONTA flag flying.

The National body of our association has remained a shining light, holding together the association and ensuring that we continue to grow from strength to strength. Kudos to you, I appreciate you my colleagues, for keeping this association growing with vibrant debates, a lot of humour and interrogation of the state of theatre in Nigeria and the place of the arts within the nation and the world in general. This year is also an election year and I wish us smooth elections and handing over.

I believe that hosting this convention in Port Harcourt is the best option given the trend of national events over this period. Port Harcourt seems idyll, as it is central and yet removed from a lot of the spiralling events that characterize the diatribe of our national discourse.

A comment by Emeka Uka sums up some of the issues we are presently grappling with in this nation and I quote:

We are not really a nation in actual fact. We are a nation on paper. In actual practice we are a nation divided against itself. We are a colonial construct, a geographical expression and not a nation.

I will address this observation by Uka of the Nigerian state later.

Nigeria is currently undergoing the pains of nationhood with a whole lot of challenges. The recession has capped years of wastage and is a distinctive hallmark of unpreparedness for trying to play “catch up” development. The tragedy facing the nation indeed the African continent lies in our refusal to take a good look at ourselves and take hard decisions that will propel development and drive out the picture of Africa as a continent dependent on Western hand-outs. Our refusal to produce rather than consume has brought this nation to her knees. If we had, even within a non-diversified economy, insisted on refining our crude products instead of selling out our crude oil and receiving back the refined product at more than double the global rates, our economy would have had a fighting chance during this very difficult period.

Recession is basically about the economics of the nation, the performance of the economy over a certain period. It is a term that describes the performance of the economy over a given number of quarters within a fiscal year. But the reality of the dismal figures, which reflect our gross domestic product, can be seen and felt in the growing poverty of the ordinary people who struggle to make a living and feed their families. The human condition of those operating within a receded economy can best be imagined than experienced. In the wake of this poverty that stares us in the face, the national discourse is now on restructuring, threats of secession and contending issues of corruption. Our politicians know us well. They know what cards to play and when each card will be played. It is like throwing a bone to the dogs. That action is certainly a useful tool of distraction.

As issues emerge and re-emerge, what is the role of theatre in a society that seeks self-immolation? I see the convening of this conference with the theme, “Theatre, Economic Recession and the Quest for Survival”, as an excellent opportunity for the discourse on our role as theatre artistes within the ambience of the difficult times to be examined not only in relation to the business of the theatre but more so as doctors of the society. While surgical procedures are carried out in the medical hospitals on patients, theatre in the area of performance operates on the society laying bare the contending issues in order to heal the society.

In the wake of threats and counter threats, grinding poverty, with a number of state governments unable or unwilling, I am not sure what term to use, to pay worker’s salaries; in a monolithic economy that sees falling oil revenue; in a nation deeply divided along religious, ethnic and sectional lines; amidst deep suspicions, fuelled by divisive political alliances and a dwindling interest in nation building, the artiste must arise, not only to interrogate but examine and also provide the needed illumination to propel the society towards stated and achievable goals.

So much tension has enveloped this nation. It seems we are even more divided now than we were at the time of birth at the amalgamation. It appears that we have learnt nothing from our past and our alliances have failed to secure even a glimmer of patience for the other person from the other section. Years of living together have bred contempt for the various groupings rather than enhanced our understanding of ourselves. Our diversity, which should have been our strength, has become our weakness and instead of celebrating and encouraging values and principles based on humanity, we are more concerned with ethnic posturing. We argue strongly that we have experienced recession because of the leadership of a certain group and because a certain group has not had enough control of power and resources.

I use the term, experienced recession, as a past tense, because we have been told that the performance of the economy in the last quarter has improved and so we appear to have emerged from the recession. The reality is that life for the man or woman on the streets remains bleak, it is a daily struggle to make ends meet; workers’ salaries remain unpaid; educational institutions are still grappling with issues of funding, etc. Whether we are in or out of recession, until the welfare of Nigerians improve, figures and statistics make little or no difference.

I come back to our arguments on who is responsible for where we are. For me, understanding the vagaries of our existence as a nation and the roles played by individuals is quite critical and by all means this discourse should be pursued with scripts written and dramatic skits and plays about our national history, characters that have influenced and dominated our body polity and so on. But more fundamentally for me is our discourse on nationhood and nation building, celebrating our values and value systems, celebrating our identity as a people not entwined or caught in a web of nepotism, patriarchal hegemony and a warped sense of concern only for the here and now with no vision for our future as a nation and where we think we want to be, fifty or a hundred years from now. What role do we see our nation playing among the comity of nations in the near and distant future? Do we see this nation as one that can forge for its citizens a place that is harmonious with equal opportunities for everyone and is there room for development of capabilities and growth of talent and skill? We are seen as a nation of scammers, yahoo boys and girls and fraudulent in all our interactions. Is this our reality? How far has the big screen and small screen gone ahead to feed this picture? Is there an alternative reality? Can we also begin to tell stories of our core values and the beautiful heart-warming engagements of ordinary folks? Until we begin to see good in ourselves our writing will portray majorly how the world sees us.

Nigeria is in the throes of pain and we are faced with critical choices as a nation, individuals as well as a body of artistes; choices that will kill or heal; make better or worsen the situation. The theatre artist not only entertains but serves as critic and watchman, examining societal ills, lampooning the quirks in our characters and attempting to proffer solutions as well as ensure the sustainability of our heritage. Our role in society is barely acknowledged, sometimes ridiculed and even vilified. We are sometimes mocked or made fun of, but increasingly there is a growing realization especially in other climes, that theatre is critical to shaping as well as providing deep insights to critical issues that affect the society. Society is mirrored in the play and a tautly woven story becomes the lens through which we see ourselves, judge our actions and re-examine our decisions.

Coming close to home, how then does theatre fare in a situation of economic recession or even depression given the escalating levels of unemployment, mass retrenchments and folding up of medium and small scale businesses due to the harsh economic environment and scarcity of foreign exchange to do business? In addition some of the economic policies while serving as a windfall for a few have left many entrepreneurs frustrated and unable to conduct business. Furthermore, the pursuit of a corruption free society must also take cognizance of the markets and free enterprise and we must be aware that the global market is not going to stand still for us to fight to rid ourselves of the twin forces of corruption and weak institutions. Government must therefore be deliberate in taking steps that will ensure that our institutions are strong and well equipped to ensure compliance with regulations irrespective of contending issues and at the same time pursue policies that will protect both the formal and informal sectors while ensuring that corruption is totally eradicated.

The theatre faces the threat of becoming a frivolous venture if the needs of the people are not clearly elucidated and our drama remains only at the level of entertaining without addressing our tensions, interrogating our contradictions, bringing to the fore the existing and emerging paradoxes and generally fearlessly confronting the forces of evil that are at war with our humanness and our society. In essence, drama makes us better. Drama brings out the “inner realities of nature”, “selects, arranges, emphasizes, and distorts them (the material) in order to reshape nature into a new object that best fits his (the artiste’s) vision” (Clifford, 1972). In essence, theatre serves a myriad of roles and goes beyond simply being a pleasurable experience, concerned basically with the aesthetics to meeting “intellectual, social, moral, and recreational needs” (Clifford, 1972). The theatre must therefore face up to the challenge of meeting the needs of the whole person and rescuing society from the quagmire of insults, accusations and counter accusations as well as  intellectual barrenness  which has enveloped  national discourse and political equations in the wake of economic hardship.

To survive in this climate, the law of survival of the fittest seems to be at play. There are soaring levels of crime and the veneer of civilization is wearing thin in people’s disposition to each other. We must therefore arouse our audience to the virtues of love, care, responsibility, integrity etc. without which no meaningful constructive engagement can take place and we can relearn to be our brother or sister’s keeper. For us to chart a course for good governance, accountability as well as bring hope in the midst of despair, fundamental virtues of what it means to be human must first be entrenched.

I watched an interesting video on the social media and the senior military officer addressing a crowd possibly at a commencement ceremony or some such occasion said something, which caught my attention in the opening lines of the speech: “If you want to change the world, first you must learn to make your bed”. Amusing, but quite apt as we seek for the quest for survival; the basic principles we know, basic nobility of human character lies in the wisdom of the ancients as we were taught while growing up. There is therefore the need for us in the fast paced world of technology and human achievement to retrospect and emphasize for ourselves and our children and children’s children these values, which if relegated to the background make existence less meaningful. Theatre should, therefore, in reflecting the depths of human depravity, especially in these times also give hope, show possibility of redemption and generally reflect in a didactic manner the divine in the human.

Mr. Vice Chancellor, distinguished guests and colleagues, the recession has eaten deep into the pockets of the have-nots and many of the wealthy have not been spared. On a positive note some have opined that wealthy Nigerians are learning financial prudence. On the other hand the middle class in Nigeria has been totally wiped out. One is either extremely rich or poor. Poverty levels have soared to over 70% and that is stating it mildly.

As difficult as the situation has been, there are life lessons to be learnt. There are basic principles that if we propagate in life and work, will yield immeasurable good for our collective ethos-ethics, integrity, responsibility, the rule of law and respect for humanity, work ethic, understanding the law of sowing and reaping, ability to save and invest and the will to be productive, and punctuality. This list is certainly not exhaustive. Many more attributes can be added. Remember the words of the Officer earlier mentioned, “to change the world, learn to make your bed”. I understand that this means the mundane, the everyday drudgery is as important as the concepts, ideas and big dreams and visions.

We need to begin at the basics in order to get our act together. The humanities must chart the course for understanding our plight and how we can survive at the individual, community and national level. I quote briefly Keeney’s comment on the arts that, “in our search for objectivity and detachment, we may have lost our relevance for the society that supports us and in order to flourish, find it again.” (The Arts and Humanities, their Support and Development, PMLA Vol. LXXIX, No.2, May, 1964, November 2, p.5). That statement made in the 20th Century still makes a lot of sense in today’s world.

The rhetoric of our national discourse is intense and the language passionate. The vitriolic language in use points to the difficult dialogues we as a nation are engaged in. The South-East wants independence, the South-South wants to leave, the South-West wants to go and the North has joined the clamour to dismember the country. The root of all these is the poverty that stares us in the face. A few are exempt from the current hardships that Nigeria is facing but attention has shifted from the various root causes of the discontent and we believe that moving out or dissolving the various regions will translate to gains that are impossible to access in the current dispensation.

This conference in order to be socially responsible must not shy away from addressing cores issues of national politics, economics and the deep divides which have surfaced on the national debate. The conference serves as a platform on which to intellectually and artistically interrogate issues and bring out a position as men and women of understanding of the times we are in. Given the fact that we are assembled from all over the country, our articulation of these issues at formal and informal spaces in reasonable and disciplined manner should yield very fruitful ideas as to what really are the issues at stake, what is currently been done and what should be done. We cannot escape the responsibility of a discourse on these volatile, contentious but very topical and burning issues confronting our nation.

Here, we are at a most definitive point in the history of Nigeria. We have come together as theatre artistes concerned with our profession, and concerned about our existence, forging linkages, growing ideas and ensuring that our great association SONTA moves on to even greater heights.

I come from the Middle Belt of Nigeria. I am therefore smack in the middle of the entire politics, standing as an observer in the heated discussions of independence of the republics of the regions or restructuring depending on the side, which the proponents or depositors are on. As the very soul of Nigeria is Balkanized and various interest groups make declarations and claims, I ask, where is the theatre artiste in the midst of all this tussling and tossing. Make no mistake about this; our major role as theatre practitioners is to entertain. But with the responsibility of entertainment comes the responsibility to influence to positive action. If the very nature of our art forms especially the dramatic, is to bring together human action and human truth in a complex and distilled form that shows cause and effect and leave our audience not only better informed but also with a finer taste for appreciating the arts, in what ways are we doing this?

Vice Chancellor, distinguished guests, my dear colleagues did you make your bed this morning? If we can tackle the small tasks then we can begin to see our way to tackling the larger ones. As theatre practitioners, even when we operate with the rule of the thumb – to entertain as our mantra, we are conscious of our collective responsibility to our communities, societies, and nation and what we write and perform should reflect this responsibility. Mr. Oluwasegun Adeniyi, while delivering a paper on The Platform (Channels TV, 2nd October, 2017), struck a chord with his assertion that,

Nigeria is no more than a meal ticket to many of her elites. What is even more unfortunate is that the people who speak ill of her the most, especially in a season like this, are those who have benefitted immensely from the opportunities presented to them by this supposedly useless country. 

He further asserts that the current agitations are a result of things not working for majority of the citizenry. I agree with this summation. And I think that the nearly out of woods recession offers a challenge and opportunity.  The challenge, as Adeniyi aptly states,

is to create an environment with less suspicion and more equitable distribution of power and resources among the critical stakeholders in our country.

The opportunity on the other hand lies in our seizing the moment to look at the waste in our governance structure, pruning down various areas to save resources, diversifying our economy and using constructive dialogue to fight divisiveness and emerge a more united country with a clearly defined blue print of where we are and where we are going as a collective. We as artistes need to challenge a society steeped in stupor and unwilling to answer the hard questions while looking for answers in the wrong places. We need to play the role of exploring, helping define the collective vision of this country, fanning the embers of cultural values and providing an alternative vision to the pessimistic futuristic projections of apocalypse of the federating units.

We owe our communities and the nation the duty to bring to the fore what matters and what does not matter, what is critical and crucial to harmonious existence and what is mundane and divisive. The “unborn child must be born” and a forward course charted for the survival of this generation of Nigerians and future generations. Western interference in political affairs of developing nations especially with the aim of destabilizing these nations must be resisted in order for us to be truly liberated. Our governments must begin to truly understand the need to give good governance and not only pay lip service to ideals of democracy.

Past administrations failed to translate the gains of the oil wealth to drive meaningful development and build other sectors of the economy to yield the needed foreign exchange even when the oil dries up. We were like the proverbial chicken with its head in the sand refusing to see what is right before our eyes. Our institutions are weak and unable to drive or provide transformational leadership or even articulate a vision for change. Poverty, greed, avarice and the mentality of “grab as much as you can”, have become the order of the day, and then we wonder why nothing seems to be working.

Societies that became transformed had visionary leaders, men and women, willing to make sacrifices. We must tell the nation more of these stories. Our leaders need to also, in addition to becoming more sensitive to the plight of Nigerians, articulate our yearnings and strive to meet our needs, and also understand the economics of the global markets and push for fairer trade deals for our nation and region. They must also, as we emerge from recession, expunge in a decisive manner, the corruption that sustains some of the worst exploitation to be seen in global market policies.

I will end this address by specially requesting that we pray for Nigeria, for better days ahead. As we pray for Nigeria, two quick stories come to mind:

First story: The church gathered to pray for rain; only one little boy had the faith to bring an umbrella.

Second story: A bar opened close to a church and members of the church held a night vigil for its closure. One day, lightning struck the bar; it burned to the ground and the bar owner sued the church. The church argued that it was not responsible for the natural disaster. The Judge in delivering his judgment mused:

This is a very difficult case to decide, the unbeliever believes in the efficacy of prayer, but the believers don’t.

