THE NIGERIAN INDIGENOUS CULTURE; CHANGING-TIMES, IDEAS AND STRATEGIES FOR REBUILDING.

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Nigeria is considered a super-power in the African continent, little wonder the saying “When Nigeria sneezes, the rest of the African nations (with the exception of South Africa) catch cold.” It has the largest population in Africa and the land is endowed with vast quantities of natural resources. It is the sixth largest oil-producing nation and has a well-educated and industrious society.

Before the advent of Western colonialism, Nigeria had consisted of over 450 linguistic or ethnic groups, each of which was independent of the other, having its own values, culture, religion, politics and economic activity. None of these groups had anything to do with the others. It was the British colonialists that brought these disparate groups together under one political umbrella and called it Nigeria.

In order for these disparate groups to live together in harmony and to enable the colonialists comfortably exploit the natural resources of the territory without disturbance, the British imposed on the people their mores, culture, education, art, language and religion, presenting the Nigerian cultural and social values as archaic and anachronistic, which must be discarded and replaced with European culture. This made the people to abandon their culture and replace it with Western culture.

Culture plays a vital role in the physical and mental development of an individual in any society. The functioning of every human body is not only moulded by the culture within which the individual has been reared but also by the way he was born into society with a definite culture; been fed and disciplined, fondled and put to sleep, punished and rewarded.

The current phase of globalization has further alienated the people from their roots as a result of the impact of information and communication technology. Through the globalized media, people all over the world are being made to look the same, profess the same faith, speak the same language, wear the same type of dress, enjoy the same type of music, and eat the same type of food. It is globalization that is responsible for the destruction of primitive cultural practices such as communalism, the dignity of the human person, respect for elders, hospitality and brotherly love, women not having equal recognition with their male counterparts and others such as, bigamy, the killing of twins and the use of human heads in burying notable personalities like kings and queens, which caused blatant violation of human rights. While globalization is therefore eulogized for bringing about the belief in the universal validity of the notion of human rights, the same globalization is also blamed for slavery and colonization, which caused the violation of the rights of Nigerians

It was revealed in a study that globalization has put many Nigerians in conflicting situation over what constitutes their real cultural identity and the result is, the Nigerian who is neither wholly indigenous nor totally foreign but a split personality.

If colonialism did not completely succeed in uprooting Nigerians from their roots through the imposition of foreign rule and missionary activities, globalization is, through the activities of the new media – the internet, email, Facebook, twitter, cable and satellite televisions. Acculturation or cultural globalization has thus created conflicting situations, which trespasses on cultures undermining acculturation and human relations.

The big question before us now is how do we remedy this situation? How do we revamp our unique indigenous culture? How do we rescue the Nigerian from this foreign cultural onslaught, which has debased him and made him a stranger in his own country? How then can the Nigerian come back to his original root? For some people like a former Nigerian Minister, Mazi Mbonu Ojike, who campaigned against imitating the European way of life, the ubiquitous presence in Africa, and insisted that Africans should content themselves with what they have; the only way is for the country to close all its doors and windows and not allow any air from outside to contaminate or foul it. In other words, it is for Nigeria to turn its back completely on everything foreign.

Nevertheless, while rejecting foreign cultural impositions, Nigerians should, at the same time resist the temptation of throwing away the baby with the bath water. They should recognize the weaknesses or limitations of the communal society, its cleavages and differentiations, such as the multiplicity of castes, status, secret cults, professional and religious groups. Also, while refusing to be sandwiched by foreign cultures, Nigerians should know that it is not everything that comes from inside that is good, while it is not everything that comes from outside that is bad. It is in their interest therefore, to be wise enough to make right judgment.

Nigeria must come to terms with her own subjectivity by modifying traditional and foreign cultural values in conformity with the realities and exigencies of the day. The modification of these values will yield a system of cultural values that are peculiar to her, but open to all societies. Accordingly, the Nigerian must discard or kick against traditional norms or practices that could render him increasingly weak, or could imprison him in the past.

Nigeria, in the era of globalization, should not see herself as an island, nor a means, but an end. She should assimilate aspects of European cultural values which are progressive in nature but avoid the rigidity associated with them, as it is based on a social conservatism rooted in the exploitation of man by man. Nigeria therefore needs to strike a necessary balance between her indigenous cultures and foreign cultural influences to meet with the realities of current globalization. True globalization therefore, affirms mutual inter-exchange of cultures and not isolation, or the domination of one culture by another.

Even though Nigeria is coming up strongly in her movie industry, popularly known as Nollywood, which is being showcased all over the world through the communication media, Nigeria needs not proclaim only flag independence, she needs to develop appropriate technology suited to her people and her environment to free herself from this foreign and cultural domination. This technology must be used to improve the welfare of man and his environment and must be in harmony with nature. It should aim at benefitting all sections of the country.

There should be an outburst of poems and scholarly articles targeted at recapturing the lost identity of Nigeria, as well as more movies and songs like the akwaibom ayaya, which showcases the rich Nigerian culture.

Government should among other things enrishine in the school’s curriculum of primary and secondary schools language teaching and learning in their mother tongue and some other major languages in Nigeria like Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo. They should encourage development of the orthography of many more Nigerian languages, and produce text-books in Nigerian languages.

