Rebecca Ejifoma
Although many Nigerians are said to have imported and adopted other foreign cultures as theirs, schools like New Estate Baptist School, Surulere, has opted to standout with an annual, exclusively tempting cultural reorientation day for pupils and students to always remember their root.

Laid on the solid rock of Christianity, the school said the indigenous, eclectic culture celebration is simply to plant the seed of Nigeria’s culture into the participants. This way, the school upholds that it will spur both pupils and students to learn to speak other languages, too and make the nation one. The Principal of the school, Mrs. Orawole Alice, said, “Culture is everything about life. It is life itself – our dressing, language and the food among others.

We need to be celebrating this culture so that we do not forget our origin and our roots.” According to her, because of Western education now the Nigerian culture is eroding gradually, adding that because they had observed it, they want to resuscitate it. “We want our children to still have the feeling that they belong to a nation, to a special group because every ethnic group is unique.”

On the theme ‘Celebrating Jesus in our Cultural Diversity’, the principal enthused that it is to remind all participants that they are still one despite their different cultures and ethnic groups. “In wrap, the theme simply spells out that we are one in Christ.” Orawole, also, added that because we have Igbo and Yoruba classes in school, we allow the pupils and the students to communicate in their various vernacular languages. But then we will include in their activities that, at least, once in a month, everyone speaks his or her local dialect. That will be fantastic.

Head Teacher, Muogbo Nchedo, expounded that the Nigerian culture is rich. But she decried that in Lagos, many parents are not doing enough in terms of speaking their vernacular.

“So, as a school, we feel it is our responsibility for them to be aware of culture and values. The international culture, having studied ours, we felt it was a great opportunity for us to study other culture, too, to move into India, China, Germany. As a Christian school, we studied and found out that Christianity is not in that aspect of the country. We are telling the missionaries and evangelists to move into these countries and preach the good news because we studied and found out that Christianity is in those countries. She said speaking other people’s languages can bring unity, love, understanding and tolerance among us. When you hear somebody from another ethnic group, you will feel happy.

This is what we want to nurture in the children. Speaking on the flop of parents, the Head Teacher urged that it is good we speak our mother tongue. “At home, please speak your mother tongue. When they come to school, they will speak the English language – it is spoken everywhere in Lagos State.” Interestingly, New Estate Baptist School flagged only Nigerian cultures at its cultural day last year. But this year, however, it went international. There were displays in Indian, French, Chinese, Ghanaian and South African dressing lifestyle among others.

Truly, some were dressed in colourful Indian Sari and accessories while others wore Ghanaian fabric (Kente), Chinese gowns and South African among others. Pupils and students read news in various languages. They recited the National Anthem in both Yoruba and Igbo dialect. Indeed, cultural day at New Heights Estate School was electrifying and melodious. It was attended by guests including Chairman of the occasion, Omolaja Oyerinde and the Chairman, Board of Governors NEBS, Mr. Deji Adenekan.