As we pray for Nigeria, for both the gainsayers and naysayers, let us all believe that these prayers will work; and let us put faith to action by doing the works. Let us banish pessimism and embrace a more positive outlook and work towards a brighter future. As we deliberate at this conference, may there be an underlying thread of hope for the future. We do not need to see it to believe it. Faith, the Good Book says, is the evidence of things not seen. Let us by all means come with our umbrella ready for the rain of unity, progress and rapid development, eradication of corruption and poverty.

Permit me to use former US President Barak Obama’s mantra, “YES WE CAN”. Let’s believe that better days are ahead. But even more importantly, as theatre artists, let us work towards making the brighter and better Nigeria a reality.

Mr. Vice Chancellor, distinguished guests, my dear colleagues, I wish you all a wonderful Conference and very useful deliberations.

Thank you for listening.

God bless our nation, Nigeria, and bless you all. Hasta la vista; till the circle comes round again.

AN ACCEPTANCE SPEECH BY PROF. ALEX ASIGBO

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AN ACCEPTANCE SPEECH BY PROF. ALEX ASIGBO, THE 9TH PRESIDENT OF THE SOCIETY OF NIGERIA THEATRE ARTISITS (SONTA)

Protocol

I thank God Almighty for this day, the day I am assuming office as the 9th President of our dear association, the Society of Nigerian Theatre Artists (SONTA). SONTA has come a long way from its foundation in 1982. I want to thank all the past presidents of SONTA for their dedication and vision which has brought us to where we are today. I want to thank the immediate past president, Prof. Sunday E. Ododo, who took over from Prof. Emmanuel Dandaura and added more innovations. Prof. Ododo, congrats! It is often said that “no man should be called successful until after his death.” Know that even though Prof Ododo has completed his tenure and has midwife a successful transition, he remains a part and parcel of this my administration. I thank God that I was part of not only Ododo’s executive but also those of Akinwale, Gbilekaa and Dandaura. Hence, we have a robust pool of experience to draw from.

       

This is not a speech making day. But let me say that I have reasons to suspect that the members of this executive are vibrant and hardworking young men and women ready to serve. On their behalf, I promise that we will not fail you. My EXCO members, the task is enormous, the shoe is really big. Please, get ready to work for SONTA. To whom much is given, much more is expected. Together, we will achieve success.

Let me salute the gentlemanly spirit of Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, my teacher and elder brother, whose understanding was very crucial to the eventual outcome of the election. Since he has accepted to serve in this executive, SONTA will be having two presidents for the price of one. We will work together for the good of SONTA. Dr. Ayakoroma, I doff my cap in appreciation.

Finally, like the immediate past president said yesterday, his executive was a success because of the good followership of SONTA members. I ask for similar and even support from you all. Membership of SONTA cuts across my teachers, my mentors, my colleagues, my students and my friends. Please I pray for your unalloyed support. This executive has a listening ear. Suggestions on how to move SONTA to greater heights are most welcome. Constructive, and not destructive, criticism can help us individually and collectively. Also, please be ever ready to serve under any committee you are so appointed into in the bid to achieve the SONTA of our dream.

Gentlemen and ladies, as Idi Amin of Uganda will always say:  “Thank you. Thank you very much. And thank you very much indeed”, as we hit the ground running.

Prof. Alex Asigbo

9th President of SONTA

Address by the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

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Address by the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at the 30th edition of the Annual International Conference of the Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA) held at the Ebitimi Banigo Hall, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Protocol

  1. It gives me great pleasure to be here at the University of Port Harcourt, in the Garden City, on the occasion of the 30th edition of the Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA) Annual International Conference, SONTA 2017.

  1. I have been reliably informed that this convention also marks the 35th Anniversary of the Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA). Incidentally, most of the visioners are not around now, but I thank all of you for running with a dream that came to light as far back as 1982.

  1. SONTA 2017 is unique in several ways. First, it is taking place in Port Harcourt, the UNESCO-declared Book Capital of the World in 2014. Second, it is taking place in “Unique UniPort”, a university that has made a mark in the comity of academic institutions in Nigeria. And third, it is being hosted by the Department of Theatre & Film Studies that was founded by the legendary Professor Ola Rotimi of blessed memory.

  1. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I can attest to the fact that THE CRAB, which late Professor Ola Rotimi designed, though a small structure by every standard, has produced many Nollywood stars that have been invaluable cultural ambassadors for our dear country, telling the Nigerian, and indeed the African story to the world.

  1. The exploits of Dr. Sam Dede, Ejike Asiegbu, Bobmanuel Udokwu, Lancelot Imasuen, Julius Agwu, Charles Inojie, Victor Osuagwu, Hilda Dokubo, Rita Dominic, Monalisa Chinda, Charles Okafor, Francis Duru, Patrick Otoro, Bimbo Manuel, Yul Edochie, Walter Anga, Tamara Eteimo, and many other Crabites in Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry, cannot be over-emphasised.

  1. Nollywood has been adjudged the 2nd largest film industry in the world, after Bollywood, the Indian film industry, in terms of production quantity. It means that Nollywood is producing more films than even Hollywood, the celebrated American film industry. The challenge before stakeholders, including SONTA members who are moulders of the professionals then, is to ensure that we pay serious attention to quality.

  1. The opportunities are there for us to grow the film industry, given the necessary synergy. Put simply, we can harness our theatre and cultural resources to create more jobs for our teeming unemployed youths and contribute to the growth of the nation’s economy.

  1. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is on record that since my assumption of office, as Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, the Ministry has attached great premium to the strategic position of SONTA Members in the development of the creative industry. This informed the invitation we extended to some SONTA Members to be actively involved in the 1st Culture and Tourism Summit that was organised by the Ministry at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, in April, 2016.

  1. To sieve and process the contributions from the academia, the President of SONTA, Professor Sunday Enessi Ododo, was appointed a Member of the Summit Implementation Committee, which was constituted. I am also aware of SONTA’s proposed Performing Arts Professionals Regulatory Bill (PAPR), which seeks to strengthen the training and practice of the performing arts in Nigeria. We shall explore possible channels to push it forward as an Executive Bill to the National Assembly. Furthermore, apart from various critical stakeholders’ meetings, the Ministry, under my watch, has supported several artistic programmes, aimed at repositioning the culture and tourism sector, in line with the Change Agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration.

  1. The most recent outing of the stage presentation of Wakaa: The Musical, produced by Mrs. Bolanle Austen-Peters, had the endorsement of the Ministry. It is gratifying to note that the grand finale of the performance on Monday, 2nd October, 2017 at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, had the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, GCON, in attendance. This is a strong indication that live theatre is indeed being resuscitated in Nigeria.

  1. Also, one of the agencies under my Ministry, the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), hosted the 28th edition of the SONTA Annual Conference in August 2015. This, I must say, is the type of collaboration between “Town and Gown” that will foster the development of the creative industry in Nigeria. Let me use this opportunity to enjoin all well-meaning individuals and corporate bodies to partner SONTA in its various programmes and publications.

  1. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, there is no gainsaying the fact that the theme of SONTA 2017, “Theatre, Economic Recession and the Quest for Survival”, is very apt. This is in the sense that Nigeria has just come out of recession; and it is necessary for artists to look at veritable ways of generating income, not only for personal survival but for the growth of the nation’s economy.

  1. I want to use this opportunity to encourage members of this august body not to talk about theories and principles alone. Let us “Walk the Talk”. Let us relate the various theories that have been propounded to practice by ensuring that we practice theatre to make money. I believe that the Nigerian audience is in search of live theatre, and you have the keys to unlocking the doors to provide such services. In this regard, I want to assure the leadership of SONTA that the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture will continue to collaborate with you on all programmes that will move the creative industry forward.

  1. I wish to commend the Management of the University of Port Harcourt, under the leadership of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Ndowa Lale; the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Professor Femi Okiremuette Shaka; and the Head, Department of Theatre and Film Studies, Dr. John Ebimobowei Yeseibo, for accepting to host this all-important conference of creative thinkers and for being good hosts.

  1. On this note, I wish to declare the SONTA 2017 Annual International Conference holding here in UNIQUE UNIPORT open. I wish you very fruitful deliberations and thank you all for your kind attention.

A GOODWILL MESSAGE BY PROFESSOR NDOWA E. S. LALE

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A GOODWILL MESSAGE BY PROFESSOR NDOWA E. S. LALE, FAvH, FESN, FISCEST, FINMN, VICE-CHANCELLOR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PORT HARCOURT, ON THE OCCASION OF THE 30TH CONFERENCE OF THE SOCIETY OF NIGERIA THEATRE ARTISTS (SONTA) ON  WEDNESDAY, 1ST  NOVEMBER, 2017

       

Protocol List

I am delighted to welcome thespians from all nooks and crannies of our beloved nation to the University of Port Harcourt on this auspicious occasion of the 30th Conference of the Society of Nigerian Theatre Artists (SONTA). In a manner of speaking, I would like to welcome all of you back home because today’s gathering represents a homecoming of sorts for two reasons.

One, this is the second time the University of Port Harcourt will be hosting the Society of Nigerian Theatre Artists Conference, having successfully done so in 1994. Two, the University is home to many famous thespians, some of who have been making commendable waves in the popular Nigerian Movie Industry—Nollywood and other branches of the booming entertainment industry over the decades.

It is heart-warming to note that the University of Port Harcourt was home to the distinguished playwright and teacher, Professor Ola Rotimi of blessed memory and famous novelist, Ifeanyi Aniebo. Famous Literary Critics, such as, Charles Nnolim, Wilfred Feuser, Sunday Anozie, Chidi Maduka, Chidi Amuta, Chidi Ikonne, Helen Chukwuma, Seiyefa Koroye, also held court here.

As a breeding ground for actors, actresses, directors, comedians, dramatists and other theatre practitioners, we are proud to say that UniPort has produced a galaxy of movie stars. They include: Ejike Asiegbu, Hilda Dokubo, Francis Duru, Bimbo Manuel, Monalisa Chinda, Rita Dominic, Bob-Manuel Udokwu, Victor Osuagwu, Julius Agwu, Lancelot Imasuen, Millicent Jack, Yibo Koko, Michael Ogbolosingha, Michael Ogolo, Basorge Tariah, Iyowuna Obomanu, Mike Ogundu, Ovunda Ihunwo, Edward Imo, Gift Iyeumame (Muma Gee), Yul Edioche, Charles Inojie, Ossa Earliece, Kester Oshioreame, amongst others. The list is endless.    

Additionally, I find the theme of this year’s conference: “Theatre, Economic Recession and the Quest for Survival,” very appropriate and timely. This is especially so because the nation is currently recovering from a debilitating economic recession that has left lasting pain in many families. Any discourse that focuses on the survival strategies would be a worthwhile venture.

I wish to congratulate SONTA for deeming it fit to enlighten the public on the theatre strategies for survival in a season of economic difficulties occasioned by recession. It is my belief that at the end of this conference, we shall have learnt the role of theatre in cushioning the effects of economic recession.

It is no longer news that Nigeria’s vibrant entertainment industry has been a major employer of labour in Nigeria in the last decade. It is only reasonable we support SONTA to harness the potentials of the industry to tackle the rising problem of unemployment. It is however worrisome that with the robust artistic profile of the University of Port Harcourt, there is no conducive and befitting theatre structure both in the University campus and the State at large. I am happy to note that our University is still in the business of producing competent theatre practitioners and movie stars. We therefore use this opportunity to appeal to well meaning individuals and corporate bodies to partner with the University in this regard.

Distinguished thespians, let me on behalf of the University of Port Harcourt, welcome you all and wish you fruitful deliberations and a pleasant stay in the University of Port Harcourt and the Garden City of Port Harcourt. 

Once again, we thank you for choosing Unique UniPort for your conference and we would not mind hosting you again and again.

You are all welcome!

NDOWA E. S. LALE, FAvH, FESN, FISCEST, FINMN

Vice-Chancellor

Presidential Address by Prof Sunday Enessi Ododo

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PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS

by

Prof Sunday Enessi Ododo, fsonta, MNAL;

President, Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA),

Delivered at the Opening Ceremony of 30th Annual International Conference of SONTA,

at Ebitimi Banigo Hall, Abuja Park, UniPort (Permanent Site).

1st November 2017; 10am.


Prof Sunday Enessi Ododo, fsonta, MNAL;

President, Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA),


Presidential Address by Prof Sunday Enessi Ododo, fsonta, MNAL; President, Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA), delivered at the Opening Ceremony of 30th Annual International Conference of SONTA, at Ebitimi Banigo Hall, Abuja Park, Uniport (Permanent Site). 1st November 2017

Protocol

SONTA, our dear Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists is thirty-five years old this year. When in 1982 our founding fathers came together at the University of Benin to birth a society that will advance the training and practice of theatre artists and allied professionals, many of us holding leadership positions today in SONTA were just freshers in the University. We are therefore excited and grateful to God for helping us to sustain a vision they etched thirty-five years ago.

As expected of any society of a people, there would be high and low moments; indeed, we have had our own fair share of these moments. The most striking low moment for us as a body was the road mishap that consumed three of our members and a student in one tragic swoop on 7th February, 2014: Prof Jenkeri Zakari Okwori, Prof Sam Ayedime Kafewo, Dr Martin Ayegba and Nana Aisha Ali. It is not that we have not experienced death in our fold before and after this particular incident, but all of the affected people were from the same institution, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), and the accident claimed them in active service for ABU and SONTA.

I want to seize this moment to recommit all our deceased members into the soothing hands of God Almighty for their eternal rest: Joel Adeyinka Adedeji, the first PhD holder and first Professor of Theatre Arts in Nigeria; Zulu Sofola, first female playwright in Nigeria and first female Professor of Theatre Arts in Africa; Pa John Ifoghale Amata, first President of SONTA; Jide Malomo, 4th President of SONTA; Dapo Adelugba, the director of Nigeria’s drama entry in FESTAC ’77 – Langbodo by Wale Ogunyemi; Ola Rotimi, Sonny Oti, Amatu Braide, Yakubu Nasidi, Foluke Ogunleye, Emma Ebo, Regina Ode, Taiwo Oladokun, Onukaba Adinoyi Ojo, just to list a few that readily come to mind.

