Cultural Survival in Nigeria
Culture is an all-inclusive concept as it entails almost every factor that influences a person’s process of reasoning process and also shapes behavior. Culture influences preferences, decisions as well as a person’s general perspective concerning the world surrounding them. Given that the largest part of human behavior is not inborn but learned, demonstrates that culture is acquired in the course of time. Many philosophers, authors, sociologists, historians, as well as linguists, have argued and written in diverse perspectives concerning the authentic denotation of culture. However, one point that is sustained is that culture is an obligatory component of human everyday life. Cultural survival facilitates indigenous peoples in protecting their languages, lands, and cultures, as they deal with the pertinent issues involving them (Alozie 93). This paper posits to investigate the cultural survival in Nigeria, and how culture has evolved over time.
CULTURAL OVERVIEW IN NIGERIA
Nigeria is certainly a distinctive pluralistic society with numerous differences in culture, tribe, ethnicity, religion, as well as class. In Nigeria, there exist certain prevailing cultures, religions, ethnic nationalities, as well as classes. In several parts of the nation, the influence of a prevailing ethnic group or culture is increasingly pronounced than in other countries. In fact, certain prevailing group’s activities are compared with imperialism. This is despite the fact that the current breakdown of the country into six geo-political groupings is geared towards invigorating numerous ethnic groups. These groups were until then subsumed into the domineering cultures and ethnic groups. Recently, the Ohaneze Ndigbo and Afenifere, socio-cultural organizations that represent the Igbo and Yoruba people respectively, threatened to stay away from a rescheduled symposium of Nigeria’s ethnic groups. The grounds were that, the Arewa Consultative Forum was conniving to have the three geo-political segments of the North rally under a single banner. These ethnic organizations felt that under a single, Northern banner, the ethnic minorities of the North cannot have their diverse needs, and interests, represented or expressed (Oliver 63).
Spirituality in Nigeria. Nigeria has approximately 250 dissimilar ethnic groupings, although only three are dominant, namely; to the east there are the Igbo, the Hausa to the north and to the west there is the Yoruba. Religions also tend to pursue these ethnic outlines with Catholics dominating the east, Muslims the north, and animists dominating the west. Numerous smaller sects also form a blend of two or more religions that combine for instance, local guardians and spirits with Christianity. Animism bears strong connections to the ancestral spirits that defend the land and guarantee tribal well-being. Many of the sacrificial rites and juju rituals that make use of animal bones, skulls, as well as dried insects, are a medium of contacting the spirits to guarantee good fortune. There are charms like the ibej, twin dolls decorated with beads, are an important component of Nigerian cultural life. The ibej is worn to bring prosperity and good luck (Onimode 102).
Art forms in Nigerian reflect their animist and occult origins. The Yoruba masks are engraved out of wood, to represent the forces of the gods and nature. Their use in rituals such as the yearly Gelede masquerades assists in maintaining a relationship with the ancestral spirits. The masks also materialize at funerals with the intention of appeasing the spirits of the dead. The huge headdress masks attributed to the Epa cult are highly spectacular in all the masks from the Yoruba. Occult influences are also seen in the terracotta, wood, and bronze sculptures, made by the Nupe, Yoruba, Igala, and Igbira. These occult influences art are also seen in the huge Benin and Ife bronze casts (Alagoa 25).
Cultural Food in Nigeria. In general, in every community, different foods are eaten not merely for their dietary significance but also for their therapeutic as well as the socio-cultural significance. Cereals, tubers, and starchy roots are vital food groups for the bulk of Nigerians. They are also available all the year round but are increasingly plentiful throughout the harvest season. The cowpea is the most largely consumed legume in the country. Local varieties of cowpea, as well as, other legume species including, ground nut, African yam bean, and bambara nut, are also available. In some Nigerian cultures, mushrooms are consumed although in comparatively small quantities. Peppery stews are regular in the southern states, whereas beef and grains are common towards the north. A large amount of Nigerian food is in reality grain-based. There is Tuwo, produced from millet, corn rice, or maize is highly popular as the Efo, which is a vegetable soup. A hot stew produced with red peppers and meat, known as Egusi and Isi-ewu, made from pepper and goat head are popular, traditional stews. Also, popular are traditional snacks such as fried yam chips, fried plantain, and meat pastries. Palm wine, obtained naturally from palm trees, is a highly preferred drink across numerous cultures in Nigeria, particularly in the south (Oliver 63).
Nigerian Cultural Institutions. Nigeria is normally depicted as a country that demonstrates harmony in diversity. Cultural institutions in Nigeria are highly respected with all cultural activities that revolve around the Alafin of Oyo, Obas of Benin, Lagos and lfe, the Ataoja of Osogbo, and the Olubadan of lbadan among others. There is little rural life as in sections of the North but people still guard and sustain their cultural institutions. The Yorubas, are extremely extravagant and colourful extravagant in their dress codes, and are symbolized by the sokoto and buba that closely bear a resemblance to the Northern Babanriga. Prominent festivals consist of chieftaincy installations, the masquerade of Eyo, the Osun carnival among others (Alagoa 25).
Language and Cultural Rights. The Nigerian Constitution stipulates that the state shall guard and promote Nigerian culture. It also emphasizes that the country is a secular state, while guaranteeing the freedom of conscience, religion, and thought. In Ogunesan v Oyewumi, the Supreme Court in 1990 declared that customary law is the living and organic law of the indigenous persons of Nigeria. The Nigerian language policy stipulates that except for preserving the culture of the people, the government ought to consider it as being pertinent to national unity that every child be encouraged to study one majority languages besides his mother-tongue. The major languages are Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo. This is devoid of prejudice to the endorsement of minority languages in the states where ethnic and indigenous minorities are prevalent (Williams 83).
The complex historical and ethnical composition in Nigeria requires that it continues as proactive in the obligation to native causes, nationally as well as internationally. The phobia for degeneration, as a result of indigenous rights, has demonstrated to be baseless and deceptive. States would gain in the appreciation of the minority as well as indigenous rights claims. Nigeria ought to reconsider its disregard for religious, language, as well as ethnic affiliation as enumerable criterion in its nationwide census.
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Onimode, B. Africa in the 21st Century World, Macmillan: London. 2010. Print.
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