Monday 20 March 2017




Every individual, every family, and indeed, every society has principles and standards which are appreciated and held in high respect, as well as those which are abhorred. When these principles and/or standards are commonly held by peoples, they are termed social values. Social values then refer to the ideas shared by members of a society as to what is good, right, and desirable; things worth striving for. Since no two societies or epochs are identical with each other, social values thus, are different from society to society, and could change from time to time due to acculturation.

African traditional values would refer to those social ideals that pertain to and are indigenous to African people, which have either enhanced or hindered inter-communal relations. The values of a society are significant because they determine the contents of its norms, which help in maintaining social order. Each value has a corresponding norm, or put differently, all norms express social values. Thus, the values which are more difficult to identify because of their abstract nature are more easily inferred from social norms exhibited in actual everyday behaviours. This paper seeks to explore the gamut of African traditional values and how they affect relations between communities with, special reference to Nigeria as a nation.

Culture is the sum of learned beliefs, values, and customs that regulate the behavior of members of a particular society. Beliefs and values are guides of behavior and customs are acceptable ways of behaving. A belief is an opinion that reflects a person's particular knowledge and assessment of an issue. Values are general statements that guide behavior and influence beliefs and attitudes. A value system helps people choose between alternatives in everyday life. Customs are overt modes of behaviour that constitute culturally approved ways of behaving in specific situations. Customs vary among countries, regions, and even families. In Arab societies, for instance, usury (payment of interest) is prohibited, so special Islamic banks exist to accommodate this.

Dominant cultural values are referred to as core values; they tend to affect and reflect the core character of a particular society. Core values are slow and difficult to change. Consequently, marketing communication strategies must accurately portray and reflect these values.

Secondary values also exist in any culture. Secondary values are less permanent values that can sometimes be influenced by marketing communications. In addition, core values are held by virtually an entire culture, whereas secondary values are not.

A subculture is a group of people who share a set of secondary values, such as environmentalists. Many factors can place an individual in one or several subcultures. Five of the most important factors that create subcultures are:

Material culture - People with similar income may create a subculture. The poor, the affluent, and the white-collar middle class are examples of material subcultures.

Social institutions - Those who participate in a social institution may form a subculture. Examples include participation in marriage, parenthood, a retirement community, or the army.

Belief systems - People with shared beliefs may create a subculture, such as a religious group or political party. For example, traditional Amish do not use electricity and automobiles.

Aesthetics - Artistic people often form a subculture of their own associated with their common interests, such as art, music, dance, drama, and folklore.

Language - People with similar dialects, accents, and vocabulary can form a subculture. Southerners and northerners are two traditional categories in the US.

The concept of ‘community cohesion’ was established following a number of riots and disturbances in England in 2001 and the subsequent Report of the Independent Review Team (Cantle, 2001).

While continuing to emphasise the need to tackle inequalities, community cohesion programmes also attempted to build understanding between different groups and to build mutual trust and respect by breaking down stereotypes and misconceptions about the ‘other’. In many cases, there have been clear and measurable impacts of such programmes and these assessments are generally based upon attitudinal and behavioural change in the programme participants, or in the wider local community.

In addition to the small scale programmes focussed on divided communities, community cohesion was also developed at a city-wide or area level to develop support a broader consensus in support of diversity. These often included high profile campaigns featuring people from a range of backgrounds who ‘all belong’ and contribute to the economic and cultural life of the area. These campaigns were important in that they tried to present a new positive picture of diversity and whilst recognising the value of cultural heritage and distinctiveness, it placed a new emphasis on the commonalities between groups and thereby contributed to a less defensive and more progressive form of multiculturalism.

