A team of American tourists has charged the Federal Government and people of Nigeria to guard their culture jealously in the face of the fast eroding influence of Western civilization.
The visiting American tourists from the National Museum of African arts, Smithsonian Institution, based in Washington DC specifically enjoined the Federal Government to “tailor its policy in favour of tourism to bost the nation’s foreign exchange earning capacities.”
“With good policy, everything else will follow,” the group submitted.
Addressing journalists in Ibadan over the weekend at the end of the tour of some states in the Federation, the leader of the team, Mrs. Helen Broadus revealed that some members of the group had traced their DNA to Yoruba origin and were quite happy to re-locate their roots.
While expressing delight at the unique hospitality and love displayed by Nigerians in all the visited States notably Lagos, Edo, Osun, Oyo and Ogun, the team leader remarked that “Nigeria has lots of potentialities in the areas of culture and tourism” saying that the Museum of African Arts in the US would intensify efforts at exploring these potentialities the more.
She then charged: “Let’s come together and take advantage of the huge potentialities. Let’s keep the culture alive. Even though Western culture is fast eroding into the traditional Nigerian culture, we should do everything possible to guard our culture jealously for posterity. It is a known fact that Nigeria has history. And the most valuable thing is that Nigeria is the home of culture.”
Speaking in the same vein, another member of the team, Mr. David Saunders observed that even though Nigerians are making remarkable impacts in the areas of culture and tourism, the missing link has continued to be that of enduring national policy to make it thrive.
His words: “The people are doing a wonderful job in the areas of tourism and culture. And tourism is very important for Africa’s socio-economic development. But a lot still needed to be done. For the future of Nigeria and Africa, I think tourism is very important. And I think it is the policy that Nigeria needs for tourism to thrive in the country.
“Nigeria has great potentials. Government should focus more on infrastructure development to make the country tourism and economic hub of the sub region.
“In America, we have Dysney World, Las Vegas, etc, which are best known for their tourism potentialities. A lot of Japanese, Chinese, African and European nationals come to America not mainly for business but for tourism.
Also commenting, Dr. Lanisa Kitchiner, Head of Education and Scholarly Initiatives of the Smithsonian Institution submitted that “Nigeria’s tourism industry has a remarkable measure of prospects for growth and development.”
She however called for capacity building projects in the people of Nigeria just as she canvassed for increased collaboration between the Nigerian National Museum and Monuments and the National Musuem for African Arts in Washington DC, for the preservation of cultural heritage.
“This is highly desirable so that we can continue to preserve the rich history, culture and heritage of Nigeria for the people of the world,” she said.
Places of historical monuments in the country visited by the American tourists included the National Museum in Benin, Ile-Ife and Ibadan; the royal palaces of the Oba of Benin and the Ooni of Ife; the legendary Oranmiyan Staff in Ile-Ife; the Moremi Statute in Ile-Ife; Osun Osogbo Grove in Osun State; the tie and dye market in Abeokuta; as well as the popular Aso Ofi market in Oje, Ibadan.