Nigeria and British Council revive dormant festivals

Solomon Chung, Abuja

Nigeria's Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed (R) and Sir Ciaran Devane, Chief Executive of the British Council signing an MoU on Cultural Cooperation in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Wednesday.

Nigeria and the British Council have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, to train festival managers, revive dormant festivals and traditional games.

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and the Chief Executive of the British Council, Sir Ciaran Devane signed the agreement in Edinburgh, Scotland, on the sidelines of the ongoing 2016 Edinburgh International Festival Summit.

Work plan
MoU is the height of the spirit of cooperation that has taken us thus far…It must put more emphasis on substance rather than form.

“We need to have a work plan that will enable us to measure the achievements year by year,’’ Mohammed said.

According to him, Nigeria is interested in capacity building for festival managers with a view to changing its festivals from mere fun events to business.

The minister stated that the challenge facing the sector was how to ensure that it transits from creative industry to creative economy.

“Nigeria is particularly keen to revive such grand festivals like the Durbar and Argungun, which have not been held for some years and to prevent such traditional games like ‘ayo’ from dying because of their importance in teaching sportsmanship and promoting tolerance,’’ Mohammed added.

Sir Ciaran Devane expressed his delight at the partnership between the Ministry and the British Council.

He also expressed the hope that the MoU would allow both parties to translate their plan into action.

“The British Council will happily assist in any way we can to take the partnership further,’’ Sir Devane promised.

Apart from the British Council, the Ministry of Information and Culture also plans to sign a similar agreement with the Tony Elumelu Foundation.