Yinka Olatunbosun

There is a saying than children are more flexible to change than adults. That was put to test on International Children’s day when children took Hall II, National Theatre by storm in an event organised by the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC). In a call-and-response exercise that warmed up the auditorium, the voices of children rented the air while a few adults crashed in on their party. With the theme, “Can Culture be used to curb corruption?’’, a debate session was set in motion with numerous participating schools in attendance.

The creative energy bubbled forth with the Eyo cultural dance that was neatly executed on stage by select children from De-Grace Nursery and Primary School, Sari Iganmu with back- up vocals rendered by adults downstage. Those Eyo chants were quite mystic and ritualistic; evoking the memories of the age-long Lagos festival of white masqueraders.

In the welcome address delivered by the Director-General, Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation, Dr. Ferdinand Anikwe, the need to rekindle the interest of young children in black and African cultures were reiterated. He also spoke on the rationale behind the theme for the celebration.

“It is a deliberate attempt to involve children in the fight against bribery and corruption in Nigeria, and to equally have them bare their minds and understanding of the issues of corrupt practices in Nigeria. It is important that as children, you should imbibe the rich values of our culture and traditions in order to shun corruption. These values include but are not limited to respect for elders and constituted authorities, honesty and chastity, hard work and productivity, enquiries from elders when in doubt, modest dressing, unity and tolerance of other people’s culture, avoidance of immoral acts, amongst others,’’ he declared.

He expressed gratitude for the presence of the representative of the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Mrs. Ayotunde Adesugba who was unavoidably absent from the event. Adesugba commended CBAAC for the initiative for societal reform and reorientation through the literary channel and encouraged the children to shun indiscipline which breeds corruption.
“In Africa, we have the value that hard work brings forth success and that work does not kill; what kills is anger, dishonesty, fraud, indiscipline and acts of corruption.

I therefore count on you children to join hands with your parents and government to fight against corruption. When you encourage, cover up or join hands in such acts you are destroying the nation and your future as leaders of tomorrow,” she said. With steamed up debate, three schools topped the list in the competition. Christ the Redeemer Secondary School, Gbagada held the third position, Mobolaji Bank Anthony Secondary School, Yaba was beaten to the second position by Awodiora Senior Secondary school.

Nigeria Unites Inaugurates Charity Showcase
Funmi Ogundare
In an effort aimed at using art to reawaken social consciousness among Nigerians, William and Margaret Foundation will, under its “Nigeria Unites”, initiative hold its inaugural Charity showcase on July 14 at the Agip Hall of the Muson Centre, Lagos.

The maiden edition which will recognise and appreciate impacting charitable initiatives, as nominated for by the public, will also be featuring Nigeria’s artistic talent pool.
Briefing Journalists, recently, the Founder of the foundation, Ms Toyosi Lana described it as a civic engagement and people coming together to participate in a common goal, adding that the initiative is designed to utilise Nigeria’s artistic and cultural diversity to awaken civic consciousness.

According to her, “rather than wait for the government, you can always help the community. There is a voting process open for all nominated charities contributing tangibly to their communities.”
She said the top two charities that win the highest number of votes will get financial award from Nigeria Unites, adding that their initiatives will get exposed to the public. “Our attraction is to use arts to draw people to the civic engagements, ” she said.

A member of the Board of the initiative, Ms Omobola Lana expressed concern that one of the reasons why most people don’t give to charity is because of its credibility, adding that the charity is going to be bi-annual.
“When we have citizens who are selfless, then we can move the economy forward rather than waiting for the government to do everything.”

She commended the founder’s vision for steering the social consciousness in people saying, “It’s about a mindset change to do justice to our community and nation as a whole. The Charity will feature performances by Wole Oguntokun Renegade theatre, Kaffy’s Imagneto dance company and the saxophone styling of Funmi Sax.