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National Integration via culture: Children take front burner

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By Prisca Sam-Duru

Nigeria has reached a desperate point in history where every available tool is utilized to restore sanity and its lost glory.

A dramatic display by the children

Since inception, culture has maintained an enviable position of being a strategic tool of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation, NICO, with which it aims to keep the people united as well as develop the country.

Last Friday, the culture Institute held its 2018 Children Cultural Extravaganza at the National Theatre, Iganmu Lagos. The culture extravaganza according to the organizer, is targeted at correcting the current trend of the total neglect of the country’s culture by the younger generation with wholesale assimilation of foreign culture resulting in the upsurge of behaviours inimical to our existence as a people. It was therefore aimed at infusing positive Nigerian cultural values in the youths.

This year’s edition being 8th in the series, was themed, “Culture: A Strategic Tool for Peace, Unity and National Integration and the participating schools proved their mettle while showcasing to guests, the rich traditions of the peoples of Nigeria as well as the priority importance of unity, love and patriotism.

The children’s presentations ranged from fashion parades showcasing diverse traditional wears of different tribes in the country, cultural dances, dramas and songs. Participants in the fashion parade also used the opportunity to explain to guests the tribes they represented, their trades, foods, languages, mode of marriages, etc.

His Goodness Private School, Orile, wowed the audience with their act titled Unity. The dance drama spoke volume about the need to work together if Nigeria must progress.

Other schools in attendance were, God’s Own School, Ijesha, Bedrock College, Surulere; Kosofe Junior College, Ketu, and many others. In all, they put up an excellent performances.

The Acting Executive Secretary NICO, Mr Louis Eriomala, said that the programme “Is organized  annually to demonstrate our appreciation of the strategic importance of children in the promotion and preservation of our cultural heritage. It is designed to inculcate in children our cherished cultural values of honesty, hard work, tolerance, patriotism, respect for elders and constituted authority, respect for the sanctity of human life, etc. It is also a platform to stimulate their interest and pride in Nigerian cuisine, dressings and languages.

The theme for this year’s edition he disclosed was “Carefully chosen to underscore the importance of culture in fostering peace, unity and National integration and ultimately, national development.

In her well detailed lecture, the Guest Lecturer, Mrs Victoria Agodo an educationist who was the pioneer Executive Secretary of NICO in 1992, tasked parents and schools on the need to intensify efforts towards ensuring that children are given proper culture foundation, stressing that culture from the cradle should be encouraged.

“Culture is associated with tradition and custom. Parents must train their children to speak languages of other tribes, apart from theirs. The more languages they can speak, the better integration. It is also important that parents encourage inter-tribal marriages by giving their consent whenever the need arises. Parents must also care about what their children wear as well. We must not be too western as to ignore our culture completely.”, She intoned.

In same vein, Agodo advised schools to see all students as one, irrespective of their states of origin. She advised teachers to ensure they most often dress in traditional attires instead of only during their school’s cultural day celebration.

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