A Business Mogul, Politician and Former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, MON, has attributed Nigerias economic downfall to the poor attitude to the culture sector in the country.
Kalu said this recently in Abuja while delivering a Public Lecture, organized by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) with the theme: ”Culture, Economy and Good Governance: The Nigerian Experience.”
Delivering the lecture, Kalu who said until Nigeria begins to see the economic opportunities inherent in our cultures and inculcate culture in our socio-economic activities, the country cannot achieve the desired change, maintained that genuine change in any society can only be achieved by reviving the culture of the people, cultural orientation, understanding and awakening.
According to him, Nigeria with its 250 ethnic groups is yet to tap into the benefits of her cultural diversity, which has been identified by many as the greatest advantage the country has. In his words ”250 ethnic groups mean 250 different ways of life. If each ethnic and linguistic group was to develop just four of its special cultural attributes-fashion, music, painting, dance including masquerades, you would be talking of about different cultural items to put into the market.”
Kalu stressed that there is nothing wrong with our culture, and called on people to invest more in culture and our cultural relationships with others, saying crude oil has remained a curse for Nigeria.
“Nigeria suffered recession because we exported mainly oil and with the drastic drop in the demand for oil internationally, we cried. Yes, the drop in the international consumption of oil hurt our country. Why did it turn out so? It is because we depended solely on oil for foreign exchange. We don’t need crude oil. I can develop this country without crude oil. Crude oil is secondary because with our population and intellectual capacity, we don’t need crude oil to develop this country.”
“I believe that from our cultures, we can create export items that people out there would need and which will help to grow our country away from dependence on oil. Crude oil is a curse to this country because it has only succeeded in taking us backwards while there are many opportunities, inherent in our cultural festivals for tourism and investment. Our music, dance, food etc create investment opportunities and have the capacity to create jobs that will add to the GDP of our country.”
Speaking further on the much-clamoured-after restructuring of the country, Orji Uzor Kalu disagreed that restructuring is what Nigeria needs at this point in time. Restructuring is not the answer to the problems of Nigeria. We therefore need to encourage the Federal Government to review this. It is wrong for people to say they are calling for restructuring. “Restructuring is not the answer. The answer is simply for us to look at the constitution and balance up the items. But when you talk about restructuring, people think you want to break the country”, he said.
Media Assistant to Ag. ES