Lagos -The Lagos State Government on Tuesday advised Nigerians to embrace culture as a way of boosting the economic development of the country.
Mrs Saida Otulana, the Director, Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture, made the call on behalf of the state government at a one-day seminar organised for registered traditional groups and associations.
The theme of the seminar, “Traditional Religion as a catalyst for Economic Development’’, was aimed at exposing the benefits in investing in culture and tradition to the participants.
The director said that the potential in culture if well tapped were enough for social and economic development.
“Culture can be used for economic development. There are lots of potential and resources in Nigerian culture that can bring about economic values to the society.
“Nigerians should embrace the preaching and teaching of the nation’s traditional beliefs and culture,’’ she said.
Otulana said that part of the mandate of the council was to embrace value, appreciate and promote the state culture and traditional beliefs at home and abroad.
Also, in his speech, Mr Ifasegun Elegushi, the President of Association of African Traditional Religion in Nigeria and Overseas (AATREN), urged the Federal Government to grant public holiday for traditional religion believers.
Eleguishi lamented that the Federal Government had not included in its public holidays’ calendars days set aside for traditional religion believers to celebrate their festivals as done for other religions .
“Nigerian Constitution allows believers of different faith to practice their religions, therefore, the Federal Government should grant public holiday for traditional believers in its calendar’’, Elegushi said.
Earlier, Mr Lekan Ajerotutu, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Association condemned preaching that would tend to incite one religious belief against the other.
Ajerotutu said that the Nigerian constitution allows individuals to practise any religion of his or her choice.
“The act of condemning or preaching against one religion by believers of others can lead to religious violence which must not be encouraged.
“The African Traditional Religion has been existing on the African continent decades before the advent of the other religions.
“Therefore, the nation’s traditions and beliefs must not been thrown in the waste bin,’’ Ajerotutu said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the seminar was organised by the Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture and the Association of African Traditional Religion in Nigeria and Overseas (AATREN). (NAN)