Tracing back to our history as Nigerians, we would realise that we have gone through various phases that have introduced a lot of foreign practices into our way of life. These phases started from slavery to colonialism and even wars. As a result, we have struggled to keep our cultures and traditions unadulterated. The struggles are still being experienced till date due to urbanization, socioeconomic problems and social media influence. Many do not see the essence in preserving our traditions due to ignorance. Little do they know how greatly important it is to maintain our customs and traditions.
To begin with, the trends we follow today did not originate from our motherland. Now, we prioritize the culture of a foreigner since we have failed to value our own. It is important to learn to value our customs and traditions just as the foreigners value theirs. The pride they have in theirs is what attracts and makes us eager to practice these foreign customs and traditions. We should be able to hold our traditions in high esteem so that it would become known to outsiders who may be willing to love and value our customs as well. It is improper to follow the ways of foreigners as though we do not have our own way of life.
Moreover, preserving our customs and traditions creates a sense of belonging amongst ourselves. If our cultural practices are encouraged, it will promote unity among family members which can be spread to neighborhoods, communities, towns, cities and even nations. With this in mind, we will always remember that we are one and bonded with a common feature – our culture. The unity that exists among us also serves as a crucial factor for societal development.
In addition to the fact that preserving our tradition encourages unity, it also serves as a means of identification. What are we known for? It is our customs that answer that question for us. If we keep up with the foreign cultures and are no longer in touch with ours, we would soon forget who we truly are. In as much as we accept foreign cultures and ideologies, we should not allow ourselves to lose our identity in the process. It is more honorable to be known for our traditions by outsiders than to lose the privilege of having a mind of our own by following that of foreigners.
It is high time we took it upon ourselves to uphold our customs and traditions by practicing and taking pride in them. We should not be ignorant of the importance of preserving them. As patriotic Nigerians, we should be eager to make conscious effort to maintain these cultures, customs and traditions that were handed down to us by our ancestors. Remember, our cultures, customs and traditions tell us who we are.
ESSOM, Adanna Chisom
Class of 2025