The Executive Governor of Imo State, His Excellency, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, has expressed concern over the economic situation in Nigeria, describing the non-sensitivity of the British colonial masters to our culture as the greatest danger colonization had done to the country.
Okorocha, who was speaking in Abuja, as Distinguished Guest Lecturer at the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) Quarterly Public Lecture, with the theme, "Promoting Culture, Developing the Economy: The Nigerian Perspective", said the major problem Nigerians have is the lack of application of culture in everything they do, stressing that until we reverse and embrace our culture, we will continue to lose our identity as a nation.
His words: "The major problem in our nation, both political and economical, is the lack of application of our culture in all that we do. This has made us aliens and spectators in our society".
"We need to promote and be proud of our culture because our culture is the very mirror with which the whole world sees who we are and where we are coming from. But most often, Nigerians are not proud of their culture. Nigeria is going opposite the direction of her destiny and the time has come for us to make a U-turn and embrace our culture, having in mind that God created every nation and society with their culture, human and material resources"; he said.
Continuing, Owelle Rochas Okorocha maintained that Nigeria has never been independent, saying: "We are a dependent nation in so many things including our culture; but let us not forget that most nations that succeed in the world are nations that used their culture and we must leapfrog as a nation to catch up using our culture".
The governor, while calling on Government to make concerted efforts to change the school curriculum to Nigerian languages, including English, Mathematics, Biology and Physics, stressed that even computers should be designed in our indigenous languages, saying until we reverse the situation and embrace our culture in all that we do, Nigeria will keep following other countries of the world.
He added that if the Nigerian government must succeed in its quest for economic development, it must begin to adopt a cultural dimension to governance in the country to enable people have a sense of belonging, saying, even in the fight against corruption, we should apply culture.
"Any time we take an oath of office as Presidents, Ministers or Governors, once you give us the Bible or Quran, we easily swear to it without attaching any importance to it because we know the Bible and Quran are very kind and cannot kill; but call an Igbo man during his swearing in as governor and give him a piece of wood (ofo) and ask him to hold it in his hands and swear to it, he will not take that oath of office".
Okorocha further explained that, for instance, if an Igbo man is sworn into public office with an 'ofo’, it will be difficult for him or her to embezzle public funds, as there is no more fear for the Bible and Quran that is currently used to swear people into office, maintaining that the same applies to other ethnic groups in the country.
Media Assistant to ES
NICO HQ, Abuja