Indeed, from the outset, community cohesion attempted to develop a positive vision for diverse societies, (which was turned into a formal definition – see below), in which people from all backgrounds would feel that they belonged and were valued, enjoyed similar life opportunities and interacted with people from different backgrounds to break down myths and stereotypes and to build trust. This contrasted with the development of multiculturalism, which was still conceptualised as being largely defensive and negative – to try to stop the worst effects of a racist and colonial past. It was difficult to find any positive vision for multiculturalism before 2001, other than the 1966 statement of the then Home Secretary, Roy Jenkins, which he suggested that ‘integration’ should not be ‘a flattening process, but as equal opportunity accompanied by cultural diversity in an atmosphere of mutual tolerance’ (Jenkins, 1966).

Community cohesion has then developed as positive vision of a diverse society and has been supported by a wide range of programmes to improve community relations. However, like multiculturalism, it is still largely based upon national and local institutions and programmes and often implemented in many contextualised ways at city or local area level. Inter-culturalism provides the opportunity to develop a much wider vision.


Every nation has a set of values and norms that govern the behaviour of its people. Similarly, every society has a system of social control or mechanism of ensuring that its people behave in consonance with its normative values in order to ensure social cohesion and integration. This is a way of keeping them together as one indivisible entity, with a common identity and destiny. The issue of national unity has become topical as Nigeria celebrates its 100 years of existence.

There is no gainsaying that the greatest challenge facing the country is the threat to its national unity. The reason is not hard to explain because Nigeria is a multi-ethnic nation with diverse cultures and traditions. But in spite of the seeming challenges of the cultural diversity of Nigeria, there have been many institutions promoting values which have continued to keep the nation united. Such institutions include the National Theatre in Iganmu Lagos state, the annual cultural festivals, state carnivals, unity schools, new yam festivals, National Youth Service Corps, NYSC and inter marriages.

Others are cultural sites and monuments, drama, music, education, sports festivals, trade, language, music, film industries, foods and modes of dressing. These values have been used over the years to unite Nigerian citizens culturally over the past 100 years. Language as a component of culture is a means of communication, a central feature of the culture of any community and a reflection of the thoughts, feelings, values, beliefs and the experiences of a community. As a system of communication in speech and writing, the effective study and use of the language of a people is needed for their all-round development, be it social, cultural or economic.

Many Nigerians have also realised the importance of promoting unity in the country through their way of dressing. This helps to rekindle interest and pride in the indigenous dress patterns in order to encourage unity among the different ethnic groups through integrated dress culture. It also encourages socio-economic growth of local textile industries to create jobs for Nigerian youths and to promote patriotism among Nigerians. The various attires, like agbada, babariga, jumper, shokoto, adire, etibo, woko, opu shirti, akwete, and so on, reflect the various cultural backgrounds of Nigerians.

Nigerian foods also play a role in uniting the different ethnic groups in the country. There are various Nigerian fast food companies which prepare Nigerian cuisines. Such cultural dishes or food items from the hundreds of ethnic groups are part of the rich cultural heritage of the country. Nigerian indigenous cuisines are natural, with all their nutritional values intact; original and direct from their various sources, unlike most Western foods, which are canned, therefore, containing a lot of preservatives, which could have harmful effects on body systems. Nigeria is reputed to have a wide variety of cuisines, which are not only appealing to the citizenry but a delight to foreigners.

The Nigerian film industry, popularly called, Nollywood, has projected the image of the country to Africans and, indeed, the whole world. The Yoruba and Hausa tribes have produced several films showcasing their different cultures, languages and traditions from the covering genres like rituals, ghetto life, love and romance, crime/gangster, gender, Christian, comedy, political, as well as thrillers, horror and adventure. The Igbos are also stepping up that as a way of promoting unity in the country. With such enlightening films, the industry has created many cultural ambassadors for Nigeria.

