The Director General of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Olusegun Runsewe, has commended Edo State government for the patriotic initiative of introducing culture clubs in public schools in the state.

Noting that the step would help in stimulating the interest of the youths in the rich cultural heritage of the state and Nigeria, he said the move by Governor Godwin Obaseki was not surprising in view of the cultural antecedents of the state.

Runsewe pointed out that the state has a rich cultural history and tradition which are as old as the ancient Benin Kingdom and are reflected in the various art forms such as sculptures, paintings, bronze works, dances, oral tradition, among others.

He said most of the vices in Nigerian society today are largely due to the deterioration of traditional value system, occasioned by the undue influence of foreign cultural values, adding that for the country to make significant progress, it must return to its value system. “The best starting point is to consciously socialise our children in our core national values, using the family, the school and other agents of socialisation.

“I have been stressing the need for us to revive cultural education in the schools’ curricula and I presented a council memo on this during the 2017 National Council for Culture and Tourism in Jigawa.”

While expressing delight that Obaseki has given practical expression to the call, he enjoined other state governors to join the campaign to revive the country’s fast deteriorating cultural values.

Runsewe stated that the NCAC under his leadership will work with the states to ensure that cultural clubs are not only fully established, but are also functional in all schools nationwide.

He added that the council is engaging Nigerian youths on cultural revival through programmes like national culture quiz competition for secondary schools, children’s component of the National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST).

All these he said are geared towards inculcating in the youths the appreciation of Nigerian arts and culture, as well as building in them innovative skills, healthy competition and inter-cultural exchanges that would foster national peace, unity and development.

“When the youths are properly groomed to internalise the attributes of our traditional values like love of neighbour, community spirit, personal integrity, hard-work, discipline and honesty, they will grow up to be responsible adults that can contribute meaningfully to national development,” Runsewe said.