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Anambra culture road map: Right path
in right direction

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Ijele masquerade

INTENTION of the present administration in Anambra State  under the watch of Governor Chukwuma Soludo is timely and a path in the right direction.

  Past administrations tried their own to the boost the rich cultural heritage and its manifestations.

  According to Sociology, the study of human Relationships (third edition) by w.la Verne Thomas and Robert .J. Anderson, “culture is the way of life – the shared, learned behavior of a people. It includes everything they think to do and have as members of a society.

 It includes their ideas, values, beliefs, literature, art, music, religion, and philosophy. It includes the material objects they own and the rules by which they guide their behavior.

  Our language, the way we dress, the food we eat, our work activities and the way we spend our leisure time are all part of our culture”.

  The book further noted, “culture is both shared and learned. Members of the society transmit the culture from one generation to generation.

  According to a publication of the Federal Ministry of Information – Culture And Its Manifsetations – Know Nigeria Series (3), “culture as defined in the cultural policy is “the totality of a way of life evolved by people in their attempts to meet the challenges of living in their environment which gives order and meeting to our social, political, economic, aesthetic and religion norms and modes of organisation thus distinguishing a people from their neighbors”.

  “Culture involves more than dance, music, charms, and incantations; it comprises material and non-material dimensions, it blends practical accomplishments, inspiring philosophies, oral traditions and abilities in man’s continuous effort for developments.”

  Therefore present government efforts in creating comprehensive culture road map for Anambra State will see to the promotion and foster the appreciation, revival and development of Anambra arts and culture.

  Also, establishment of a development or unit that will help plan and co-ordinate cultural activities in the State and foster the development of literacy visual and performing acts in Anambra State should be put in place.

There is the need for Antiquities  Department to be established for creation, acquisition and preservation of artistic work, cultural monuments and depositories and promoting the development of music, traditional dancing, drama, opera, cinema, films, photography, folklore, oral tradition, literature, poetry, painting, sculpture, architecture, town planning and general arts, wood work, embroidery, weaving and similar crafts.

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  Also, the state government can set up a repository unit to document information on cultural festivals and information about other states of Nigeria.

  The unit will also promote our arts and culture by involving the general public in its activities through lectures, discussions, symposia, exhibitions.

According to the same publication: Culture and Its Manifestations – Know Nigeria Series (3), writing on the need for establishment of National Arts Theatre revealed that “the National Arts Theatre revealed that “the National Arts Theatre is periscope of Nigeria’s cultural development.

 This magnificent edifice built in 1975 by the government has become a vehicle for cultural preservation, presentation and development.”

  The publication also stated that “when in 1977, Nigeria hosted the second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC 77) the National Theatre played a leading role in unifying and propagating the culture of blacks.”

  “Consequently, it serves as a melting point to facilitate the accessibility of arts and culture to the wide spectrum of Nigerians.

  The present Anambra culture road map should address issue of promoting traditional festivals in the state. The same publication insightfully noted,“festivals are periodic celebrations marking significant events in the life of a people or community. It is used to transmit ideas, aspirations and the philosophy of a people which makes life more meaningful. They are a reenactment of historical, religious and traditional events which serve as factors of interaction, cohesion and mobilisation in these societies.

 The periodicity of these seasons are determined either by natural cycles example harvest season, new moon, etc or what is called manifestations of the supernatural in traditional circles.

Whole communities use these festivals as rallying points and for  unification, geographical boundaries become non-existent for communities who share common ideas and philosophies. In this sense therefore, festivals are like modern promotional fares that mobilise members of the society to achieve particular aims and cement their aspirations as well as display their creative achievements.

  The same publication revealed that “among the various traditional communities in Nigeria, there abound numerous festivals some of which are well documented and others of which there is very little information e.g (Osun Festival of Osogbo and ‘Leboku’ of the Ugep people in Cross River State. The great Ofala of Onitsha and Igue Festival of Benin.”

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  According to Know Nigeria Series 3, Culture and Its Manifestations, “the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST), organised by National Council of Arts and Culture serves to promote creativity in the fields of arts, service and technology for ensuring the continuity and progressive updating of traditional skills as a melting point and the crucible for promoting inter-cultural communication as well as the development of a national culture.”

  “With the launching of National Cultural Policy, the festival has become a key vehicle for realisation of the objectives of the policy.

In consonance with the new ideas which are geared towards technological development and seeks to promote indigenous creativity, generate employment opportunities and establish a base for self-reliance. Furthermore,  its presentation has been consciously designed to promote patriotism and national discipline for a proper social cohesion which will eventually supplant and provide a basis for all round independent development.”

  Promotion of local festivals and making them more acceptable to a larger audience by the new administration will help  in promoting tourism in the State.

  Also, ‘Mmanwu Festivals will help to preserve the manifestations of our rich cultural heritage. Such festivals will afford the people the chance to see such rare masks as Ijele- the king of masks.

  Therefore, the thinking of the present administration to draw cultural road map for our state will go a long way in promoting our rich cultural heritage. What it needed is leadership that will provide direction.

According to Chester Barnard in functions of an executive, a leader should have the following attributes-skills, technology, perception, knowledge, physique, memory, imagination, determination, endurance and courage.”

  Civil servants that will fast track this worthy project of the new administration need to be motivated. They should be induced to work to the best of their ability.

  William R. Tolbert, in his book “Executive mind, Timely Action, stated (the) ‘executive mind is fired by a passion to accomplish an improbable purpose and is consequently fundamentally optimistic even at the darkest moment of despair. This optimism is in a sense of fatalistic ‘just wait, everything will be all right attitude, but rather the ability to draw energy from a supreme challenge or demand.”

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  Presently, events unfolding and things seen on ground since the inception of this administration make Anambra State an enticing prospect!

  The book, Nigeria : Development Strategy For The People’s Economy  by Arthur Nwankwo – Issues in Nigeria Development series No 2, insightfully noted:  “We should also be careful to avoid an obsessively narrow view of productivity. Certain social reforms and social progress might have indirect but considerable influence on productivity.

For what happens outside a factory or farm is often the catalyst which determines attitudes to work and levels of production. It is no good simply making a factory more efficient if a man who works in it still has to travel for an hour to get there. Greater job satisfaction and higher productivity might be affected by improving the transport system.

  Similarly, improved health facilities will ensure less time lost through illness and injury. Improved schools and nurseries might also result in an expansion of the active labour force by releasing more women for work. This illustrates the need for planners to keep firmly in mind the complex interactions between social conditions and economic performance in modern society.” The learned scholar, revealed that  the key to sound long-term development must rest with the attitudes and values of the people who produce. Shape these correctly and the people will produce.    

  Looking into the future, Nwankwo (1986) revealed that:  “We have suffered irreparable losses and severe structural economic damage in our efforts to develop politically and economically because we have ignored our history.

Yet, our history determines our culture and our culture is what determines our economic performance. It is only by harkening to our culture and its imperatives that we can begin to grasp the underlying assumptions and rules that would best serve our development purposes and objectives. To him – “our culture is the voice of our past advising us in the present.

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