By Magnus Eze
An Assistant Director at the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Musa Kakamba, inadvertently emerged Nigeria’s cultural ambassador in Malaysia, five years ago, when he attended an international conference on good governance and accountability.
He was selected and awarded the best dressed participant at the five-day conference, beating participants from other continents and Africa, because of the cultural flair of his dressing throughout the programme.
He told Daily Sun recently, “In the course of the conference, I discovered that at least two persons would stop me in a day to appreciate my attire; many of them took photographs with me.”
Kakamba, who revels in native attire, being the Sarkin Kudu of Abaji, a ranking title in Abaji Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory, said that he never knew that his dressing could bring him honour and recognition while preparing for the trip.
He said: “I come from a cultural background; the Ona of Abaji, Alhaji Adamu Yunusa, is my cousin and I am also a senior title holder, the Sarkin Kudu 1 of Abaji. But, actually, when I was selecting clothes for the trip, I had in mind to project Nigeria’s culture over there. I felt that it was an opportunity for me to showcase the culture of my country.”
The culture enthusiast was once again the centre of attraction when he represented the Ona of Abaji at this year’s Children’s Cultural Extravaganza, organised by NICO to mark the 2017 edition of Children’s Day at Merit House, Maitama, Abuja.
He implored Nigerians to be proud of their culture, noting that it is only culture that makes people who they are.
Kakamba expressed concern over failing family values, which he attributed substantially to inability of heads of households to cater for their families, mainly because they had given birth to a large number of children that they could not train.
He wondered why people with weak means of subsistence would marry up to three or four wives and raise children they would not be able to provide for.
According to Kakamba, “Family values are not totally eroded but some families fail in their responsibility. The problem is that many families now give birth to too many children than they can control, so the children now suffer. There are men who may not be able to cater for two wives but they marry three or four wives and give birth to 18 children and above. That is where the family fails in its responsibility, because many of these children could become errant due to poor means of subsistence. But I am happy that the elite don’t get involved in this.”
The Sarkin Kudu of Abaji, however, believes that, with good education and proper enlightenment, people would see the wisdom in giving birth to only the number of children they can properly cater for.
He blamed the rising number of miscreants to the foregoing but disclosed that the traditional institution in Abaji was trying its best in controlling the ugly trend: “In this aspect, the Ona admonishes parents and children that misbehave. In some cases, he would hand errant youth over to the police. Some of these people with poor upbringing are security risk to the society. In Abaji, the palace leads the campaign against street trading and hawking, especially during school hours.”
Two other areas that give the chief cause for concern are the dress mode of the youth these days and the craze for processed food.
To him, what young people wear these days does not represent Nigerian culture as the boys almost go naked in the name of “sagging,” while the girls also wear skimpy dresses with ‘naked’ tops or ‘see through’.
The traditional institution again, he said, “usually talks to them to mind their dressing. In fact, the traditional ruler leads the campaign. We are also worried about what people eat these days; we try as much as possible to encourage our people to eat our native food.”
Nonetheless, the Sarkin Kudu 1 has an aspect of Abaji culture that he would want to be elevated and promoted: “We have a culture called Agali; it’s a royal dance that is staged the second day after Eid-el-Kabir (sallah). It is the day the Ona of Abaji climbs the durbar; title holders come out that day to pay homage to him.”
This one really portrays our culture very well.”