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Friday, December 9, 2022

Reviving Nigeria’s Cultural Values

Reviving Nigeria’s Cultural Values

NIGERIA is gradually losing its much cherished cultural values. and  this is a worrisome development that needs serious attention of all and sundry. Culture is seen as  the arts, customs that characterize a particular society or nation. Which when stressed further can be seen as comprising of the beliefs, values , behavior and materials that constitute the people’s way of life. All these are being eroded daily by many forces from within and without, of course at the detriment of our present and future generations.

  IN the past,  races from various parts of the globe used to come and visit us to witness and study various aspects of our cultures because they are not only rich but admired as they are all tailored towards producing a whole well behaved being that will be useful to himself and be a responsible person in the larger society through positive contributions in all spheres of human endeavors. No wonder then, that people from Europe, Asia, America were even coming here in torrents to study our system with a view to replicate those values of ours which unfortunately we, especially our youths of today are rapidly desecrating.

 WE didn’t get to this pitiable situation of cultural degradation overnight. Many of us were contributory to the bad situation. The Press, both electronic and print had its own level of culpability. The print will unabashedly present almost nude pictures of ladies in conspicuous pages as role model for others to emulate as nudity portends, to them, beauty, which contrasts with our culture. Still, the electronic media will rather showcase the bad values of the Western world of gangsters, lack of respect for elders, morbid craze for money, and of course songs, whose lyrics preaches immorality and are in contrast to what our people had, from generation to generation agreed as standard for peaceful co existence in their societies.

THE numerous soap operas given prime viewing time are not in agreement with our cultural values. Of course, many of these stations are rationalizing that it was due to paucity of fund as these operas and foreign films are cheaper to access than local productions and thus laying the blame on the doorstep of the governments at various levels. No thanks to our taste for foreign materials.

TO  great extent, our colonial experience before independence under the British which psyched our people to believe that only foreign products and beliefs are good has been affecting the way many of us see life. But then, we are not the only country that had colonial experience. India, Japan, Britain, America and even some African countries were once under one dominating power or another but still maintained their cultural identities after gaining their independence. Indians and many others are still carrying out everything, even when in foreign nations in accordance with their culture. Why are we different? It is very painful that our culture which we are relegating is being sought fervently by countries like America which now sends numerous scholars to come and learn our language, sponsor foundations and awarding grants to the students to come and conduct researches on our ways of life which we are pushing to the background.

 THE HOPE believes that there should be cultural renaissance as we cannot afford to bequeath this pitiable situation to our future generation if we don’t want our culture to go into total extinction as could be seen in the cases of some languages that had gone and lost by their original speakers. The creation of “Asa Day” whereby the pupils of both Primary and Secondary Schools are made to wear traditional dresses instead of the usual shirt and trousers or skirt and blouse is a good step in the right direction, although palliative all the same. A more holistic and multi dimensional steps must be taken.

A situation where our pupils, especially in the formative years of Primary and Secondary schools are being censored  for speaking vernacular should be seriously frowned at, after all, we cannot be more English than the Britons. This relegation of our native languages had led to the dearth of teachers of these languages because Government does not give them the type of prominence and recognition accorded those of the foreign languages. The fact that we do not respect our own cultures had led the foreign countries to capitalize on our error and seize the initiative with the subtle and passive support of our own government by having their so called “French”, “German Goethe Institute” etc formed primarily to promote their cultures and traditions, at the detriment of our own cultures and traditions. Government should encourage local festival and give them due prominence in both local and international media.

OUR  schools, at various levels should have prominent place for our culture and traditions in their syllabi.  Teachers of our languages and culture related courses should be well motivated and encouraged to perform excellently and never be allowed to feel inferior under any guise.  Mere branding a song or film as NTBB (Not to be broadcast) is not enough to discourage entrepreneurs who are more eager for money than any other patriotic ideals.

ERRANT  stations or producers of songs and films making a mess of our cultural values should not just be fined but have their licenses revoked and be jailed as well. They deserve it because the level of decadence in our society today can be traced to them. They are daily using the media as co accused to erode our cherished “Omoluabi” or decent citizen concept among the Yorubas , for example and replacing it with the ‘Get rich quick syndrome’ of today which needs to be condemned. The religious homes which had not been helping by subjugating our culture and tradition to the background should be sensitized and made to have a sort of reorientation or be sanctioned. The idea of seeing anything traditional as idolatry or devilish as the Whites made us feel should be revisited. Public functions should be decorated in ways that will depict our history.

IN  fact, that brings one to seek the teaching of history as a subject in the Primary and Secondary Schools as compulsory subject. The more we know about our past, the better for our future. We as individual members of the society should change our mindsets from the defeatist mentality that anything foreign is good and better than ours. We should patronize our locally produced fabrics like “Aso Oke”, Adire (tie and dye) and Ankara prints, especially when in diplomatic circles while our embassies abroad should project all our cultural aspects accordingly without allowing their religious bias and sentiments to come between them and their patriotic duties. Nigerians cannot afford to wait any longer to start the journey for reviving our cultural values.

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