The Executive Governor of Benue State, Rt. Hon. Gabriel Suswam, CON, has called on Chief Executives of Culture, from the 36 states of the federation, to take urgent steps towards reversing the constant erosion of cultural values among our youths.
Governor Suswam made this call on Thursday, April 18, 2013, at the Banquet Hall of Government House, Makurdi, Benue State, when the Executive Director of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Mr. M. M. Maidugu, led Chief Executives of Culture of the Federation to pay him a courtesy visit.
He described the rate, at which our youths imbibe foreign cultures as alarming, said there is every need to begin to look inwards to see how we can inculcate our cultural values in our children, stressing that the nation stands the risk of losing its culture if we failure to do so.
Decrying the fact that the use of our indigenous languages is no longer seen to be fashionable even in homes, where both parents are from the same place as well as the issue of indecent dressing among our youth, like ‘sagging,’ Suswam observed that most parents today do not see anything wrong with it, particularly with the style of dressing, where their children (both girls and boys) wear trousers below their waist, thereby exposing their buttocks.
Regarding our food culture, Governor Suswam pointed out that it was most embarrassing to see Nigerians at eateries, preferring Chinese cuisines to African dishes, like pounded yam, saying that it only shows how far we as a people have moved away from our culture, and stressing that there is every need for us to talk about these things in the public domain, as a radical approach towards correcting the trend.
On the issue of the preservation of our culture, Suswam enthused that it was high time we started preserving our culture as a people, recalling an experience when he travelled to the United States of America only to see some relics that were taken from Benue State in 1927 in a well persevered state, decrying as embarrassing the situation, where the Whiteman is helping us to preserve our cherished culture.
With regard to traditional medicine, the Governor observed that today, it is adjudged primitive to take local herbs, and strongly expressed his disagreed with that notion, maintaining that what we need to do is to improve on our traditional medicinal practice and not to abandon them. He then urged the Chief Executives of Culture of the Federation to critically examine the fast erosion of our cultural values, devise strategies to get our children back to believe in our culture, and look at the possibility of exporting our culture to the outside world, rather than imbibing negative foreign values, stressing that our identity as human beings has to do with culture.
While calling on the various state governments to use their cultural troupes as an avenue to showcase our rich cultural heritage, he was proud to say that the Benue State Cultural Troupe is the most travelled in Nigeria, as a result of consistent sponsorship by his administration, to perform in different parts of the world, informing that the Republic of South Korea has made it a point of duty to request the state troupe to perform there on yearly basis.
Governor Suswam, who commended the Culture Executives, for regularly holding their meetings, which, to him, was not a waste of time but to address the need to look into ways through which our culture can be sustained, further admonished all Nigerians to take pride in our indigenous ways of life, stressing that it is only by so doing that we can become a great people, respected by others.