Felix Ikem, Nsukka
As part of efforts to promote and preserve Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage, Model Secondary School, Nsukka, in Nsukka Local Government Area, Enugu state, recently, staged week-long cultural activities for the staff and students of the school.
The school cultural week saw the students dressed in different cultural attires in accordance with their states of origin and ethnicity.
Some of the activities displayed include traditional wrestling, dancing, moonlight story tale, how to present and bless kolanut, how to use native proverbs and idioms, news casting in Igbo and other native languages, different cultural/native ways of greeting and dressing, among others.
Student groups of Hausa, Yoruba, Tiv and Delta origin were also richly and colourfully dressed in their cultural attires, performing their cultural dances and serving guests with their well-prepared native foods.
Chairman of Enugu State Post Primary School Management Board (PPSMB), Nestor Ezeme, in his remarks at the grand finale of the cultural week, said the school’s decision to let their students know, display and practice their various cultures, was a welcome development that other secondary schools in the state should emulate.
He said that “The board is happy with Model school management for making out time to show and teach their students the importance of culture and its diversity.
“It’s shameful and unacceptable that some children born by Igbo people do not know how to speak Igbo language and Igbo cultural practice because their parents failed to teach them their mother tongue.
“Model secondary school has been consistent in organizing and promoting school cultural week in Nsukka zone. I urge other schools to emulate this good example aimed at promoting our cultural values and practices.
“With this kind of cultural display by students in Model School, there is hope that Igbo language, culture will not die or go into extinction”.
Ezeme, however, said that he will discuss with his board members to set out a particular day that secondary school students in Enugu State will all dress in traditional attire and another day for school cultural day.
“We are going to make it compulsory for all the secondary schools in Enugu state to have particular days the students will dress in all traditional attire and another day for cultural day.
“This, we believe, will help to sustain our dying Igbo culture and the culture of other tribes living and studying in our state,” he said.
Earlier, Principal of the school, Mr Emma Ezugorie said the school organised the cultural week to enable students to know the importance of knowing and practicing their culture.
“We should preserve our culture by passing it down to the young ones, and make sure that they practice it.
“The school is grateful to PPSMB for all its assistance and for giving the permission to organise the cultural week.
“The programme is not a waste of academic time but will equip the students with the knowledge, skills and competence that will enhance their independence, sound reasoning, intelligence, value for the good things of life and adoptable to their environment,” he emphasised.
Ezegorie blamed inability of some children to speak native language as well as know the culture of origin on parents who failed to teach them their native dialect and culture.
A senior secondary school 2 student of the school, Ugwu Sunday, told daily Sun that the cultural event exposed them to different traditions and cultures in Nigeria.
“Now, I know how important kolanut is in Igbo tradition. I learned how to pray with it in Igbo language. I also learned traditional way of greeting, this am sure will never get away from me.
“Indeed, the programme was an educative one. It gives us the opportunity to see other tribes and their cultural ways of life. Some of the things we learn are not things we learn in classroom,” he said.
Highlight of the event was dancing and parade of Izaga masquerade by students from Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area.