In a renewed effort to further promote culture at the grassroot, the head, Ibadan office of Nigerian Institute of Cultural Orientation (NICO), Mr Adeniji Oladosu in this interview with WALE OLAPADE, speaks on the institute mission. Excerpts:
WHAT is NICO’s mission in Oyo State?
National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) was established in October 1992, by Act 93 of 1993 as part of the response by government to the United Nations call through UNESCO, that culture should form the bedrock of national development. Subsequently, NICO’s platform is to ensure that the cultural dimension is central rather than peripheral in Nigeria’s developmental programmes. Also to serve as a focus for orientation in cultural matters for Nigeria’s policy makers and other government officials as well as to develop cultural materials for promoting cultural images of Nigeria nationally and internationally and using them for the realisation of the nation’s cultural objectives. The institute has made meaningful impact over the years through its zonal structures, and the newly created state offices by the executive secretary are expected to further spread the NICO story to the people at the grass-root, which is one of our major mission in Oyo State.
How relevant is NICO in promoting culture in Nigeria?
NICO has been relevant since inception, especially since the arrival of the present Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma since 2009 with his programmes. For example, a letter has been written to the presidency by the NICO boss on the ‘Nigeria dress code’, a move to encourage and promote local fabrics and dress styles, by appearing in Nigeria attires on designated days of the working week by the Nigeria public/civil servants, a programme which has already started with NICO staff. The letter still awaits approval by the Federal Executive Council.
What method have you adopted towards making sure that your institute achieve a uniformed orientation goal in Ibadan ditto Nigeria?
As you all know that we are multi-ethnic nation; there is the need to carry every group along in all the programmes of the institute. The 2012 national conference which attracted nationwide attention with the theme “Culture, Peace and National Security: The role of traditional rulers and local government chairmen” was another good example of the institute’s executive secretary’s programme attended by eminent traditional rulers and state governors, local government chairmen and other stakeholders.
How will you describe the acceptance since your institute berthed in Ibadan?
We are just taking off in Ibadan, we need to go to Oyo, Ogbomoso, Saki/Igbeti and other towns in the state and there are lots to be covered. With the little that we have done, the acceptance is encouraging.
What practical achievement has NICO recorded in recent times vis-a-vis the statutory roles as an institute and an orientation parastatal?
The institute, early this year held the maiden matriculation ceremony for the fifth set of students for the Diploma and Post Graduate Diploma Courses in Cultural Administration.
What are your plans for Oyo State in terms of educating youths on the need to preserve and promote Nigeria cultural norms and values?
There are cultural clubs in secondary schools established by NICO aimed at instilling in our children a desire to appreciate the beauty in our diverse cultural heritage. We also want to encourage them to imbibe some positive Nigerian values and build in them a sense of pride in being a Nigerian, which forms part of our plans for Oyo State.
What are the templates and programmes designed for your orientation programme for Oyo State?
We have so many programmes for Oyo State, but tentatively, the following have been lined up for execution: Indigenous Language programme, training of cultural officers, local government workers, children cultural fiesta, Yoruba quiz programme, creation of NICO Cultural Clubs in secondary schools, documentation of festivals in the state among others.
How soon are you starting the orientation programme and who are your target?
It is going to be quick, as we have started rolling out letters to all the stakeholders, which includes traditional rulers, secondary school pupils, civil servants, students of tertiary Institutions and youths in the society, among others.
Why did you choose Ibadan as your next port of call?
As earlier said that NlCO has spread its tentacles to the grassroots with four new offices created in Niger, Gombe, Oyo and Enugu states, and as Ibadan is part of the nation, so the city must enjoy the programmes of NICO as well.
Does NICO have affiliation with any local and or international institution (s)?
Yes, knowing the importance of having affiliation, the Executive Secretary of the institute in his capacity made it a priority to boost the pedigree of NICO, thus we are affiliate of Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Nasarawa State, Valparaiso University, Indiana and South Illinois University, Carbondale both in the United States of America.