STOP BLAMING WOES ON COLONIALISM, ALAAFIN CHARGES AFRICANS
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, has asked blacks across the world to stop blaming their underdevelopment on colonialism and slave trade. He charged African leaders to move away from passing the buck. The Alaafin, who spoke at the ongoing Global Conference of Black Nationalities, holding in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, on the theme: Cultural Identity, Cultural Tourism and Language Preservation, also decried the gradual extinction of indigenous languages in Africa.
He said African people, ought to have moved away from the usual rhetoric that 'the advent of the white man's civilising mission' stunted the growth of the continent.
While praising Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola for 'having the right frame of mind to veer off politics to organise something of tremendous value to our existence as a people', the Alaafin decried the divisive factors among indigenous tribes in Africa, which militated against their development.
Oba Adeyemi said: ' For example, it is now 50 years since Nigeria gained independence and drove away the British overlords. What have we done to better the lots of our culture in the comity of cultures of nations?'.
Agreed that the impact of the spread of these foreign religions combined with material benefits such as classroom education and well-paid jobs forced many Africans to abandon their own faith and adopted the religion of the aliens, I want to say still, we have had enough time to take control of our faith and promote our culture in the last 50 years.'
'But because we have largely left undone what we should do, our culture and particularly our language today is faced with serious extinction. And today, much of the African culture is in limbo,' he said.Other speakers, including Prof Karin Barber of the University of Burkingham, United Kingdom and Prof Akinwumi Ishola said the threat to indigenous languages in Africa was real and called for immediate actions to stem the tide.
Barber said language could not be separated from culture and listed gains which a nation could make from promoting its indigenous languages adding that Nigeria could earn huge amount of foreign exchange from cultural tourism which had become the favourite past time of tourists.
According to her, in 2009, some 900 million people in the world travelled on holiday to various destinations, adding that cultural tourism is the fastest growing globally.
Nigeria, she said, should capitalise on its cultural riches to attract tourists so as to attract a good revenue from this growing activity.
Ishola, in his contribution, said it was worrisome that many children could not sustain any meangful discourse in their mother tongues, without the infiltration of foreign languages and called for concerted efforts from all stakeholders to correct the situation.