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FIELD AFRICA TO CATALYZE WOMEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN AFRICA

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Fast-tracking Innovation Entrepreneurship & Leadership Development (FIELD) Africa today, announced the unveiling of an initiative poised to unlock the entrepreneurial prowess of the African woman.

The initiative is set to incubate young and emerging African women entrepreneurs and there after project successful candidates to relevant investors. Participating entrepreneurs during the stretch of the initiative will receive leadership and entrepreneurship development worth $20,000 to advance their business model for scale and provide them access to finance. The most innovative businesses will get a chance to pitch to a global audience during the 2016 FIELD Africa Forum.

Additionally, a KnowledgExchange Fellowship, another initiative of the organization will provide training and internship opportunity for youths from Africa and beyond to join a global network of business and social impact leaders. Strategic partnerships with funds & global financial institutions like Acumen Fund, Village Capital, etc. as well as universities and incubators has been established to ensure qualitative delivery of the initiative, the organization notes.

On the story behind the inspiration of the initiative, FIELD Africa Chief Information Officer Austin Orji, pointed out that “In 2013 during an innovation boot camp held in Nigeria to inspire youths and students to create innovative solutions to address social problems, a 17 year old miss Nkem exemplified the creativity of the African woman when she received the School2Skill Student Innovative Award of Education & Skill Trust Initiative for creating a low energy musical amplifier”.

Interested persons should proceed to the organization’s website http://www.fieldafrica.org. All applicants are to note that applications will be evaluated on a roll-in basis.

FIELD AFRICA UNVEILS AFRICA AGRIBUSINESS START UP CHALLENGE

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Fast-tracking Innovation Entrepreneurship & Leadership Development (FIELD) Africa today, announced the commencement of her call for applications into the AFRICA AGRIBUSINESS START UP CHALLENGE to engender innovation in the agricultural sector in Africa, as well promote youth participation in the sector.

Speaking on the relevance of the initiative, FIELD Africa Chief Information Officer, Mr. Orji Austin said that the initiative is designed to protect and incubate domestic infant sectors with agriculture on the front burner, revamp agribusiness in Africa which requires active participation of African youths that make up the majority of the population and help grow the concern of government on how to make agriculture attractive to 625 million people in Africa that fall between the age bracket of 16-25.

FIELD Africa through the FIELD startup challenge seek to inspire and raise an army of youth-led agribusiness startups that will create values at different level of the value chain with innovative business model- aggregation of both food & cash crops, processing, repackaging and different technology driven agricultural extension services that take products and services to the last mile.

FIELD startup challenge also welcomes entrepreneurs and bright ideas across critical sectors such as Healthcare, Clean energy, Education, Mobile & Technology, Water & Sanitation and Financial Inclusion. It runs a KnowledgExchange Fellowship that will raise the next generation of global & social impact leaders, through a cohort of youth professionals drawn from Africa and beyond, empowering them with the required skills to launch a high impact career.

In her commitment to use an ecosystem approach to drive entrepreneurship development in Africa, FIELD partners with funds & investment institutions like Acumen Fund, Universities, Incubators & Hubs committed to researching, developing & financing startups.

Note: The Pan-African entrepreneurship development initiative will provide youths making bold strides in the agribusiness value chain $20,000 worth of business support, technology & modern technique transfer as well as access to finance.

Interested applicants should proceed to the organization’s website at http://www.fieldafrica.org. Applications will be evaluated on a roll-in basis. Applicants who apply first, stand a better chance.

DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY FOR COMMUNICATION

RISE IN THE USE OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY FOR COMMUNICATION (1980-2013)

Communication became well known in the developed counties in1980. In 1983 Motorola created the first mobile phone which was called Motorola Dyna Tac. The first digital camera was created in 1988 and was marketed in Japan by 1989 and in the United States by 1990. Tim Berners-Lee designed the World Wide Web (www) in 1991, he thought about the concept in March 1989 and wrote the code and server in the last months was released to the public. In year 2000, Cell phones became as popular as computer. Text messaging existed in the 1990s but was not widely used until the early 2000s. In 2010-2013, the link between mobile device and internet websites through social networking became a standard in digital communication.

MASS MEDIA

The most effective way of achieving large-scale, population wide behaviour change is through the mass media. This term ‘mass media’ refers to any type of media that is one-to-many. It encompasses print media (newspapers, magazines, leaflets, billboards, books, etc.), broadcast media (primarily radio, film and TV). Online media known as the new media ( websites, especially social media such as Facebook and twitter becoming increasingly important as are mobile phones which can be used in many ways beyond the simple passing on of SMS or voiced messages)

Today, everyone depends on information and communication to go on through daily activities such as work, education, healthcare, leisure activities, entertainment, travelling, relationships, etc.

The values we hold, the beliefs we harbour and the decisions we make are based on our assumptions, experiences, education and what we know as facts. We rely on the mass media for current news, what is important and what we should be aware of. We trust the media as an authority for news, information, education and entertainment.

Recently, waking up to check the cellphone for messages or notifications, look at the TV or newspapers for news, read emails, take meetings and make phone calls, chat with family and friends and make decisions based on the information that we gather from those mass media and interpersonal media sources is no longer unusual.

Mass media is cost-effective in developing countries because the vast majority of people consume some form of mass media on a regular basis.