To wean the country of negative influence from other cultures, President, Eko Club, Chief Tunde Fanimokun, has called for a revival of lost cultural values.He said this at the 2018 World Indigenous Day Celebration organised by Centre for Indigenous Communication, Lagos.While reiterating his efforts in promoting and protecting the rich Yoruba cultural heritage, Fanimokun said all hands must be on deck to make positive aspects of culture change agents.
He said: “We need to revive our lost cultural value in order for the younger generation to grow with it. We have norms. We don’t dress or talk anyhow. Our language is good and many universities abroad are teaching Yoruba studies, aside from the fact that many foreigners are coming here to learn it. With people like us here in Eko Club where we treasure our cultural heritage, I am sure that our rich heritage will always be there for generations unborn to meet. We won’t allow it to go into extinction. Here in Eko Club, we value our cultural heritage.”
He stressed that culture is very important for any community to grow progressively. “Culture is the symbol of the future; it is the representative of the past and the basis for progress, therefore, any people neglecting their culture will be like uprooting their past. To that extent, culture is very important.” He added, “in the case of Yoruba, our culture is very rich. It has all the dimensions you may want to talk about, language, mode of dressing, respect for the elders, those are core values.”
The guest lecturer, Mrs. Olufunke Fadugba, a culture ambassador and school proprietress, said though Yoruba are looking at their culture with disdain, those who know the value both at home and abroad are concerting efforts to make its heritage stand out.
Culture could be used as a change agent, and this is, “if the people promote their culture and make it to be more important. We don’t regard some of our cultural values anymore and are elevating the culture of other people. In doing that, we are not actualising our own vision as individuals, tribes, groups and a nation. Nigerian culture promotes collectivity and not individuality. We need to let people internalise some of our cultural values,” she said.
Fadugba stressed the need for roundtable discussions, awareness campaigns, training programmes and more strategies to reawaken the nation’s dying cultures.“We need to find an avenue also to imbibe it in our children so that they could grow with it. It is sad to see white people coming from Harvard to Nigeria to teach our own children Yoruba heritage,” she observed.
At the event, Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams who was represented by the National Publicity Secretary, Oodua Peoples Congress, Barrister Yinka Oguntimehin, also called for the revival of cultural heritage as an antidote to many problems in the society, especially corruption, which has negatively impacted on the country’s brand.
Convener, Princess Jumoke Owoola, revealed that the need to honour agents of change, led her organisation, Centre for Indigenous Communication, to celebrate Fanimokun in the 2018 edition of the programme.She said: “We have been doing this for the past six years and I am happy that the awareness is gaining ground. Initially, many people frowned at the need for cultural rebirth, but now, reverse is the case. They have learnt that you cannot take peoples’ culture away from them. Is it in the areas of dressings? Here in Africa, a mad man will never go out naked, why then does a decent lady going out of her home partially dressed? Men are not left out too.
“We don’t talk to people anyhow, because we believe that respect begets respect. When we were growing up, the communal factor was so deep, rich and real that we saw in our neighbours the family we craved for. Do you know that developed countries are researching into African communal ties and making references to its usage?”Stressing the need for agents of change, Owoola said these are people that Nigerians can emulate in dressing, manners, cuisine and so on to foster the right cultural rebirth.
“There was a time in Nigeria that you cannot serve ofada or local rice at parties, but when the likes of Folawiyos, Okoyas, Johnsons and other eminent people started serving it in their parties, many followed. It is no longer seen as the food for the poor.On what the future holds for Yoruba culture, the journalist, lecturer cum indigenous knowledge champion, said: “Yoruba culture cannot die. Many people are rising up to the challenge. It will amaze you that people like Fanimokun are collaborating with government to make case for it.”