By Priscilla Osaje
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Thursday called on Nigerians to use culture as dialogue to improve human relationship and social development.
Mohammed, who was represented by Mrs Ifeoma Anyanwutaku, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, made the call at the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development in Abuja.
The 2021 edition with the theme: ‘Cultural Diversity in the COVID-19 Era’, was aimed at reawakening cultural consciousness.
According to him, the culture day gives us an opportunity to celebrate our cultures and also deepen our understanding of the role of cultural values in promoting social cohesiveness and development.
“Every society is shaped by its distinct culture, be it language, cuisine, religion, fashion, architecture or music.
“The country’s rich and unique cultural heritage is an invaluable asset that has continued to serve as a springboard to portray our nation’s image to the rest of the world.
“In spite of our cultural diversity, we have continually forged a path to a stronger, unified and indivisible nation.
“While the world races to find a lasting solution to the COVID-19 pandemic, with various countries collaborating and working tirelessly to save humanity from this common enemy, the vital lesson of our common humanity must translate into our national lives.”
The minister noted that the pandemic has limited physical activities, by given us the unprecedented opportunity to live differently and take advantage of various technological channels and platforms to foster cultural diversity.
“We must therefore leverage on available virtual platforms and digital technologies to break barriers and natural borders in showcasing and promoting our tangible and intangible rich cultural products, as well as conduct our day-to-day activities to meet our social responsibility,” he added.
Mohammed commended the outstanding performance of two Nigerian artists, Dani Ogulu a.k.a Burna Boy and Ayodeji Balogun a.k.a Wizkid, for winning the prestigious Grammy Awards.
“It is worth mentioning that our artistes have continued to showcase Nigeria’s rich culture on the world entertainment stage.
“Not too long ago, two of our artistes, popularly known as Burna Boy and Wizkid, won the prestigious Grammy Awards.
“This great feat underscored the importance of the Nigerian culture in inspiring a broad range of artistic expression,” he commended.
Mohammed called on all stakeholders and well meaning Nigerians to complement government’s effort in building a peaceful, progressive and prosperous Nigeria for the benefit of all.
Earlier, Anyanwutaku said the vision of United Nations Educational, Scientific Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has helped Nigerians to understand the role of culture.
She added that with this role the right conditions could be created for dialogue to enhance understanding and improve human relationships across various strata of the society.
Anyanwutaku, represented by Mrs Rose Kwarsen, Deputy Director, Department of Cultural Heritage and Industry, said the process would promote national development.
“Today’s celebration is a pointer to the important role of culture, in not only shaping but also opening vistas of opportunities for people of different cultural background to interact and establish mutual understanding.
“Against this backdrop, I wish to emphasis that mutual understanding can be established only through dialogue.
“For any society to thrive politically and socioeconomically there is the need to leverage on the salient role of culture in promoting social integration,” she said.
Anyanwutaku said that Nigeria’s unique cultural diversity has played a critical role in fostering interaction between people of different cultural backgrounds.
The Permanent Secretary added that such cultural background has contributed immensely in building bridges across various ethnic groups in Nigeria.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was attended by dignitaries from the Chinese Cultural Embassy, National Film and Video Censor Board, National Gallery of Art and Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation.
Others are: India High Commissioner, representatives from National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism, National Institute for Cultural Orientation, Anglican Girls Grammar School Apo, and Junior Secondary school Tudun Wada among others.(NAN)