OPINION: How Otunba Ajiboye Is Repositioning Nigeria’s Cultural Values

By Saeed Tijjani

“Without culture, and the relative freedom it implies, society, even when perfect, is but a jungle” – Albert Camus

On January 12th, 2024 the appointment of Otunba Biodun Ajiboye as the Director General, National Institute For Cultural Orientation (NICO) under the Federal Ministry of Art, Culture, and Creative Economy by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu hit the Nigerian airwaves.

An appointment that has been described by Nigerians, cultural experts, cultural icons, corporate organizations among others, as befitting and deserving.

This is not far fetched from the fact that Otunba Biodun Ajiboye is a renown cultural icon whose activity in the international cultural festival, tagged world sango Festival saw over 20000 foreigners in Nigeria in the year 2013.

The new NICO DG and currently the Otunba Muwagun of ORO Kingdom was also on a tour of cultural expedition with the late Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III to Cuba and Brazil in 2014 to appreciate the importance of Yoruba culture in the Americas.

A cultural outing that has distinguished his capacity and love for the growth and expansion of Nigeria Culture.

The passion for culture is always displayed in every of his ceremonial dressing, as a disciple of the late Alafin of Oyo, he mostly appears in his “abeti aja” cap and a well tailored kembe and Royal Dansiki.

Away from being a cultural icon, as a respected Leader in both media and telecommunications, the Cultural ICON understands the ideas and what it takes to contribute to the success of Nigeria’s creative economy.

With a successful background in media and advertising, he is a luminary in the industry.

In less than 3 months upon his assumption as the 6th Director General, National Institute For Cultural Orientation, He took the bull by the horns radiating his commitment on not leaving any stone untouched towards ensuring the success of the agency inline with the #RenewedHope mantra of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu that birthed the creation of the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy.

The NICO Boss has reiterated that inline with President Tinubu Renewed Hope Agenda, his vision for NICO is ensuring cultural renaissance, championing cultural regeneration, and advocacy in the rich tapestry of the Nation while harnessing culture for National Development.

As part of his commitment to ensuring a resounding success in office, He paid a courtesy visit to the Honourable Minister of Arts, Culture, and Creative Economy, Hajia Hannatu Musawa where he expressed his eagerness to collaborate with the Ministry, emphasizing on the pivotal role of cultural orientation in the nation’s creative evolution.

The Cultural ICON has set the machinery in motion to promote Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage propelled by his vision of a nation with a true “Cultural Identity”

Inline with one of the Institute’s objectives of serving as a focus for orientation in cultural matters for Nigeria’s policy makers and other government officials, The NICO Boss also noted that the Institute under his watch will focus more on training political Leaders, Legislators, Diplomats, Military and para-military Leaders.

In his quest towards achieving this and repositioning the Institute, he also parleys the National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (NATCOM-UNESCO) in Nigeria.

He has also struck strategic partnership with top agencies like The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) where NICO partnered on inter-agency collaborations towards re-orienting Nigerians on the need to revive its cultural values as a tool to fight and eradicate corruption in the country.

In a bid to strengthen the involvement of young people in the safeguarding, transmission and promotion of Nigerian culture towards equipping them to become experts in safeguarding the nation’s Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) collaborated with NICO and the University of Calabar to undertake the training, this was made possible by the Otunba Ajiboye led administration.

The Cultural ICON also secured approval from the Management of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to commence teaching of Nigerian indigenous languages in 36 states of the federation and the FCT. This is part of his vision towards driving national re-enactment of Nigeria’s cultural values.

The Oro Born technocrat also revealed his plans on how Nigeria through NICO can earn huge foreign exchange through proper packaging and enhancing Nigeria’s festivals and tourism potentials. He noted that if these are properly put in place they can serve as a good foreign exchange for the country that will help to boost its economy.

In his quest towards a policy realignment that will mandate the inclusion of at least 20 percent of cultural content in films produced in Nigeria, He also partnered the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) to explore areas of collaboration towards achieving the renewed hope agenda of the president Tinubu.

He maintained that he’ll drive the Institute’s core mandate and reposition it to take its right responsibility within the dictate of the Act that created it through effective collaboration with relevant stakeholders both in public sector and private sector.

Otunba is committed to re-enacting cultural values in Nigeria as one that is characterized by vision, diligence and steadfast, dedication towards advancing the cultural landscape in the country.

These uncommon traits of Otunba Biodun Ajiboye has also been confirmed by His Imperial Majesty, Arole Oduduwa Olofin Adimula, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, CFR, Ojaja II, the Ooni of Ife in his press release where he commended President Tinubu and expresses satisfaction over Ajiboye’s appointment as NICO DG.

It’s pleasing to say that Nigeria is lucky to have Otunba Biodun Ajiboye as the custodian of its cultural orientation, another good choice made by President Tinubu towards the actualization of the Renewed Hope agenda.

Culture which makes for group identity and unity is key to genuine nation-building, Otunba Biodun Ajiboye is bringing everything and everyone on board to ensuring the success of President Tinubu towards national development and economic advancement by promoting and projecting the Nigeria’s Cultural values to the world.

If development can be regarded as the enhancement of our living standards then efforts geared development cannot ignore culture.

The United States of America is said to be where they are today as a result of management and development of their cultural values.

It’s our collective responsibilities as a Nation and as people to support Otunba Biodun Ajiboye in his quest to promote Nigeria’s Cultural values.

Saeed Tijjani is a renown online media Practitioner from Kwara State and can be contacted via saeedtijjani3@gmail.com

Editor

Ibrahim Sheriff is the Editor of Fresh Insight and former Special Assistant on Media to the Speaker, Kwara state House of Assembly. Although a management science researcher by training, he has over five years experience of practice in Journalism, Public Relations and Communication Strategy. Sheriff holds a Masters Degree in Finance and Bachelors Degree in Banking and Finance from Kwara state University, Malete. He has Certificates in Digital Journalism, Enterprise Creation and Skill Acquisition (ECSA) and Basic Econometrics Data Analysis, as well as Bank of Industry (BoI) Certificate in Business Management. He is also a holder of Diploma in Cooperative Studies from Kwara state Polytechnic, Ilorin.

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