Imo State Commissioner for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Mazi Uche Ohia, PhD, has received an award from the National Commission for Museums and Monuments at the 2022 International Museum Day celebration held on May 25, 2022, at the National Museum premises, Owerri, where he gave a hint that plans were on for the setting up of an ultra-modern museum in Owerri by Government.
Presenting the Pillar Of Tourism, Culture And Creative Arts award to Mazi Uche Ohia, the Curator of National Museum, Owerri, Mrs Carol Agbamuche, who represented the Director General of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Professor Abba Isa Tijani, said the honour was “in recognition of your contributions to the development and promotion of the Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts industry in Imo State”.
Speaking, Mazi Uche Ohia gave an assurance that Imo State Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts and its Parastatals were “dedicated to the cause of promoting Igbo culture and heritage”.
Towards that end, he disclosed that government would soon establish a museum to warehouse and thereby protect and preserve our artefacts and cultural heritage for posterity.
The Commissioner lamented that “it is a sad thing that proper attention is not paid to our history, our heritage”, adding that “if we don’t have our past together, we cannot have our present together and the future will remain uncertain”.
He commended the National Commission for Museums and Monuments for its efforts at repatriating our lost artefacts and thanked the Commission for the award promising to sustain the strategic partnership between it and Imo State.
He dedicated the award to the State Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, and to the OMENIMO DANCE TROUPE of Imo State Council for Arts and Culture.
In a message to the occasion delivered by the Curator National Museum Owerri, Mrs Carol Agbamuche, the Director General of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Professor Abba Isa Tijani, said the International Museum Day is celebrated annually to motivate and encourage individuals to visit and enjoy museums, and to create awareness on the challenges facing museums. He noted that the Commission has “been achieving great success in its repatriation pursuit”, stating that Nigeria recently “won her case and brought back a 600 year old IFE TERRACOTTA from the Netherlands”.
Professor Tijani noted that there have been agreements with countries in Europe to “release numerous priceless Antiquities belonging to Nigeria”.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the occasion, Professor Chidi Osuagwu of the Department of Industrial Biochemistry, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, said the event was “to stimulate the interest of our people in the lives of our ancestors so as to guide our present generation to chart our future”. He noted that museums and the symbols they represented were important towards understanding our world.
In a Lecture, Rev Dr Michael Ihemadu of the Imo State University, Owerri, said, “museum educates us on where we are coming from; it is a repository of our historical heritage, a reservoir of our history and culture”.
He lamented the “removal of History from the teaching curriculum in Nigeria”.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “The Power of Museums”. The day is an annual celebration marked globally on May 18th.