National Orientation as a Catalyst for Change: Thoughts on Some Cultural Imperatives

National Orientation as a Catalyst for Change:

Thoughts on Some Cultural Imperatives

By

Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, PhD

Executive Secretary/CEO

National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO)/

Visiting Associate Professor

Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK)

Website: www.nico.gov.ng

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Being a Paper Presented at the

11th All Nigerian Editors Conference (ANEC)

Organised by

Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE)

At the

Banquet Hall, Government House, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State

On

Thursday, 27th August, 2015

Preamble

Two years ago, I was at the Events Centre, Asaba, Delta State, for the 2013 edition of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) Annual Conference. I was at that event, not as Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, but as a representative of the then Honourable Minister for Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke. Our people say, “the message does not kill the bearer;” so, I delivered his message on that occasion. This year, I am here in my capacity, as the Executive Secretary/CEO of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), to share some thoughts.

Let me first express my profound joy that the Government of Bayelsa State saw the need to host this all-important conference. If we have to tell the Bayelsa story, I believe that editors are better placed as invaluable partners. My gratitude goes also to Members of the Organising Committee of this year’s conference, for finding me worthy to present this paper. I do not know what really informed their choice; but I believe the fact that I am here shows that the choice had the support of the top hierarchy of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE). Furthermore, I was asked to speak on the topic, “National Orientation as a Catalyst for Change;” but I have used my artistic license to make it, “National Orientation as a Catalyst for Change: Thoughts on Some Cultural Imperatives.” The idea in the second strand of the topic is for us to examine the centrality of culture in national development, as contextually embedded in this discourse.

Conceptual Framework

Life, they say, is always in constant motion; and for you to get the best out of it, you have to be up and doing. In fact, you can compare life with a masquerade dance; you cannot get the best glimpse staying on one spot. You change your position from time to time to get a better viewpoint and so on. It reminds us about the saying that, “the only thing that is permanent in life is change.” This leads us to some of the key concepts in the topic, specifically, orientation, catalyst, change, and cultural imperatives.

            Apart from first seeing orientation as an Oriental way of thinking and doing things, The New Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language defines orientation, in part, as, “an orienting or being oriented; position with relation to the point of the compass… the relative position of atoms or groups about a nucleus or existing configuration” (707). On the other hand, the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines the term as, “the act of directing your aims towards a particular thing” (1038). The implication here is that, if a group of people are oriented towards a way of doing things, they will be used to it and hold on to it perpetually, no matter the conditions.

Going further, Webster’s Dictionary defines catalyst as,

a substance that alters the rate of a chemical reaction and is itself unchanged by the process. Catalysts usually increase the rate of chemical reaction, so enabling them, for example, to take place under milder conditions, e.g., at a lower temperature than would otherwise be possible (154).

What is worth noting here is that a catalyst helps to change the state of what it is working on but remains unchanged; it is not adulterated or corrupted because of the contact with the other substance.

            This brings us to the term, change, which has been defined by the same Webster’s Dictionary as, “alteration; the exchange of one thing or another; a new occupation of fresh look; the passing from one form, phase, or place to another… to take off (clothes) and put on different ones” (163). Today, the word, change, has become a cliché in both private and government circles. It is not because it is a new word; it is based on the thinking that, the present time is different from the past times. It is saying that, the way things are being done now is different from the way they were done in the past.

As a point of fact, there has to be dedicated pragmatism for change to occur in any situation. It entails making conscious efforts directed at solving problems in practical ways. It means people have to start thinking and acting differently from the way they used to think and act. This is where orientation comes in; because it is believed that for change to occur, good orientation has to be ingrained in the lives of the citizenry. In essence, if the aims of government and individuals are directed towards particular goals changes will occur. It also implies that, for one to move across divides, change must be present. We shall go into this shortly.

In defining cultural imperatives, it is pertinent to look at the concept of culture first. The Cultural Policy for Nigeria, the official document that is meant to guide the policy direction of the country regarding issues related to culture, defines the term, culture as,

the totality of the way of life evolved by a people in their attempts to meet the challenge of living in their environment, which gives order and meaning to their social, political, economic, aesthetic and religious norms and modes of organisation thus distinguishing a people from their neighbours (3).

