The Ooni of Ife, Enitan Ogunwusi, the Ojaja II, has appealed to both federal and state governments to make the teaching of culture a compulsory subject for students of primary and secondary schools as well as higher institutions.
“The learning of culture needed to be impacted on the younger generation right from when they are young so that it will become part of them,” he said.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria in his palace at Ile Ife, Osun State, that this would also allay the fears that the African culture was gradually going into extinction.
The monarch said that he was not ashamed to project his cultural heritage inherited from his forefathers to the world.
“I am proud of my cultural heritage and I am proud to showcase it to the world.
“ The river that does forget its source never runs dry,” he said.
He said that Africans were gradually killing their cultural heritage due to their embracing the western culture.
“ Nigerians should stop the habit of imbibing foreign cultures at the detriment of their own cultures.
“Africa has the richest and most valuable cultures in the world, especially, Nigeria to be precise, “he said.
Mr. Ogunwusi prayed that the cultural heritage Nigerians and Africans inherited from their forefathers would not go into extinction.
The Ooni also pledged to support the promotion of the ancient city’s traditional festivals to a world class standard as part of projecting the Yoruba culture and tradition.
He said that was why he had commenced the beautification of 201 traditional shrines and heritage centres in the town.
“The only way we can sell our festivals, culture and heritage to the world is to give it a good packaging.
“ We are blessed with several cultures and festivals that can attract tourists and visitors into the country.
“Nigeria has the highest and richest cultures in the world but they require we give them the needed publicity and promotion, ” he said.
He also challenged tertiary institutions to ensure that their host communities benefit from their research findings for holistic and balanced development for both.
He said this would further advance the gown-town relationship between towns and citadels of learning.
The monarch said that there was no working relationship between the Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, and Ile Ife community that could have further uplifted the status of the town culturally, agriculturally and in other sectors.
The monarch also said that the university had not been supporting the developmental plans of the ancient town in empowering its youths in agriculture, cultural orientations and others.
“The community donated a large expanse of land to the institution in a befitting environment to operate where it has been experiencing peace since its establishment in 1962.
“The institution uses the statue of the legendary Oduduwa as part of its logo, meaning that it appreciates culture.
“Also, its motto is “ For Learning and Culture’’ symbolizes that the town (community) and the gown (academic community ) must work together for the public interest.
“Also, the indigenes of the town have been cooperating with the institution, thus making the institution to operate in a hitch-free learning environment, ” he said.
Mr. Ogunwusi urged the authorities of OAU to come to the aid of the community for both to form a formidable working relationship for the good of all.
He, therefore, appealed to the institution’s authorities to continue upholding what was contained in its motto by impacting the cultural knowledge to the younger generation.
The monarch said that the institution needed to give back in return to the community that had been accommodating it in the spirit of corporate social responsibilities.
“We are not asking for too much, we just wanted the institution to empower some of the indigent youths from the ancient town and its environs on agriculture, culture and other areas that will make them become self-reliant.”
This is because the future of our youth in the community matters most to us their leaders, he said.
“I will like to use this medium to call on the authorities of the institution to establish a good working relationship and plans of action with Ife community,” he said