Some of our remarkable high moments include the following:

  1. Barely four years old as a scholarly and professional body, one of our valued members, Wole Soyinka, was awardedThe Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986, "who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence".
  2. Within the last three decades, some of our members assumed prominent political positions in national affairs. We had legislators in two former Presidents of SONTA – His Excellency, Prof Iyorwuese Hagher (who later became an Honourable Minister of Federal Republic of Nigeria and Ambassador to two different foreign missions); and of course Prof Saint Gbilekaa, who also became Chief of Staff to the erstwhile Benue State Governor, His Excellency, Gabriel Suswam. Dr. Tunde Lakoju was in the House of Representatives a few years back. Alhaji Aliyu Akwe Doma became the Executive Governor of Nasarawa State. Some of our members effectively headed and managed key parastatals in the cultural sector. Prof. Olu Obafemi was the Board Chairman of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments; Prof. Femi Osofisan was General Manager and CEO of National Theatre; Bayo Oduneye was in charge of the National Troupe of Nigeria as the Artistic Director, before Prof. Ahmed Yerima succeeded him and later had to oversee the National Theatre and the Abuja Carnival; Prof. Rasaki Ojo Bakare took over from him as the overseer of Abuja Carnival; Prof.  Duro Oni was in charge of the Centre for Black and African Arts & Civilisation (CBAAC); Mr. Martin Adaji also had his stint as the Artistic Director of the National Troupe of Nigeria; Dr. Reuben Abati was Special Adviser on Media to President Goodluck Jonathan; Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma is the current Executive Secretary of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO); the list is quite long….
  3. In University administration many of us have become deans, directors, provosts and most importantly Vice Chancellors. To a profession that many erroneously misunderstand as an enclave for jesters and alawadas and thus not considered fit for any serious responsibility, the art world went ecstatic, when Prof. Shamsudeen Onyilokwu Onche Amali was announced as the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, thus becoming the first Theatre Artist in Nigeria to be so appointed. For doing so well, he was appointed as the second ever VC of Nasarawa State University, Keffi. His achievements as astute administrator certainly corrected, the hitherto wrongly held impressions about theatre artists. After him, many other VCs have emerged from our folds – Prof. Charity Angya, as the VC of Benue State University, Makurdi, thus also becoming the first female Vice Chancellor from our fold and indeed the first in BSU. Prof. Austin Asagba also became the VC of Western Delta University, Oghara. Prof. Duro Oni was a Deputy Vice Chancellor (Management Services) of the University of Lagos and currently in the race to become the next VC in November. May God crown his efforts with successes. Prof. Musa Dauda Enna served for two terms as Deputy Vice chancellor (administration) at the University of Jos. Prof. Austine Anigala is a serving Deputy VC (Academic) in Delta State University, Abraka.
  4. Professors Ahmed Yerima and Sam Ukala are proud recipients of the NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature which is worth $100,000. Only last year one of our SONTA Life Members, Professor Femi Osofisan won the highly coveted Thalia Prize of the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC). That was the first Thalia award to any black or African writer or critic. This has been followed by a corresponding increase in the recognition of works of African playwrights by major theatre festivals in Europe and Asia. I am delighted to state that from November 2-6th 2017, my award winning play, Hard Choice alongside the works of Wole Soyinka and three other African playwrights will be exhibited for the first time in the highly respected World Cultures Festival in Hong Kong. I must at this point commend the efforts of our own Professor Emmanuel Dandaura whose exploits at the IATC level is behind these feats. His recent recognition and ascension as global vice-president of the International Association of Theatre Critics portend greater gains for SONTA and African theatre generally. Also, SONTA Fellowship Screening Board Chairman, Professor Olu Obafemi, ascended the presidency of the Nigerian Academy of Letters (NAL) barely a year ago. We are happy that under his presidency SONTA has harvested two fellows of NAL (Professors Sam Ukala and Duro Oni) and over six new members have already been inducted into the academy. I am also privileged to have been elected as a member of Prof Obafemi led executive body.
  5. With the presence of these calibre of people in our folds; seventy-five professors and a growing membership strength of above four hundred, SONTA has emerged stronger and well-focused and cannot but command deserved attention and respect. Within the last two decades we have featured prominently in national discourses, workshops, creative industry mapping projects and implementation committees on culture and tourism. But we sure need greater space to direct the cultural wheels of this nation towards a more fruitful harvest.
  6. As President of SONTA in the last four years, we dedicated ourselves to implementing and enriching the strategic plan of SONTA we inherited in 2013, and also created new developmental pathways. Accordingly, SONTA is now fully registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). We now have stronger administrative structures and a rich constitution to direct our affairs and operations. SONTA website ( is richer in information; it is interactive and engaging. Our single membership register has been cleaned up and published for the first time. SONTA now has endowment of prizes for creative competitions, which is in its third edition, and endowment for postgraduate research support scheme specifically designed to encourage the emergence of more female scholars in theatre studies. We have added over 26 titles to the SONTA publications series including a new journal, Scene Dock: Journal of Theatre Design and Technology; all achieved without TetFund support. The process of indexing and digitizing our Nigerian Theatre Journal as an on-line journal is ongoing. Fourteen universities in Nigeria and Ghana benefited from our Library Support Outreach Programme (LSOP) with books donations in handsome quantities. During our tenure 25 of our members became professors, 10 presented inaugural lectures, six (6) became Deans of faculties and three (3) elected as University Council Members. For the first time, a government agency, NICO, hosted our international conference and AGM at Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja. We hosted the 1st Meeting of Nigerian Professors of Theatre Arts, which yielded a rich document to make theatre arts curricula more responsive to the needs of the industry. SONTA now has beautiful robing gowns; exotic medallion of authority for SONTA President; lapel pins for different categories of SONTA membership; permanent membership certificates have been produced and being collected. Under our leadership, SONTA spearheaded the synergy of critical stakeholders like NANTAP and IATC to revive the National Universities Theatre Arts Festival (NUTAF), which was moribund for well over a decade. Ladies and gentlemen, due to these giant strides, SONTA enjoys more national and global recognition today, our processes are now better organised and the theatre as a profession is better understood. These are some of our modest achievements.

As a society, we are happy to note the positive inclination of the current Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, towards culture and SONTA. In recent history, Alhaji Lai Mohammed ranks very high as the culture minister that relies heavily on intellectualism and expertise to drive the cultural goals of our nation. He has also engaged with SONTA more than any of his predecessors. We are grateful and expect that the coast of our developmental interactions would expand more. We earnestly believe that under your tenure, our Performing Arts Professionals Regulatory bill will enjoy Executive push to the National Assembly and become law, which we believe will shape and galvanise the growth of training and practice of theatre arts in Nigeria.

We want to also use this medium to call on the Federal Government of Nigeria, arts patrons, philanthropists and well-meaning Nigerians to invest in erecting and equipping theatre buildings across Nigerian Universities. The theatre is our laboratory of interrogating and simulating human issues; the theatre is also a temple of justice where matters of national concern are x-rayed and dissected with utmost objectivity for valid verdicts; the theatre is a centre for cultural approbation and condemnation; what we are and what we want to be as a people are better understood and internalised for external actions through the theatre because of it potent grip on the human intellect and emotions. Our nation can derive maximum benefits from these theatre values only if the facilities for theatre training in Nigerian universities are overhauled and optimised. The theatre is key to human understanding, socio-religious tolerance and economic wealth. The federal government should therefore firmly embrace the theatre to foster its economic diversification agenda.  

The theme for the 30th edition of our international conference is “Theatre, Economic Recession and Quest for Survival”. It is our modest contribution to the national agenda for economic emancipation for the Nigerian people. We believe that the creative attributes of Nigeria are potent enough to drive high yielding economic returns for Nigeria. Without pre-empting the outcome of the conference, I know our governments at various levels shall benefit from the suggestions and recommendations of this high profile gathering of theatre elites, scholars and professionals.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to end my address by letting you know that this conference will be the last I shall preside over as SONTA President. My four-year tenure as President ends tomorrow for a new era to begin. I hereby want to thank you all for your faith in us and genuine support for our administration these past four years. In our imperfect assessment, we believe we have made our modest contributions to reposition SONTA for a better today and a greater tomorrow; we hope this self-assessment fits into your own perfect judgement.

As we celebrate our 35th year of SONTA’s existence I want to also pay glowing tribute of service to past presidents of SONTA:

Pa John Ifoghale Amata, fsonta

(1st SONTA President, 1982 - 1986) Deceased

Dr Olu Akomolafe, fsonta

(2nd SONTA President, 1986 - 1991)

Prof Iyorwuese Hagher, OON, fsonta

(3rd SONTA President, 1991 -1993)

Dr Jide Malomo, fsonta

(4th SONTA President, 1993 - 1995) Deceased 

Prof Ayo Akinwale, fsonta  

(5th SONTA President, 1999 - 2004)

Prof Saint Gbilekaa, fsonta 

(6th SONTA President, 2004 - 2009)

Prof Emma Dandaura, fsonta

(7th SONTA President, 2009 - 2013)

I recognize that you have all laboured and toiled hard to lay a formidable foundation and structure for SONTA. It is on this foundation and structure that we have also laid our blocks of investment for growth in the last four years. If the beauty of our efforts shines out, it is because the design and frame you collectively handed over to us is right and extant. On behalf of our members, I salute you all past presidents for your service to SONTA.

Permit me to thank all SONTA Executives whose support and dedication made all our achievements possible. I am particularly lucky to have worked with two Deans as Vice Presidents, Professors Alex Asigbo and Tor Iorapuu, and another Dean as Secretary General, Prof Gowon Doki; SONTA Editor, Prof Ameh Akoh practically slaved with me to expand SONTA publication profile; our Treasurer, Dr Asabe Iyeh kept our treasury well in the face of scarce resources and rising needs and demands; Drs Suru Damisa, Tayo Arinde and Jonathan Mbachaga, and Tosin Kooshima Tume also gave their best; everyone in our exco sacrificed for SONTA and posterity shall bear testimony to this. All our elder statesmen, I appreciate you all for support and useful counsels. Our Chairman Board of Trustees, Prof S.O.O Amali, I will not forget in a hurry all those early morning phone calls to discuss SONTA and prayers for our wellbeing. God reward you for your genuine service for SONTA. At this point, I want to specifically appreciate my predecessor, Professor Emmanuel Dandaura whose unwavering support, dedication and counsel made the job of taking our professional body to a higher pedestal lighter for me and other members of the executive. He took instructions from me and carried out assignments for SONTA without hesitation but he was also my greatest critic and his criticism gave me more options to work with. I am confident that if we sustain such warm relationship and unity of vision between our successive leaders, our collective goal of SONTA emerging soon as a more formidable professional body and highly respected regulator of performing arts training and practice in Nigeria will be realised. In the same vein I wish to pledge my availability and total dedication towards supporting the next executive committee to succeed. In my honest view, it is in continuity of programmes and mutual respect for our past and current leaders lie our strength and ultimate growth.

In the last four years I have literally been on loan to SONTA from my employer. The office of SONTA President has become very demanding and toll-taking, I managed to cope because of the astonishing cooperation and loud support I got from my home base. One man made this possible, Prof Ibrahim Abubakar Njodi, my Vice Chancellor, University of Maiduguri. Whatever positive impact we may have made in SONTA, I partly owe it to your inspiring style of leadership built on hard work and creativity with dogged insistence on perfection. Thank you sir for releasing me as an ambassador of UNIMAID to the creative industry in Nigeria. My VC sir, now that you have come to see us at the apogee of our creative calling, I am confident that that ultra-modern theatre building you promised us shall commence forthwith. The theatre is our laboratory of creative experiments and with the execution of the innovative and resourceful design you have approved, UNIMAID shall become the theatre hub of Northern Nigeria. My immediate past Dean of Arts, UNIMAID, Prof Mohammed Munkaila, I thank you for your generous patience with me and the engaging discussion we regularly have on how to lift our society. I must reveal too that my SONTA assignment enlisted every member of my family as errand tools for SONTA, while they also adjusted to my many days out of home pursuing the goals of our dear Society. Today as I begin to wind up, I salute you all for your consistent support and genuine love for my progress. Whatever accolades I receive from this national assignment, I return to you Monica, my wife, my personal person and lovi dovi for your endurance and sacrifice for SONTA. Most of all, I give God all the honour and glory for what He has done for SONTA using us as a veritable vessel. I also want to acknowledge all the genuine support we have received from all our members, individuals, some government agencies, and the University of Port Harcourt in hosting this conference and AGM.

On this note, I heartily welcome SONTA members, conference participants and our valued guests to Port Harcourt, traditionally known as Ígú́cha, the rich garden city with a plethora of fortunes. Enjoy the conference and the bustling city of Port Harcourt.

Long live Nigeria

Long live SONTA

Thank you for coming.

Prof Sunday Enessi Ododo, fsonta, MNAL

President, SONTA

Culture, Accountability And National Development

Written by Austine Posted in Featured Articles

Culture, Accountability And National Development

By

Professor Muhammad Akaro Mainoma

Vice Chancellor

Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK)

Nasarawa State, Nigeria

Paper presented at the

National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO)

Quarterly Public Lecture

Held at the Shehu Musa Yar'Adua Conference Centre, Abuja

On Thursday, 5th October, 2017

Introduction

Culture has been defined in many ways. Culture is the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from others. It is always a collective phenomenon; but it can be connected to different collectives. Most commonly, the term, culture, is used for tribes or ethnic groups (in anthropology), for nations (in political science), and for organisations (in sociology and management). The term can also be applied to the genders, to generations, or to social classes.        

UNESCO has accepted the definition of culture as:

a)         that in its widest sense, culture may now be said to be the whole complex of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features that characterise a society or social group. It includes not only the arts and letters, but also modes of life, the fundamental rights of the human being, value systems, traditions and beliefs;

b)         that it is culture that gives man the ability to reflect upon himself. It is culture that makes us specifically human, rational beings, endowed with a critical judgment and a sense of moral commitment. It is through culture that we discern values and make choices.

It is through culture that man expresses himself, becomes aware of himself and recognises his incompleteness, questions his own achievements, seeks untiringly for new meanings and creates works through which he transcends his limitations.

According to the definition of culture that Member States agreed upon at the close of the LEG EUROSTAT (2008) proceeding, activities incorporated within cultural policy are those dealing with the conservation, creation/production, dissemination and trading, as well as education, in all cultural goods and services in the following domains:

a)         Cultural Heritage

b)         Visual Arts

c)         Architecture

d)         Archives

e)         Libraries

f)         Books and Press

g)         Performing Arts

h)         Audio and Audio-visual Multimedia.

In contemporary sociology, culture is used in two senses. In the first, it is used as universal and uniquely human phenomenon which consists of patterns of thinking, believing, doing, behaving, making and using which all human beings learn in order to fit in as members of a human society. In the second sense, it is used to describe the life style that characterises a particular society and which serves as a basis for the social organisational patterns that distinguish that society from the others.

A common practice in sociology is to view culture as made up of two large and interrelated configuration or components. These parts are the material culture and nonmaterial culture. Material culture has to do with the physical or material objects and things made or used in their natural state by men. The inventory of these material or physical traits of culture are numerous and they include those things that have physical existence, which we can touch, feel and see. Examples include buildings (structures), cars, motors, machines, shoes, ear-rings, dresses, etc. Non-material culture refers those aspects of culture, which have no physical existence. The nonmaterial culture relates to the rules regulating appropriate behaviour and guiding the appropriate use of the material culture, especially in certain kinds of interpersonal relationship. Examples are the rules, appropriate behaviour, attitude, values, beliefs, law, customs, habits, ideals, ways of doing things, etc.