Edward Tylor had noted that culture comprise that, “complex whole which includes law, morals, knowledge, customs, belief, art and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as member of society” (1). Thus, it is clear that culture is what humans do; how they do it; what they say; how they say it; all that they learn; and how they learn them. It is, probably, the reason why Johnson Effiong avers that, “order in a multi-ethnic state such as ours comes from culture, and the totality of life of the Nigerian citizenry spins on the anvil of culture” (8). In a similar vein, he had posited that, “life’s meaning hinges on culture which expresses itself in social, political, economic aesthetic, religion, organizational and identity dimensions of Nigerian people” (8). Similarly, in defining culture, Catherine Acholonu says, “the difference between man and animal is culture. Man is always trying to improve himself and the weapon through which he improves himself is culture” (6). This is just as Albert Camus had also opined that, “without culture and the relative freedom it implies, society, even when perfect, is but a jungle” (http://madisonian.net).

What all of the above imply is that without culture, human beings are as good as animals. It is actually the acquisition of culture that distinguishes humans from animals; that is why there are certain things animals do publicly that humans cannot not do; for example, sexual intercourse. This underpins the position of Hope Eghagha, as he states succinctly that, “a developed culture is sine qua non for the general development of any society” (217). Greene Okome is more elaborate in stating thus:

a well developed culture creates a process of positive impact on national development… true development can only manifest from the people’s culture. Culture can be used to foster unity among people and community…. In any society, culture in its vibrant motion of chance creates an equally robust economic activity, a technological base for advancement and smooth road to freedom from any kind of domination (223).

  

The foregoing definitions and assertions regarding culture merely state the obvious: that culture is the live-wire of any nation that has development of both the citizenry and the environment as one of its agenda. Governments of countries, like Brazil, China, Indonesia, Japan that have realized that culture is a veritable tool for national development, have not only formulated programmes that would enhance cultural orientation of the citizenry, they have made giant economic, social and political strides; they have also invested heavily on cultural orientation. As it were, the cultural imperatives are those things related to the ways of life of the people, “which must at all costs be obeyed or which cannot in any way be ignored” (485). They are things that need to be done the right way and maintained so that the society can experience positive, sustainable development.

National Orientation as a Catalyst for Change

Let us recall that the War Against Indiscipline (WAI), a laudable initiative by the Buhari/Idiagbon regime is a classic example of orientating the people towards a given policy direction. In inculcating discipline in public places, Nigerians learnt to queue at bus stops, petrol stations, banks, shops, and even water taps. This was just as they learnt not to dash like rabbits across Expressways instead of using overhead bridges. The message was that we can do things the right way once we are disciplined. Unfortunately, the exit of that administration meant the practice gradually going into oblivion. Nigerians never bothered to sustain the tempo; and the media did not help in that direction to say that that should be sustained as a national culture. It only tells one thing: we are wont to throw away the bath water with the baby in it.

It is actually curious that so much has been said and is still being said about ‘change;’ but there has been no serious mention of ‘orientation.’ It is important to note that, change will be difficult to take place in our individual lives or in the business of governance if efforts are not geared or directed at particular goals. This is because of the mindset that has been ingrained in people over the years. The change that government is talking about today is one that should bring about national development; and if the catalyst, national orientation, is left out, the change may be a mirage. In ordinary parlance, good orientation is a product of one’s up-bringing; this is when one is not adulterated culturally. Consequently, the orientation and change have to start with the self; this is in reinventing our sense of values, attitude, and social order.

A critical study of the Nigerian society suggests that it is actually re-orientation that is needed for the sought after development. This is premised on the realisation that the country lost direction at a point in our political development. Thus, re-orientation implies orienting one who had been oriented before but had veered off the defined path. Going by this position, therefore, the process of re-introducing culture into the national scheme of things is what this paper calls, cultural re-orientation; and the paper believes that change can be achieved on the platform of a national culture. Nations like Brazil, China, Indonesia, Jamaica, and so on, have used culture to enhance national development, and it is high time Nigeria did same. Take the case of a very small country like Haiti, with a heavy debt burden, which has used the wild flowers that grow in that country to grow its economy. In other words, it has used the instrumentality of cultural tourism to pay off part of the huge debts. The President of Haiti, Michel Martelly, states that much when briefing the media that,

                                                                                                                

the carnival brings economic opportunities not only for the established enterprises, but also for the most vulnerable in the informal sector…. You see many small vendors from poor neighbourhoods who come on the carnival route to sell stuff they would not have sold otherwise. Thanks to the carnival they can go home with some money they can use to feed their children (caribbeannewsnow.com).

