Cultural Factors That Can Improve The National Image Or Reputation Of Nigeria And Nigerians Positively
Culture encompasses the set of beliefs, moral values, traditions, language and laws held in common by a nation or a defined group of people. Culture therefore has a vital role in the life of an individual as well as in the society as a whole.
Nigeria is a country, which has its roots embedded in culture. Along with her diverse geographical location and richly endowed resources, her multi-ethnicity creates an environment of unique hospitality as well as varying communication styles.
Since culture accumulates, controls and organize the human experience as well as a country, it is therefore important to look into the cultural factors that can improve positively, the image or reputation of Nigeria and Nigerians.
“Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
History is the continuous and systematic study of past and future events – teaching and guiding us in the present on how to move forward, and ultimately creating a better existence for all.
Nigeria and Nigerians must prioritize an objective and interdisciplinary study and analysis of its history, which is capable of providing useful insight into its cultures of origin as well as cultures with which we might be less familiar, thereby increasing cross-cultural awareness and understanding.
This awareness and understanding with the proper projection based on the unique identity of the strength of the Nigerian people, is well capable of improving the national image and reputation of the country and her peoples.
“The nation suffers, which has no sense of history.” – J.F. Ade Ajaiyi
Language is a crucial aspect in the lives of all beings.
According to Felibert R. Salvador (2014), language is used to express thoughts and emotions, make sense of complex and abstract thought, to learn to communicate with others, to fulfill our wants and needs, as well as to establish rules and maintain our culture.
Nigeria is well-known for its “extreme linguistic diversity”. It is considered the most linguistically diverse country in Africa accounting for a total of 25 to 50% of the 1000 distinct languages of the continent (Elugbe, 1994).
This (language) is therefore a powerful institution in the development of Nigeria and her peoples, which is capable of advancing the core tenets of the varying indigenous cultures/norms – respect, togetherness, understanding, etc.
Nigerians can take responsibility for the usage and development of their language in advancing a positive image and reputation of their societies including and not limited to existing language applications such as “TalkaSoft-Soro” and “SpeakYoruba”.
Music is an integral part of the way of life of Nigerians – a strong expression of emotions and creativity.
Timeless Nigerian music has not only been a source of melody but has also been able to convey inspiring and instructional messages to its listeners. “Great Nation” by Timi Dakolo, “Fire On The Mountain” by Asa and “Nigeria My Beloved Country” by Funmi Adams among many others, stresses the possibility for progress, unity and patriotism.
Therefore, the more intentional Nigerians become with the sounds, messages, and moods we create and release through our music, the more powerful we will become in making deep positive impacts (Belinda Huang, 2015).
Dress is a garment worn by people of all cultures since prehistoric times. It is open for various interpretations and meanings and is also a mark of national identity (Olaoye, 2016).
Different people of the world today have their own unique dress culture. In Nigeria, ethnic groups have their distinct traditional attire, which is rich, colourful and symbolic.
The symbolism of the Nigerian traditional dress culture “native” represents various elements of integration in a society – ranging from marital life, agricultural festivities, peace agreements, security, etc. – all of which are powerful identities that have the inherent power to improve the narrative of Nigeria and her peoples.
Globally, Nigeria is known to be a fashion powerhouse with numerous fashion designers with great positive influences such as Folake Folarin-Coker,, Duro Olowu, among many others.
Food plays a crucial role in our daily lives because without food, one cannot survive.
According to Ayeomoni (2011), the term “food” is an aspect of cultural tradition. What we eat, how we prepare it, serve it and even how we eat it are all factors that touch our individual culture inheritance.
In Nigeria, there are various traditional foods available that tends to express cultural identity. For instance, the Yorubas have Ewedu soup, Gbegiri soup, etc. The Igbos have the Afang, Ogbono, etc. The Hausas have the Tuwo Chinkafa, Yakuwa, etc. The Calabar have the Edikaikong, Afang, etc.
Special occasions in Nigeria such as weddings, festivals, naming ceremonies, etc, are considered incomplete without sharing native delicacies. Also, the native foods in Nigeria are mainly based on natural ingredients and contains several health benefits.
Therefore, Nigerians should place premium on their local delicacies in order to advance culture and improve positively on the image or reputation of Nigeria.
These cultural factors are immensely significant towards improving the national image or reputation of Nigeria and Nigerians positively.
Nigeria can through the leverage of these cultural factors, build a reputable image of itself, capture the goodwill, respect and commendation of global actors.
Hence, the positive elements of our unique culture must be appreciated and respected through continuous practice in order to preserve them.
Ayeomoni M.O. (2011). Language, Food and Culture: Implications for Language Development and Expansion in Nigeria. International Journal of Educational Research and Technology 2: 50-55.
Chua, B. L. (2017). https://freelymagazine.com/2017/01/07/what-food-tells-us-about-culture/
Elugbe, B. (1994). Minority language development in Nigeria: a situation report on Rivers and Bendel States. R. Fardon and G. Furniss, ed, pp. 62-75.
Olaoye, A. A. and Yakeen, B. (2016). Nigerian Dress Culture: an Anthropo-linguistic Communication Tool. Nile Journal of English Studies, 2: 12-17.
*This article [Cultural Factors That Can Improve The National Image Or Reputation Of Nigeria And Nigerians Positively] was first written by Fego Eunice Onowori on the 1st of May, 2020 and was last modified by Toju Micheal Ogbe on the 13th of June, 2020.
*This article was last fact-checked by Ayodeji Olowolagba on the 1st of July, 2020.