The Role of Culture for Economic Progression.

   In considering the role of culture for economic progression, it is inadvertently necessary to define the boundaries of our discourse,...

 Economics can make better use of culture
 In considering the role of culture for economic progression, it is inadvertently necessary to define the boundaries of our discourse, identify the way we perceive culture in our society, the non-implementation of well thought out cultural programmes, before assessing the impact culture can engender in improving the life styles of a people generally and in particular the youth.
       In this context, especially when we view Nigeria as a developing nation, I would start by saying that; the ideas, actions and values that are most widely accepted by a group or society for cultural mass mobilization, strategies and implementation falls within our boundaries of discourse. Suffice to say that, reflecting culture would mean reinvigorating its major strategies of promotion, development and preservation through relevant agencies and institutions. Facets of culture includes but not limited to politics, fashion, literature, music, theatre, dance, language, food, shelter and other indigenous craftworks. This is aimed at reawakening and reorienting the youths to meet the challenges of nation building.  For example, the two times experiences of bringing Blacks all over the world to showcase their cultures under the auspices of World Festival of Black Arts in 1966 in Dakar, Senegal and in 1977 in Lagos, Nigeria remain fresh in the memory of those who witnessed them. Sadly enough, this Festival of Black Arts which should have been the pride and propelling force for Black civilization, culture and education especially for the teeming African youths, whose requisite knowledge of their culture must not diminish, died on arrival. However, in order to nip it in the bud, it would still be worthwhile to ruminate on the role cultural agencies and institutions play in Nigeria. By cultural agencies and institutions we must think in terms of administration and financing of culture in the country and how it affects the youths who are eventually going to be recognized tomorrow as agents and/or custodians of cultural ethos. This is so, because, until we project culture into the various facets of human existence, there would be no itinerary for youth development, talk less of economic advancement for a nation. Importantly also in this discourse, is the need to unravel the impediments for not carrying out lofty and meaningful cultural programmes in our society as it were.

Culture 
      I believe that enmeshing the youths in cultural activities would have long time business shape, influence cultural development as well as national and international diplomatic benefits if the nation harnesses its rich cultural diversity now and in the future. In this regards therefore, it is important to mainstream cultural activities whether formal or informal; whether tangible or intangible; whether professional or amateur, as it would prepare an individual better for real life engagement and personal skills.
 Let’s remember that a child’s development is a dynamic interactive process which must cater for his or her material; psycho motive and cognitive dimensions in terms of how the child perceives the environment in which he/she exists. With the high rate of modernization, scientific and technological advancement of most societies, the tendency for a people’s culture to gradually diminish cannot be over emphasized.
From a cognitive dimension for example, it is believed by the Igbos that when you whistle at night, you are inviting spirit. This appears mundane and ancient in contemporary times wouldn’t you say? Rather, we should be thinking of how in the twenty first century Nigeria as a nation should begin to lay emphasis on the new knowledge of man and how the universe can be perceived?  According to Okodo, (2008:331) It  means that culture should begin to influence development in urbanization, sociocultural transformation, mass literacy, vertical and horizontal mobility, employment opportunity and the emergency of specific independent occupational role in our society. This is in realization of the fact that since culture is considered a dynamic phenomenon, it should evolve to engender some universal norms such as culture for peace, good governance and sustainable development for economic and societal growth. This is because, as it is widely upheld, generally that any development planning which does not factor in cultural variables of that society can never be sustainable.
Culture in Context
      There are so many definitions of culture. However, I do not intend to go that way, but to simply define culture in the context of my discourse. Culture is something shared: attitudes, values, beliefs, knowledge, arts, and other patterns of practices by almost everyone in a particular society. Today, Nigeria is bedeviled with a lot of litany of issues by what I have described as “The Nigerian culture”, which must somehow be addressed. It is a culture, like that in other climes, which should not only determine how things are done, but one that can provide intrinsic values in our socio-cultural and economic benefits. Culture should be able to let us see ourselves as a part of history, hence, increase the quality of life in terms of tolerance and general well-being of the individual and his/her community. In spite of all these, the Nigerian Culture should help to accumulate, humanize and organize our interactions with other peoples of the world, especially in these days of globalization, science and technologies. In fact, this culture should help us understand ourselves better in terms of the undercurrents that can create quality wellbeing.
      In the face of this reality therefore, I advance to position culture as the main current of thought or behaviour of a people in order to make such a people realize its (culture) essentiality and value in human existence. In other words, how various cultures can become exemplary life-patterns and reflexes that govern the behaviour of a people. For example, seeming commitment with which we recite the pledge and/or anthem should also reflect in the way we exhibit and express our culture wherever we find ourselves. We should note however, that, what is culture here is not merely a return to ancient custom and ways of doing things. Indeed, what is regarded as culture should be what is centred on how a people simply make frantic attempts to meet with daily challenges of life. To further buttress this point, Asigbo, (2010:69) reminds us that: “the economic, technological, socio-political and other spheres of national or group life are determinants of what finally emerge as culture for a group of people”. In this regards, I perceive culture as a refined product that is marketable even in the global market space.  
Work Cited
 Abone, Clementina. “Information and Communication Technologies, catalyst for Sustainable Global Development”. In Paradise in the Arts: Celebrating Prof. C.C. Agbodike. (Eds) Joy Eyisi, Ike Odimegwu and Alex Asigbo. Awka: Afab Educational Books, 2008. Pp. 3321-329
Asigbo, Alex. “Reimaging Nigerian Culture in an Age of Terror and Globalisation”. In Culture, Identity and Leadership in Nigeria. (Eds) Emmanuel Samu Dandaura and AbdulRasheed Abiodun Adeoye. Ibadan: Kraft Books Limited, 2010. Pp.67-78
Cultural Policy for Nigeria. Lagos: Federal Government Printer, 1988
Maisamari, A. M. ” Mainstreaming Culture for Economic Advancement: Agenda for Nigerian Youths. A Paper presented at a Two-Day Workshop on Cultural Creativity for Youth Skills Development , Organized by Nigerian National Commission for UNESCO in Collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education from 13th-14th August, 2020.
Okodo, Ikechukwu. “Culture and National Development”. In Paradise in the Arts: Celebrating Prof. C.C. Agbodike. (Eds) Joy Eyisi, Ike Odimegwu and Alex Asigbo. Awka: Afab Educational Books, 2008. Pp. 331-345
Udezo, B.O.S. and Nwadialor. “Good Governance and Effective Human Relations: Pathways to Fostering Ethno-Religious Harmony in Nigeria”. In The Humanities and Good Governance. (Eds) A.B.C. Chiegboka et tal. Anambra: Rex Charles and Patrick Ltd, 2012. Pp. 238-245
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