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NCAC at 40… using cultural offerings to turnaround Nigeria’s economy

By Florence Utor   |   19 August 2015   |   1:01 am  

Mrs. Keshi (left) and Tomoloju… during the media parley at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos

Mrs. Keshi (left) and Tomoloju… during the media parley at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos

WITH dwindling revenue from oil and Nigeria’s lagging behind in terms of technological innovation though endowed with natural resources, which it has not been exploring for economic advancement, the way to go, no doubt, is to see how to convert these natural resources and monuments into economic value. And this, the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) is desirous to do.

The platform to activate this new template is the 40th anniversary celebration of the culture agency billed to kick off tomorrow with briefing and logo unveiling in Abuja.

The Director/CEO of the NCAC, Mrs Dayo Keshi, recently at a media parley in Lagos said that the need to showcase the economic value of Nigeria’s cultural industries as well as redirect the attention of the public and private sector investors to the numerous economic opportunities in the creative sector is the major reason that the parastatal is rolling out drums to celebrate the 40th anniversary.

To Keshi, this has become imperative in order to help government tackle the challenge of sourcing alternative revenue generation especially with the dwindling oil price.

So the celebration, she said would be bringing to the fore the potentials of the council in managing and developing the nation’s rich cultural resources towards socio-economic development of the country, besides bringing the people closer to their cultural essence.

To leave some footprints as part of the celebration, the DG rolled out some projects that would be executed as part of activities to mark the anniversary. She listed them to include, developing an eight story iconic building at the NCAC permanent site through a Public Private Partnership. The building is expected to have facilities such as business offices, gallery, event auditorium, restaurant, a digital studio among other things.

She also mentioned an art dome to be sited in Lagos or Abuja to serve as mall and marketing outlet for Nigerian arts and crafts; as well as an art vendor (bank) to mop up the excess crafts production of arts producers, marketing of their outputs thereby increasing production capacity. Also, the art vendor is being touted as development and value addition to numerous festivals scattered all over the country. This initiative, Mrs Keshi said, would enhance the commercial value of these festivals.

She assured that statutory programmes of the council such as the yearly National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST); the African Arts and Crafts Expo (AFAC); the Nigerian Culture Quiz competition; and NCAC Honours Lecture and Award would be improved upon.

The new cultural initiatives, she said are aimed at complementing “the diversification of the economy by the present administration through the development of cultural industries thereby contributing our quota to enhance the growth of the Nation’s economy and GDP.”

Other events to mark the 40th anniversary are AFAC Expo 2015 running from August 27 to September 10, 2015, while a roundtable forum on creative industries is slated for September 9; Schools Syllabus Production is between October 6 and 22; Children Cultural fiesta is on October 8. International Cultural Variety Nite is slated for November 18. The release, in December, of NCAC News (special edition on the 40th anniversary) will draw curtains on the celebration.
 
Meanwhile, the culture communicator and pioneer Arts Editor of The Guardian, Mr. Ben Tomoloju has thrown his weight behind the celebration. He moderated the Lagos session as he expressed excitement at the management’s plan to mark the occasion with series of programmes cutting across different genres of artistic expression.

According to Tomoloju, NCAC at 40 is worth celebrating as the second national cultural agency after the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) as well as the second largest in terms of strength and programmes. 
 
He believed that the Council has also contributed immensely to the unity of Nigeria by making people to appreciate their culture. “It has also built institutions such as Durba, boat regatta and masquerade around the country.  “In spite of all the impressions that surround culture, it is still standing. I know that there is a lot to be done. Some of us are concerned about strategic programming. 
 
“I know that they have also evolved some programmes such as Honours Lecture and Award as well as African Arts and Crafts Expo (AFAC) – that is a major programme that should be sustained because it has a commercial dimension.
 
“So, there is so much to celebrate. Whatever criticisms we have, whatever suggestions we have, we can use the opportunity of the celebration to articulate views that can move the agency forward.



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