Culture practitioners chart way for traditional practice, beliefs
Traditionalists and culture activists last week, Sunday, converged on June 7 Embassy Hotel, Ijegun Lagos, to chart a way forward for traditional practices in the country and as well examine the role of traditional healers amid Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Organised by Heritage Connection Production (HERICON) in collaboration with Royal Star Entertainment Production (ROSEP), as part of the activities to mark the 24th edition of African Culture Preservation Presentation Advocacy (ACUPA) week, the programme featured lectures, poetry, musical performances, recognition and honour of culture ambassadors.
With theme and sub-theme as ‘2021 The Year Of New Beginning’ and ‘Overcoming Traditional Life Woes,’ stakeholders noted that there is need for all the ethnic groups in the country to preservers their traditional value as such component of the people’s culture tell who they are and define their being.
Speaking on the main theme, Dr. Caleb Oyewole Omiyale, CEO, Miyale Nature Healthcare, Ikorodu, said running away from our traditional practices is like being a foreigner in one’s country. He noted that the year 2020 opened a new vista with the Coronavirus (COVID-19), which has changed the way people think and even do things.
Disclosing that the virus is highly contagious and could manifest inform of malaria, he said Nigerian traditional healers could produce drugs to cure it and called on traditional medicine practitioners to embark on intensive research to come up with analysis that could convince the world that Nigeria could proffer solution to the pandemic.
Omiyale urged government to motivate traditional medicine practitioners by funding their research and clearing the bottlenecks on the way to register their products.
The headman of Miyale Nature Healthcare disclosed that traditional medicine is the next way to go in the new normal era, adding that there are different sicknesses which modern medicine cannot cure, but traditional healers have with herbs and fruits cured such sicknesses.
For Dr. Olusegun Adeleke, Senior Medical Scientist with Federal Aviation, Nigeria is at its current situation because people have jettison traditional ways of doing things and even medicine. He urged stakeholders, parents and all caregivers to go back to our culture, teach their children to accept and appreciate our culture.
Adeleke said Nigerians should stop blaming colonisation for disrupting our traditional ways of doing things and also people’s belief system, saying that other countries colonised across the world have moved on leaving behind the shackles of colonialism. He noted that China, India, Japan among others suffered the same fate with us from their colonisers, but they have been able to come out of it because they believe in themselves, what they can produce and their culture.
Adeleke noted that the new normal is giving us signals to look inward and come up with local remedy. According to Adeleke countries that have discovered VOVID-19 vaccines are for now giving attention to their locals, before thinking of the nationals from other countries. Adeleke noted that Nigeria has the remedy with our herbs; only our government should be pragmatic and stop mixing politics with the real issue on ground.
“Colonialism is not a defeat, we should stop imitating the whites as they too are envious of us. We should think outside the box and come out with solution. We have the solution to COVID-19, we have the herbs, but we need the wherewithal to empower us,” he said.
On some of the ways Nigerians can promote their culture, the scientist aside harping on stakeholders to speak our local language to our children, said traditional rulers should desist from making those that do not believe in the traditional practices chiefs and their cabinet members, saying this category of people are always hostile to culture and would end up destroying it instead of promoting it.
Taking a bite on the sub-theme, ‘Overcoming Traditional Life Woes,’ High Chief Ifasola S. Opeodu, the Oluwo of Iperu Akesanland in Ogun State observed that COVID-19 protocols are not new to traditional medicine practitioners, stressing that the disease is associated with poor hygiene and called on traditional medicines practitioners to imbibe the culture of cleanliness in their workplaces.
The Oluwo of Iperu Akesanland noted that foreigners come to Nigeria to study our traditional medicine, but we do not still believe in it or value it, adding that no country wants to be an underdog, but we seem to like the status we are currently in because there is no meaningful effort put to improve what is on ground. He urged practitioners to stop being antagonistic and work in synergy to boost the practice.
Chief Mufutau Balogun, the Balogun Aso Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State, observed that every family eat one type of herb or the other, saying some of the herbs we eat are the raw materials of their drugs. According to him, many Nigerians, especially Christians and Moslems see traditional medicines as Satanic and as such relegate it to the background.
He disclosed that the late Dr. Beko Ransome Kuti was against traditional medicine because most of the practitioners operate under unhygienic condition and administer the same dosage to our patients irrespective of age and body weight.
For Yeye Osunnike Awokemi, the Yeye Oosa of Olomitutu Ekun Temple, truth and wellness should be the guiding principles of practitioners. According to her, the rush to get-rich-quick has blinded some practitioners and has made them to begin to cut corners and tell half-truth.
High Chief Hakeem Abayomi Rabiu Odofin, the Baale of Amuwo Odofin, Lagos, called for a yearly summit, where issues concerning doctrine, practice and discipline would be handled.
According to him, if such summit were institutionalised practitioners would be able to exchange ideas, learn from each other and create a stronger front to withstand oppositions. He observed that many people, including government are still skeptical to fund the sector because many practitioners seem unserious with their practice, adding that aside proper packaging, end users of the drug should be able to know the composition of what they are consuming. The highpoint of the event was the recognition and award of practitioners that have performed outstandingly in the year.
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