The concept, development, has many definitions. According to one view, development is a process of economic growth, a rapid and sustained expansion of production, productivity and income per head (sometimes qualified by insistence on a wide spread of the benefits of this growth). Another view sees development as a process that enhances the effective freedom of the people involved to pursue whatever they have reason to value (Giddens, 2006). For McGee (1989), development is 'a many sided process. At the level of the individual, it implies increase, skills and capacity, greater freedom, creativity, self-discipline, responsibility and material wellbeing. According to Cotgrove (1978), development is a multidimensional process involving the re-organisation and re-orientation of the entire economic and social system. This involves, in addition to improvement of income and output, radical changes in institutional, social and administrative structures, as well as in popular attitudes, customs and beliefs. Dudley Seers, in his contribution to the meaning of development, argued that, “the questions to ask about a country's development are therefore: what has been happening to poverty? What has been happening to unemployment? What has been happening to inequality? If all three of these have declined from high levels, then beyond doubt this has been a period of development for the country concerned” (Ujo, 2004).

This paper attempts to establish the nexus between culture, accountability and national development. We will examine how all cultural components affect accountability and development in the following domains: Custom, Unique values, Language, Traditions, Uniformity, Relationships, and Education.

Culture and Accountability

Accounting is affected by its environment, including the culture of the country in which it operates. Business and managerial behaviour is strongly influenced by culture (i.e. shared value systems or attitudes) (Hofstede, 1980). National differences in culture patterns have emerged over long periods of time and have often maintained their stability over many generations.

Culture in any country contains the most basic values that an individual may hold. It affects the way that individuals would like their society to be structured and how they interact with its substructure. Accounting may be seen as one of those substructures. 

The origin of culture, or societal values, can be found in a variety of factors affecting the ecological or physical environment. Societal values lead to the development and maintenance of institutions in society, which include the family system, the nature of business ownership, the education system, and so on.

At the national level, culture may be expected to permeate organisational and occupational subcultures as well, though with varying degrees of integration. Accounting systems and practices can influence and reinforce societal values.

Clearly, accounting is a function of the business environment in which it operates, and it originated in order to record business transactions. The origin of accounting and its subsequent changes are therefore best studied in the context of the history of commercial transactions. Although the recording of transactions is probably as old as the history of record keeping, we tend to think of the establishment of double-entry accounting, the basis for modern accounting, as the key event.

Record-keeping, the foundation of accounting, has been traced back as far as 3600 B.C., and historians know that mathematical concepts were understood in various ancient civilizations from China, India, and Mesopotamia – often referred to as the Cradle of Civilization – to some of the ancient native cultures of Central and South America. Business transactions in different areas around the world, including the city states of central and northern Europe, probably gave rise to the recording of business transactions.

However, double-entry accounting was probably developed in the Italian city states between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries. The most significant influence on accounting took place in Genoa, Florence and Venice. There is no defining moment when double-entry accounting was born, but it seems to have evolved independently in different places, responding to the various natures of business transactions and need to record them properly. The Genoese system was probably a development of the ancient Roman system. Commercial activity had been flourishing in Genoa for a long time, and Genoa was at the height of her wealth and power during the fourteenth century. The Genoese system assumed the concept of a business entity. Because it recorded items in terms of money, it was the first to imply that unlike items could be compared in terms of a common monetary unit. The system also implied some understanding of the distinction between capital and income in that it included both expenses and equity accounts.

The key influence on double-entry accounting, not so much for its development as it spread, came from Venice. Venice was the key commercial city of the Renaissance because of its commercial empire and advantages as a port. The Venetians may not have developed double-entry accounting before the Genoese and Florentines, but Venice “developed it, perfected it, and made it her own, and it was under the name of the Venetian method that it became known the world over” (Peragallo, 1938).

Accounting has a long history and a close association with the development of Chinese culture. Its roots can be found in the teachings of the philosopher and educator, Confucius, which highlight the imperative to keep history and view accounting records as part of that history. The word, accounting, is noted as far back as the Hsiu Dynasty, around 2200 BC, when the stewardship function of accounting was emphasized. Later in the Xia Dynasty (2000–1500BC), the concept of measuring wealth and accomplishment was mentioned. More recently, the master-apprentice system was used to train accountants up until the 1900s. Also, in the early 1900s, university study in accounting became an accepted way to understand and advance the principles and practice of accounting. Since 1949, Chinese scholars returning home after completing their accounting studies abroad, mainly in the Soviet Union, pioneered the development of a body of new knowledge in China, which resulted in existing practices.

However, until the 1980s, those who carried out accounting work were not held in high regard in Chinese society compared with their Western counterparts. This was partly due to the traditional Chinese culture of “respecting the peasants and despising the merchants”. Consequently, accounting education has never been well developed in China and was particularly disrupted during the Cultural Revolution (beginning in the mid-1960s).

The accounting values most relevant to the professional or statutory authority for accounting systems as well as their enforcement appear to be professionalism and uniformity. Both are concerned with regulation and the degree of enforcement or conformity. Accordingly, these can be combined and the classification of culture areas hypothesized on a judgmental basis. In making these judgments, we will refer to the relevant correlations between value dimensions and the clusters of countries identified from the statistical analyses carried out by Hofstede. From this classification, it seems clear that the Anglo and Nordic culture areas can be contrasted with the Germanic and more developed Latin culture areas, as well as the Japanese, Near Eastern, less developed Latin, less developed Asian and African culture areas. The former colonial Asian countries are separately classified because they represent a mixture of influences. The accounting values most relevant to the measurement practices used and the extent of information disclosed, are the conservatism and secrecy dimensions, respectively.

These can therefore be combined and the classification of culture areas hypothesized on a judgmental basis. As before, in making judgments about these classifications, we have again referred to the relevant correlations between value dimensions and the resultant clusters of countries identified from the statistical analysis carried out by Hofstede. Here again, there appears to be a sharp division of culture area groupings with the former Asian colonial group relating more closely with the Anglo and Nordic groupings.

This can be contrasted with the Germanic and more developed Latin groupings, which are related to the Japanese, less developed Asian, African, less developed Latin, and Near Eastern-area groupings. In broad terms, countries can be grouped as either relatively optimistic and transparent or relatively conservative and secretive.

This classification of country groupings by culture area can be used as a basis for further assessing the relationship between cultures and accounting systems. This classification is particularly relevant for understanding systems authority and enforcement characteristics, on the one hand, and measurement and disclosure characteristics, on the other. The research findings to date do tend to support the significance of culture as an influential factor in the development of accounting.

Cultural influence on Accountability can be viewed from the points of Community and Individuals and how it affects performance management. In a strong community accountability setting, you would tend to feel accountable first and foremost to your family, tribe, group of clans, or the nation that you come from. Collective achievement is extremely important. The word, “obligation”, tends to be used more often in a community accountability settings than it would be in individual accountability settings.

In a community accountability setting you are given permission to try things, but only if it serves the community or family as a whole. The word, “self”, in the language of the society, is often seen as neutral at best, or negative at worst; whereas in individual accountability settings, it is often seen as positive.

In a strong individual accountability culture, your parents would likely have raised you to pursue your “own” path, and to try to discover things “for yourself.” You feel first and foremost accountable to yourself for your opinions, your growth, life direction, and career. Individual accountability cultures often carry a sense of individual freedom and the idea that you are given permission to try things that do not necessarily benefit the community if you think they will benefit you.

Most performance management systems in the world have been designed in the context of individual accountability cultures with the assumption that people have an individual accountability mindset. This is an issue as soon as individual accountability performance management systems are deployed in community accountability cultures.

If you are working in a community accountability culture, do you still use purely individual measures, or do you try to measure the sales team as a whole in some way? We have found that accountability performance mechanism in community accountability cultures work best when they consider interpersonal qualities in the work, rather than just the work itself. That means you would try to measure not just how much revenue the team brought in, but also how much they worked together to generate new accounts.

The “togetherness” of the team is extremely important in community accountability cultures, and as a result building social capital is emphasised and work is more relationally centred. In individual accountability cultures, work can be more task oriented, especially in the short term.

Professor Geert Hofstede conducted one of the most comprehensive studies of how values in the workplace are influenced by culture. The model of national culture consists of six dimensions. The cultural dimensions represent independent preferences for one state of affairs over another that distinguish countries (rather than individuals) from each other. The country scores on the dimensions are relative, as we are all human and simultaneously we are all unique. In other words, culture can be only used meaningfully by comparison. The model consists of the following dimensions:

Power Distance Index (PDI): This dimension expresses the degree to which the less powerful members of a society accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. The fundamental issue here is how a society handles inequalities among people. People in societies exhibiting a large degree of Power Distance accept a hierarchical order in which everybody has a place and which needs no further justification. In societies with low Power Distance, people strive to equalise the distribution of power and demand justification for inequalities of power. It suggests that a society's level of inequality is endorsed by the followers as much as by the leaders. Power and inequality, of course, are extremely fundamental facts of any society. All societies are unequal, but some are more unequal than others. In small Power Distance, Corruption is rare; scandals end political careers. In large Power Distance, Corruption is frequent; scandals are covered up.

Individualism versus Collectivism (IDV): The high side of this dimension, called individualism, can be defined as a preference for a loosely-knit social framework in which individuals are expected to take care of only themselves and their immediate families. Its opposite, collectivism, represents a preference for a tightly-knit framework in society in which individuals can expect their relatives or members of a particular in-group to look after them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. A society's position on this dimension is reflected in whether people's self-image is defined in terms of “I” or “we.”

Masculinity versus Femininity (MAS)

The Masculinity side of this dimension represents a preference in society for achievement, heroism, assertiveness and material rewards for success. Society at large is more competitive. Its opposite, femininity, stands for a preference for cooperation, modesty, caring for the weak and quality of life. Society at large is more consensus-oriented. In the business context, Masculinity versus Femininity is sometimes also related to as "tough versus tender" cultures.

Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI): The Uncertainty Avoidance dimension expresses the degree to which the members of a society feel uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity. The fundamental issue here is how a society deals with the fact that the future can never be known: should we try to control the future or just let it happen? Countries exhibiting strong UAI maintain rigid codes of belief and behaviour and are intolerant of unorthodox behaviour and ideas. Weak UAI societies maintain a more relaxed attitude in which practice counts more than principles.

Long Term Orientation versus Short Term Normative Orientation (LTO): Every society has to maintain some links with its own past while dealing with the challenges of the present and the future. Societies prioritise these two existential goals differently. Societies who score low on this dimension, for example, prefer to maintain time-honoured traditions and norms while viewing societal change with suspicion. Those with a culture which scores high, on the other hand, take a more pragmatic approach: they encourage thrift and efforts in modern education as a way to prepare for the future.

Indulgence versus Restraint (IND): Indulgence stands for a society that allows relatively free gratification of basic and natural human drives related to enjoying life and having fun.  Restraint stands for a society that suppresses gratification of needs and regulates it by means of strict social norms.

Culture and Development

The debate on the relationship between culture and development has been on for quite sometimes now as people have attributed the development or underdevelopment of societies to their culture. The debate is popularly believed to have been sparked off by the pronouncements of W.W. Rostow, the then economic adviser to former US President John F. Kennedy. Rostow's idea was considered a version of the market-oriented approach, termed, 'modernisation theory', which argues that, low-income societies can develop economically only if they give up their traditional ways and adopt modern economic institutions, technologies and cultural values that emphasise savings and productive investments.

According to Rostow (1961), the traditional cultural values and social institutions of low-income countries impede their economic effectiveness. For example, many people in low-income countries, in Rostow's views, lack a strong work ethic; they would sooner consume today than invest for the future. Large families are also seen as partly responsible for 'economic backwardness', since a breadwinner with many mouths to feed can hardly be expected to save money for investment purposes. The culture of low-income countries tends to support 'fatalism'- a value system that views hardship and suffering as the unavoidable plight of life. In this view, a country's poverty is due largely to the cultural failings of the people themselves.

The modernisation theory thus believes that third world countries are poor because their culture inhibits development. According to Giddens (2006), a number of theorists in the 1960s questioned this market-oriented explanations of inequality offered especially by the modernisation theory. Many of these critics, mainly from Latin America and Africa relying heavily on Karl Marx's ideas, opposed completely the idea that their country's economic underdevelopment was due to their own cultural practices.

According to Francis and Hezel (2009), “the success of national economies is driven by cultural factors more than anything else. The thrift, hard work, tenacity, honesty and tolerance are cultural factors that make all the difference”. They concluded by saying that, modern technology alone will never be able to turn around an economy and boost the standard of living among a population. The development of the mindset, with accompanying values and habits, is a big part of the equation. These arguments and counter arguments as well as current happenings with regard to development, have led to the heightening of the debate on the role of culture in development.

Culture and development are two words which have not always gone together, or been worked upon within the same context. In recent years, however, we come across new elements, instruments and ideas which place increasing emphasis on this pair of concepts.

Culture is said to be the oil that keeps society running. Tradition and knowledge have also been described in certain quarters as the main pillars of development and sustenance of communities and that no society can progress in the absence of the two. Undoubtedly, some of our cultural values are indeed not useful today. This should however not be an excuse to throw away the bad water and the bathed baby. We can take a cue from countries, such as, Malaysia, South Korea, China, Japan and India, among others, who have adopted what is referred to as critical cultural renaissance. Culture is an effective tool for development if carefully handled. As a country, we will benefit immensely if we learn to combine effectively neo liberal development with relevant traditional culture.

If development must come to Africa, it must come in the cultural features of African languages and other institutions of culture. Many African countries are said not to have made giant strides in their development agendas owing to their inability to combine their indigenous values with the colonial legacies as the Asians have done. If development can be regarded as the enhancement of our living standards, then efforts geared development cannot ignore culture.

The World Conference on Cultural Policies – MONDIACULT, took place in Mexico City between 26th July and 6th August, 1982, and set down the working bases in relation to cultural policies to govern the various actions of the international bodies and state governments in the following years. The Mexico Declaration established the irrevocable link between culture and development: Balanced development can only be ensured by making cultural factors an integral part of the strategies designed to achieve it Various ideas linked to culture's inclusion in development, cover:

Cultural Identity: It reaffirms that every culture is a unique and irreplaceable body of values and that cultural identity therefore contributes to the liberation of peoples. It considers cultural identity as wealth which promotes human relations; culture is dialogue and runs out and dies in isolation.

Cultural Dimension of Development: Culture is taken as a fundamental dimension of the development process. Sustainable development can only be ensured by integrating cultural factors into the strategies to achieve it.

Culture and Democracy: Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that, “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community...”, to emphasise that culture belongs to everybody in the community, avoiding the elitism which had often defined it and defending the term, 'cultural democracy'. It stresses that in order to guarantee the participation of all individuals in the cultural life, the inequalities must be eliminated, whether due to origin, nationality, age, language, gender, belonging to minority groups, etc.

