The Executive Secretary of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, who is also a Visiting Associate Professor to the Department of Theatre and Cultural Studies, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, has advocated for a change of mindset of Nigerians in order to move the country forward.
Ayakoroma stated this, Thursday, 27th August, 2015, at the Banquet Hall, Government House Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, in a lead paper, titled, “National Orientation as a Catalyst for Change: Thought on some Cultural Perspectives,” at the 11th All Nigerian Editors Conference (ANEC), organized by Nigerian Guild of Editors, with the theme, “The Change we Need: The Role of the Editor.”
Sharing some thoughts in his lecture, the erudite scholar and seasoned culture administrator explained that culture provides the ready framework for Nigeria to explore to actualize the type of national orientation that could catalyze positive change, noting that culture, is the totality of a way of life of a people and change is a continuous process, which, if properly directed, will no doubt move the country forward positively.
He stated that Nigerians need to change their thinking and attitude from its present state, decrying the deteriorating condition of the society today, which can be salvaged by positive change rooted on reorientation of the citizenry; just as he posited that if the Federation Government makes culture the centre-piece of its national orientation, the country stands to benefit economically, socially, politically and otherwise.
Ayakoroma, therefore, advised that people need to go back to their roots – a state of mind where there would be genuine love for people and culture, knowledge of Nigerian ingenious languages, respect for elders and constituted authority, hard work, honesty, integrity, humility, high sense of hospitality, transparency, fear of God and accountability, noting that these attributes could be maximally used for the development of the nation.
In his elaborate and highly articulate lecture, the culture and film guru noted that children have grown up to see their indigenous languages as being unimportant, and advocated that the teaching of Nigerian indigenous languages in schools and speaking same in homes and offices should be accorded serious attention.
Similarly, he observed that indecent dressing, particularly among the youths, has made them lose the sense of Nigerian dress culture, as young girls now ‘dress to kill;’ and charged that people should dress decently in Nigerian fabrics, which give us an identity and are the pride of Africans.
The scholar advised people to eschew hero-worshiping, sycophancy, and craze for instant riches, saying parents are guilty of no longer asking their children how they suddenly got rich; rather, they celebrate them for such ill-gotten wealth.
Also related to the above is the menace of armed robbery and sanctity of human life, as the society no longer sees human life as sacred and killings have become so rampant, just as corruption has eaten deep into the social system from families to private and government offices, advising all to cherish integrity, honesty, transparency and accountability and above all the Nigerian spirit, the never-say-die mindset, challenging media professionalism to rise up to their role in redirecting the citizenry.
The panel of discussants, which was under the chairmanship of the veteran editor, Mr. Ray Ekpu of Newswatch fame, included Jika Attoh (Enugu State Broadcasting Service), Celestine Ogolo (Nigerian Tide – Rivers State), and Florence Oliohu (The Chronicle – Cross River State).