Lai Mohammed urges Nigerians to promote nation’s culture for social, economic growth

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Tuesday, urged Nigerians to promote and preserve the nation’s culture to enhance its social, economic growth and development.

Mohammed made the appeal in his address during the 2019 quarterly public lecture organised by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO).

The programme has: “Culture as an Effective Tool for Foreign Relations”, as its theme and it was held at the National Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island, Lagos.

The minister was represented by Mrs Ndidi Aimienwawu, the Acting Director- General, Centre for Black African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC).

The minister said that there was an urgent need for Nigerians to preserve and promote the nation’s unique cultural heritage for socio-economic growth.

He said through this, Nigerians could establish good relationships with other nations through cultural diversity and enhanced foreign relations.

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“Culture is key to establishing cordial and fruitful bilateral relations with other nations and it is part of the developmental agenda of the current administration that gave the sector a pioneer status.

“I call on all Nigerians to be committed to this course of promoting the nation’s culture and also be dedicated to the actualisation of this vision to the next level.

“The theme of the lecture is very apt and coming at a time when the government is concerned with entrenching its foreign relations with other countries of the world through strengthened cultural diplomacy,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Louis Eriomala, the Acting Executive Secretary of NICO, urged Nigerians not to see the nation’s culture as something that is primitive or paganism in nature.

He said culture was beyond the food, language and clothes of an individual but something that could be used as a veritable tool to promote foreign relations, likewise to create peace.

He said that this had been adopted since ancient times when diplomats used to deliver messages in their own cultures to foreign lands and brought back foreign ones to their home governments.

Eriomala said that one of the challenges that cultural practitioners were confronted with had been the misconception that the Nigerian public had about culture.

“The younger generation of Nigerians sees culture as primitive; some Pentecostal Christians see it as paganism.

“They believe that the problem of Nigeria began with the hosting of FESTAC”77, some also see it as a tool for entertaining visiting dignitaries.’’

He said that Nigerians could reap important benefits by embracing their cultures.

“Our culture is greater than all the mineral resources of a nation because those mineral resources are exhaustible but culture is not.

“Culture can be positively deployed in our foreign relations to create understanding, promote our national heritage and market the Nigerian brand,’’ he said.

Eriomala commended the Minister of Information and Culture for his commitment to and vision for the culture sector.

Also, the Erelu of Lagos, Abiola Dosunmu, urged governments at all levels to constantly organise public lectures that would sensitise Nigerians to embracing the nation’s culture

She said that Nigerians also should embrace every aspect of the nation’s diverse cultures to maintain their identities as Nigerians.

Dosunmu said, “ Having been in the corridor of culture for the past 50 years, I want to advise that people should not diminish the importance of culture to individual lives.

“We need to know more about our culture because they are the instruments of peace; people are better understood when their culture is known.”

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