Culture was defined as a people's way of life. But a lot of the people are losing their cultures for the alien ones: some are good and some are bad. And this could be the reason the crowned prince of the Niger Delta, Prince Tonye Princewill who is the leader of the Action Congress (AC) in Rivers State and a member of the Niger Delta Technical Committee has thrown his weight in support of the Abuja Carnival, which starts this week. He says: “I am culture freak, but such culture must have a human face”.
Princewill who was going to celebrate his 40th birthday soon says that the potentials for growth of any country depends on the magnitude such country holds to its culture. “When people neglect their culture, they are bound to behave abnormal”, he says. He sees culture as one of the panaceas that could unite all Nigerians, especially those with biased mind.
He sees Nigeria as a nation with rich cultural background and affiliations and shouldn't be gasping for the breath to showcase her cultural heritage for the people of the African continent and the world at large to enjoy. This could be why the Rivers State government in its bid is also going to exhibit an art Carnival later this month and the Rivers AC is also in glaring preparation to showcase what it has in fold for the betterment of the state and state government it is in a marriage with.
It's because of Princewill's interest in culture that he left the shores of the country to Chicago in the USA. to witness how the Americans were going to vote, which later saw his long time friend and colleague, Barrack Obama, as the president-elect of the USA. It was the same interest in culture he had that he left the USA to congratulate with his brother and also colleague, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, when the Appeal Court sitting in Benin, Edo State, on November 11, declared Oshiomhole the duly governor-elect of the state, ousting Prof. O. Osunbor.
Princewill recognizes the fact that one of the features of concern on the Abuja carnival would be the Durbur, which is known best in the Northern Nigeria. “I can't wait to be at the Carnival to witness for myself the Durbur, where cultural exhibition of horsemen and the richly horses are thoroughly in significant decorum, as this reminds me Durbur's importance before colonialism”, he says.
In another vein, Princewill believes that this epoch event was not meant for Nigerians alone to enjoy. As a tourist, he has seen carnivals of different cultures from Asia to Argentina, from the USA., to the UK, from the Trinidad to Tripoli, like that, and they attracted crowd of foreigners. Yet, he still says the culture at home is the best.
Such Abuja carnival, he believes, will not only bring exposure about Nigeria at the international scene, but would also attract investors to Nigeria. In a bid to support the Carnival, the Rivers State AC has organized its intelligentsias to exhibit at the occasion. The organization has assembled its poets, singers, motivational speakers etc to command respect at the carnival. Princewill therefore appeals to Nigerians not to be relegating our culture to the background. He does not like the culture the youths have learnt from the West where gun usage was fad. He thanks the organizers of the Carnival and also Mr. President. He extends his gratitude to the Sultan of Sokoto, whom he describes as a role model to many Nigerians. He also thanks Dr. Ahmed Yerima, the National Theater's head, for not allowing hoodlums take over our cherished National symbol, such as the National Theater.
He has hope that if the Niger Delta Boat Regatta, a cultural carnival in the riverine, could be the highest in the culture presentation so far in our country, with mammoth spectators, then the Abuja Carnival could prove otherwise as the nation's Capital.
Dr. Brian Wilfred, is Communication Assistant to Prince Tonye TJT Princewill, Port Harcourt
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