Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma has said Nigeria needs a national cultural revolution to enable the country re-invent itself and undergo a complete change in the way people live, work and think.

Ayakoroma made this call in a paper, entitled, “Rethinking the Erosion of Nigerian Cultural Values through Westernization: Some Imperatives for National Cultural Revolution,” which he presented, Monday, 26th October, 2015 at a sensitization programme organized by the Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation for officers on Grade Level 10-14 in the Federal Civil Service and Secondary School Students, at Treasure Hall of Ibeto Hotel, Apo-Abuja.

According to him, the basic prerequisite for change is good orientation ingrained in the lives of the citizenry, stressing: “If the individual is not ready to change, there is nothing you can do about it; and I think this sensitization workshop aims at achieving that. For us to have a sudden rethink, we have to be proud of being Nigerians, show the world that we are Nigerians and that we have what it takes to make the difference. It is only then that we can see positive development.”

Speaking further, the NICO ES said if the people are oriented towards a way of life, they will hold unto it perpetually: “The ministry is trying to orientate us so that we would try to follow the paths; and how best to do that is catching them young because most of the change we are talking about we may not experience it but the younger ones. If we now drop this into them, they will now change,” he averred.

Stressing on the need for change, Ayakoroma used the example of the Great Cultural Revolution of the People’s Republic of China between 1966 and 1976 under Chairman Mao Tse Tung, which focused on doing away with old customs, old cultures, old habits and old ideas, noting that for society to experience positive development, there are certain things that must be done right and maintained, saying what is most essential is strategic orientation; just as he recalled the first coming of President Muhammadu Buhari, where orientation was used to drive cultural revolution.

His words: “I remember the days of War Against Indiscipline (WAI) in the first coming of President Muhammad Buhari. As at that time, you dared not cross the road and jump queues at filling stations. It is just that we have a country where when somebody is not there, people just forget about everything good he had done; there is no continuity. If we had continued with the WAI orientation from 1984, people will not be crossing the main road when there are foot bridges or jumping queues. So, we need general orientation and I want to believe that the ministry will be empowered to sustain this (sensitization programme) so that people will be increasingly aware of the direction to go.”

Identifying the imperatives for a national cultural revolution, the ES listed the use of Nigerian indigenous languages, promoting Nigerian dress culture, food culture, hard work, respect for elders and constituted authority, sanctity of human life, honesty, accountability, transparency, and above all, the Nigerian spirit of never-say-die mindset, which gives people the strong will to persevere in the face of adversities, among others.

He therefore said although Nigeria as a country lost direction at a point in time, positive, developmental change can be achieved on the platform of national culture and that what is needed most is the re-orientation of the people.

Present at the occasion were the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Mrs. Nkechi Ejele; Director, International Cultural Relations, Nkanta George Ufot; Director of Procurement, Barr. Ben Amodu; Director, Cultural Industries, Ms Grace Isu Gekpe; and Acting Director, Domestic Tourism, Mrs. Patricia Bare, among others.

On the part of NICO, the Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma was accompanied to the event by the Director, Research and Documentation, Prince Bamidele Olusa, Director, Orientation and Cultural Affairs, Mr. Alex Omijie, and Deputy Director/SA to ES, Mr. Law Ezeh, who was paper discussant.

Caleb Nor

Corporate Affairs Unit

NICO, Abuja