World Culture Day: Ajimobi harps importance of culture to right living

As part of efforts to reduce the negative impact of westernisation on culture and teach young ones about their heritage, the Oyo State government last week celebrated an all- encompassing World Culture Day. YEJIDE GBENGA-OGUNDARE reports that the celebration was filled with grand events that reflected the rich cultural heritage of various communities.


Culture is the total way of life of a particular environment; the food, dressing, attitude, ceremonies and way of doing things in totality. And the culture of the Nigerian society has over time been said to be eroded by through negative incursion of westernization.

Over time, there had been calls by various groups that relevant bodies and stakeholders put in place structures that will curb the continuous erosion of the culture of diverse ethnic groups in Nigeria so that the future generations will not completely loose a grip on their heritage.

It was in line with this that the Oyo state government through its Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism decided that the 2017 edition of the World Culture Day will be celebrated in the state in a way that will exhibit the uniqueness and beautiful aspects of the culture of the land.

The Ministry put together many activities that will not only allow young people understand their culture but also one that brought people from diverse walks of life together to show the young ones the beauty in their heritage and the importance of knowing what their background is about.

The ceremony which included parents and teachers cuts across both the public and the private sectors and the people were taught to appreciate every aspect of cultural norms and values; language, music, dance, food, mode of addressing people and way of dressing

Ibadan, the state capital took on a colourful outlook from early in the morning as workers and students on their way to work and school created a festival like atmosphere as they commuted to their various destinations in beautiful traditional apparels. In some environments, it was like a procession as people moved towards their diverse destinations resplendent in their various traditional attires.

And indeed, there was a carnival like procession made up of people from different groups as well as masquerades danced to the beats of traditional musical instruments to uplift the culture. And to show the government’s commitment to the celebration of culture, the procession which took off from the Cultural Centre at Mokola, took a straight route through Total Garden to Agodi Gate from where it moved down to the State Secretariat, where they were received by the state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and his cabinet members.

The festival was made more beautiful by the level of compliance by the people both in the private and the public sector, indicating that people also agreed that the culture must not be allowed to go into extinction and the younger generation should be taught the importance of their heritage.

From left, Governor Abiola Ajimobi, Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Toye Arulogun and the state deputy governor, Chief Moses Adeyemo at the event.

Governor Ajimobi was emphatic that there should be a turnaround in the fate suffered by the culture as a result of westernization, adding that it is time for everyone to start promoting the culture and heritage of the people as it is the only way to retain values and rightful living.

The governor who stated that culture is deeply embedded in godliness and doing things the right way, lamented what he described as the incursion of foreign culture which has eroded the African cultural values, ethics and heritage.

“African culture depicts respect for God, elders, constituted authority and good deeds but what we have today is different from what we used to get in the past. The importation of foreign culture of impunity, culture of greed, selfishness has badly affected our society.

“Culture is not only reflected in our mode of dressing, it is the combination of what we speak, eat, and how we relate with others and our God. It is very important to say that culture is about Godliness,” Governor Ajimobi explained while reiterating that government would continue to enhance its cultural heritage.

According to him, imported culture with its attached low value to hard-work would always breed laziness and leading to low delivery of positive deliverables to the society, adding that the attitude of the people to their work also reflect their culture.

“Most of what we were taught in the olden days were attached to the need for us to be hardworking and diligent, we were taught not to look for quick ways to affluence and riches, today those are no more and we have all forms of vices like kidnapping, armed robbery among others that are capable of tarnishing good family name. We should all put hands on the deck to revive our culture,” Senator Ajimobi stressed.

Speaking on the 2017 World Culture Day which is a UNESCO International event, the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Toye Arulogun stated that the theme, “Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development” is one that should explored to reawaken the dwindling interest of people especially the young ones, in their culture and heritage

According to him, losing one’s culture and heritage is like being sold into slavery as there is no sense of identity or roots for someone that doesn’t know where he came from. He added that Oyo State, being the center of the Yoruba race and civilization has to celebrate the World Culture Day in a unique way as a community with deep history, cultural background and a pacesetter.

Arulogun explained further that the rich cultural heritage of the state which is getting lost to many young people and some older ones is the reason why the State Government gave a directive calling on people to join in the celebration which commenced on Sunday, May 21st with sensitisation, enlightenment programmes and visits to cultural icons.

The Arulogun led Ministry of Information planned a festival that witnessed a cultural carnival train which moved across the city of Ibadan and dovetailed into a series of cultural activities at the Cultural Center, Mokola, Ibadan.

The activities that were highlights of the culture day included Art, Crafts, Fashion Exhibitions, musical parades a cultural procession and a beauty pageant for ladies with tribal marks tagged ‘Awelewa Ojurabesa’ which was won by  a beautiful woman called  Asabi Oje.

Many beautiful ladies with tribal marks took part in the Awelewa Ojurabesa pageant and it was a cultural fashion parade that people found entertaining; the best among the contestants went home with good prizes while people from different ethnic groups from other regions that live within Oyo state also came out fully to participate.

Diverse traditional cuisine from various cultures and different types of masquerades and traditional garret as that were on display to entertain the people as well as the procession that moved around the city added flavor to the celebration.

And at the end of the festival, the resolve and commitment of Governor Ajimobi’s administration to promote cultural tourism in the state was lauded by the people.

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