Cultural Heritage: Its conception of heritage covers both the tangible and the intangible. All peoples have the right and duty to defend and preserve their cultural heritage.

International Cultural Cooperation: It defends the need to share cultural knowledge through exchange, to favour the diffusion of the creativity. This cooperation will be based on the respect for the cultural identity and the value of each culture, without the possibility of cultural subordination or assimilation.

UNESCO's General Conference passed the proclamation of the World Decade for Cultural Development (1988-1997). The Action Programme for this Decade reflects a dual concern whose aspects are complementary: «how to promote greater consideration of the cultural dimension in development processes, and how to stimulate creative aptitudes and cultural life in general». This Decade served therefore to call attention on the international level on the need to take cultural aspects of development:

1.         Take into account the cultural dimension of development: The recognition of the cultural dimension of development will come from the recognition of the cultural aspects of all the activities linked to economic, social, scientific and technical development.

2.         Affirm and enrich the cultural identities: The aspects of this objective tend towards a protection and appreciation of the heritage, but distancing itself from a purely conservative vision, but rather impacting  on revitalising processes of these heritage assets; it also indicates the need to stimulate creativity.

3.         Broaden the participation in cultural life: It considers that it is necessary first of all to guarantee access to cultural life, in order to later stimulate participation. Both access and participation are necessary for real cultural development; there must be favourable conditions for the effective exercise of the cultural rights.

4.         Promote international cultural cooperation: Culture can perform a determining role in establishing more balanced relations between States, analysing the cultural bases of a new balance in the relations between the world's different regions.

According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), there is no clear relationship between culture and development. The idea that a group's culture has an impact on its development is very attractive on an intuitive level and allows cultural stereotypes to become explanations for the state of the world, thereby breaking away from the cultural determinism, which is so deep-rooted in some sectors.

Culture is an ingredient in the development of any society. It can enhance or deter development. The ability of any society to keep abreast with innovation and change depends on how open and adaptive the culture is. Most nations have been able to develop because their culture is dynamic and receptive rather than antagonistic and resistant to change. There are some domestic and traditional technologies which are unique and which should not be allowed to dislocate because of acculturation. For example, there are simple technologies in the realm of manufacture, craft and arts which when harnessed could develop into sophisticated military might and power. The Japanese technology is an example. Crafts, artefacts and iron smelting rely heavily on simple technologies. They should be appreciated, developed and applied in manufacturing outfits. Americans have been able to integrate the ingenuity in their traditional culture and education into modern manufacturing industry and military know how. The outcome is the diversification of their export of finished goods, services and coercive power resources, which they use in international politics (Curr. Res. J. Soc. Sci., 3(2): 50-53; 2011: 52).

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The technological component of culture is a veritable instrument as far as development is concerned. This aspect of culture has been harnessed and integrated in machine designs, agriculture, commerce and industry, manufacturing and health care. Scientific discoveries and applications have improved life expectancy and standard of living thereby improving the poverty level of most countries. Products from the arts and crafts exhibitions have been sources of foreign exchange earning to some countries as well as opening avenues for bilateral trade and relations. For example, most of the Ife and Benin works of arts are found all over the world and especially in British museum and have been a great source of tourist attraction and revenue. The ideological component of culture involves belief, values and ideas, which are aspects of the culture ethos. The cognitive culture especially can be properly abstracted and applied in the areas of development. Granted that the ideological component makes particular cultures unique and remains a perspective for viewing other cultures, there are some cultural practices and attitudinal dispositions, which can be explored and integrated in the process of development. These dispositions include hard work, ingenuity, initiative, creativity, frugality, concerned efforts, tolerance and patriotism.

Nigeria's aborted 'Opinion A-4' is a cultural ideological component abstracted from our traditional political institution. This should have been properly developed and exported to the whole world as part of our contribution to the development of world politics. The organisational ingredient of culture involves integrative approach, organisational acumen and abilities of a people in the areas of coordination and cooperation. These help to make life what it is – unique. A society without peace and harmony cannot grow and develop. A country where patriotism and identification (fellowship) are exchanged for brigandage, sabotage, subterfuge, fraud, embezzlement, terrorism and the like will always wallow in abject poverty, disarray and political darkness. These are vices that do not allow creativity, hard-work and development to nurture. Political stability rather than political instability should be an integral part of a nation's political culture as this attracts foreign investment and industrial development.

Language is an effective symbol in culture and men's ability in symbolising should be accorded a significant place in development. Language diversity, though a dislocating factor, can be positively explored. The educational system and programmes operating in society should reflect the felt needs and development-oriented culture of the people. The idea of admixture of cultures for the sake of emulation and civilization should be jettisoned. The normative culture serves as a control mechanism. It stipulates what ought to be the pattern of life and behaviour in the society. It is more effective than the formal control system especially if the cultural elements are properly internalised through effective socialization. It therefore checks crime and deviance.

The art industry helps to improve the individual skills, talents and creativity. The various images of art work, weaving, carving and decorations and designs are examples. Nature offers opportunity for increased exploitation and use of natural environment to the advantage of man. The skills involved in the mining or natural resources like petroleum, iron ore, coal, etc., and weather reading are examples (Onwuejeogwu, 1975).

Through the use of wide range of ideas, culture is therefore regarded as an agent of civilization. This is epitomised in the areas of sophisticated art works, architecture, aesthetic, mathematics and metallurgy. The interconnectivity between culture and development can also be established when we take a look at the emergence of modern day capitalism. In fact, ample evidence exist that points to the fact that Western capitalism evolved or developed as a result of the cultural ethos, which Protestantism encouraged. This is evident in the works of Max Webber. For Webber (1904/1958), Protestantism and modern capitalism appeared on the historical scene at about the same time. He went further to argue that, firstly, capitalism attained its highest development in protestant countries compared with catholic regions. Secondly, in countries with both Protestants and Catholics like Germany, it seemed to be the protestant regions that pioneered in capitalist development. Lastly, he came up with evidence that it was Protestants and not Catholics who were early entrepreneurs. Based on these, he concluded that the protestant ethics, particularly as it is embodied in Calvinist doctrine instilled an attitude which seeks profit, rationally and systematically. It can therefore be argued that the culture of hard work, sobriety, thrift, restraints, avoidance of fleshy pleasures, and deferred gratification which the Calvinists preached to a large extent though debunked by other scholars, accounts for the rise and development of capitalism (Hughes et al.,1999).

In discussing culture and development, a distinction is made between positive or progressive culture and negative or regressive culture. Positive or progressive culture is one that is exploited for human and national development. Examples of such cultures include those in Japan and South Korea, which have contributed to national development in the areas of manufacturing, industry and politics. Also we have the African form of architecture and designs. Progressive culture is dynamic and stands the test and challenges of different epochs. It is sustainable over time. There should be no inhibition in the interplay that occurs between culture, science and technology, otherwise it would be regarded as retrogressive. It should have the capacity of utility and acceptability to a larger world community. Negative or regressive culture is the one that offers no contribution to nation building. The culture of indiscipline, fraudulence, wasteful spending and the likes; killing of twins and certain social stratification systems in particular societies are examples.

Culture is an engine of social development and economic growth; but at the same time. it may be affected or even destroyed in the process. Generating added value and jobs, the cultural industries are a straightforward contribution to the national economic mix. While individual artists' jobs are hardly counted and economically significant (due to the largely non-institutionalised profile that they have and of the small numbers involved in professional artistic production), art markets, cultural management, and the activities of cultural institutions do represent a large employment sector.

We can identify three “impact areas” of culture on the local economic environment:

a)         direct economic impacts from employment and value generation in the cultural industries and indirect expenditure effect, which are so much larger the more “embedded” in the local are cultural professions;

b)         induced effects of cultural activities on the quality of a place, among which the tourist attractiveness, which leverages additional visitor expenditure, but also the location amenities for companies; and

c)         “creative inputs” accruing to the local networks of production (both to products and processes of production, or organisational models). These are “cultivated” in a lively and stimulating cultural environment where a creative class develops, attracted by tolerance, openness, educational and social opportunities. A creative economy improves the competitiveness of the urban environment.

Country experiences and empirical evidence suggest that entrepreneurial culture can influence the quantity of entrepreneurial ability and economic development (Mainoma & Aruwa, 2014). One variant of this school of thought argues that economic growth and development depend on certain characteristics of the people. It posits that negative qualities of people, such as, lack of inventiveness, lack of dynamism, irrationality, low achievement motivation, high rate of absenteeism, laziness, negative attitude to work, failure of high earnings to elicit more work, lead to underdevelopment.

Others link development with certain cultural traits of a people, such as, fatalism, a high regard for customs, rituals, lack of rationality and limited wants, which inhibit development. Another variant of this school looks at development in terms of the quality of the people with respect to inventiveness or technological dynamism of the people.

Conclusion

We can sum up by saying that culture plays a major role in the accountability systems, the political, economic, social religious and educational development of nation. In other words, there can be growth and development in any given human society if the culture in existence is not supportive of such.

Whereas any induced development programme should not undermine the culture of the people, the way of life of the people should not hinder or stagnate development. The people are the actors and beneficiaries of development efforts. A dynamic culture, therefore, should be able to accommodate change rather that stagnate predictive processes. Culture should be able to regenerate itself and should offer opportunities to be harnessed for the improvement of standard of living of the people.

Culture forms the indices of accountability and for measuring national development. A country where the citizens are xenophobic; are unable to decolonise themselves; and are not proud of what they are and have, finds it difficult to step into the wheels of sustainable growth and development.

References

Cotgrove, S. (1978). Sociology: An introduction, 2nd Ed. New York: Rinehart and Winston.

Francis, X., & Hezel, S. J. (2009). The role of culture in economic development.

EUROSTAT (2000). Cultural statistics in the EU – Final Report of the LEG, Luxembourg.

Giddens, S. (2006). Sociology, 5th Ed. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Hughes, M., Kroehler, C. J. & Vander Zanden, J. W.  (1999). Sociology: The core, 5th Ed. New

York: McGraw-Hill.

Kluckhohn, C., & Kelly, W. (1945). The concept of culture. In: Linton, R. (Ed.), The science of

man in the world crisis. New York: Columbia University Press.

Linton, R. (1945). The science of man in the world crisis. New York: Columbia University Press.

Mainoma, M. A. (2015). Boundaries of global accounting. Lagos: Instant Publishers.

Mainoma, M. A., & Aruwa, S. A. S. (2014). Entrepreneurship, concepts, processes, and

development. Lagos: Instant Publishers.

McGee, R., (1989). Sociology: An introduction, 2nd Ed. New York: Rinehart and Winston.

Onwuejeogwu, M.A. (1975). The social anthropology of Africa: An introduction. Ibadan:

Heinemann.

Rostow, W.W. (1961). The stages of economic growth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Taylor, E.B., (1958). Primitive culture. New York: Harper and Row.

Ujo, A. A. (2004). Understanding development administration in Nigeria. Kaduna: Joyce Graphic

Printers and Publishers.

UNDP (2004). Human development report: Cultural liberty in today's diverse world

http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/hdr04_complete.pdf

UNDP-UNCTAD (2008). Creative economy. Report 2008: The challenge of assessing the creative

economy: Towards informed policymaking. http://www.unctad.org/en/docs/ditc20082cer_en.pdf

UNESCO. (2005). Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity in cultural e

xpressions.

UNESCO. (1982). Cultural policies – MONDIACULT, Mexico

http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0005/000525/052505sb.pdf

UNESCO. (1966). Declaration of principles of international cultural cooperation.

http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=13147&URL

UNESCO. (2001). Universal declaration on cultural diversity. http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-

URL_ID=13179&URL_DO= DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

UNESCO (1997). World Decade for Cultural Development (1988 – 1997). Action Programme

(UNESCO). http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0005/000546/054668MB.pdf

Webber, M. (1904/1958). The protestant ethics and the spirit of capitalism. New York: Macmillan.

NICO Quarterly Public Lecture – Welcome Address by Executive Secretary

Written by Austine Posted in Featured Articles

It is with enormous pleasure that I welcome you all to the Quarterly Public Lecture Series, the second edition this year, organized by National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), in furtherance of its public enlightenment and general sensitization objectives.

NICO, as a Parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, was established in 1993 through a joint initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). By Thursday, 17th August, this year, the Institute will mark its 24years Anniversary.

NICO, as the capacity building organ in the culture sector, runs a academic programmes in its Training School, leading to the award of Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Postgraduate Diploma in Cultural Administration. The Institute has the mandate of promoting positive cultural values and harnessing culture for national development, as enunciated in the 1998 Cultural Policy for Nigeria.

The foregoing explains why NICO, as UNESCO’s focal agency on the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), has Nigerian Indigenous language Programme (NILP), Annual Round Table on Cultural Orientation (ARTCO), National Workshops on Promoting Nigerian Dress Culture, National Workshop on Repositioning Culture Workers, National Workshop on Culture, Peace and National Security, and Children’s Cultural Clubs in Schools, among others, as some of its core programmes.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, the NICO Quarterly Public Lecture Series was conceptualized, as a veritable and strategic platform, where the nation can benefit immensely from the intellectual capacity and wealth of experience of eminent scholars, renowned culture administrators, top government functionaries, technocrats and critical stakeholders.

I am delighted to inform you that since its inception, we have successfully organized several editions of the series, the last being the one, which took place on Thursday, 2nd March, 2017, eloquently presented by His Excellency Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha, the Executive Governor of Imo State, also at this venue.

Interestingly, our objective in this year’s Quarterly Public Lecture Series is to underscore the intrinsic relationship between culture and sustainable economic development and to emphasize the urgent need to give priority attention to harnessing the vast potentials in the culture and tourism sector in our quest to diversify the nation’s economy.

We make bold to state that unless the cultural dimension is emphasized in our economic development agenda, as clearly demonstrated by the Asian Tigers, sustainable economic development would remain a mirage.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, in keeping with our tradition, today’s edition of the NICO Quarterly Public Lecture, will be delivered by an erudite scholar of no mean repute. He is the Vice Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu.

At this juncture, I am pleased to also inform you that the maiden edition of CultureScope: A Journal of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), will be formally presented to the public. The publication of the journal marks another milestone in the annals of NICO. I believe you will all grab a copy each!

Finally, I will like to express our sincere appreciation to our indefatigable Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, visionary leadership of the Ministry and for his usual support.

Our special thanks also go to our distinguished guest lecturer, Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu, for accepting to deliver this lecture at very short notice.

My sincere gratitude to the Chairman on this august occasion, the Royal Father of the Day, Members of the diplomatic corps, other distinguished guests, Management and Staff of NICO, and gentlemen of the press, for honouring our invitation.

I thank you all for your kind attention.

Repositioning Culture & Tourism In A Diversified Economy By Bolanle Austen-Peters

Written by Austine Posted in Featured Articles

Repositioning Culture & Tourism In A Diversified Economy

Bolanle Austen-Peters

Founder/CEO Terra Kulture & BAP Productions

INTRODUCTION

I’ll be talking about private sector perspective on arts, culture and tourism. Talking about this is not easy because we have very little participation of the Private sector in Nigeria’s Arts and Culture industry, for various reasons.

