By Success Nwogu
The Director-General, Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, Prof. Wole Ogundele, has called on the African Union to take pragmatic steps towards preserving African indigenous languages.
He lamented that it was an irony that a London-based centre was spending huge amount of money on the study and preservation on some African languages while, according to him, AU is not doing much to preserve the indigenous langauages.
He said that unless efforts were made to preserve African langaugaes, most of them might go into extinction in the next 50 years.
He spoke in Ilorin on Monday during the inauguration of Black Culture and Arts Foundation.
In a lecture entitled “Our culture, our wealth”, Ogundele, who is a professor of English, advanced reasons for the failure of efforts to commercialise culture in Nigeria.
He listed infrastructural and social problems as some of the factors responsible for the failure of such commercialisation.
Ogundele said, “Our efforts to commercialise culture in Nigeria have failed because of infrastructural decay such as bad roads and state of ‘uncleanliness’ of some of our infrastructure. The Europeans who know that there is insecurity and infrastructural decay in the country would not come to invest in Nigeria’s arts and culture.
“A lot of money has been put into commercialising Nigerian culture but we have not been successful.”
The don stressed the need for Nigeria to learn from countries such as France, Malaysia and Singapore where culture has been successfully commercialised.
He cited the example of the Chinese dragon festival which has been successfully turned into an annual festival that has attracted not only the Chinese but other people of the world.
He urged Nigerian government to embark on the project of modernising her culture from within to enable her to achieve the desired goals.
The Kwara State Governor, Alhaji AbdulFatah Ahmed, was represented by the Commissioner for Social Welfare, Hajia Ramata Abaya.
He said the objectives of the foundation were in tandem with his administration’s desire to make the state a tourist haven.
Culled from Nigerian Punch newspaper. The link is here.