  

Further in the same interview, he said, “imagine that there is no way now of finding a hotel room, of booking a flight for Miami tomorrow for instance because many who came for the carnival will go back home;” concluding that, “this is good for the image of the country.” One can only imagine the developmental strides that country would be recording in the next few years for relying on culture to change its economic fortunes. As a matter of fact, the Director, Festivals Edinburgh, Faith Liddel, is more articulate in her description of Scottish festivals and their benefits:

Edinburgh’s festivals are Scotland’s world-class cultural brands with an international reputation and appeal unmatched by any other cultural events on the globe… drawing artists, audiences and media from every continent and over 70 countries each year.

She went on to say that, “the festivals are economic powerhouses, cultural platforms, forums for national and international debate, drivers of ambition and creators of cohesion.” These events did not just turn things around; the governments of these nations did not just pray and received miracles, the type Nigerians are wont to have in their daily lives. They looked at the potentials of change; and in engaging change, they deployed a catalyst, an element that causes change very fast; that way, they used what they have to get what they want – culture.

The argument here is that, if the Federal Government of Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari makes culture the centre-piece of its national orientation, the country stands to benefit economically, socially, politically and otherwise. The question is: What then is the caveat? The advice has always been for us to go back to our roots; to our core values system. This is a situation where the citizenry imbibe Nigerian, nay African, culture which encapsulates genuine love for people and the country, knowledge of Nigerian indigenous languages, promoting Nigerian dress culture, respect for elders and constituted authority, hard work, honesty, fear of God, integrity, humility, craftsmanship, accountability, transparency, being our brothers’ keepers, just to mention few. Unarguably, these are attributes that can be used, maximally, for the development of the nation.

Ahmed Yerima supports this view when he avers that, “national branding through culture therefore means the purgation of the nation of its ills, finding links with the good values in the cultural past of the people” (52). One of the social ills he is alluding to above is the cultural suicide committed by people in jettisoning our culture and eating, drinking and ingesting imported, foreign cultures. On his part, Johnson Effiong asks questions for the infamy over a people’s ways of life:

If order in a multi-ethnic state such as ours comes from culture, and the totality of life of the Nigerian citizenry spins on the anvil of culture, why then should culture miss in the apex priority of developmental pursuit? Could it be a product of ignorance of the impetus of culture? Could it be gross insensitivity over culture’s quintessentially in a people’s milieu? Could it be a sadistic agenda aimed at a systematic stifling of a people’s core-essence into suffocation?

Interestingly, section 1 of the Cultural Policy for Nigeria posits rightly that,

1.3. Culture is not merely a return to the customs of the past. It embodies the attitude of a people to the future of their traditional values faced with the demands of modern technology which is an essential factor of development and progress.

1.4. When therefore we talk of self-reliance, self-sufficiency and a national identity as the core of our national development objectives, we are referring to culture as the fountain spring of all policies whether educational, social, political or economical. The strategies of national development would thus depend on the understanding of the culture, the adaptation of its elements for political, educational and economic development, as well as its strengths for social integration and development.

From the above, it is therefore amazing that cultural festivals are seen as mere jamborees, play things. Somehow, this is not the case with sporting events! For instance, people do not see anything wrong with 22 ‘crazy’ people with an equally ‘crazy’ umpire running around, chasing some round leather on a pitch; but most top government officials see everything wrong with displays of our rich cultural heritage. Popular festivals and carnivals like the Ofala Festival, Osun Oshogbo Festival, Argungun Fishing Festival, National Festival of Arts & Culture (NAFEST), Calabar Carnival, Rivers State Carnival (CARNIRIV), the Abuja National Carnival, and many others have never been seen to be of any significant economic benefit. When little importance is attached to such events, the membership of the planning committees are seen as the exclusive preserve of politicians, as ‘job for the boys.’ It is a clear example of the man who, because the dog meat is taboo to him, would not have children use his knife to cut it but would rather use his teeth to share it for them. Very often, musicians, drummers and dancers are quickly assembled only when they are needed to entertain visiting presidents or other dignitaries. Artists are conveyed in air-conditioned buses to town and lodged in good hotels to welcome visiting dignitaries. It is only at such times that government realizes entertainment is important; that they are proud of those elements of culture because the visitors applaud such elementary display of culture. Most times, after the usual airport ceremonies, there would hardly be vehicles to convey such artists back to their villages, as they would be left stranded at the airport! We will look at how the media professionals have not helped matters in this direction.