HISTORY

Historically, the private sector is driven by profit. For you to invest in an area, you need to know about the projections and the potentials of the industry. Unfortunately in Nigeria, there’s little or no data on the arts, culture and tourism sector in Nigeria. That is one factor that inhibits private sector participation.

PASSION & PHILANTHROPY

The 2nd point is that the private sector is also driven by passion and or philanthropy. Unfortunately in the case of philanthropy, government has not fully embraced the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (C.S.R).

PERCEPTION

However, the real issue we have in the arts and culture sector in Nigeria is that, we struggle with the issue of perception, and when I talk of perception, it cuts across. Most people in Nigeria see Arts, Culture and Tourism as the poor cousin to every other sector.

PARENTS

First it starts from our parents. When you are growing up, your parents tell you to study professional courses such as law, medicine, accounting or engineering. There is nothing wrong with that, but the reality is, a lot of people are closet artists. A lot of artists are in banks today, manufacturing companies, are doctors, lawyers, like myself as a case study.

SCHOOLS

The same is further reinforced by our schools. To get into our school curriculum more or less reduces focus on history, fine art, technical drawing, culture and encourages all sciences and other forms of education, thereby telling students that this is not relevant. And even if you look at what happened in the technical schools in the past, they were not rated as equals with the universities and other citadels of knowledge.

GOVERNMENT

Then we have the government. Government policies reinforce the fact that Arts, culture and tourism is second best to everything else. If u r looking for influencers within government, policy makers and those who are perceived to be achievers, its typically those in Oil and gas, manufacturing and those professional courses. Artists, those who are creative are considered to be 2nd class.

SOCIETY

That perception is now further reinforced by society. Society accumulates all the bombardments from the parents, school and government in 1, and that translates across borders. Internationally, that same culture has being imbibed by foreigners. If we do not celebrate our culture, they will not celebrate us.

LOOKING INWARD: PROFESSIONALISM

All of these things have kept the arts and Culture sector down. But if we look inward, it’s not only external issues we have. The issues are also within the artistic community. Artists do not project themselves as professionals and they are also very quick to accept peanuts and crumbs that are handed down from various institutions.

That being said, if we are to make progress, maybe we need to understand what the private sector has done in other parts of the world to generate revenue. If we take it sector by sector:

UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP

Let’s look at music. Am sure we have all heard about Universal Music Group. They are a private company in America which turns over $6.5bn annually; this is an industry that is very viable in Nigeria. As a matter of fact, the private sector led by people like Mavins, Chocolate City, have single handedly turned the industry on its head.

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS, HOLLYWOOD

When we look at the movie industry, we have The Universal studios which generates over $28bn annually from revenue generated. Now, if we look at the museum, am sure we all know the Guggenheim, a privately owned museum, was founded by an individual.

SUN CITY HOTEL & RESORTS

The same goes for entertainment. Sun City Hotels and Resorts in South Africa, Owned by an individual, privately set up, turns over $70m monthly as revenue. That’s just one resort. Do we have a Sun City equivalent in Nigeria?

CASE STUDY; TERRA KULTURE

In 2003, I started Terra Kulture and today, Terra Kulture has single handedly turned the face of theatre in Nigeria. Theatre had become either comatose or dead. Today we brought a new genre of Theatre, which is musicals. And from having 10,20 man audience in our plays to 10,000 and more and now, we are taking our play out of Nigeria, and we are beginning to earn foreign exchange for our country, Apart from selling our culture.

WAY FORWARD; ARTS & CULTURE AS A TOOL

Finally, for us to make significant progress, I would imagine that government needs to do the funding first. We need to use Arts and Culture as diplomatic and foreign relation tools. We take our culture with us wherever we go and celebrate it and government and foreign affairs should facilitate any form of cultural exchange, any form of cultural export should be our focus.

GOVERNMENT; FOCUSED APPROACH

Secondly, government needs to have a focused approach towards supporting the arts and culture sector. If any investment is going to be encouraged, there needs to be some form of incentives. Let those who want to participate know that when they get into that sector they will be given all the necessary support required to enable them stay in it. And of course Government needs to give the enabling environment to ensure that these businesses thrive.

THANK YOU!

www.terrakulture.com

twitter: @terrakulture

facebook: @terrakulture

www.bapproduction.com

twitter: @bolabap

facebook page: Bola Austen-Peters

Repositioning Culture and Tourism in a Diversified Economy - Frank Aig-Imoukhuede

Written by Austine Posted in Featured Articles

Repositioning Culture and Tourism in a Diversified Economy

Frank Aig-Imoukhuede

Within the framework of the economy, and the requirements of this paper, culture is heritage property or object inherited, allotted, or handed down as physical, natural, tangible, or intangible stock or endowment. It constitutes resources whose spread and utilization reflect the ways of life of a people with whom they are endowed, the way the people perceive themselves and are perceived by others; their capacities – human, infrastructural and institutional; their skills and means of translating their endowments into dividends of development.

            Culture and heritage are, this way, interchangeable and manifest in industry and trade, in science and technology and in information systems and a knowledge base. Heritage, consequently, comprises all natural and cultural elements, whether tangible or intangible, movable or immovable, which are inherited or newly created. Through heritage, social groups recognize their own identity and commit themselves to pass it on to future generations in a better and enriched form. No national process of reform, change or diversification of the economy can neglect the heritage which encompasses the cultural, industrial and technological landscapes whose conservation serves to promote regeneration and renewal and is an important aspect of management and development. These components have far-reaching ramifications for all national policies whether cultural, economic, political, scientific, technological, educational, social, agricultural, or industrial. Thus, defined in relation to culture, the heritage resources comprise:

  • Facilities which provide venues for performances or serve as depositories and repositories-like libraries, archives, bookshops, craft shops, museums, studios, theatres, tennis courts, galleries, conference halls and community centres,
  • Structures which are symbols of the people's achievements and centres of excellence providing housing and rallying points for sports, arts and culture like stadiums, theatres, monuments, arcades, squares, mausoleums, etc.
  • Institutions, traditional or modern, for preserving and promoting the value systems and enhancing the people's capacities and exchange with their neighbours, including chieftaincies and religious institutions, age grades, guilds, vocational schools,   traditional systems of training, art, design and sports institutions.
  • Cultural practices and traditions used for social control, for promoting community security and well-being, commemorating and marking events of historical, religious and political significance and preserving the cultural identity;
  • The Arts, encompassing sights and sounds, for promoting the image and identity of the society, namely:

-   Media arts – Film, video, audio recording, photography, etc.

-   Design arts – Architecture, environmental design/planning industrial, graphic, fashion and interior design,

-   Visual arts – Sculpture, painting, print making, crafts, mixed media etc

-   Performing arts – Music, dance, drama/theatre, puppetry, acrobatics, etc; and

-   Literary arts – Poetry, plays, novels, computer books, non-fiction, etc;

  • Sports including athletics, soccer, wrestling, martial arts, swimming, basketball, cricket, golf, cycling, motor rally, walking, jogging and boxing which can be used to keep fit, promote local and global competitiveness and create jobs and economic empowerment;
  • Organisations and agencies in the public and private sectors for managing, promoting, preserving and developing the cultural heritage like Arts Councils, Sports Councils, Sports Associations. Cultural Associations, Artistic societies, NGOs, etc;
  • Natural resources encompassing the natural and physical heritage, viz,

-   The forests and plant life which are sources of raw materials for arts culture and sports, oral traditions and folklore, and are linked to religions and religious practices,

-   The waters which sustain life and folklore and are linked to recreation and religion and, as waterfalls, lagoons, lakes, seas and beaches, are objects of veneration and tourist attractions,

-   Animal life which supports folklore cultural production and sports and, together with the forests, hills and beaches constitute the attraction of beaches, parks and game reserves,

-   The minerals which are sources of raw materials for cultural productions like cosmetics, pottery, weaponry and implements, medicine, folklore and oral traditions; and

-   Indigenous knowledge know-how and technology (iron smelting, metal casting, distilling and processing, traditional medicine, etc.) whose products are distinctive and give character and identity to a people.

Economy, in this context, refers to the practical adjustment, organisation or administration of affairs or resources of a state'. Any reform for managing the resources would, of necessity, affect and involve the use, organisation and deployment of human resources in the quest for change and improvement. Culture's economic value is logically expected to enjoy a pride of place in the turn-around created by reform by:

  1. Serving as a tool for enhancing and promoting a country's image and identity through the endeavours of its artists, writers, sportsmen and designers:
  2. Promoting intercultural exchange, national cohesion and a sense of community through arts, culture and sports; and
  3. Enhancing socio-economic development, poverty reduction, employment creation and revenue generation and promoting an equitable distribution of the fruits of development.

The Cultural Industries and the Dakar Plan of Action for Development1

In repositioning culture in a diversified economy, our development strategies would have taken advantage of our unique position of constituting a fourth of Africans and a fifth of black peoples. It would have benefitted from the implementation of the Dakar Plan of Action on cultural industries for developing African countries and the co-temporal World Decade for Cultural Development, a United Nations programme which lasted from 1988 to 1997 and whose postulate was that the cultural dimension is the key factor in development.

The Dakar Plan of Action was the outcome of a series of sub-regional seminars held between 1985 and 1990 with a concluding meeting in January 1992 in Nairobi organized by UNESCO and OAU with the support of UNDP, the Social and Cultural Foundation of EEC/ACP and the participation of ECOWAS, SADCC, ICA and EACROTANAL. It was prepared by 40 experts from 17 African countries representing sectors including the cottage industries and arts, music, cinema, literature, publishing, the press, audiovisual, African traditional healing art and technology, and tourism; and 17 representatives of 10 IGOs and NGOs. The cultural industries on which the Plan’s prescription is founded are:

  • Book and publishing,
  • Handicrafts (cottage, small and medium scale),
  • Music (and music recording),
  • Cinema and film,
  • Radio and television,
  • Sports,
  • Entertainment (theatre, concerts) etc.,
  • Art and applied art,
  • Design (fashion and clothing, architecture and graphics),
  • Cultural and eco-tourism museums,
  • Copyright,
  • The press,
  • African traditional healing art, and
  • Indigenous technology and know-how.

The Dakar Plan was a response to the wishes and resolutions of the African Heads of State and Government within the context of the African Cultural Common Market established by the Conference of African Ministers of Culture at Yaounde in 1990 (attended by Ambassador Mamman Anka, the Nigerian Minister) and the African Economic Community Treaty signed by African Head of State at Abuja on June 3, 1991.

Culture's socio-economic impact is felt through the creative artist who plays a crucial role in the formulation and articulation of society's shared beliefs and values, the stimulation of its collective ingenuity and imagination and their translation: an invaluable process largely responsible for, among other things, our fashion and dress culture, the architectural landscapes of our towns and cities, and the functional aesthetics of our interior and industrial design which is applied to virtually all objects of modern life. Its quality, appeal and practical aspects are a key factor in determining consumer choice.

Tourism and Culture

Culture's role in relation to tourism, 'reveals itself as a stimulus or motivation encouraging people to travel.2 The main attractions are peoples, customs, beliefs, the landscape and everyday life and activities. Because it is involved with the identification, interpretation and celebration of peoples' contributions to society and history-and nature's bounty, tourism's major concerns are with eco-tourism, cultural tourism, hospitality, reception, services and marketing. Unlike other foreign exchange earners, tourism involves sending the consumer to a country rather than exporting the commodity out of it.

            The international tourist arrivals figure in 1998 came to 636 million with corresponding aggregate revenue of $441 billion. Of these totals, Africa's share was a paltry 32.2 million arrivals and an overall income of $9.8 billion representing 3.6% of global arrivals and 2.2% of world receipts. Nigeria's official declaration a decade or two before, of tourism as the preferred sector of the economy thus represents a yearning for a greater share of global benefits. According to available studies, the tourist's main motivation up till the 1980s was still the need to escape from the humdrum routine of industrial society. Today's tourist however, is looking for a meaning, for an alternative to a way of life which is rapidly becoming universal and which can already be qualified as 'postmodern3.

            Cultural events like concerts, soccer, athletics, motor rallies, boxing, art exhibitions, carnivals and festivals, draw hundreds of thousands of visitors willing to spend a lot of money on travel to experience culturally enriching activities which are regular crowd pullers and revenue earners4. These activities contributed in 1998 to the increase of world hotel accommodation capacity from 9million to 13million rooms in the space of ten years; and were responsible, in 1995, for 11.4% of world investments, 10.9% of gross world products, 10.7% of jobs; and 11% of tax revenues world-wide. 'At the turn of the 21st century, tourism held a top place in the economy, the value of the trade being equivalent to 30% of oil products and 40% of food and agricultural products.5

            According to the 2016 economic impact report of the World Travel and Tours Council, tourism added 7.2 million jobs to the global economy; contributing over $7.2 trillion to the world Gross Domestic Products. In spite of the current uncertainties in the global economy and specific challenges to tourism in 2015, the sector grew by 3.7% and contributed a total of 9.8% to the global G.D.P. Travel also supported a total of 294 million jobs in 2015: an increase of 7.2 million or one in 11 jobs. According to the economic impact report, countries where tourism most markedly outperformed the wider economy in 2015 include Iceland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Uganda.

            Economic impact studies have also identified the entertainment industry which embraces the performance arts, the cinema and mass activities like sports in the USA, for example, as the most important aspects after Aerospace. Countries which have recognized the strategic importance of creative, copyright and the cultural industrial and have given them adequate attention are privileged both in cultural and economic terms today, while nations which have neglected them are confronted with the uneasy alternative of being overrun by foreign cultural products and contexts – which entail heavy royalty payments and sense of cultural identity under threat – or taking the protectionist route of closure6.

The role in the economy and the value as a development capital of the intellectual property industries represented by radio, television, digitalization, film production, the production of discs and video and the visual, performing and literary arts, have registered an important shift towards international networking (through co-productions, joint exhibitions, conferences and festivals) into the realm of foreign policy and international networking requiring full national backing and protection7. The success or failure of development efforts is thus determined by the way the following questions and concerns of development have been addressed:

  • The cultural and socio-cultural factors that affect development,
  • The cultural impact of social and economic development,
  • The inter-relatedness of culture and the models of culture prescribed for us;
  • The way cultural development, and not only economic condition, influences individual and collective well-being; and
  • Culture itself as an important focus of development and international co-operation and a contributor to the economic, social and political well-being of the nation.

The cross-cutting link of culture to the performance and success of the other sectors makes it a factor, a dimension and an imperative for sustainability in project planning and implementation. The cultural dimension provides the rationale for many of the approaches which are considered best practice in development planning and execution. Some of its benefits are import substitution (or local content), the interface of traditional and modern knowledge of technology, a sound knowledge of local conditions and traditions that can be avoided or taken advantage of, the relevance of end-products to lifestyle; and skills acquisition, not in a vacuum, but in relation to cultural patterns, lifestyles and demands. There is need to conceive development efforts in such a way that actions correspond to the aspirations of communities, make use of their experience and know-how to avoid side effects and fallouts which can stultify the end-results of planning and development.

