The Zonal Coordinator of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), North-East zonal office, Yola, Adamawa State, Mallam Isma’ila Ahmad, has expressed dismay over the inadequate utilization of Nigeria’s diverse cultures to reposition the sector for national integration, peace, unity and development, arguing that Nigeria, as a country, is rich and its abundant cultural resources are yet to be fully tapped.

Mallam Ahmad, who made this assertion as Guest Speaker at the 1st Annual Cultural Day Celebration of Ahmadu Ribadu College, Yola, Adamawa state, on Wednesday, 6th November, 2013, described cultural diversity as a phrase generally used in describing a society with people of different ethnic roots, manifesting in their languages, mode of dressing, arts as well as other traditional practices, which are either similar or distinctively different from each group.

According to him, such traditional practices are highly valued and held in high esteem among the people of an ethnic group, emphasizing that, staying, living as well as working together does not make Nigeria one, for there are so many differences which are still keeping people apart, adding that, religion, for example, had remained one major factor which has disunited Nigerians, and that another divisive factor among the ethnic groups is politics.

He noted that the trend today is that politics is played along ethnic lines, as it is common for an ethnic group to feel marginalized by the policies of a leader who is not from its side; northerners do not feel comfortable with the leadership of a southerner, just as southerners often question the policies of a northern leader.

Mallam Ahmad stated that it is unfortunate that, the uninformed masses are being cajoled into accepting political views of some unpatriotic politicians by believing that it must be someone from their ethnic group that should only be accepted.

He further disclosed that Nigerians, as well as people in any culturally diversified or ethnically mixed society, should maximize the opportunities by fostering “Unity in Diversity,” instead of manipulating the diversity against the unity of their various societies for selfish purposes.

Concluding, he assured the gathering that, the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma will give the necessary support for the college to sustain the tempo of encouraging Nigerian children to embrace, protect and promote our cherished cultural values for national development.

Earlier in his opening remark, the Principal of the school, Mr. Ufot Samuel, welcomed guests, noting that the cultural day celebration will not only enlighten the students of Ahmadu Ribadu College about Nigeria’s cultural diversity but also imbibe in them the cultural values of peace, tolerance, hard work, good neighbourliness, respect for elders and constituted authority.

The ceremony featured scintillating drama presentations and different cultural dances, which spiced up the event.

Dignitaries at the occasion included the Curator of National Museum, Yola, represented by Alhaji Hassan Kassim, as Chairman of the occasion, the District Head of Yola, Dan Galadima Adamawa, Alhaji Lawa Ahmed Ribadu, who served as Royal Father of the Day, the Mother of the Day, Madam Liyatu Shettima, Coordinator Continuing Education, FCE, Yola, represented by Hajia Ramatu Buba, and Hajiya Zainab A.R. Tukur, Proprietress of Ahmadu Ribadu College, Yola.

Hamman Abdul-Rahman
NICO N/E, Yola