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At NICO, it’s new gospel according to Yahuza

By Bridget Chiedu Onochie (Abuja Bureau Chief)
13 July 2022   |   4:00 am
Less than two years after the appointment of Mr. Ado Mohammed Yahuza as the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), the management staff as well as culture enthusiasts have applauded his reform drive.

Ado Muhammed Yahuza

Less than two years after the appointment of Mr. Ado Mohammed Yahuza as the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), the management staff as well as culture enthusiasts have applauded his reform drive.

Yahuza took over leadership of NICO in August 2020 and has since then, sustained efforts at reforming the culture institute that nearly went comatose.

With a clear understanding of the mandate of the cultural orientation institute, the ES saw the need to devote more efforts on the younger generation of Nigerians who, according to him, are easier to groom in preparation to take over the future of the country.

Consequently, he revamped the Children’s Club – one of the institute’s programmes targeted at school children, raising the number of clubs above 100 across various states of the country.

Alexander Omijie, Director, Orientation and Cultural Affairs, “when he came onboard, he had meetings with heads of department so he could be briefed on programs being coordinated on behalf of the institute, the desired outcomes and what we hope to achieve at the end of the day.

Omijie said, he made meaningful inputs that have impacted on the programs we are implementing. He also inquired on Children’s programme since he felt that adults are almost difficult to change.

“We have culture clubs in schools which we are trying to make functional. Last year alone, we were able to establish about 100 clubs in the six Geo-Political zones and he visited some of the schools where the clubs were established and encouraged the teachers.”

Yahuza had during the inauguration of the clubs’ executives earlier in the year, stated that the setting up of cultural clubs in secondary schools was conceptualised to lay a solid cultural and moral foundation for children in the country.

According to Alhaji Ibrahim Husdeini, Director Human Resources Management,, “activities of the clubs have been specifically packaged to inculcate Nigerian cherished cultural values of honesty, hard-work, patriotism, and love for one another. Others are respect for elders and constituted authorities.”

He added that aside stimulating culture consciousness and creativity in students, the cultural club will encourage the students to shun examination malpractices, indecent dressing, drug abuse, cultism and other social vices.

“We are convinced that if our students are supported, encouraged and are fully committed to the activities of NICO Cultural Club, remarkable impacts would be achieved and they will not only be worthy ambassadors but indeed, aspiring leaders of tomorrow,” the ES added.

Another introduction include, Children Cultural Fiesta, a competitive and non-competitive events aimed at instilling cultural consciousness in pupils and students as a way of promoting and sustaining indigenous cultures.

According to a NICO staff, one cannot talk about Nigeria’s culture and tourism without mentioning the three states. He wondered why it took the institute such a long time to recognise the contributions of the states to the country’s culture and tourism development.

Yahuza has distinguished himself as an exemplary leader by carrying his people along in policy actions, by identifying with zonal offices and by making himself accessible to the people through an open-door policy he runs at the NICO head office.

“He is someone that knows parts of NICO’s programmes and activities. When he came on board, he saw six zonal offices and states state offices, especially in states that are known for cultural promotion. That was how Jos, Benin and Kano offices were established,” a NICO staff stated.

Other staff, who spoke to The Guardian, listed capacity building and commitment to staff welfare as some of the innovative efforts put in place by the ES to reposition the institute.

“Our prayer then was for God to give us a leader with the fear of God who will take the issue of staff welfare as a priority, and truly, he has lived up to expectations in that regard.

According to Alhaji Ndaman, Assistant Director, Admin, the ES has considered capacity building for staff as important as welfare. This he did by encouraging staff that wish to further their education particularly in cultural management and administration.

“The management has reviewed the allowances of students who are on study leave upwards by almost 100 per cent. Those who secured admission in the Institute’s Cultural School were also provided accommodation.

“What initially scared people was the problem of accommodation but the current ES was able to secure a hostel accommodation for NICO students who undergo training in Post-Graduate Diploma and Diploma in NICO Cultural School in Abuja. “Accreditation of NICO Diploma programme in Cultural Administration by National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) was successfully accomplished this year by the ES,” the director informed.

Meanwhile, it was disclosed that the ES is in the process of reviewing the number of indigenous languages taught at the institute’s Indigenous Language Programme – an annual programme where Nigerian languages are taught to save them from extinction. The programme began with few major Nigerian languages and has continued to expand over time.

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