Many years ago, there was a country that had everything many countries wished they had. From great people to awesome cuisines and a vast array of languages from over 250 ethnic groups, that country was blessed more than the word “blessed”.
That country is Nigeria; a country filled with good people. Before the country gained independence from their British colonial masters, a huge part of their cultural beliefs was trashed in other for new beliefs to take the center stage.
Aside that, many cultural artifacts from the country found its way into the foreign museums, denying the generations yet unborn a peek into the rich cultural heritage of its ancestors.
After the country gained independence, there seemed to be a surge in the quest to act like the British. This led to an increase in the number of people that migrated from rural areas into the urban areas in search of greener pastures.
The outcome of this migration is the gradual extinction of the culture of Nigeria which was shaped by Nigeria’s multiple ethnic groups.
When our people left their rural homes to urban areas in search of greener pastures, they left behind them some elements of culture from the tribe they belonged to. A quintessential example is the native languages which is currently being replaced by the English language in Nigeria.
Let me tell you a short story.
My uncle left the village a long time ago and travelled down to Lagos in search pf greener pastures. He found what he was looking for, but he literally exchanged that for kids who were disconnected from their people. My cousins have lived in Lagos all their lives. They only come down to the eastern part of the country once in a year, sometimes, once in two years. They have lost connection with the tradition of their people and the worst part of the story is that they don’t know how to speak their native language.
My cousins aren’t the only ones guilty of disconnection from the culture of their people. There are millions of Nigerian youths who have subconsciously been disconnected from their native cultures.
How did the culture of Nigeria suddenly start facing extinction?
Parents are the primary cause of the perceived extinction of the rich cultural heritage of Nigeria.
First and foremost, they should be teaching their children the native language, but the reverse is the case. It’s not uncommon to see a youth who cannot speak his native language.
Secondly, the schools are not helping matters. Until recently, the curriculum of Nigerian schools were designed after the British. The implication of this was that some generations of individuals were denied the knowledge of the culture of their people. During my undergraduate days, one of my roommate used to say that he had never done the subject “Igbo” before and that was the main reason he was finding it difficult to pass the course in the university.
The society itself has also contributed in its own way to the extinction of the some of the culture of Nigeria. Many people who try to associate with the tradition of their people are perceived to be traditionalists. Since Nigeria is a religious country, no one wants to bear that tag and the stigma that goes with it.
It is pertinent to note that religion hasn’t affected the culture of Nigeria. Rather, people have been misusing the religion as a cloak to attack certain cultural practices that they don’t like. The Bible supported the preservation of some acts which have become today’s religious tradition.
The way forward…
There’s only one way to solve the problem of the extinction of the Nigerian culture; a public enlightenment program.
Yes! You heard me!
Proponents of the preservation of culture can effectively stem the tide in this situation. Schools, mass media, social media are effective channels that can be used to propagate the need for the preservation of the culture of Nigeria as well as the processes that would be undertaken. Through this enlightenment program, the stereotypical beliefs of the society about culture and traditionalism would be corrected. Parents would know the importance of teaching their children their native language and the schools would be the most interesting place to learn about culture of the people in Nigeria.
In the words of a popular Nigerian politician, Senator Ben Murray Bruce, “I just want to make common sense.”