The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Mrs. Nkechi Ejele, has charged civil servants, stakeholders in the sector and youths in the country to ensure a re-awakening to Nigeria’s cherished cultural values.
She gave this charge while delivering her keynote address at a One-Day Sensitization Workshop on “Creating Awareness and Re-orientation of the Nigerian Cultural Values,” organized by the Ministry on Monday, 26th October, 2015, at the Treasure Hall, Ibeto Hotel, No. 34 David Ejoor Crescent, Apo, Gudu District, Abuja.
The workshop, a sensitization programme for Officers on Grade Levels 10 to 14, in the Federal Civil Service and Secondary School Students, had Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, the Executive Secretary/CEO, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) and Visiting Associate Professor, Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK), as the resource person, who presented a paper, entitled, “Rethinking the Erosion of Nigerian Cultural Values through Westernization: Some Imperative for National Cultural Revolution;” while Mr. Law Ikay Ezeh, Deputy Director/SA to the Executive Secretary, NICO, also a lecturer in NICO Training School, was the paper discussant.
In her address, Mrs. Ejele lamented the erosion of Nigeria’s cultural values by westernization and the proliferation and unguarded access to modern technology, noting that she is pleased the Ministry has organized the sensitization programme to create awareness to this effect and to re-orientate Nigerians to re-awaken their cultural consciousness.
She stated further that, due to the influence of foreign cultures on Nigerians, rich cultural values such as the unique indigenous languages, names, foods, lifestyles and other aspects of the country’s customs which serve as the people’s identity have over time experienced diverse changes thus eroded as a result of this influence, noting that our culture and its values gorgeously cherished by our forebears have suddenly become alien to the present generation of Nigerians.
Ejele also expressed displeasure with the mode of dressing which has been negatively influenced by Westernisation, resulting in the preference for imported fabrics and foot-wears, which has contributed in depleting the country’s foreign reserves, adding that, a lot of Nigerians, especially the youth, do not know how to speak Nigerian indigenous languages, noting that this is a clear indication that our cultural values have been watered down by western civilization because language is the vehicle that transports a people’s culture.
She regretted that, gone were the days when life in our society was treasured and our cultural values held in high esteem; but that today, the influence of foreign media with its predominantly contrary, negative and violence filled contents, has influenced the average Nigerian youth into behaving abnormally and violently; hence, giving credence to research findings about broadcast corruption theory, which states that, ‘children constantly exposed to violent scenes on screen are prone to violent behaviours in adulthood.’
The Permanent Secretary, therefore, informed that, it is against this backdrop that the ministry has deliberately chosen a culture enthusiast, Dr. Ayakoroma, to talk to a select cross-section of staffers of the Federal Civil Service and Secondary School Students, towards sensitizing them and creating awareness as well as re-awakening certain acceptable attitudes of imbibing the orientation of appreciating, promoting and preserving Nigerian cultural values.
Mrs. Ejele, however, noted that Nigeria’s economy will experience speedy development and would be able to create employment for the teeming unemployed youths in the society if people imbibe the message of the re-orientation programme and begin to patronize not only our indigenous fabrics but also take pride in observing our indigenous cultural values; adding that it is high time Nigerians started appreciating our cultural values and blending same with our contemporary lifestyles in order to create a trademark uniquely Nigerian towards having a better society that would lead to a rapid and sustainable national development.
Concluding, the Permanent Secretary reiterated her belief that the renaissance of interest in Nigeria’s cultural values the country is experiencing at the moment is because of the obvious havoc foreign cultural influences have inflicted on our cherished indigenous cultural values which are almost being pushed into extinction.
She therefore stated that with the sensitization workshop and a continuous clamouring for appreciation of our indigenous culture as is being championed by stakeholders like the Executive Secretary of NICO, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, through the advocacy for Dress Nigerian Days, where all Federal and State government workers are expected to wear only Nigerian indigenous fabrics on certain days of the week, there would be a re-awakening of attitudes to doing things that would add value to our lives and at the same time promote and preserve our rich cultural heritage for both the present and future generations.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the Deputy Director, Mobilization and Civic Education in the Ministry, Mr. Ibrahim Anjugu, had expressed dissatisfaction over how many Nigerians have imbibed foreign cultures with their negative values to the detriment of our positive indigenous cultural values.
He noted that the country is blessed with sterling cultural values, which every Nigerian citizen is expected to showcase proudly everywhere they find themselves in any part of the world, raising concerns over the rate of our dying indigenous languages as a result of the fact that the younger generation of Nigerians lack pride in the indigenous languages, seeing them as inferior to foreign languages, and due to the inability of some parents to transmit their languages to their children.
According to him, even in the face of these myriad of problems facing our indigenous cultures, all hope is not lost because one of the major objectives of the sensitization programme is to encourage Nigerians, stakeholders and participants at the workshop, to the importance of having an awareness of resolving to being ambassadors of Nigeria’s cultural heritage and values.
He said this is imperative because ‘we cannot afford to throw our culture and values to the world especially now that the world is a global village,’ and therefore urging that the call for the re-imbibing of our cultural values eroded by modernization cannot be overemphasized because Nigeria needs to stand out among the comity of nations as a country with impeccable cultures and values in this globalized world.
Jide Sokunle & Jonathan Nicodemus
NICO HQ, Abuja