Imo State government has set up a committee to produce general rules of engagement for masquerades, festivals, and cultural events in the state.
The state Commissioner for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Mazi Uche Ohia disclosed this in a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer of the ministry, Ben Uwakwe.
According to Ohia, the effort is geared towards rekindling the fire of Igbo values and heritage in the young people.
He added that it is also aimed at projecting the positive aspects of Igbo culture and thereby developing the festivals and cultural events into modern tourism events that would attract more tourists to the state.
Performing the inauguration, Ohia stated, “the committee in appraising the festivals should come up with general rules of engagement. The Ministry is expected to regulate the operations of festivals so that people do not ridicule or desecrate our culture, for example, masquerades should not stand before moving objects like vehicles, degrade themselves publicly or be desecrated”.
Ohia further stated, “Promotion of our culture is not a return to yesterday; it is in preparation for tomorrow, not projecting the repugnant practices of our forefathers but rekindling the positive aspects of our heritage and our traditional values which a lot of young people do not understand these days”.
He charged the committee to “examine and determine which cultural practices deserve preservation and projection and which ones that do not meet the standards and realities of modernity”.
The commissioner further charged the committee to recommend guidelines for cultural festivals and events to ensure that they meet acceptable standards, and to engage knowledgeable persons in the communities who would give insight into the cultures of our people.
He enjoined the committee to “identify areas where our culture is posing impediments and take them up with the people, example, high cost of contracting traditional marriages in some areas”.
The committee is made up of Mrs J. N Oguike, Head of Department of Culture in the Imo State Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts as Chairman; Hon Paddy Obinna, Special Adviser to Imo State Governor on Arts and Culture, as Adviser/Member; Hon Bobby Michaels, Special Adviser to Imo State Governor on Culture, as Adviser/Member; Mrs Assumpta Akujobi, Director, Imo State Council for Arts and Culture, Member; and Mrs. Beatrice Amaefule, Assistant Chief Cultural Affairs Officer, Imo State Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, as Member/Secretary.
Others are Mrs Adaeze V. Nzeogu, Ben Uwakwe, Mrs Ngozi Ohams, and Barrister Paul Nwogu, all of the Imo State Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts as Members.
In her post-inauguration speech, the Chairman of the Committee, Mrs. Josephine Oguike, assured that the committee would justify the confidence reposed on it by government.
The terms of reference of the Committee are to appraise all major festivals in Imo State using the 2021 Report of each identified festival; to identify the challenges and problems militating against the development of the Festivals into modern Tourism events capable of holding the interests of visitors in Imo State and any other related matters; and to make recommendations to Government based on the findings.
The committee has three months to conclude its activities and record its findings and recommendations for presentation to the ministry.