            There is no gainsaying that, governments at all levels need to conceive culture as an area of immense economic importance; and that is why cultural agencies need to be given serious attention in the scheme of things. The fact is that, the culture sector is about the least funded and one of the first to have funds slashed when government thinks of reviewing budgetary allocations downwards. Of importance is the fact that, culture can be the rejected stone that could turn out to be the cornerstone, if government creates the enabling environment for the sector to function. To the pioneer Executive Secretary of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Mrs. Victoria Agodo, NICO is the catalyst Nigeria needs for this change:

NICO is indeed a unique institution. It was established to serve as a vital force in energizing the various cultural establishments in the country in the new direction being advocated by the cultural policy and the World Decade (1988-1997) for Cultural Development (WDCD) programme…. The Institute is to serve as s focus for orientation for the nation’s policy makers and other government officials in cultural matters (12).

Also, former Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Uche Chukwumerije saw NICO as, “an agent of change, a means for changing the ugly concepts, influences and behaviour patterns which in turn influence the Nigerian personality” (18).

Let us recall here that, to justify the role of culture in national development, the United Nations General Assembly, under the auspices of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), declared 1988-1997 as the World Decade for Cultural Development (WDCD) on the 8th December, 1986. The guiding philosophy for WDCD, which put culture in the centrepiece of national development, stressed that,

üthe cultural dimension is centred on development and planning without consideration of the human factor and the cultural milieu is likely to fail

üthere is a fundamental link between culture on one hand and science and technology on the other, because of the relationship between the survival of a culture and its productive capacity

üthe bye-products of the linkage, namely, the cultural industries have become important elements in national economies

üevery cultural identity has validity and respect of these identities are fundamental to democracy, governance and peaceful co-existence

ücreativity is the hallmark of civilization and should be promoted and encouraged; and

üthat cultural exchange is an important element in international exchange and the promotion of peace and understanding.

Thoughts on Some Cultural Imperatives

At this juncture, let us share some of the wild thoughts running through the head. They are just food for thought for this august gathering of accomplished editors.

Building Orientation: Nigerians have developed an insatiable love for foreign building concepts. Apart from the unnecessary craze to own houses abroad, people build houses here in Nigeria without taking cognizance of the climatic or environmental conditions. The same is the case in furnishing of houses. If the fittings are not Italian, then it is as if you have not started. Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory plays host to several sprawling housing estates that have been lying fallow, unoccupied for years. The question is: Are the houses not meant to be occupied? What are media professionals doing about this?

Use of Nigerian Indigenous Languages: Language helps us to identify social groups (for example, Igbo, Izon, Hausa, or Yoruba group) and individuals. Through language, the individual interacts with others. Language serves to reinforce the individual; and in addition, it enables him to express and develop his personality.Incidentally,there is unmitigated dislike for our indigenous languages by Nigerians; children have been brought up to see their indigenous languages as being unimportant. We have argued elsewhere that, parents, religious leaders, as well as the educational system are all liable. Parents have not attached much importance to the speaking of their indigenous language in homes. Chief Chika Okpala (Chief Zebrudaya of The Masquerade fame) was reported to have been verbally assaulted by a woman in Houston, Texas, USA, simply because he spoke Ibo to her son. I thought the woman was a Diasporan, only to be told by Zebrudaya that she was only on vacation; and that she lives in Enugu. This is just as our religious leaders and the school system have not helped matters. For instance, the teaching of Nigerian languages is not accorded serious attention. If our children learn foreign languages in Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Ukraine, and other such countries, why should it not be a policy in our educational system? What are media professionals doing about this?

Nigerian Dress Culture: People are not passionate about Nigerian fabrics; the example of kente and woodin from Ghana; batik from Indonesia, etc. in line with the popular dictum, “You are addressed the way you dress.” In other words, dressing makes the man or woman. Unfortunately, indecent dressing has become the order of the day in the Nigerian society. The entertainment industry has not fared better as most so-called stars feel the more weird the dressing, the more attention one would get. My question has always been: If you display all the essentials for free, what will be there for a man to explore? Due commendation goes to Sunday Sun’s “Fashion Court” with ‘Justice’ Bolatito Adebayo, which has been attempting to showcase outrageous dress orientations (for instance, see Sunday Sun, 23 Aug. 2015: 34). Needless to say the effort is more like a drop in the ocean. For instance, in NICO, we have instituted what we call, Dress Nigeria Days, for staffers: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for Nigerian dresses, and Tuesdays and Thursdays for other dresses, except T-shirts, jeans or chinos trousers. The idea is for us to be really patriotic about our dressing. Do you know that even appearing in an adire outfit stands you out in a crowd abroad and you will be admired by others? Come to think of it: How else can we revive our textile industries if we do not patronise made in Nigeria dresses?

