Opinion

TINUBU, CULTURE AND THE SIGN OF JONAH

In the name of the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit, I must confess that the body language of our dear president on a stand-alone Ministry of Tourism is confusing and complicated.

Tinubu seems to have redrawn his circle of traffic on the government of competence and, like, johah headed to Tarshish instead of Nineveh.

Nigerian culture landscape is huge, virgin and showcases who we are as a people. What some people did in Dubai, South Africa, and just a few days ago in Seychelles, occasioning certain negative disruptive tendencies and attracting punitive measures against our country, our passport does not represent our cultural perception and depth.

Those are characters that we must challenge, not in Tarhish but in our Nineveh. This government, whether it likes it or not, must be judged and measured by our culture, our way of life, and our love for what is good and enduring, our cultural diversity.

It must be clearly stated that governance today is metricted on the character, strength, and competence of the people, particularly relying on the deep understanding of national cultural values and beliefs.

It is indeed sad to notice that we usually relegate our cultural ethos to the background in our haste to solve our developmental issues, in choosing our leaders and selecting our so-called best teams.

Except for Olusegun Obasanjo, no Nigerian leader in recent national political development has thought it fit and necessary to champion the growth and development of our cultural tourism values.

When Buhari came and in deference to his support to cultural tourism promotion, the first casualty in merging government ministries was to brutally subsume tourism under information.

That action not only stifilled the cultural tourism economy, it gave the impression that we were yet to fully understand who we are as people and nation.

We had thought Tinubu as the johah of last time will head to Nineveh to preach to us how we can use cultural tourism to better our new values on competence and visionary commitment to governance. We had thought that his coming would inspire us to be patriotic, to go back to the old beaten path, to bow to the reality that in us lies the development of our communities, to fear God, to be sensitive to things that bind us together, our food, music, festivals, and dances.

In our Nineveh, we neglected our diversity and brought foreign values, worshipped vanities, and now mocked by small nations, even tiny Seychelles. Can you imagine Nigerians being banned from entry to the place? Our passport is a burden of shame because we don’t value our culture.

To show us a sign by the appointment of an adviser on Culture and Entertainment economy, no doubt puts our hope for a stand-alone Ministry of Tourism in jeopardy.

There’s is no pretence to the fact that this government is on its way to Tarshish, a place of refuge from fear, disobedience, and acceptation to a mission misunderstood. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu road to Tarshish, ignorantly running away from defining the proper profiling and the making of our tourism economy, will bomerang in no distance future.

Those portfolio influencers and consultants on governance will end up in the belly of whales like johah. Today, one of the biggest failings in our political and economic space is the absence of our well documented cultural ethos. See the rot in our entertainment values, the unrelenting drug inspired destruction of our youths and rudderless political culture.

Am tired of pointing to the Chinese as a verifiable and veritable nation that has used cultural ethos to define their socioeconomic and political future. These guys are like our shadows, borrowing us money, yet we have not learnt anything good from them. Soon, we shall beat our chest to being proficient in mandarin language while our over three ethnic tongues are gone.

Tourism is our own economic emi lo’kan. President Tinubu must head to Nineveh to proclaim tourism as an alternative economic recovery institution for Nigeria or wait in vain for an entertainment dream that will never be.

Tarshish is a comfort zone, an albatross, a disconnect, a cemetery of tourism ideas, and a place of lamentation and regret. There are no gains in where this government may head to in the fanciful culture and entertainment ministry.

The politicians in Tarshish can have their Culture and Entertainment experiment, but in our Nineveh, Tourism Ministry is the desire, our soul. The whale, which held up johah in its huge belly for three days, fed him with food and water and secured him from inclement weather to enable him to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh, though am tempted to draw Nigeria into that narrative.

In the next eighteen days, the true signs will emerge. Politicians should not sodomise tourism and culture economy. They can run around in pretence thinking our cultural tourism economy does not count, but in reality, the world is leaving us behind.

The president should be well guided and convinced that we have shown guts in our culture sector, in our tourism and hospitality vocational training ecosystem, our Dance Troupe, the best vehicle to pursue a new economy and our cultural revolution, powered through our cultural orientation agency. We must sell what we have but must obey and trust that the values of our diverse cultural heritage should be measured beyond pecuniary persuasions and deliveries.

A stand-alone Ministry of Tourism is the agenda 18, as we wait for the appointment of new ministers. Those who were part of the president ‘s political family failed us. There are names my mouth will not mention. The president men he sent us in the immediate past administration were failures. Those names are bitter to the mouth, and in his appointment, President Tinubu must make a wise choice. If he is in doubt, consult us.

In Nineveh, johah consulted the people, he sat down with them, shared his pains in Tarshish, and called for national repentance. Tinubu has left Tarshish, and now Nineveh ( Nigeria). will he talk to us? Will Tinubu in eighteen days shame those who think Nigeria tourism is a joke, or will he quiver and wash his hands like Pontius Pilate?. Day 18, to go, and i am counting.

By Frank Meke

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