The Executive Secretary, National Institute for cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has advocated the entrenchment of the culture of peace and non-violence in Nigeria, saying that aggressive awareness and publicity campaign on the relevance of cultural diversity is needed to effect that. Dr. Ayakoroma, who made this known at the World Day for Cultural Diversity, Dialogue and Development Celebration, organized by the South-West Zonal Office of the Institute, in collaboration with Ondo State Ministry of Culture and Tourism, on May 21, 2013, at Adegbemile Hall, Ondo State Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Akure, stressed that the theme of this year’s celebration, “Creativity: A Tool for Peace and National Development,” was very appropriate, considering the security challenges confronting Nigeria currently.
The ES, whose address was delivered by the Head, South-West Zone of NICO, Mr. Ohi Ojo, said the World Culture Day, declared by the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), is an avenue for the international community to appreciate cultural diversity as a major key for national development.
In his words: “Human beings generally, have always been and will always be diverse. The central issue therefore is what strategies to employ to effectively manage diversity to foster national integration and peaceful co-existence. What is urgently required, especially in the case of Nigeria, noted for its multi-ethnic and religious pluralism, is awareness campaign on the importance of diversity and the entrenchment of a culture of peace and non-violence.”
The World Culture Day lecture, based on the theme, was delivered by the General Manager, Radio Nigeria, Positive FM, Akure, Rev. Olusegun Ayankoso, who stressed the need for peace as a vital tool for sustainable development in Nigeria, saying that the country needed to put on her creative thinking cap to be more peaceful, for it was only in a peaceful environment that anyone or group of people could aspire to actualize dreams.
Rev. Ayankoso said that creativity is the process of producing something that is both original and worthwhile or characterized by expressiveness and imagination, and that creativity is in phases: the generative phase and the explorative phase, informing that creativity helps build, maintain and make adequate use of cultural heritage to promote peace and unity that could move a nation forward.
He therefore implored writers to utilize their creative thinking in highlighting societal values that bind us as a people, while also appealing to comedians, fashion designers and those involved in sports, to better utilize their creative ideas in local cultural and sporting activities that will be promoted at national and international levels.
“Nigerians need to put on a creative thinking cap to make Nigeria more peaceful and a better terrain for meaningful development,” he said, and that, it is only in a peaceful environment that anyone could aspire to actualize his or her dreams, adding that, it is only in a united country that peace can be sustained; and as the popular saying goes, “united we stand, divided we fall.”
Earlier in an address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Mr. Sunday Agbotoba, represented by the Director of Culture in the Ministry, Mr. Lawrence Amimi, also lamented the rate indolence is triumphing over initiative and creativity in our society.
He said our present day environment no longer provides sufficient stimulation and activity for children, noting that children often spend greater part of their time on the social media or watching television, thereby raising a generation of youths that are bored, anxious and unproductive, leading to a general situation of inactivity, poverty, temptation towards corruption and other forms of criminal activities.
In her own contribution, the Permanent Secretary, Ondo State Ministry of Education, Mrs. Taiwo Kolawole, said that Nigeria, in terms of festivals, is a paradise on earth, citing notable ones such as Argungu fishing festival in Kebbi State, Eyo festival in Lagos, Sango festival in Osun State, as well as Mare festival in Ondo State.
Represented by the Director of Schools, Mr. Bayo Akinsanmi, she lauded the effort of the Ondo State Government in the sustenance of the rich cultural heritage in the state.
The Royal father of the event, the Olowo of Owo Kingdom, HRM, Oba David Victor Folagbade Olateru-Olagbegi III, CFR, who was represented by the Olubola (Chief of Staff), Chief Olusola Ogunleye, identified with the theme of the celebration and encouraged the use of indigenous languages at formal occasions.
Other dignitaries at the event were the Permanent Secretary, Ondo State Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Pastor Emmanuel Gbenga Adelayi; Chairman, Ondo State Parents/Teachers Association, Pastor Julius Aderibigbe; representatives of Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Immigration Service, Forum of Heads of Federal Government Establishments in Ondo State, teachers and students from public and private schools across the state.
The celebration was spiced with performances by the Ondo State Cultural Troupe and NICO South-West Zone Cultural Troupe, which made its debut.