Take the case of an 18 year-old girl that killed herself over a disagreement with her mother on her mode of dressing (Isiguzo 5). She wore a dress that exposed her body and her mother, who had always complained about her dressing, asked her to change the dress. She refused, threatening to harm herself if her mother did not allow her to wear the dress. As her mother insisted that she would not go out unless she changed the dress, she went into the house, came back with a bottle of a drink suspected to be poisonous, and swallowed the content. Of course, she died! Again, what are media professionals doing about this?

Instant Miracles Mentality: Nigerians have gradually become very impatient. This has reflected in our food culture, in the sense that people for instant food. As a point of fact, many want their rewards on earth; they want results in the instant, not ready to wait for the appointed time of their blessings. This has led to many gullible ones resorting to various forms of rituals to amass instant wealth. Or they run to modern day Pentecostal Churches that place emphasis on instant miracles, ‘ojugbo jugbo,’ ‘sharp sharp,’ not salvation of their souls. Stories abound on such unscrupulous attempts by people to acquire blood money. What are media professionals doing about this?

Hard Work: The fact remains that, hard work pays. Every editor here did not become one overnight. He/she rose through the ranks; he/she paid his/her dues! You were focused and worked hard before your gradual rise to the top of your chosen profession. Unfortunately, the younger ones in this country do not believe in hard work; some of them have been orientated either through the family or social system to assume that they can cut corners and make it in life. This is where the reward mechanism needs to looked into seriously for us to change the mindset of the young generation. What are our media professionals going to do about this?

Hero-worshipping and Societal Demands: By this, we mean the way we reverence those who come into, most times, questionable riches. Nowadays, parents do not question how their sons and daughters come into money. In those days, if you got rich too quickly and visited your old man in the village, he would wake you up from bed, maybe around 4am and ask you how you got wealthy in so short a time. He would ask if there were trees in the city from where you plucked money; that he had a family name to protect. We know that this is not the case in the society now. As a point of fact, if you are appointed into any political office, it is assumed that you have arrived. They you will be called, ‘Excellency,’ ‘Chairman,’ ‘Honourable,’ ‘Chief,’ and so on. All the distant relations you did not know before will surface and make all sorts of outrageous demands. Again, let us ask: What are media professionals doing about this?

Respect for Elders and Constituted Authority: The words of our elders are words of wisdom; so they say. Furthermore, what the elder sees sitting, the child cannot see standing on top of a table. The younger generation is losing grip of our cherished values of respect for elders and constituted authority. Courtesy appears to have grown wings even in the manner senior citizens are addressed. The media appears to be leading in this direction, as vituperative words are freely used on the elderly and leaders. What are media professionals doing about this?

Sanctity of Human Life: We are living in a country now where the sanctity of human lives is no more paramount. Apart from the 30 months fratricidal Nigerian civil war, the country has witnessed several communal, ethnic, religious and post elections violence with devastating effects on the polity. After a seeming moment of respite from the debilitating offensive of the Niger Delta militants, the nation is currently facing the intractable challenge of atrocious activities of the Boko Haram sect. The audacious machinations of the sect have led to wanton destruction of lives and property. What are media professionals doing about this?

Armed Robbery and other Criminal Activities: Armed robbery, kidnapping, hostage taking, car-snatching, gang rapes, child abuse, cultism and cult wars, are just a few of the cases of criminal activities we read or hear of daily. There is no arguing the fact that the way our fathers lived their lives has been eroded over the years. Our fathers lived peacefully in their village huts that had no doors. They slept with both eyes closed, not afraid that some miscreants will invade their privacy and probably cart away their belongings. Yam barns were built at the backyards; there were no fears about thieves possibly visiting such barns. Those, who had questionable traits, were known; and were promptly called to order, when there were incidents. In fact, thieves were paraded round the village in a grotesque manner. It explains why there was social order. Now, people are perpetually under siege due to the nefarious activities of different criminal gangs. What are media professionals doing about this?

