Former governor of Abia State, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, has advised Nigerians to see the economic opportunities inherent in the nation. Kalu made this known to journalists at a quarterly public lecture series organised by the National Institute For Cultural Orientation (NICO) themed: Culture, Economy and good Governance: The Nigerian Experience. He said, “Crude oil is a curse to Nigeria because it is dragging us back. Culture is the way forward, the differences in human living, language, fashion, architecture, food, dance, music and many more are the essential make up of our cultural diversity. As there are over 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria, there are over a billion economic opportunities”. According to Kalu, about two million visitors were recorded at the Cross River 2017 edition of the carnival.
This is a huge number that goes with it economic potentialities because of the success of the carnival, many other states in the southern part of Nigeria are developing their versions. “I am however not happy that our states in the eastern flank are not exploring opportunities in festival masquerades. I am sure that a wellorganised festival of masquerades in the south east, will attract investments and tourists to help grow economy of the state”.
Earlier, acting executive secretary/CEO, NICO, Louis Eriomala, reiterated his conviction that a better understanding of the intricate relationship between culture, economy and good governance by all stakeholders, would engender the much needed socio-political and economic development of Nigeria. Eriomala said, “Until we make culture the bedrock of our development aspirations and our socio-economic and political lifestyles which are regulated by our cherished cultural values, our dream of a better Nigeria would remain a mirage. A significant source of the economic transformation of the Asian Tigers, is attributable to their strong cultural foundation; they have made culture the cornerstone of their development agenda”.