Creative arts experts and aesthetic communication scholars have called for a review of the Akwa Ibom State Emblem and Anthem to draw an intellectually acceptable image to the state.
The position was reached at the Roundtable organized on Friday by the State Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) at the Image House, Information Drive, Uyo.
The steps by the Institute was in reaction to public criticism that trailed the state emblem and anthem since passed into law by the state House of Assembly, and unveiled to the people as part of the activities to mark Akwa Ibom at 33 in September 2020.
The scholars and other professionals in the field of creative arts therefore took turns to make public their critique on the Emblem, Anthem and even the Flag.
The Lead Speaker and an expert in aesthetics communication, Prof Peter Esuh of the Department of Communication Arts, University of Uyo applauded the state government for initiating the process of equitable branding, but however called for a review of certain lyrics in the anthem.
Prof Esuh, who also queried the crowned lion’s head on the emblem, opined that the choice of head of a dead lion could not rightly convey true feeling of strength and bravery.
Discussants at the event, including the Dean of Faculty of Environmental Studies, Prof Best Ochigbo; South-South Regional Editor of Premium Times, Mr. Cletus Ukpong and Mr Mike Asuquo of BusinessDay Newspaper, pointed to areas where adjustments were needed to arrive at a better emblem and anthem for the state.
In his criticism, Mr. Mike Asuquo, a professional cartoonist, said “These symbols appear to have been chosen arbitrarily by the designer or perhaps they were part of the brief. But while they serve aesthetic purposes they leave a lot of the intrinsic value of the state unexplained. There is the danger of cliche in the choice of choosing elements. Overloading some elements with meanings. For instance, the cowries, which represents an ancient means of exchange, is not peculiar to Akwa-Ibom state.”
“Number of elements should be reduced. The entire emblem should be created in two dimensions. It is easier for reproduction. The charges on the shield should be reduced. I suggest the supporters (ivories) should be replaced with some more significant elements. Animal perhaps,” he added.
In his remarks, Chairman of the Roundtable Planning Committee, Prof Des Wilson, congratulated Akwa Ibom State Government for coming up with the idea of an element that can help galvanize the people and give them a sense of belonging and uniqueness.
“We are here to do some evaluation of what has been presented to the state as emblem. If there are things identified as possible areas of adjustment, suggestion would be made to government for possible changes to make it more solid and more acceptable. Whatever would have been presented would still have been subjected to some form of criticism”, he said
Speaking, the State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Comrade Ini Ememobong, who was a Special Guest of Honour at the event, said the idea of the State symbols had remained a recurring issue for past governments.
He added that the symbols were not perfect “as no human process is completely perfect.”
The Commissioner expressed confidence that the Emblem and Anthem have so far shored up the pride of Akwa Ibom and satisfied the yearnings of past leaders of the state, assuring that “the State Government is open to suggestions that could lead to perfecting the symbols.”
While he could not give assurance of immediate modifications on the emblem and anthem as they had been passed into Law by the State House of Assembly, the Commissioner however assured that steps would be taken to review the law when convincing rooms are established for adjustments.
On his part, the State Chapter Chairman of NIPR, Mr. Nsemeke Udoakpan, said the Roundtable will be in series going forward, to enable the chapter pick on and discuss topical issues affecting the state and nation.
(Source: DAILY INDEPENDENT)