T HE need to appreciate and jealously guard our collective cultural values in all its ramifications is so important. This is undeniably true given the various cultural issues in some parts of the world, Nigeria inclusive.
In Syria, for instance, ancient monumental sites and cultural relics are at the mercy of insurgents. The Islamic State (IS) is crushing every available historical monument on a daily basis in that country.
In Egypt, the story is the same, not leaving out Al-Shabab in Somalia, or Boko-Haram in Nigeria.
Apart from the attacks on historical monuments, it seems we have also lost our cultural values, which preach love and kindness to our neighbours.
The Niger Delta militants’ daily attacks on oil pipelines in the South South region, the Fulani herdsmen’s rampaging in the southern part of the country, among other violent acts are cause for concern. All these violence do not reflect our cultural upbringing, which allows for open-mindedness and dialogue, all aimed at ensuring mutual understanding for the well-being of our society.
The diversion of the funds meant for the upkeep of internally displaced persons (IDPs) is also showing that we have lost our cultural values, as people no longer have respect for one another. The passion and compassionate attitude in us have been thrown to the dogs. In the past, our neighbours’ pains and anguish were everybody’s headache. However, that was in the past.
The focus of this letter, therefore, is to reawaken our consciousness towards the firm protection of all our cultural values and heritage in the midst of this turbulent insurgency.
We should not limit our beam light on artefacts alone, but to those values that tightened the bond of unity among all peoples of the country.
Consequently, we must begin to use our culture to address joblessness, youth uprising, kidnapping, bad leadership, vandalism, nepotism, hooliganism, cultism, corruption, among other vices.
It is when we focus on our cultural values, which preach the respect for other people, that we can truly develop in the country.
It is when we have respect and love for other people, that our political leaders will be concerned with those things that will aid the welfare of the citizenry.
- Shehu Fasasi Adewale,
National Museum, Osogbo,