Mr Solomon Ogbonna, the President, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, Lagos chapter, on Thursday said encouraging individuals to speak the three major indigenous languages would end tribal conflict in Nigeria.
Ogbonna told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that when you speak the language of another person, you immerse yourself into their culture and harmonise with their way of life.
According to him, if every individual learns how to speak Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo (wazobia), it will go a long way at fostering peace and unity among Nigerian people.
“I guarantee you that the tribal conflict-prone to us will disappear if we learn another person’s language and culture; this will increase our understanding of the other person’s perspective,” he said.
Ogbonna said that government at all levels could enforce this cultural embrace by putting it in the Constitution that speaking these languages was a prerequisite to contest any election.
“They can also add that being able to speak the three major languages is a requirement to working in a reputable Nigerian organisation,” Ohaneze Ndi Igbo president said.
Ogbonna, who is also the Curator of Aguele Art Foundation, Victoria Island, said that embracing our culture would bring about the growth needed for Nigeria to be delisted from a third-world-country.
“Culture is the foundation to which the building blocks of any society is developed. A society that neglects its culture is doomed to be annexed by the culture of another society.
“China, India and many other Asian countries are making great scientific discoveries because they protected themselves and their culture from being totally invaded by conquistadors.
“Therefore, if we too must emerge as a world-super-power in the leading of scientific discoveries, we must embrace our culture through uniting in the speaking of our common languages,” he said.
Ogbonna said our culture also promotes the farming system which was another way to engage youths more productively in contributing to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.
“Promoting culture among youths will enlighten them on the importance of farming as a means of livelihood and further discourage internet fraud, popularly known as `yahoo yahoo’,” he said.
Ogbonna said the use of cultural practices also goes a long way in helping to improve our security system and drastically reduce crimes rate and the incidence of corruption.
“A political leader who is made to swear before the gods of his land in a shrine will think twice before engaging in corrupt practices.
“People fear going to the shrine to swear before their ancestors, because of the rippling effect as compared to court’s judgments which usually comes with bail or mild or severe jail terms,” he said.