The Olori Francis Meshioye Foundation, a cultural non-governmental organization (NGO), has urged parents to step up their efforts to preserve culture and promote inclusiveness and resilience in children.
The founder of the organization, Olori Francis Meshioye, gave the advice on Thursday at the inauguration of some projects in the Department of Philosophy, University of Lagos.
The projects were the result of a collaboration between the Philosophy Department of the University of Lagos and the Foundation.
According to him, culture is the only weapon, powerful enough to lead the younger generation and the country in general to the long-awaited greatness.
He therefore said it was necessary for parents to first discover who they are, learn to work hard and realize that they are responsible for so many things, including imbibing knowledge of their culture early enough from the children.
He stated that civilization, no matter how good, should not be allowed to mock or hollow out the culture of the citizens.
“For example, you don’t insult your children because they speak your mother tongue. It’s not done.
“This is because it is this local language that gives them the sense of integration and makes them unique. There are things you can’t change by translating, but if it’s said in the local language, the kids would have a deep understanding of it,” noted the founder.
Meshioye said supporting the culture as a people would facilitate development and promote unity and inspire inclusivity.
“Today we are opening projects in our department, which are part of our mission to advance our culture. One of those projects is the Postgraduate lecture hall, to support the university in the field of renovation.
“We want to support everything we can do to preserve African culture and ensure it is promoted and put in the spotlight, not underestimated, because the culture of each country matters a lot. It is part of our culture to give, reach out and support.
“We will not fold our hands and watch our culture die out.
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“Remember that culture determines how you go through life, how you interact with people and it ensures that you are well routed. If you are well guided, you can channel your path easily and also very well.
“If someone were to forget his or her culture, then it is possible that such a person is floating, and if someone is floating, then there is a problem,” he said.
Speaking about the dangers of civilization to culture, he noted that the problem with civilization, as beautiful as it may sound, was permeating local content and ideas.
He said it would be ridiculous for anyone to play the game or people’s rights, and said that keeping the original, real and preserving identity as a people remained the panacea for accelerated development.
“If there are other ideologies, in the field of civilization, there is nothing wrong with that, but it should not be at the expense of our own understanding. You only throw away things that are no longer usable.
“I shouldn’t try to be a Chinese, if I’m an African, but I can look at what the Chinese are doing, which could help me improve what I already have.
“You don’t just hear that it’s raining and rush to throw it away in your pot before the rain comes. It is only wise to collect it and add it up.
“I don’t mind civilization, it’s a beautiful thing, but you don’t reject what you do or reject your root and identity because of it,” he said.
Professor Douglas Anele, direct former head of the university’s Philosophy Department, also said the projects would help facilitate the three functions of their calling as academics, namely teaching, learning and community development.
“I have to say that we are very excited about these positive developments in our department today.
“This is because, despite the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, series of strikes, and despite my serious ill health, I have been able to realize a number of legacy projects as the head of the Philosophy Department of this university.
“The projects are the seminar room, which was facilitated by the Institute of African and Diaspora Studies, here in Unilag, through its director, Prof. Muyiwa Falaiye.
“Then a complete refurbishment of our postgraduate lecture hall by the Otunba Francis Meshioye Foundation. In fact, I want to brag that Philosophy Department has the best postgraduate lecture hall among public universities in Nigeria today.
“That’s why I brought my friends and colleagues to the commissioning ceremony today for those who facilitated some of those projects,” Anele said.
He said the third was the refurbishment of the HOD’s office with the department’s meager resources and its own fund.
“So these are the three projects we’re commissioning today,” he said.
Anele noted that the projects would also serve as templates for his successor to ensure they leave behind a legacy project.
“It’s not always about what you can get. The problem with leadership in the country is that those people in leadership positions always think about what they can get.
“But the moment you put yourself aside, no matter how tight the funds are. You can imagine I had serious health issues since 2020 until now and was still able to put these all in place,
“I think it should be a model for others to copy. I’ve done my trick. I have passed the baton to my successor. So I’ll keep reminding him, but the quality of the work done is solid,” he said.
However, Anele noted that the furniture in the HOD’s postgraduate lecture hall and office could last for more than a decade, as he made sure that it was best used in keeping with the tradition of the university.