By Ethel Eweka Edosa
Today, our cultural heritage as Edo people and as Nigerians in general is being replayed. It gives me much joy and satisfaction to note that young men and women have upheld the rich cultural heritage of our land. Our culture is our past, our present and our future. It is our life.
“Our culture is a bridge-builder, uniting us with other people from diverse cultural backgrounds.
“Our culture embodies the symbol of peace and creates a common front for our relationship with others.
“Our culture is the true essence of existence. Wars have been fought and won. Nations have been conquered, riots quelled by reason of our culture. Indeed, our culture is our heritage, a veritable tool for development of a nation, a sceptre for dispute resolution.
For this reason, therefore, I join my voice to that of our fathers and mothers, even our past leaders, to implore you not to rest on your oars as you continue with this noble work.
Culture never dies, it is a continuum, the people’s way of life. So it is expected that even at the graduation of one set of students from this university, the successors would sustain this worthy experience.
In whatever you do, remember that you are heroes, offsprings of a dynamic culture. Remember the sons and daughters of whom you are. Even when you have come from different family settings, different cultures and climes, remember that you are all one indivisible entity, one great embodiment of true heroism, entwined round an immutable strength of character.
Your individual and collective stance to propagate the gospel of the essence of culture would be highlighted when you shun all acts capable of disrupting the academic calendar and prolonging your stay in the university. Remember, the future is in your hands. Exam malpractice, cultism, gangsterism, restiveness are all alien to our culture. They are vices which must be shunned. To err is human because humans are usually fallible. Whatever little misunderstandings you may have as students should be resolved, not in dispute or in thug of war but with dialogue and common understanding.
According to the great Philosopher, Norman Vincent Pearle, “Become a possibilitarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities, always see them, for they’re always there”. In your attitude and character, disseminate the information of the essence of cultural values, the essence of conducting your affairs within the framework of cultural moderation.
And Mark Twain, also a great philosopher said, “there is no sadder sight than a young pessimist”. I implore you all to be optimists, for as the saying goes, your attitude determines your action, your action determines your accomplishment. And the greatest discovery of our generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their state of mind.
For young people like you, let the sky be too low to be your limit, aim far above the skies. Your character is judged by the accompanying attitude. That is what makes behavioural patterns differ.
Always be focused, the environment you fashion out of your thoughts, your beliefs, your ideals, your philosophy, is the only climate you will ever live in. As Africans, our past, our present and our future are intertwined; our cultural values are almost the same. In whatever you do, learn from the antecedents of past leaders, past heroes and major players in the development of our nation. That is the essence of upholding cultural values, to guide you. For instance, the Late Ambrose Alli, Professor Emeritus, after whom the Ambrose Alli university is named, was a man of great intellects who respected and upheld our cultural values.
It is on that salient note, that I call upon on everyone their deck with government at all tiers they as work concertedly to move the country to greater heights, to the paths of excellence, to tow the line of our heroes past.
Finally, before a person can achieve the kind of life he wants, he must think, act, walk, talk and conduct himself in all of his affairs as would the person he wishes to become. Pick for yourselves role models on whose antecedents you would guide your steps. That is another essence of cultural values. And whatever step you take, let our rich cultural heritage be sustained, let it be the driving force in your relationship with others, in your regard of both friends and foes, in how you honour your forebears, in your daily relationship with others, in how you conduct yourselves, in your academic and everyday life.