he National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) says that understanding and appreciating the culture and beliefs of other Nigerians will prevent culture shocks and promote national unity.
The Director-General of the NCAC, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, gave the advice in an interview on Sunday in Abuja.
According to Runsewe, parents have a major role to play in cementing cultural integration and breaking the problem of language barriers, among others.
“You will see that when it comes to inter-ethnic marriages, culture differences are among some of the challenges that the families are going to face.
“This is because if you don’t understand the cultural content of the person you are close to, you are bound to have issues with the person.
“So, somebody from Ekiti State, for instance, must eat his pounded yam three times a day but this is not the way in other cultures.
“The Ekiti man has made up his mind that this is what he likes. But somebody from Sokoto State wants to take Fura da nunu, that is his belief.”
Runsewe said that Nigerians needed to reason together to see what united them, rather than the issues dividing them.
“For me, we need to critically look and appreciate what brings us together as a people rather than what separates us.”
He, therefore, urged public and private schools to reintroduce history as a subject in the school curriculum, to make Nigerians to understand their past.
According to him, Nigerian children need to know the history of their country because the history of Nigeria encapsulates great Nigerians who fought to build a united Nigeria.
“I’m sure you saw what happened few weeks ago. The Lagos State government reintroduced history as a subject in the curriculum of schools in the state.
“Do you know that 70 per cent of our leaders don’t even know the history of Nigeria? The history of Nigeria is those great Nigerians, who fought to build a united Nigeria.
“But at the end of the day, we will see that most of the youths don’t even know these people, they don’t even have an idea of what happened.
“If you don’t know how you got to where you are, how then will you appreciate going back to where you are coming from? So, these are some of the issues.”
Runsewe said that the NCAC was always organising school competitions on mother tongue and other related ideas.
“In fact, we are about the only agency that on the commemoration of Children Day, puts up a special completion for children.
“Last year, the Korea Embassy joined us. So, in most cases, what happens is that nobody celebrates our best. We are always victims of negative things.”
The director-general recalled that during the annual National Festival of Arts and Culture, NCAC had over six youth programmes, which captured every stratum of Nigerian life
“Many people, who come to visit and see what we were doing, gave us credit.
“But before now, nobody was taking care of our children. If you don’t keep them busy, they will become busy negatively.
“We are happy that all those changes are coming up now and we are assuring Nigerians that will continue to put in our best as an agency,” the NCAC chief said.