*From Right: Director of Culture, LSCAC, Mrs. Otulana Olaitan; Director of NICO Training School, Mrs. Brigitte Yerima at the workshop held in Lagos
By Prisca Duru
The position of art and culture as big time economy booster in the era of diversification for Nigeria, dominated paper presentations at a two-day workshop held for culture officers in Lagos State.
Organised by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation, NICO, in collaboration with the Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture, LSCAC, the workshop was themed Repositioning Cultural Workers for Effective Service Delivery.
In his paper titled: Arts, Crafts and National Development, Dr. Gbaja Patrick of the Lagos State Diversity Museum, said that “Art is expensive and needs more attention than petroleum. Right here in this industry, we have more than enough jobs for our unemployed graduates if the right thing is done.
“Lagos State arts and culture are yet untapped. Art is greater than petroleum; it’s an area yet to be tapped. Government needs to pay more attention to the industry as it has full potential to boost our economy if properly harnessed,” he said.
“Lagos State is ranked among the leading producers and marketers of Arts and Crafts in Africa,” Dr. Gbaja said, stressing that Lagos serves as point of buying and selling of artworks.
Majority of rural population of Lagos State are recognised with production of arts and crafts, which provide gainful employment as traditional occupations.
Skills and products are, however, improving with government interests in development of rural communities for the youngsters who live on the riverside. There is no age restriction in learning the technique for survival.
Dr. Gbaja, however, lamented the rate at which the best of Nigeria’s artifacts and antiquities are being carted away to foreign lands without their yielding the desired economic result.
Other papers presented at the workshop included; Cultural Officers and the Administration of Institutional Culture by Barr. Atakere; Cultural Research/Report Writing by Mr. Timothy Ohakpo of NICO Training School and Aduaka Chuks from ASTON, Badagry.
In her opening remarks, Director of Culture, Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture, Mrs. Otulana Olaitan, while commending NICO for organising the training in a bid to improve the quality of service delivery of the participants, stated that training is “a veritable tool with which we impact on our offices and society at large.”
Mrs. Otulana pointed out that “training of this sort is very necessary especially in the new era where focus is on creative economy which is why we wanted experts in the fields to facilitate the workshop so that the impact will reflect positively on the economy and society in general.
While encouraging culture officers to promote arts and culture and at the same time, make a living from the sector, the Director, NICO Training School, Mrs. Brigitte Yerima, expressed optimism that the workshop would go a long way in helping participants serve the society better by recognising vital areas in the sector that are yet untapped and making a fortune out of them.