The cultural dimension constitutes the last and decisive aspect which must be taken into account when selecting, conceiving and implementing development projects, programmes and plans. An Environmental Impact Assessment (ElA) may be necessary as a prerequisite to project approval, as is at present the norm in Nigeria, but a Cultural Impact Assessment which is hardly given attention, ensures an understanding of what the driving forces of the community are as well as what beliefs, habits, traditions, prejudices and taboos may render difficult the implementation of projects. This has resulted many times, for instance, in the yoking together of cultural incompatibles in the creation of new local government councils; or the disregard of deep-rooted beliefs and taboos and land use traditions in the choice of project sites. Capacity building in the sector is targeted at quantitative and qualitative growth to make the sector's production capacity self-sufficient and globally competitive and take advantage of cultural appeal, reach and influence.  

    

Theatre, Entertainment and the Creative Arts

The National Theatre, between 1989 and 1990, provided the following figures in seating capacity for the entertainment (theatre, concerts, and cinema) industry:

  1. a main hall with 5,800 seating capacity which had two shows on Fridays, and 4 shows a day on each of Saturday and Sunday,
  2. a banquet hall which sat 1800 to 2500 people; an exhibition hall with a seating capacity for about 2,000 people, and
  3. two cinema halls each with a seating capacity of 650 persons.    

At FESTAC, programmes and performances were beamed from it live to the world. FESTAC hosted 59 countries and some liberation movements. The National Theatre’s problem is it’s the air-conditioning system which, if over hauled, is bound to restore the theatre to its claim to of a foremost entertainment centre; and reposition culture to its position in the cultural industries as a centre of excellence in theatre and creative arts.                                                                

Socio-Economic Roles and Functions of Crafts

Crafts form a substantial part of Nigeria’s cultural heritage. Because of the large number of Nigerians involved in their production, their economic viability has become an important consideration in Nigeria’s overall development, particularly in the search for viable alternatives to oil and a mono-lineal economy. Craft production in Nigeria belongs to the informal sector of the economy even though its different products have a way of growing into small-scale industries like fashion design, processing and manufacturing. Despite the pervasive presence of guilds in small-scale production involving about 60% of the population, the background of those involved (semi-illiterates, petty operators etc) has not allowed them develop into an economic empowerment of the lower classes of Nigerians.

Nigeria’s  need is an inward-oriented endogenous, auto-centric development related more closely to the needs and the specific situation and resources of developing countries as defined solely by them and as it benefits the majority of their inhabitants. From the earliest times in Nigeria, craft had formed the backbone of local economic production. Unfortunately and despite the level of revenue injection into the GDP in the past four decades, it has had no visible profile in the formal sector. But given its historical antecedents and the success stories in many developing countries, perhaps a more purposeful handling of this commodity is overdue. This assessment relies on the strategies adopted by South Korea which have proved very successful.

Although Korea held only 1.6% share of the world market in ceramic export, its revenue was scaled as US$5billion. As at 1987, there were 3,7508 firms involved in manufacturing handicrafts such as brassware, glassware, jewellery, ceramics and porcelain. About 56% of Korea’s exported handicrafts comprised imitation jewellery, and shell products.

The uniqueness of Nigeria's handicrafts makes them attractive and competitive in the global market, given the 'authenticity' and 'museum integrity' which can be transferred, for example, to jewellery design based on Nigeria’s famous art objects. To enhance the attraction and competitiveness of its handicrafts, Nigeria can also draw on the reputation of the craft traditions of Benin, Owo, Bida, Kano, Ishiagu, the Cross River area, for producing competitive handicrafts for export purpose. Efforts at export promotion should be without prejudice to the development of a domestic market and the transformation of wasting or under-utilized assets like bamboo, cane and wattle resources found all over the country. The following figures of global income from handicrafts are a pointer to the way out for Nigeria in a diversified economy.

Exports of Handicrafts by Country

(Unit US$1,000)


Country

1982 1983 1984 1985 1986
US              52,666 66,499 98,919 122,420 160,777
Japan 18238 19283 20,591 44,023 47,442
West Germany 8,166 7,329 9,009 20,824 16,389
France 7,200 6,185 6,524 10,323 17,608
UK 6,984 8,421 9,119 12,443 18,475
Italy 2,303 2,511 3,214 3,387 5,519
Netherlands 4,111 5,183 6,553 2,324 5,736
Others 24,960 24,427 19,447 31,747 51,879
Total 127,423 143,282 177,428 251,269 329,323

Exports of Handicrafts by Item

(Unit US$1,000)


Item

1982 1983 1984 1985 1986
Shell products    . 5,394 5,782 5,545 6,387 10,349
Lacquer Ware 1,572 1,808 972 1,100 108
Wooden Ware -7,812 7,329 7,906 8,224 7,709
Brass   and   Glass Ware 7,412 8,776 12,290 45,005 22,187
Arts 7,412 8,776 12,290 45,005 22,187
Rush Products 3,042 2,812 1,909 2,822 3,843
Imitation Jewellery 50,214 51,546 71,685 101,207 146,016
Others 43,813 52,458 60,656 65,753 104,663
Total 127,423 143,282 177,428 251,269 329,323

Source: Korea Federation of Handcrafts

There are over five million Nigerians engaged in craftwork on part-time or full-time basis. Over fifty per cent of them are women. In Africa, about 10 to 15% of the populations are also engaged in craft production who spend long hours using what are often crude tools to earn a pittance. It has been proved over the years that the hand and the machine are not incompatible partners in craft production and that craft and design flow into each other - the question of artistic integrity being determined by aesthetics not the time and drudgery involved in the production process.

            A developing nation like Nigeria in search of economic empowerment for its teeming population cannot ignore an area of production in which it can compete successfully with the developed countries. Its cultural imperative is to ensure a clear and precise definition of its cultural products and secure equal protection for all cultural products. Africa’s strength lies in the transformation of its crafts tradition through appropriate technology, a modern marketing strategy, regular training for upgrading craft skills and techniques as well as the introduction of new production lines.

The high concentration of exquisite and high quality products reflects Korea's comparative advantage in foreign markets in terms of price and quality.' The uniqueness of Nigeria's handicrafts makes them as attractive as Korea's in the global market, given the 'authenticity' and 'museum integrity' which can be transferred to many designs based on its famous art objects. What is required is for Nigeria to follow the paths taken by Korea to enhance the export attraction and the competitiveness of its handicraft, via:

-  concentration on innovative items and mass production,

-  adoption and establishment of a pattern registration system which calls for protection of the rights of the original design,

-  support of the training of Nigerian manpower by foreign technicians and the financing of the establishment of material processing factories which ceramics makers, for instance, can use jointly,

-  acquisition/accumulation of labour-intensive technology related to the production of target crafts; and

-  promotion of high-grade, high-priced goods through the development of superior technology.

Efforts at export promotion should be without prejudice to the development of a domestic market and the transformation of wasting or underutilized assets like bamboo, cane and wattle resources found all over the country. Such efforts should be directed, for instance, to the production of cheap building materials- bricks, floor, roof and wall tiles etc. for the important issue of housing and shelter.

Music and Sound Recording

Brazil, Canada, USA, UK and France represent the varied characteristics of Africa’s music Diaspora. Their music industries are influenced to a large extent and dominated by artistes and music of Africa origin. Their industries also enjoy a strong symbiosis with the African continent via cross-cultural exportations, the impact of new technologies and intercultural exchange offered by cultural tourism (Concerts, festivals, etc.).  

The 1993 music sales figures reveal a disappointing outcome of the efforts of Nigerian musicians for their entertainment industry. It is indeed pleasantly surprising that the 1993 figures for Nigeria may be far from the truth because the music industry in recent times has performed remarkably well some miracle despite the havoc of piracy. Nigeria’s radio and television stations now have over 60% of their busy music airtime devoted to music by Nigerian artists who also hold their head high in the African music industry. A well-structured, efficiently managed music industry is a sine qua non in a diversified Nigerian economy. According to the IFF1, the 1994 sales figures of the legitimate national and international sound recordings were distributed as follows:

-          North America                                              35%

-          Europe                                                           34%

-          Japan                                                              17%

-          Asia                                                                6%

-          Latin America                                               5%

-          Australia                                                        2%

-          North Africa/Middle East, Turkey                        1%

-          Africa sub-Sahara                                         1%

1993 National Data and Legitimate World Sales Figures of Sound Recordings

  Brazil Canada USA France U.K. Egypt South Africa Zimbabwe Kenya Cote d’Ivorie Ghana Nigeria
Country population 156.3m 27.4m 255.0m 57.4m 57.9m 39.8m 39.8m 10.6m 25.7m 12.9m 16.0m 115.7m
Retail Stale (USD) 390.3m 896.8m 9.833m 1,848.6m 1,976 14.6m 146.7m 7.0m 3.8m 6.8m 12.4m 27.2m
Annual Growth 48.8% 18.0% 10.9% -4.5% -1.1% -* 7.4% 30% -24.9% 5.7% -* -11.7%
International Repertoire 2.0% 5% 4% 8.9% 7% 1% 6% 5% -* 2% 2%  
Domestic Repertoire 58.0% 10% -* 42.9% 45% ()% 43% 55% -+ 58% 69.8%  

Source: 1994 The Recording Industry in Numbers, IFPI. *Figure not available

The national data of legitimate sales or earnings were also reflected as follows:

Country          Brazil     Canada    USA                   France                  UK            Egypt

Population     156.3m    27.4m     255.0m     57.4m     57.9m        55.2m

Retail sales     390.3m   896.8m    9,833m   1,848.6m  1,976m     14.6m

Country          S. Africa  Zimbabwe    Kenya    Coted’Ivoire  Ghana      Nigeria Population   39.8m      10.6m               25.7m       12.9m         16.0m         115.7m

Retail Sales    146.7m      7.0m             3.8m          6.8m         12.4m           27.2m

The figures speak volumes as to the missed, ignored, neglected and potential opportunities of the music recording industries in Africa and Nigeria. In the 1996 report of the National Music Publishers Association, the royalty payments covering performances, reproductions and distribution for several countries were reflected as: USA ($1.246m), Japan ($922.20m), Germany ($ 875.07), and France ($643.66). The African figures were: South Africa ($22.44), Zimbabwe ($ 15m), and Egypt ($12m). There was no figure for Nigeria; but it is hoped that issues of royalties and collective societies will be an urgent concern for a diversified economy – as well as an efficient system not only for the administration but also the empowerment of copyright and allied matters.

It is important to note that the projects and industries treated in the foregoing are not exhaustive of alternatives to oil which culture could have provided for the diversification of Nigeria’s economy. For culture to perform optimally, our modus vivendi must jettison the trend of staff recruitment which has politicized the civil service, replacing industry, integrity, dedication and professionalism with nepotism, ethnicity, corruption, lack of accountability and due process.  

The issues of rationalization, merging and restructuring which are pending from many review exercises must be quickly resolved and dealt with for the revitalization of our systems and to give them and Nigerians a new lease of life. The change we need must never allow to reoccur, for instance, our experience in the past when greed, avarice and lack of accountability and due process of an individual transformed a craft shop that was revenue-generating and profit-making-after a change of guards and a change of the mode of craft purchase for resale- first diminished in craft sale, then became moribund before becoming comatose as a business concern and dying.

As disappointing as the loss of the crafts shop as a symbol of a successful national craft development programme has been the fate of an even older national treasure – the Nigeria Magazine, is more painful. Nigeria Magazine started in 1927 as The Nigerian Teacher; became a Cultural Magazine in 1933 and under Duckworth, Michael Growder and others Editors, a veritable source of great material on Nigeria’s culture and cultural development. Together with the Exhibition Centre, the Magazine Section (both of the Federal Information Service) became the nucleus of the Cultural Division (now Department) when it was established in 1971. In the past twenty five years, the magazine had gone through a vicarious existence: it has really suffered! Something urgent needs to be done to bring it back to life and a new modus operandi redesigned for it.  

In concluding this paper, it is important to state that the programmes, projects and industries so far treated are not exhaustive of alternatives to oil which culture can provide for the resuscitation and diversification of Nigeria’s economy. The Niger Delta and the rain forests of Nigeria constitute a major source of timber for domestic use and for export. For the protection of the country’s biodiversity and natural heritage, a good strategy is the domestication of wood traditionally found wild (iroko, ebony, etc.). Raffia palm exploitation can be turned into an export industry capable of producing over 150 million gallons of alcohol annually without a headline news of fatalities from the consumption of kain-kain or akpeteshi – or illicit gin! The mangrove tree can be utilized in the chip-board factory and the pulp factory similar to what they have in Japan; and the production of adhesives, preservatives and tannin from cutch obtained from it for the Nigerian leather industry. Tannin is still imported into Nigeria even though its availability as raw material for the leather industry had been public knowledge from 1954. Revenue on a large scale can also be generated from the transformation of small-scale cottage industries like black soap production from cocoa pods and plantain inflorescence into export industries manufacturing organic health and toilet products.

Traditional Knowledge and Know-How as Development Assets

Whereas much of Africa’s rural populations are scattered and poor, they are invariably self-reliant. Their small-scale farmers are capable of making changes in their own interest which are potentially of benefit to society as a whole. Their craftsmen are quick in grafting innovative ideas onto their traditional techniques and skills and incorporating new materials and products in their repertory of knowledge. The significance of their achievements is that in spite of a high illiteracy rate and the fact that the knowledge-base on which their know-how is founded is ‘non-book’, ‘non-academic’ and is passed down and shared knowledge and values. It is capable of documentation and integration into the formal educational curricula and interface with modern scientific and technological practice.

            This was responsible for the development of a local technology of palm oil processing, bone-setting and physiotherapy techniques and local processing technologies for alcohol and salt production. Among its other achievements are an architectural technology which produced impluviumed courtyards at Benin City, and the old palace at Akure (Ondo State) and Idumuje Ugboko (Delta State); the lost wax technique in brass casting that dates back to the 12th and 13th Century A.D., and has continued to incorporate modern innovations; and an iron-smelting technology that is about 26 centuries old and capable of new applications and adaptations.

A trans-disciplinary, inter-sectoral and multi-dimensional pilot project. For adapting indigenous iron-smelting technique for producing the proto-type of a mini iron mill capable of continuous production of 5 tons of iron an hour is waiting on the wings. It was a programme of UNESCO’s Iron Roads project for Africa involving the Ministry of Information and Culture, the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, the National Metallurgical Development Centre, Jos and the production of coal brickettes fuel from various Nigerian coal mines. There are about 200 founders in Nigeria all of them operating on scrap metal or imported pig iron. With the steep downturn in the economy, modern plant and transportation companies are turning to the local blacksmith for the production of spare parts. There is room, therefore, for the establishment of furnaces that can produce cast blanks for the subsequent forging by the local blacksmith.

