This Article was first published on TheNationOnlineNG

Former General Officer Commanding (GOC), Chief of Training and Policy (CTOP), Army Headquarters, Maj-General Moses Obi (rtd), has stressed the need to protect the different forms of cultural expressions such as languages, arts, crafts, lifestyles, especially by those in the Diaspora.

Obi, who is the Chairman of Ochibe Boki, an umbrella body of sons and daughters of Boki Local Government Area of Cross River State, gave the advice during their New Yam Festival, even as he added that as technology and globalisation tie the world’s cultures and communities ever closer, the responsibility of each one to guarantee and protect the well-being of values must be respected.

“We must zealously guard and promote the values we cherish as we care for the sick, sustain our institutions, support the elderly, feed the hungry, and welcome the stranger, no matter where they come from.

“The idea that we are our brother’s keeper and our sister’s keeper reinforces us to treat others as we would want to be treated. In good times and in periods of hardship the Boki New Yam Festival has always reminded us of our roots; not only who we are, but also what we can be.

“Every August, we gather to celebrate a story that has endured and is endearing to us as a people. Often, the ritual of our celebration itself has reflected the pain and sacrifice of the times. It’s a message that says no matter who we are or where we are, no matter the pain we endure or the wrongs we face, we are called to love one another as brothers and sisters.

“As technology and globalisation tie the world’s cultures and communities ever closer together, the responsibility of each of us to guarantee and protect the well-being of our values must be respected. That is why in our celebration there is the need to protect the different forms of cultural expressions–languages, arts, crafts, lifestyles–especially by those in the Diaspora.

“Cultural diversity gives our life its richness, its colour and its dynamism. We live in a time when more than half of the Boki sons and daughters are under the age of 40.  We have a responsibility to make sure that all of our young people have the tools they need to start new ventures.

“Many of our young people are already doing this. Within Nigeria and around the world, one of the extraordinary things that I have the opportunity to do is to meet young people in every region of Boki and to see the problem-solving and the energy and optimism that they bring to everything they do.

“And part of our jobs, part of this annual celebrations is to make sure that we’re putting more tools, more resources into the hands of these young people who are changing the world. We are to make sure the young people know one another, make responsible use of Social Media so that they may share best practices and ideas,” Obi, who was a Force Commander of two United Nations Missions/Operations in Sudan and South Sudan, said.

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