By Emmanuel Elebeke
ABUJA—The Federal Government has urged Nigerians to leverage the rich cultural diversity of the country to promote peace, unity and national integration.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Deaconess Grace Gekpe made the call at the annual Children’s Cultural Extravaganza organized by the National Institute of Cultural Orientation (NICO) in Abuja, with the theme, Culture: A Strategic Tool for Peace, Unity and National Integration.
Deaconess Gekpe said Nigerians should see our cultural diversity as a unifying force to achieve peace, unity and national integration development rather than being a threat to the nation.
She said the country is so blessed with rich cultural heritage that if well harnessed would enhance the nation’s development.
‘‘Our country is blessed with a multifaceted cultural heritage, which over time has served as springboard for social integration and national unity. Our rich cultural heritage has birthed all forms of innovation especially in our arts and craft, like music, fashion, film, dance, virtual art etc.
‘‘We must understand that the ideology of our founding fathers was to use our cultural diversity in creating a stronger bond between us as a people. We must shun all forms of hate speeches and attitudes amongst ourselves,” she said
Earlier in his welcome address, the Acting Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) , Mr. Louis Eriomala said the only way Nigeria would have hope for a better future is by educating the children on the nexus between peace, unity and national development.
He explained that the Children’s cultural Extravaganza is an offshoot of NICO cultural clubs programme in secondary schools which is designed to inculcate in our children our cherished cultural values of honesty, hardwork, tolerance, patriotism, respect for elders and constituted authority and respect for the sanctity of human life.
Eriomala aid the theme of this year’s programme was carefully chosen to underscore the importance of culture in fostering peace, unity and national integration and ultimately national development and also demonstrate our appreciation of the strategic importance of children in the promotion and preservation of our cultural heritage.
”It is very important that we emphasize to our young ones the things that bind and unite us which are far more than the things that divide us as a people. I wish to reiterate the commitment of NICO to the diligent implementation of existing children and youth programme of the institute. Efforts will also be made to design new ones to address despite your very busy schedule,” he said.