Stakeholders seek investment in culture to revitalise economy
With the yearly celebration of the Olokun festival in the western region and Edo State, stakeholders in the sphere have called for more investment to systematically transform the movement into an economic force that has potential to revitalise the economy.
They argued that promoting the Yoruba culture in Africa should have an impact on the way the group views life, which gives them an edge among other continents.
Convener of this year’s Olokun Festival, Ambassador Yeye Lara Fashola, at a press briefing, said the theme for this year event, ‘The Role of African Culture in the Promotion and Development of Young Africans,’ slated to hold on August 26 and 27, was apt, considering the present situation in the country.
She said if culture is properly harnessed, it will increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria and the Africa continent.
She harped on the need to enlighten the youth to take advantage of the continent’s rich cultural diversity to develop themselves economically.
According to her, “The promotion of our culture in Africa should have an impact on the way we view life, this gives us an edge among other continents. But contrary to this statement, our culture is being pushed aside by foreign cultures in terms of food, languages, entertainment and fashion.
“Promoting Yoruba culture through the Olokun festival has come to mend the gap by showcasing our culture in the best way possible with our local cuisine, music, fashion, folklore and others.”
Country Representative of the African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council (AU-ECOSOCC) Nigeria, John Oba, who called on government, private sector and institutions to help promote and support the Nigerian cultural heritage, said investing in culture could help revitalise the economy.
According to him, without culture, there will be no tourism. He lamented that most youths are gradually jettisoning Yoruba culture and totally emulating western culture.
Describing culture as Nigeria’s identity, he said youths should be encouraged to embrace it. He harped on the need to bring back this heritage in a manner that is economically enabling, stating that its method of governance is unique.
“We should work hard to uphold our culture. We are unique with wonderful culture across Africa, we need to bring that back. Most of the ewi and oriki are fading away. We have to bring it back and preserve it so that we will not lose our identity. It must not be eroded.”
The Assistant Trade Commissioner, High Commission of Malaysia, Suwardy Abd Shukur, who appreciated the Nigerian culture and traditions, commended the bilateral ties that exist between both countries.
Presently, he said over 400,000 Africans reside in Malaysia, each displaying their rich cultural heritage.
Nigeria’s representative at the AU, Quadri-Adu Kehinde, said there is lots of potential in the rich heritage to develop the nation.
Emphasising on the need to nurture culture, he called on youths to embrace the rich heritage immersed with a lot of benefits. Kehinde, who commended the Yoruba culture, said in it, a lot like fashion and cuisine, among others are found.