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THE ROLE OF CULTURE IN NATIONAL INTEGRATION — By Jameelu Maska

Culture is one of the essential components of human society; it is part and parcel of human existence. Every person is spending his life within a certain cultural milieu, either his own cultural heritage or not.

Culture defines what people are and the kind of belief and values they have, sometimes people depend on other societies and cultures around them, intentionally or un-intentionally, whether they recognize the fact or not.

The interdependency between ethnic groups cannot be overemphasized because some problems in the society cannot be solved within a homogenous ethnic group.

Therefore, culture is inevitable as far as human society is concerned; this is because it is a total way of life of human beings which include foods, dances, religion, mode of dressing, language, ceremonies and so on.

The Nuhu Bamalli academic carnival recently organized by Mass communication department in compliance to the content of her syllabus is not an exception, because it has same role and characteristics of culture. The carnival activity will equip the student with knowledge about the culture of others and foster understanding of one another.

Furthermore, the students’ perception towards others’ culture will be positive because of the understanding they have for it. Aside been an academic activity, the carnival enriches students’ knowledge about the rich cultural heritage we have in Nigeria.

In addition, the carnival is aimed at exhibiting diverse cultural performances like dancing, drama
 and so on for sustainability and to promote the principles of cultural diversity as a tool for cooperation among the numerous ethnic groups ,this is because the indigenous cultures are now under threat of fading away due to the fact that we chose to embrace foreign culture at the expense of ours.
Unfortunately in Nigeria today, instead of using culture as a tool for integration, we abuse this endowment and make it a reason for hates and disintegration forgetting the fact that no person chooses to belong to a particular group, it is an accidental phenomena. If God had wished we would have belong to one culture and one ethnic group.

The today’s visible occurrence of cultural discrimination is perpetuated by people who have little or no understanding of the merit of peace and uniqueness of our diversity. For instance the long term experience of Fulani and Tiv conflict has increase these conflicting parties with nothing than lost of lives and properties. They have forgotten that no ethnic group is self-sufficient.

The interdependency between these conflicting parties is strong, the Fulanis needs the Tivs for pasture and debris after harvest, also in turn the Tivs needs the Fulanis for organic manure, cow meat, milk and so on.

Lastly, the role culture in national integration cannot be over emphasized, we advice the government to introduce a culture base discipline as a course in our tertiary Institutions to equip students with knowledge about the benefits in cultural diversity and it uniqueness in Nigeria. This is for the promotion of peace, unity and understanding.

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