Notes

  1. “Cultural industries for development in Africa: Dakar Plan of Action.” Final report of Experts on Cultural industries in Africa organized by OAU and UNESCO with the support of UNDP, ACI, and the EEC/ACP Cultural and Social Foundation in Nairobi, Kenya. 20-24 January, 1992.
  2. “Culture, Tourism, Development: Crucial Issues for the 21st Century”. Round Table of Experts organized in Paris on 26 and 27 June, 1996. UNESCO/AIEST Annals of Tourism Research
  3. Lories Crawford: “Cultural Tourism: Trends, Challenges and Framework for Success”. Paper presented  at a Symposium in Abuja. December 2000.
  4. “Culture, Tourism, Development: Crucial Issues for the 21st Century”. UNESCO/AIEST Annals of Tourism Research
  5. Ibid
  6. Lories Crawford: op. cit.
  7. Ibid   
  8. Korea Trade and Business May 1987.
  9. The Metallurgical Research Unit for West Africa Sub-Region. Report by Frank Aig-Imoukhuede, Arts and Culture Consultant. August, 2001.

                       

*** Being a Paper Presented at the National Summit on Culture and Tourism with the theme, “Repositioning Culture and Tourism in a Diversified Economy”, organized by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture at the Congress Hall, Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, on 27-29 April, 2016

Repositioning Culture and Tourism in a Diversified Economy

Written by Austine Posted in Featured Articles

Repositioning Culture and Tourism in a Diversified Economy

Prof. Sule Bello

Department of History

A.B.U., Samaru-Zaria

Abstract

Nigeria’s efforts at transforming and developing itself, since its independence in 1960, have in the main tended to be unsuccessful. At the heart of this failure lies the inability of the country to transform itself from a colonial mono-economy into an independent, industrialized and diversified one that is broadly creative, original and self-generating and thus capable of meeting the varied needs of the country’s population and those of the Nigerian state. The quest for economic diversification, industrialization and independence has generated a great deal of debate most of which are focused on the varied, as well as alienated and failed, economic theories and political philosophies which hardly take into account the historical and cultural realities of the nation concerned. To counter such obvious anomalies there is a growing literature which seeks to factor culture as a veritable factor, anchor and basis for development. In this regard many believe that the creative, organizational and constructive role that culture needs to play towards nation-building, as well as the general promotion of social creativity and resourcefulness, that need to underlie the country’s development process have been grossly and fatally neglected. Redressing this anomaly will greatly help to promote a self-reliant, relevant and diversified economic development process that is feasible, possible and sustainable in Nigeria.

1. Introduction

vThe crisis of industrialization, or diversification, and the continued prevalence of mono-economy geared to export on the basis of unfavourable terms of trade.

vA mono-economy is one that relies essentially on the export of mineral and agricultural raw material to the detriment of its own industrial development. Nigeria during the colonial period relied basically on the export of agricultural products such as groundnut, cotton, cocoa, palm oil etc. After independence it has come to increasingly rely on the rents and royalties paid by the foreign mining companies active in the mining and export of crude oil.

vThe history of the attempts at the industrialization of Nigeria:

  • Nationalist policies accompanying democratic politics/independence struggle
  • Military rule: the struggle against foreign interventions and imposed policies: culminating in the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) in 1984.

vThe economic development logic for the democratic transition of 1999; the increasing economic failures, and dependence, at various levels of society, politics and economics in the country under the PDP (1999 – 2015).

vThe 2015 elections and the New Policy focus of the new APC Government, under PMB: security, diversification and job creation, Anti-corruption. The imperatives for implementation of national policies and reforms that promote economic self-reliance.

  1. The Relevance of Cultural Resourcefulness to Diversification

Societal resourcefulness in the form of its inherited as well as inherent artistic, technical, scientific and ethical resources and the application of such endowments to the national economic development process. The dynamic and creative fusion of talents and resources in the context of purposive policies, plans and programmes or projects.

To appreciate this perspective we need to identify the limitations associated with some of the prevailing views on economic development.

vEconomy is presented merely as an abstraction rather than a product of culture and history in term of its characteristics based on its evolution, development and trends.

vConfusing national revenues or state income, with the mainstay, productive sectors, and the National Product of the country.

vHuman, imaginative and tool fabricating capabilities, as well as organic social processes of development constitute the hall mark for social development and where these are neglected problems are bound to arise.

vThe increasing importance, influence and relevance of culture to the development process is being felt at all levels as indicated in the growing literature on the subject. This realization is aptly summarized in the following definition of culture, where it is observed that: “the word is used in a general sense as the evolved ability to categorise and represent experiences with symbols and to act imaginatively and creatively” (https://wikipedia.org/wiki/culture).

vIt is based on the learning of the above noted abilities that members of society become human, as well as responsible and creative members of given and definite societies.

vTo illustrate the evolving nature of these contributions on culture and development it is important to identify their scope, and significance, as is partly indicated in the reference attached to this paper. The contributions will be found to signify many important, as well as developing, views and interests among which we can identify the following:

  1. Academic appreciation and discourses on the various dimensions, and importance, of the subject matter of culture to social development processes.
  2. Policy formulation
  3. Technical issues relating to the organization management and development of various culture and tourism projects, programmes and institutions at different levels in various countries.
  4. The central role of national educational establishments in the development and transmission of cultures especially in the promotion of national cultures through the factorization of indigenous cultures into the development process, as well as a critical evaluation of all other forms of cultural influences on the countries concerned.
  5. Creative writings (scientific, philosophical and literary)
  6. Nigeria’s Cultures, and Tourism Resources, as Bases for its Economic Diversification and Development

vThe recognition of the above realism is contained in specific National Policies as well as the National Development Plans of Nigeria, in general, and those relating to culture, education and tourism, in particular.

vThe neglected informal sector in Nigeria represents an indigenous, popular, industrial, creative and productive structure. There is a need for its overall enablement and modernization, as the base of the economy, and the key strategy for both poverty eradication and economic self reliance. This is particularly relevant in the light of the colossal failures represented in White Elephant and wasteful projects such as the Ajaokuta steel complex, or other extroverted and extractive projects, that lack any generative and sustainable linkages to the local economy, as represented in Nigerian mining, such as the oil and gas, sector.

vNigeria’s cultural assets constitute the essential basis for the development of tourism in the country. These offer important knowledge, and lessons, about the country which cannot be gained from any other source, thereby indicating the importance of both local and international tourism in the country as well as the necessity for the use of indigenous resources in our educational establishments. Nigeria’s unique socio-cultural, historical, and geographical features also make it possible for it to promote its own distinctive brands of cultural tourism, eco-tourism, educational, economic and health tourisms in addition to the possibilities of constituting itself into an important African regional tourist attraction (Nigeria’s status in Africa, CBAAC, etc.).

vIn this regard the systematic development of its cultural assets in the form of historical sites and monuments, cultural events and festivals, in addition to its museums, archives and galleries is imperative. Furthermore the systematic promotion of its cultural attributes in the form of Nigerian food, fashion, traditional medical practices, architecture etc. is also very important.

vIn addition to the above there is an increasing and contemporary development of thriving cultural and industrial activities that are characteristically Nigerian and African such as in the field of literature, theatre, films (Nollywood and Kannywood), fashions, cuisines, tourism and restaurants in addition to many others far too numerous to be listed in a short paper of this nature.

vIn the fields of arts, crafts and small scale industries of various nature (metal work, ceramics, wood work, chemical processing, mining, leather works, food processing, building construction etc) lies a tremendous potential for the diversification of the economy through supportive and friendly policies in the form of national support and protection programmes, along with the provision of infrastructural facilities, for the locally based small scale industrial sectors. It is important to emphasise that these creative industries also constitute the foundries for the technological development of the country in practical terms.

vFinally, in addition to the need for the creation of a supportive environment to such small-scale, and locally based, industries the Federal Government need to directly patronize such industries in order to promote them. For example, legislation should be introduced for their participation in all government funded contract projects up to a certain percentage, as is the law in some African countries, such as, Morocco. Similarly, the cultural aridity currently defining most national establishments (especially Aso Rock, the National Assembly (NASS) and many of our embassies abroad) could be reversed if the government were to order their embellishment with Nigerian products, especially its arts and crafts – a measure that will generate great benefits to the local economy.

  1. Strategic Considerations for the Achievement of Economic Diversification

In order for the various suggestions made above to be effectively implemented, there is the need for the Ministry to initiate the formulation, coordination and implementation of the immediate role that the cultural and tourism sectors need to play towards the general diversification of the Nigerian economy.

For this to be achieved there is a need to have representation from the major stakeholders such as the Ministry and its Parastatals; independent NGOs and associations active in the cultural sector; private entrepreneurs engaged in the promotion of cultural industries, and resource persons from the academia to map out what could be achieved within the next two to three years as a strategy for bringing together these important sectors to work together and jump-start a coordinated approach to the solution of the problem. It is very significant that this programme is not only designed around the current, and relevant, national policies but that it also engages the other relevant ministries towards the implementation of such provisions.

An example here is the need for the Ministry of Education to ensure the teaching of Nigerian history and cultures at all the relevant levels of our educational institutions as a primary strategy for nation-building and national development. This very important step will also make it possible to simultaneously incorporate the various technical and scientific achievements of our various cultures into the curriculum for scientific and technological education in the country.

  1. Conclusion

A historical survey of all human societies indicates that the capacity for industrial production did not only define their nature but also their integrity and independence. Mono-economies were specific creations of the European imperial powers in their different colonies. These need to be surmounted if true and independent development is to be initiated. 

A comparative survey of modern developed, and diversified, economies of Europe, USA, Russia, China, Brazil, India, etc. illustrate that the ability to formulate and implement diverse and contingent national policies that were anchored in the creative cultural peculiarities and capabilities, or national resourcefulness, of their countries at all levels was vital to the design, origination, organization and development of their economies. Most importantly economic diversification, or industrialization, cannot be wholly imported from foreign sources but nurtured on the basis of local needs, abilities and resources.

In order for Nigeria to achieve similar objectives it need not only focus, more broadly, on its cultural attributes and tourism potentials but also approach these from the point of view of existing national policies and programmes in a manner that engages all the relevant stake-holders.

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*** Being a Paper Presented at the National Summit on Culture and Tourism with the theme, “Repositioning Culture and Tourism in a Diversified Economy”, organized by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture at the Congress Hall, Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, on 27-29 April, 2016.

Developing a Data Bank in the Tourism and Culture Industry

Written by Austine Posted in Featured Articles

Developing a Data Bank in the Tourism and Culture Industry

Bertram Azuwuike

National Bureau of Statistics

Abuja-FCT

Introduction

The presentation begins by defining data bank. Then it goes on to highlight the importance of having a databank for the Tourism and Culture Industry. This is followed by a listing of some of the variables for which Tourism and Culture data are collected. It then ended with a brief mention of how to organize data inside the data bank.

What is a Data Bank?

A data bank is repository of information on one or more subjects in a way that facilitates information retrieval. The data in the data bank can be a collection of independent records or one or more databases.

What is the Importance of Data Bank in the Tourism and Culture Industry?

  1. Tourism data will help to show the significance of tourism’s economic contribution, and this gives the industry greater respect from both government officials, and the general public.
  2. It is very necessary for any meaningful planning and budgeting.
  3. Data can be used to make a more convincing and persuasive argument for government to support projects and developments in the Tourism and Culture Industry
  4. It is useful in the monitoring and evaluation of ongoing projects and budgets.
  5. It enables policy maker to measure the impact of past policies and projects, thus helping us to known the extent to which the set objectives were attained.
  6. It also enables policy makers to project the impact of proposed projects and policies, thereby helping us to make better decisions.
  7. With data, it will be possible to make good estimate both the current and future number of employment in the industry. The availability of appropriate data enables us to measure the contribution of Tourism and Culture to the nations GDP.
  8. Data will provide information on benefits of investing in tourism promotion, benefits of investing in visitors facilities, benefits of investing in tourism related infrastructure,  effects of regulatory policies on tourism business, value of partnerships with business in the industry, returns on investments in tourism development, and benefits of international efforts and cooperation to grow tourism.

Some of the Data Required in the Tourism and Culture Industry

The data used in the Tourism and Culture industry can be categorized into the following:

  • Subjective data that rely on expert opinion;
  • Secondary data; and
  • Primary data.

B Data required

Some of the data commonly required for research, planning, monitoring and evaluation and model building, and analyses of activities in the industry are the following:

  1. Number of hotels
  2. Number of rooms available in hotels
  3. Number of rooms occupied in ordinary days/special and festival days
  4. Trip length in nights stayed
  5. Visitor’s expenditure in hotels, on transportation, on food & drinks, etc.
  6. Party size of visitors
  7. Festivals, their dates, length in days
  8. Number of festivals
  9. No of visitors to festival, expenditure of visitors, etc.
  10. Number of employees
  11. Wages paid to industry employees
  12. Revenue received by operators in the industry
  13. Revenue received from products and services
  14. Purchases by operators in the industry
  15. Taxes paid by operators in the industry
  16. Number of foreign visitors and the length of stay
  17. Number of domestic visitors and on the length of stay
  18. Number of historic properties, and their locations
  19. Cost of maintain and/or preserving historic properties
  20. Number of visitors to historic properties
  21. Revenues received from visitors to historic properties
  22. Number of employees in respect of historic properties and their salaries and wages, etc.

Organization of the Contents of the Data Bank

Before the database is designed, there is usually a study of the current position to establish what is available. After this a statement of the requirement is produced which states what the database should contain and how it is to be organised. The content of this statement of requirement is what is implemented.

  1. The way the data in the data bank is organised is very important. The effectiveness of the organization of data in the data bank is measured by the easiness by which data is retrieve and manipulated. So all sound data banks must ensure fast and easy data retrieval and processing.
  2. The best way to do so in this our computer age is to organize the data in a database form. The database is created, run and maintained with the use of a database management system (DBMS).
  3. There are many types of database management systems out in the market now, with varying levels of sophistications and capabilities. The most commonly used, are Oracles by Sun Systems Inc. and SQL Server by Microsoft Inc.
  4. The choice of the DBMS depends on my issues among which is the type of computer configurations available to an organization, the nature of the data to be archived and the level and type of computer expertise available.

Conclusion

We are in what some people now call the information age. Gone are the days when decisions are based on intuitions, hunches, and experiences only.  Decisions these days must be evidence based. The main way of providing evidence is through data and statistics. The data must be archived in a way that ensures easy retrieval and manipulation. Hence, the need for a data bank and database to facilitate decision making in the Tourism and Culture industry. Therefore if this little piece is able to contribute in helping to ginger the establishment of a sound databank and database in the Tourism and Culture industry, it would be considered useful.

*** Being a Paper Presented at the National Summit on Culture and Tourism with the theme, “Repositioning Culture and Tourism in a Diversified Economy”, organized by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture at the Congress Hall, Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, on 27-29 April, 2016.

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