With over 700 ethnic groups, Nigeria is blessed with various cultures which defines us as a country irrespective of the ethnic group we belong to. It should be noted that there are some cultural values that are common to all and most of the ethnic groups which makes it easy for us to coexist as a country. These values cut across ethnic groups, and though they may differ a little bit with a few tweaks, they still produce the same result. In the next paragraphs, we will talk about the factors that led to the loss of cultural values.
These values which were seriously upheld by the older generations as it gives them identity, a sense of belonging, and pride, are beginning to erode and are viewed as of no importance to the present generation. As Africans and Nigerians, asides from our dark-colored skin, there are other ways through which we are recognized. They include our mode of dressing, our language, the kind of food we eat, and how we relate to others. Our strong religious beliefs, how we respect and honor elders for just being elders, our mode of greeting, and how we observe traditional rites, etc.
The past generations have lived by and upheld this culture but there’s a threat to its survival as the present generation seems to care less about it and views it as an archaic way of life. There’s now a different view of every form of culture. Westernization has made our culture seem like a joke to some and an abomination to others.
Loss of Cultural Values: What values are going extinct?
There are several cultural traditions in Nigeria that are going into extinction.
Mode Of Dressing
Our mode of dressing at this present age is totally different from how each ethnic group is known to dress. Old clothing materials such as Isiagu, Wrapper, Iro, Buba, Zani, Onyonyo, etc are no longer being worn. They’re only being called upon on special occasions such as wedding ceremonies and burial ceremonies.
Trending fashion materials are the ones introduced to us through westernization. English wear is now more popular and generally acceptable than cultural ones. These English clothes also expose the body which culture frowns at but our desire to be like the westerners is more important than what the culture frowns at.
With over 500 languages spoken in Nigeria, a lot of them are now being replaced with English or pidgin. Even though local languages are being taught in schools, many of these schools have rules that ban students from speaking them outside of their classes which only come once a week.
Some parents too have made English the official language of the house which explains why we have a lot of youths who don’t understand their local languages.
Traditional rites like the traditional wedding ceremony are now being seen as the ceremony where the bride price is being paid. And not seen as the main ceremony according to tradition. The white wedding has replaced the traditional wedding ceremony as the major ceremony.
Many years ago, the white wedding wasn’t recognized but with the infiltration of the western culture, many have decided to follow the culture of the westerners while abandoning ours.
Factors Causing Loss Of Cultural Values
Several social factors play a role in Nigeria’s loss of cultural values.
The world going digital is a very big advantage to our economy, businesses, and careers. It has connected people from one end of the world to another end. Meanwhile, it is a big threat to our culture, promoting the western culture and presenting it as a better option than the one we have. The digital age makes it very easy to adapt to other cultures while neglecting ours.
This has been the oldest factor of cultural loss as it has since the invasion of colonial masters. At this time, the colonial masters forced our people into accepting their culture. As they believe our cultural values are worthless. This has continued till this day many years after the slave trade era. A lot of our artifacts were taken away and displayed in their museums which made some of our history forgotten. The ones we hear of today are the ones told by the westerners and they are inaccurate.
Modern Day Feminism
Looking back at our history, we’ve had famous feminists who fought for the rights of women and helped their people through their influence and ruggedness. Notable women like Funmilayo Ransom Kuti, Iyoba Idia, Princess Amina, and many more were examples. They didn’t think less of themselves but rather rose to the occasion when the people needed them the most. Modern-day feminism has gone past the social theory which argues against the restriction of women to one that encourages hatred for men.
Modern day feminism is also perceived to be a movement that encourages women to refuse to get married so as to avoid submitting to a man. This is in contrast to the Nigerian culture which encourages the harmonious union between a man and a woman.
Summary of Nigeria’s Loss of Cultural Values
For many years, these cultural values were kept sacredly and preserved but these days, it has become so easy to throw our cultural values out the window to pick up the one which was never part of our history and can’t define us accordingly. The government in conjunction with societal groups needs to find means to preserve these values so they can be transferred to the coming generation.