Cultural sites and monuments have also contributed to the nation’s unity. There are the rainforests, mountains, deserts, beaches, mangrove forests and enormous rivers in different parts of Nigeria which are viable tourist sites that are attractive to Nigerians and foreigners alike. For instance, in the South-West region, there are the popular Ikogosi Warm Spring Resort, the Arinta Waterfalls, Olosunta Hills, Oke Maria at Oka-Akoko, the Ife Museum, the Osun Oshogbo shrine, Olumirin water-falls at Erin Ijesha and the Adunni Susan Wenger’s Art Works Centres, the Agodi Gardens, Ado-Awaye Suspended Lake, Mapo Hall, University of lbadan Zoological Garden, Ido Cenotaph, the National Theatre, National Museum, the site of the fallen Agia tree, Badagry, where Christianity was first preached in Nigeria in 1842, the Bar Beach, Tarkwa Bay, Badagry Beach among others.

The South-East zone tourist centres include the National War Museum in Umuahia, the Azumini Blue River, and the Long Juju of Arochukwu, the Ndibe Beach at Afikpo, Uburu Salt Lake, the Ishiagu Pottery works, the Oguta Lake Holiday Resort with its sand beach and 18-hole golf course, the colonial building with its attractive scenery and the rolling hills of Okigwe while the South South region has the Mobil Tank Farm, the Oron Museum, numerous beaches, the Oloibiri oil well, boat, the Obudu Cattle Ranch, the Agbokin Waterfalls in Ikom, the Etanpim Cave in Odukpani, Mary Slessor’s Tomb and Tinapa Resort in Calabar among others. Tourist attractions in Edo State include the Oba’s Palace in Benin, the Benin Moat, Emotan statue, Okomu Wildlife Sanctuary, and Somorika Hills in Akoko-Edo.

The Northern region comprising of the North East, North Central and North West has the Kyarimi Park in Maiduguri, Sambissa Game Reserve and Jaffi falls, the Sukur World Heritage Site, the Mambilla Tourist Centre which is part of the mountain chains of Adamawa, Obudu, Shebshi, Alantika and Mandara, the Barup waterfall, the Yankari Game Reserve, Owu Falls at Owa Kajola, the Jos Wildlife Safari park, the Zoological Garden, the Nok Cultural Site at Kuwi, the Maitsirga Water falls in Kafanchan, the Legendary Lord Lugard bridge in Kaduna, the Kerfena Hills in Zaria and the Palace of the Emir of Zaria. Kano has the Ancient walls, the colourful annual Durbar, leather works and craft among others.

However, there are also many festivals among different cultural groups in Nigeria, some of which date back to the period before the arrival of the major religions. Festivals are usually very meaningful events in the lives of the people and such festivals include the 2nd World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture also known as FESTAC ’77, National Festival for Arts and Culture, NAFEST, Durbar Festivals, Argungu Festival, Sharo/Shadi Festival, Osun Oshogbo Festival, The Eyo Festival, the Abuja carnival, Calabar carnival.

The federal government and other high profile citizens have continued to make sure that unity is promoted in the country through cultural fiestas. Edem Duke, minister of culture and tourism, said the country’s centenary celebration would be another means of promoting unity and peace in the country. He said that the celebration would be handy to showcase the nation’s rich cultural heritage and unification in 100 years to visitors. Besides, he said that his ministry would play a veritable role in making the celebration a big market for the country.

Samuel Odunlami, senior lecturer, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism Studies, has urged Nigerians to use cultural festivals to promote unity and stability in the country. He said that cultural festivals have helped the people to be tolerant and know each other. He advised Nigerians to use cultural heritage and resources to develop a united, vibrant and prosperous community. “Cultural festivals can be used to promote unity by encouraging mutual relationship among the people. The festivals can also be used to improve political and economic stability. Such festivals attract visitors from different regions and draw the attention of the global community to the country.”

Namadi Sambo, vice president of Nigeria, said that cultural festival boosts tourism, while promoting personal interactions. Echoing the same sentiment, Abubakar El-Kanemi, the Shehu of Borno, said that cultural festivities typically promote national cohesion, consensus building and peaceful mutual coexistence. He called for support for cultural festivals in the country. Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto, said that cultural festivals always bring together different ethnic groups, adding that such events could also be used to preach peace and unity in the country. He urged traditional institutions in the country to use cultural festivals as a means of promoting peace and harmony among the citizens. “We must, therefore, endeavour to live together, no matter our ethnic differences,” the Sultan said. Bola Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State is of the view cultural festivals could be used to promote unity and understanding among the various peoples of the country.

The Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation, CBAAC, another parastatal under the federal ministry of tourism, culture and national orientation, is doing a lot to develop orthographies of four major languages in Nigeria, namely, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and Ijaw. The idea is to ensure that there is commonality in the spoken and written forms of all the documented languages, and a reduction in their variants.

In order to promote the dress culture, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, in line with the transformation agenda of his administration, has approved a heart-warming N70 billion lifeline for the textile industry to revitalise it. In addition, the federal government has, however, declared every Friday as ‘Dress Nigerian Day.’ More so, Nigerian fashion designers have shown their dexterity and ingenuity and have come out with various designs with local fabrics.

Nevertheless, there are impediments to promoting cultural unity in the country because many Nigerian indigenous languages and cultures are facing extinction. Somehow, 53 years after independence, Nigeria still recognises English as the lingua franca. The implication here is that there is no greater bond that can hold a people together as language. The National Institute for Cultural Orientation, NICO, as the statutory body of government established to re-orientate Nigerians towards a culture-related life-style, is piloting and encouraging the learning of indigenous languages as one of its major orientation programmes.


Culture and festivals are known means of establishing communal cohesion in the society. In the earlier days of the country before the coming of the white men, culture and festivals serves as the identity of a particular community and each community derives joy in displaying their culture and festivals in the public this thereafter brought about inter community cultural festivals which initially was established to bring people of diverse cultures and tradition together. It was however discovered that this inter community festivals does not only bring people together, it also establishes a long lasting relationships and ally between communities. It is however sad to note that the same thing cannot be said as communities now abandons their traditions and cultural festivals.

This research work will therefore seek to explore the cultural festivals of Okirika in Rivers state and how it brings about communal cohesion in attempt to re-establish the old norms of the community.


The following forms the objectives of this study;

To investigate the causes of decline in cultural value in Okirika Rivers state.

To evaluate the level of cohesion that cultural festivals brings

To find ways of re-establishing the dignity of cultural value within the case study.


In order to carry out the research work successfully, the researcher decided to adopt some research questions which will enhance the perception of the research topic through proper answering of the research question.

Are there perceived influence of communal cohesion brought about by cultural festivals in Okirika of Rivers state?

What are the possible causes of cultural degradation in the community?

What are the possible ways of resurrecting the cultural festivals for the purpose of communal integration within the region?

What are the festivals practiced within the Okirika locality?

What are the possible ways of promoting cultural value in Okirika?


The following forms the research hypothesis of the study;

HI: The introduction of civilization killed the value of inter community festivals

HO: The introduction of civilization promoted the value of inter community festivals

HI: Cultural value demotion is also caused by the introduction of English language as a lingua franca in Nigeria.

HO: Cultural value demotion was not caused by the introduction of English language as a lingua franca in Nigeria.


It is the expectation of the researcher that this project work will be of immense advantage to the people and community of Okirika as it will go a long way in re-enacting the values of their cultural festivals and the visible effects of its negligence. It is also the opinion of the researcher that the research will also serve as a source of enlightenment as people without previous knowledge of the cultural festivals of the region will through this research work be enlightened.


The research work is structured and presented in chapters such that chapter one presents the fundamental rudiments of the research work, chapter two presents the review of literature concerning the research topic. Chapter three presents the methods proposed by the researcher to gather information from the people to support the stated hypothesis. Chapter four presents the results yielded by the research methodology in chapter three and chapter five presents the summary, conclusion and recommendation of the research work.


The researcher during the course of this research encountered some difficulties which includes the following;

Financial constraints

Limited time for the research work

Sourcing for material which was limited

Collections of distributed questionnaires form which was difficult as some people misplaced theirs.


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