as FG harps on attitudinal change, says appetite for foreign goods, services wrecks economy
By Caleb Ayansina
ABUJA – The Federal Government, yesterday, said appetite for foreign goods and services is a major factor for the country’s economic meltdown, hence, there is need for attitudinal change.
Chief Rochas Okorocha
This is coming as the Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha called for adoption of traditional method of oath taking in governance to curb corruption in the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed noted that the task of developing the economy is the responsibility of all, therefore, Nigerians must be disciplined and patriotic.
Lai Muhammed, who stated this at the quarterly public lecture organized by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), in Abuja, called for synergy among the federal, state and local governments as well as private bodies to promote entrepreneurship in the culture and tourism sector.
The minister stressed the importance of the culture sector to economic diversification, adding that government had launched “Change Begins with Me” campaign to foster national consciousness and appreciation for “Made in Nigeria” goods.
According to him, “there is no gainsaying the fact that, our appetite for foreign goods and services is a major factor in our economic meltdown.
“It is pertinent to state that the task of developing our economy is the responsibility of all Nigerians. The development will need can be through public-private -partnership (PPP) arrangement.
“I am full convinced that if all hands are on deck and government gets the support of all stakeholders, the culture sector will be of strategic importance in the economic diversification agenda of our beloved country.”
Delivering his lecture titled: ‘Promoting Culture, Developing the Economy: A Nigerian Perspective’, Governor Rochas Okorocha explained that it would be difficult for public office holders to syphon public money or abuse their office if they were swore in with their deity, like ‘Ofo’ in Igbo or ‘Ogun’ in Yoruba.
He said people no longer fear Bible and Qur’an that are currently being used, because they knew that God is merciful, and did not kill instantly.
“Our government must begin to adopt our culture in government, if we must succeed. Even in the fight against corruption our (traditional) practices of oath taking should be applied,” he called.
Okorocha also called for the country’s education system to be structured inline with ‘our culture’.
The Governor maintained that instead of celebrating other people’s language and culture, Nigeria should celebrate her major languages to promote its cultural values.
He said conditions given by regulators in the education system with particular reference to the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, JAMB, were major factors for staying at home by some intelligent students.
“JAMB condition that you must have credit in Mathematics and English Language before getting admission to Nigerian Universities. Who told them? Why are they suffering our children? Why not credit in Igbo or Yoruba or Hausa Language or any Nigerian languages?
“Most of our intelligent children cannot go to school because of the JAMB condition and some of them end up doing nothing.
“We must change our orientation and it must start from that. Our education system should be inline with our culture. I believe there is still hope, but we must go back to our culture.
“God has endowed us with brain but the problem is that we left our culture, which is who we are and we are chasing shadow,” he said.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of NICO, Assoc. Prof. Barclays Ayakoroma commended President Muhammadu Bhuari’s strive on economic diversification, pleading for more attention for the culture sector.
“While we commend the attention being paid to the Agriculture and Solid Mineral sectors currently, we make bold to say that the culture sector has better prospects if priority attention is given to it as many countries have done,” he said.
Ayakoroma recommended the establishment of the National Endowment Fund for Arts, in line with the cultural policy of Nigeria to promote the creative industry.
He said: “we recommend that the long awaited national endowment fund for the Arts, in line with the cultural policy of Nigeria should be established as a matter of urgency, to provide the must-needed financial support for our creative industry.
“The will make the sector, which has been seen as the fastest growing globally, respond adequately to our need for a diversified economy.”