At book presentation, Obasanjo admonishes Nigerians to celebrate, value their culture
Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has berated Nigerians for not carrying their culture the way they should. Obasanjo said this at the 40th memorial anniversary lecture, public presentation and book launch, titled: Cultural Modernity in a Colonized World, the Writings of Chief Isaac O. Delano, in Lagos.
The former president, who was the event’s chairman, said: “We are not carrying our culture as we should. Culture is the totality of the life of people- Language. I go around the world and occasionally it puts me into trouble. They tell me you man with funny dress. Whenever they say that, I tell them my dress is not funny but unique.
“I believe we must do something to live up our culture in order to save it from extinction and enthrone its development.” He emphasised the importance of history as critical to the development of the country. “If history is your past and you are trying to forget your past, it is like a man losing his memory. History should prepare us for the future, and guide us for the future. But when they said history should be scrapped, I wondered why,” he said.
While applauding the return of history to school’s curriculum by Federal Government, the erudite scholar and author of the book, Professor Toyin Falola, urged Nigerians not to lose their culture to globalisation. He noted that culture unites Africans as one, adding that history consolidates ideas to build nationalism, patriotism and intimate future generations about past achievements and leadership.
“First of all, we should not lose our culture. We should not allow globalisation to destroy our culture. We should promote our values. We should raise our children very well. We should let our language endure.
“In a country like this, history is good to consolidate ideas around the nation to build nationalism, to build patriotism, to let the current generation know about the past in terms of its achievements, in terms of leadership and also in terms of mistakes people have made so that these things can be corrected.“We have our collective humanity as Africans and our resources as groups. Culture unites us, as Africans and it also creates diversity, which is what we bring together.”Falola eulogised the late Delano for his good works, noting that his legacies would never be written off as generations upon generations applaud it.
“Forty years ago, we lost one of the major Yoruba writers, who belonged to the cgeneration of Fagunwa/Odunjo. His name was Delano. This is the first time a book would be released on him. He was the very first to contribute to the development of Yoruba grammar, the very first to write the dictionary of Yoruba verb and the very first to publish a book on Yoruba proverbs.“He contributed to the development of Yoruba language, to using language in the writing of projects and he developed many literary works, mainly Aye Di Aye Oyinbo. So, the event is to remember him, his legacies and his works.
“Most of his books especially Soul of Nigeria, Aye Di Aye Oyinbo and how language works and expounded his contribution to the development of Nigeria, his views on politics,” the lecturer said.He itemised Delano’s legacies in the area of teachings, development, agriculture and legacies to Nigerian politics
Delano’s son, Chief Akinwande Delano SAN, assured that he would turnover Isaac Oluwole Delano to the public as the lecturer suggested. He noted that a board of Trustees would be formed, which may not be necessarily family, but public who are interested in promoting his works and ideas.
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