The Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Mike Omeri has stated that culture is a strong binding factor that ties the people together and therefore provides a veritable platform for the building and sustenance of peace and unity.
Omeri stated this in a paper presentation at the 2nd National Conference on “Culture, Peace and Security: The Role of Traditional Rulers in Nigeria’s Democracy,” organized by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) in collaboration with UNESCO, at the Banquet Hall, Arewa House, Kaduna State on May 26, 2014, stressing that culture is the sum total of a people’s way of life and the current incidences of violence, impunity, corruption and insecurity in the country are indications of the failure of critical institutions to live up to their mandate of perpetuating cherished societal values.
Represented by the Kaduna State Director of NOA, Mr. Elisha Meck Sabo, Omeri in his paper, titled, “Cultural Re-Orientation as a Panacea for Election Malpractices and Violence in Nigeria,” described the level of moral decadence in the Nigerian society as one characterized by corruption, armed robbery, kidnapping, ritual killings, public disorder, impunity, indiscipline, intolerance, homo-sexuality, communal strive and religious bigotry, among others.
Observing that elections in Nigeria have been characterized by rigging, ballot box snatching, thuggery, lack of adherence to voting rules and procedures, electioneering campaigns fuelled by primordial sentiments, money politics, imposition of candidates, multiple registration, among other malpractices, the NOA Boss expressed optimism that the current electoral reforms in place will go a long way in reversing the ugly trend popularly referred to as, the ‘Nigerian factor,’ saying it will engender credibility, integrity and transparency in the entire process.
Omeri therefore maintained that a cultural re-orientation that emphasises accountability and transparency in leadership, responsible and committed followership, integrity, respect for the rule of law, patriotism, war against corruption, and respect for the sanctity of life, justice and fair play will serve as a veritable platform to serve as a panacea for electoral problems in the country.
His words: “There is no doubt that culture plays an important role in the life of a people as it is the sum total of their way of life which includes their organization, marriage, tradition, communality and all aspects of life that make them a people. Culture enhances the values people cherish and uphold. Such cultural values are reflected in their arts, drumming, singing, dancing, dressing, norms and attitudes. The combination of all these in a nutshell gives the cultural outlook of a people.”
Continuing, he said in view of the key role of culture in shaping the values and attitudes of people, culture is also seen as a moderating factor in the conduct of people, their relationships with other people, their disposition to life, their perception of issues and stereotypes, stressing that a culture which does not frown at disrespect for simple community rules is likely to produce a society where impunity becomes the norm just like a culture which honours and celebrates people with questionable sources of wealth is likely to produce a society that is corrupt and lacking in moral integrity.
According to him, the much talked about culture of violence, impunity and corruption, is a clear indication of the failure of culture to keep and sustain cherished societal values, however reiterating that the whole essence of cultural re-orientation is to ensure the restoration of those cherished societal values that have been lost over the years due to negligence and globalisation.
Corporate Affairs Unit