Community leaders seek cultural studies inclusion in schools curriculum
By Cyril Mbah
Leaders of indigenous communities in the Federal Capital Territory [FCT] have called for the inclusion of culture in the curriculum of primary and tertiary institutions to save the nation’s customs and traditions, and to save languages from extinction.
Gwari leaders, who made the call in Abuja, also appealed to education planners and the federal government to make culture one of the compulsory subjects for study in schools, as a way of promoting the nation’s diverse customs and traditions.
President of the Gwari United Supporters Union, ASC Dikko Zephaniah, told reporters in an interview during the Gwari Annual Cultural Festival held in Kuje that foreign cultural practices have posed serious threat to the survival of indigenous traditional practices because, the youths do not know much about the customs.
“Many indigenous Nigerian languages, cultural practices and traditions are facing threats from foreign cultures, and our native way of life may disappear before long, except drastic actions are taken to consciously save them.
“Some of the nation’s tribes have ignored their cultures sometimes because of religion. The two major religions often denounce and preach against culture. Culture is the identity of the people and this identity can be known from people’s dressing, music, dance, tribal marks and languages, as well as food, among others. We should not allow our youths to forget our cultures.”
Dikko argued that the only way out of the dilemma would be to enforce the study of culture and local languages, by making them compulsory subjects at all levels, from primary to the university.
Another leader, who is a Supervisory Councillor for Works in the Abuja Municipal Area Council [AMAC], Alhaji Jagaba A. Sarki, also supported the idea of enforcing the study of languages and culture in schools.
Sarki regretted that youths today are so addicted to foreign ideas and culture, whether or not they are suitable to the local terrain, and he advised the federal, state and local administrations to be more active in promoting culture, languages and tradition.
Comrade Illiya Danladi, the youth leader in Shadadi Ward in Kuje, where the festival took place, stated that the annual cultural festival brings together youths from different indigenous settlements of the Federal Capital Territory [FCT] to interact and exchange knowledge on their traditions and ancient practices.
Also, the executive director, Centre for Gwari Cultural Research and Documentation, Dr. Mida Kwali Ayuba, observed that cultural practices that involve sacrifice and other fetish practices could be reformed to ensure that the culture of Nigerian tribes are projected and promoted.
“Cultures are very important and significant because, culture identifies the particular race of people, who own such traditions and customs. Culture should not be regarded as something ancient. The United Nations raised alarm that many indigenous cultures and languages are dying out.
“We should not allow Nigerian languages, customs and traditions to disappear. I advise the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to do something more positive to promote our cultures,” he said.