Benin bronze: FG not doing enough in promotion of Nigeria’s culture- Okino

The Chairman of Editorial Board, Blueprint Newspapers Limited, Hajiya Zainab Suleima Okino, has lamented seeming neglect of the federal government in paying attention to the development of cultures, saying artifacts from Benin are being neglected after being recovered from European countries.

Speaking Thursday, during a visit by conveners of Ohueje Ohinoyi, Egbira cultural heritage festival in Ebira land, Kogi state, to Blueprint Corporate office in Abuja, Okino, who was awarded Cultural Ambassador by the conveners, in recognition of her contributions towards the preservation/ promotion of Ebira culture and heritage, said that every culture is important and should be promoted.

She said: “When I heard about the cultural revival, I decided to support with the publicity. I am really concerned. As you said, culture is part of growing up. I know how to weave the local fabrics. I grew up with it. I didn’t even learn it as it came naturally. In fact, my mother will be weaving inside and I will be weaving my own. I loved to weave. We used to even do competitions as young girls. We would do one in a day so that we will take it to the market to sell the following day and earn money.

“I am a historian in a way. I read about so many other cultures in the world and I don’t know much about my own culture, so it is a source of concern. What is trending now is the bead. Even Yayaha Bello as the governor in all festivals, he tries to wear it. It is the main cultural item of Egbira people, so I think every culture should be celebrated in Nigeria. We are a people of culture and we have so much. What people are paying to go and watch in other places, we have everything here. It pains me that the government does not take it seriously.

“Look at the Benin bronze and Benin sculptures that are being returned. It has made millions of dollars for westerners who kept them there before. Now that they are bringing them here, I don’t know if there is any plan to host so that it will also begin to make money for us. We are collecting and keeping them in our boxes. It is even better you leave it there and see how you can share from the proceeds than bring them back. So, culture is good. We should try and promote.”