By McPhilips Nwachukwu & Laide Akinbo
One of the ways by which the country has sought to win friends is by establishing, maintaining and strengthening cultural links between Nigerians and the people of other parts of the globe
The task , last week for Head of Mission and Embassy of Nigeria in the United States of America, Prof. Ade Adefuye was a very engaging one:
The occasion was the annual Centre for Black African Arts and Civilization, CBBAC’s lecture series which is initiated by the centre to employ dialogue to engage some of the cultural, religious and histro- political issues that derail the path of progress and as, well impede peace and process in Africa and Africa diasporas.
On this day at Reiz Hotel in Abuja in the presence of the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, parastatal heads from the ministry, technocrats and scholars, the eminent professor and diplomat, Adefuye mounted the podium and spoke to the expectant audience about how culture can be used in aiding the the nation’s quest for true democracy.
Culture and Diplomacy
His lecture titled, Culture , Diplomacy in the making of a New Nigeria was apt given his pedigree as both the Head of mission and the iconic cultural symbol of Nigeria in the world’s most important country, the United States of America.
The expectation from the eminent speaker included among other things; his first hand experience on how the instrument of culture and diplomacy have helped multi culture and previously race divided America harness her potentials, and also sustain her hegemonial power control over the rest of the world.
Therefore, drawing from his experience, Prof. Adefuye did not fail his audience, as he explained that culture plays a vital role in the establishment of viable and sustainable diplomatic relationships among nations.
“one of the ways by which the country has sought to win friends is by establishing, maintaining and strengthening cultural links between Nigerians and the people of other parts of the globe. Nigeria did this by signing cultural agreements with many nation’s of the world.” He said.
The august lecturer , also pointed out that the relevance of culture in the evolvement of a true democratic governance, when he argued that, “ the relevance of culture to our search for true democracy lies in the fact that African traditional cultures was essentially democratic; adding that” we need to dig deep into our past and our culture to keep the government on its feet and ensure the creation of a climate by which true democracy will be the basis of governance.”
In his own remarks, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke pointed out that , “Culture, in its dimensions, is a fundamental component for sustainable development and has important roles to play in maintaining and sustaining our country in the path of greatness.”
According to him, “ as a sector activity, it can provide us with the opportunity of discovering ways by which our tangible and intangible cultural heritages, creative industries and various forms of our artistic expressions can enhance economic development and social stability.
”As the repository of indigenous knowledge, culture can help us to make meaning and add value to our lives. Our culture defines the way we live and interact among ourselves. It is our source of identity as Nigerians and Africans and can lead us to innovations and creativity. We can therefore attribute the crisis of development we face as a country to the neglect of our culture.”
The Minister also assured Nigerians that the Federal Government would include Nigeria cultural studies in the school curricula in Nigeria , stressing that, “we will give priority to the incubation and development of technology that can assist the process of using our culture to remake our country. ”
Director Generalof Center for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC),Prof. Tunde Babawale said the lecture became necessary due to the numerous challenges that the country is facing and the need to tackle them through the use of culture.
”Since these crises are caused by our misplaced social, economic and political priorities, our culture provides us ample opportunities for a turn-around. Our culture must be made to influence our relationship with ourselves and with others.”