Linus Aleke, Abuja
In line with the current administration’s drive for the diversification of the nation’s economy from over-reliance on oil, the Executive Secretary of National Institute for Cultural Orientation, (NICO) Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma has called for the urgent establishment of National Endowment Fund for the Arts in accordance with the Cultural Policy for Nigeria.
Dr. Ayakoroma who made this call at the National Institute for Cultural Orientation Quarterly Public Lecture Series held in Abuja also observed that cultural sector has better prospects than Agriculture and Solid Minerals in the diversification effort of government if given priority attention.
He explained that the institute has the mandate of effecting a sense of cultural direction in the citizenry to meet the challenges of social integration, unity, peaceful co-existence, and national development, saying the institute is achieving this noble mandate through inter-agency, inter-sectoral, and inter-disciplinary programmes and projects.
His word, “It is no longer news that Nigeria is in a recession and the current administration is committed to the diversification of the economy in order to minimize our dependence on oil. While we commend the attention being paid to Agriculture and Solid Mineral sector, we make bold to say that the culture sector has better prospects if priority attention is given to it as many countries have done.
“In this regard, we recommend that the long awaited National Endowment Fund for the Arts in line with the Cultural Policy for Nigeria should be established as a matter of urgency, to provide the much needed financial support for our creative industries. This will make the sector, which has been seen as the fastest growing globally; respond adequately to our need for a diversified economy.
“Culture, as the vehicle that drives tourism, is waiting patiently for us to explore to enhance our economic growth. Our festivals, dresses, foods, natural tourist sites like Lagoons, Lakes, Rivers, Mangrove forests, Waterfalls, Warm springs, Mountains, Rocks, and natural resorts are waiting to be explored and exploited. It means we do not have to wait until oil wells dry up before we look towards the direction of the culture and tourism sector”
He however further expressed the confident that revenue generation from culture and tourism sector can boost the nation’s economy and aid Nigeria out of recession if government at all levels and stakeholders give the sector serious attention.
Present at the occasion were Governor of Imo state, Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha who was the guest lecturer, Minister of Information Lai Mohammed, Chairman Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Senator Mathew Urhoghide, his House of Reps Counterpart, Hon. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, DG National Council of Arts and Culture (NCAC) Mrs. Dayo Keshi amongst other important dignitaries.