Integrity, Honesty, Transparency and Accountability:

Nigerians can attest to the fact that the level of credibility associated with President Muhammadu Buhari is predicated on his personal integrity, which has honesty, transparency and accountability as collaterals. This is lacking in the present generation in almost all sphere of our socio-political existence. People are more interested in what they can get from service, and not rendering selfless service to society. Incidentally, elsewhere, we have done extensive studies on culture, leadership and accountability in Nigeria, which have been published. Again, what are media professionals doing about this?

Corruption: As President Muhammadu Buhari has stated severally, “If we Nigerians do not kill (curb) corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria.” So, he has declared War on Corruption, which, for lack of any acronym for now, we would simply code name, WAC. As it were, corruption is a cankerworm that has become invidious. Paradoxically, it is viewed as a menace that is at the upper echelon of government. The fact is that corruption is a spirit that has demonised almost everybody and all sectors in the country. Think of the cook or housewife that thinks of using half the money for the home-front; think of the driver that collects money for fuel and buys half tank; think of the messenger in the office that hides a file until he/she receives gratification; think of the cleaners in our airports that would pursue you into the toilet and unnecessarily offer one service or the other to get money of you. We do not want to talk about corruption in government or the private sector, uniformed personnel, the judiciary, the legislature, the educational system, and even in the media, which we are all familiar with. The popular parlance is that, “Nothing goes for nothing;” and so, the cycle continues. The bottom line is that change has to start with the individual; once that happens, we can change others. What are media professionals doing about this?

The Nigerian Spirit: By the Nigerian spirit, we mean the never-say-die mindset, the strong will to persevere in the face of adversities. Nigerians have that innate ability to withstand serious conditions; and there is need to fully exploit that. President Buhari was undaunted in his quest to once again lead this country; and he has achieved that dream. There is need for us to reinvent the thinking of the younger generation to imbibe that spirit of invincibility. That a man fell once does not make him a failure; he will only be construed as a failure when he refuses to rise up from that prostrate state. We see that from the mindset of children: when a strong-willed child falls, he quickly gets up, dusts himself and moves on, most times checking to see if someone had seen him. He does not wait down there, crying for help from Big Mama. What are media professionals doing about this?

The Example from Japan  

There is consensus of opinion that change is inevitable in Nigeria. However, there is dire need for governments at all levels to explore and exploit our culture, which is a unifying factor, the way most developing countries have done. Thus, it is necessary for us recall a classic example from the natural disaster that devastated Japan in 2011, as captured by Sam Ndah-Isaiah. In the face of the crisis that hit that country, their deep-seated cultural orientation came to the fore in the following ways:

  1. The Calm: Not a single visual of chest-beating or wild grief.
  2. The Dignity: Disciplined queues for water and groceries. Not a rough word or crude gesture.
  3. The Ability: The incredible architects, for instance. Buildings swayed but did not fall.
  4. The Grace: (Selflessness) People bought only what they needed for the present, so everybody could get something.
  5. The Order: No looting in shops. No honking and no overtaking on the roads.
  6. The Sacrifice: Fifty workers stayed back to pump sea water in the N-reactors.
  7. The Tenderness: Restaurants cut prices; an unguarded ATM is left alone; and the strong cared for the weak.
  8. The Training: The old and the children, everyone knew exactly what to do; and they did just that.
  9. The Media: They showed magnificent restraint in the bulletins. No silly reporters. Only calm reportage. Most of all – no politicians trying to get cheap mileage.
  10. The Conscience: When the power went off in a store, people put things back on the shelves and left quietly (Nda-Isaiah 56, 6).

Conclusion

In this paper, we have attempted to discuss the topic, “National Orientation as a Catalyst for Change: Thoughts on Some Cultural Imperatives.” In sharing some thoughts, it has been argued that, culture provides the ready framework for Nigeria to explore to actualise the type of national orientation that could catalyse positive change. This has to be predicated on the type of national orientation that will influence the value system; that will act as a catalyst to change the mindset of the people; that will move the country forward positively; and that should start from the altitudinal change of the individual, predicated on the following, among others:

  1. Proud of being a Nigerian;
  2. Love and respect for the ‘self;’
  3. Love and respect for the ‘other;’
  4. Love for the only country we can call our own;
  5. Readiness to render selfless service to people and the country;
  6. Being content with what one has in life; and
  7. Cultivating the never-say-die spirit

The above will again be contingent on some cultural imperatives, which we have briefly examined. As it were, the Japanese experience has been seen as a model for Nigeria and Nigerians to emulate. Finally, let us ask again: What are media professionals going to do about this?

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