The Arts

September 22, 2013

NAL addresses decaying nation’s values

NAL addresses decaying nation’s values

*Workshop session for budding writers

By Prisca Sam-Duru

The Nigerian Academy of Letters (NAL), held its 15th Convocation Lecture and the investiture of new fellows, penultimate week at the University of Lagos(UNILAG) and topping the agenda at the occasion was the need to address the decaying values of Nigeria.

The occasion which had its theme as “Nigeria’s Cultural Tapestry” witnessed a large turnout from the academia and fellows of the Academy who appeared in their best to felicitate with their colleagues, stakeholders in the education sector as well as friends.

*Workshop session for budding writers

*Workshop session for budding writers

NAL president, Prof Munzali Jibril in his opening speech, lamented the level of moral decadence amongst Nigerians adding that, although it is almost 2 years to 2015, life is gradually grinding to a halt because of the attitudes of politicians.” He regretted that the level of corruption and looting of wealth continues to soar while the level of poverty and suffering of the masses continues to rise. Prof Jibril therefore, charged the elite to rise up and contribute their quota to help rescue Nigeria from her present status, stressing that if they fail to do so, it will be hijacked by angry youths.

In a Lecture titled “Nigeria’s Cultural Tapestry and the Challenge of Development”, Professor Ayodeji Olukoju, FNAL and Vice-Chancellor, Caleb University Imota, Lagos discussed the central issue of diversity, which is critical to development in plural societies and of course its reoccurrence as an “issue in the post-Amalgamation history of Nigeria in view of “the challenges of nation-building which seem to have defied the best efforts of our leaders and countrymen.”

His lecture therefore, focused on the interlocking issues of leadership, governance, diversity and development, while bringing out the relationship between diversity and development.

The respected don also emphasized the significance of the introduction of History of Nigeria in the curricular of schools throughout the country as he observed that “No nation can develop beyond the knowledge and teaching of its history, a subject that shortsighted Nigeria. To him, “a better Nigeria is possible if Nigerian history is taught in schools as a compulsory subject to equip citizens with a sound knowledge of the society that they may have to govern some day in future and whose peoples they must understand and interact with.

He outlined the benefits of culture which he said is key to development in the areas of,  contributing to the global economy through tourism which is one of the fastest growing business sectors, investment in culture-related activities to revitalise the economy by utilizing cultural heritage and cultural events to improve the image of the country and attract investment and visitors which in turn, stimulate urban development, among others.

Other issues touched were public conduct in high places, noise pollution in cities, waste mismanagement and Police brutality against innocent citizens

The link between the reality of diversity and the aspiration of development he said, is leadership and therefore, “leadership deficit is a major disaster that has befallen post-independence Nigeria, and it seems to be a component of our anti-developmental culture. as already indicated. What Nigeria needs to bridge this chasm is the leadership that can envision, strategise and actualise.”

According to him,“Select our “First Eleven” regardless of ethnicity, religion and politics. Let federal character and quota system go on recess, while we build a country for all. Adopt asymmetrical federalism, which privileges the so-called minorities in holding sensitive positions, since they are not likely to be accused of wanting to dominate.

The three new fellows inducted were Professors A Olaniyan, Ishaq Olorode and Eno-AbasidUrua.