Secure culture, insure future

In a lecture he delivered to mark the 50th anniversary of the Association of African Universities (AAU) in Ghana recently, our former Vice-Chancellor and Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB), Prof. Is-haq O. Oloyede, recalled how Prof. Chinua Achebe was jolted in Tokyo at a conference he attended in 1981 when he met one Prof. Kinichiro Toba of Waseda University, Japan. Prof. Toba was said to have shared his family anecdote of how his grandfather graduated from the University of Tokyo in 1880s with all notebooks filled with English. However, when his father graduated from the same University in 1920, half of his notebooks was in English but when Toba graduated a generation later, all his notes were in Japanese, stressing how it took Japan three generations to consume Western civilisation in their own language. The Japanese rightly realised that cultural ingredient or cultural security is the software of development and they are developed now.

As development is nothing more than “good change” ultimately, it is necessary for the youth who are the future to change appropriately and secure our culture by being proud of Nigeria. Life is not all about English and Coca Cola, it is about Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba as well as Zobo and Kunnu too. Modernity is not all about patronising Shoprite and enriching South Africa, it is also about putting smiles on the face of that struggling widow at Ipata or Baaboko market in Ilorin through patronage.