NCAC @ 40… Nigerians urged to support creative industry
In fact, a total of 118 exhibitors are participating at the on-going market. The Expo features the best of Nigeria, Africa and indeed the world’s in indigenous fabrics, arts and crafts, pottery, souvenirs, interior decorations and fashion accessories.
Since the opening, the fair has continued to attract dignitaries, including the wife of Nigeria’s Vice President Mrs. Dolapo Oshinbajo who expressed the need to encourage indigenous creative enterprises. Though she was not on an official visit as she clearly stated, Mrs. Oshinbajo made a tour of the fair, noting that she was motivated by the aired report of the fair during its opening. She also purchased some local arts and crafts as a way to encourage operators of the creative industry.
Earlier at the opening ceremony, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Mrs. Nkechi Ejele, stated that the event, which has drawn participants from Africa and beyond, highlights the economic opportunities that abound in the creative industry. It has as theme ‘Stimulating the Economic Growth Potentials of the Culture Industries’.
“Its potentials should therefore be harnessed towards arresting youth restiveness, rural-urban drift as well as reduce poverty”, Ejele added.
With the population of about 170 million, the Permanent Secretary said Nigeria is a fertile market for any quality product. In view of this, she informed that government was determined to support local producers of arts and crafts, as a way of developing their capacity for undertaking the supply of large volume and high standard products which can effectively dominate the domestic market while excelling in the global market.
She said: “It is pertinent to state that the event has provided the platform for craftsmen and women all over Africa and beyond to make contacts, interact, showcase and market their products as well as share ideas, concepts and experience that would forge international cooperation and understanding. Therefore, we encourage private individuals and corporate bodies to partner with both the Ministry and NCAC in our efforts at economic diversification that is sure to empower the rural population and enhance socio-economic development of our country.
“The spirit of creativity and enterprise of the participating crafts women and men from various states of the federation, local government areas as well as the private sector participants including NGOs for showcasing the rich and diverse cultural heritage of our dear nation”.
In her welcome address, the Director General, NCAC, organizers of the fair, Mrs. Dayo Keshi, stated that the council had the capacity to contribute significantly to the country’s economic development, especially in areas of building a strong rural economy that would sustain women and youths. In the face of globalization onslaught, Mrs. Keshi expressed the need for Nigeria to protect and promote her culture.
“In preserving and promoting our culture, we celebrate the bonds that bind us and the strength of our diversity. What we in this country must bear in minds is that throughout history, a nation’s only real wealth is its cultural heritage which therefore must be preserved and fully exploited to preserve the nation’s identity and natural comparative advantage”.
She added that beyond the immediate socio-economic gains, the fair would promote import and export of African arts and crafts, sensitize prospective investors as well as encourage public/private partnership in the industry.
The two-week fair is expected to close next Tuesday, September 15 with awards for the best product designs as well as the most innovative and enterprising exhibiters from among the participating groups and countries.
Other events lined up for the celebration simultaneously, include performance of school syllabus literature, children cultural fiesta, international cultural variety nite as well as the intellectual segment – the round table forum.
Mrs. Dayo Keshi said the events would serve to sensitize Nigerians on the stewardship and contributions of the Council to national development.
The NCAC boss noted that against the backdrop of the falling oil price and the growing concerns over the vulnerability of the nation’s economy, it was imperative to draw stakeholders’ attention to the potentials of the culture sector and its numerous contributions to the economic development of the country.
She said: “As we celebrate 40 years of eventful history, the beginning of another threshold, we cannot but engage in some sober reflections as we look forward to a future full of hope and promise.
“For this, I humbly accept the responsibility along with my management team and members of staff to deploy our expertise to provide direction to NCAC, make maximum use of its latent capacities and deliver great gains to the people of Nigeria, especially in arousing their consciousness as to the need to preserve, protect and promote our cultural heritage”.
For this to be accomplished however, the NCAC boss canvassed a deliberate state policy that would enforce or support all official gifts as products of Nigeria’s cultural industry. Others include staging of at least three international arts and crafts expo within a year to be held in different cities of Nigeria.
This, Keshi noted, will create the much needed market for our creative products, thereby generating a beehive of economic activities; encourage the display and sale of arts and crafts products at all major state events and conferences held in Nigeria, as well as establish more theatres and cultural centres, galleries and other monuments of historical significance that can attract tourists to Nigeria with the attendant foreign exchange benefits.
She also expected government agencies to be encouraged to have a short documentary on the economic importance of Nigerian arts and crafts and a
deliberate policy aimed at creating markets for cultural products such as the use of local fabrics for the production of school uniforms nationally.