Media, Culture and Youth Empowerment in Nigeria


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Media, Culture and Youth Empowerment in Nigeria :

Media, Culture and Youth Empowerment in Nigeria Abubakar Sufyanu Saidu Al- Sadique Mass Communication Department The Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi Nigeria [email protected] +2348036808714   And Murtala Mohammed Alamai Tourism & Hospitality Management Department The Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi Nigeria [email protected] +2348065599757


ABSTRACT Youth empowerment hasbeen identified by various governments since the return to democratic rulein Nigeria as a cornerstone for long and short term development plans because of collapse of industries and the paucity of jobs that would accommodate the teeming youth. In spite of this policy initiative, almost all parts of the country are facing one form of youth restiveness or the other, owing mainly to unemployment, underemployment and craze for white collar jobs among the youth. Cultural tourism is one such area that provides vast and untapped potentials for employment in virtually all parts of the country, yet these teeming unemployed youth do not know that they are sitting on a goldmine. This paper articulates the role media in this globalised world can play in making youth harness these vast potentials provided by cultural tourism which have the capacity of addressing youth restiveness that devastated all parts of the country, given that tourism has become the major foreign exchange earner to many countries in different parts of the world.


INTRODUCTION Communication, especially today, is one of the major ways of preserving culture from one generation to another. Mass media on the other hand have assumed a necessary place in the life of man just like food, air and shelter and other basic amenities, so much that man relies heavily on mass mediated-weather forecast to know what to wear and where to go or not to go just as he makes investment decisions based on information received through the mass media. According to Baran (2004) culture, all over the world has come to be constructed and maintained through communication. The mass media of communication have assumed the role of defining what culture to be embraced and adopted especially by the growing age bracket of children and youth who are consumers of media diets. Culture, Baran , (2004, p.16) argued, is the world made meaningful; it is socially constructed and maintained through communication. It limits as well as unites us. It defines our realities and thereby shapes the way we think, feel and act.


INTRODUCTION (Cont’d) The role that the media is playing in the various aspects of human life has over the years become increasingly greater in social interaction and cultural as well as in educational aspects of our daily life. Archaeological monuments, which are central to field of culture and tourism, communicate by articulating the traditions, customs and heritage of the past, while the media can in turn clarifies today's human values and civilizations of the different countries, thus correcting any widespread erroneous information that may have already been given out to the public. In the same vain, looking at both the media of communication and archaeological monuments, one is left with the conclusion that both the two have messages to communicate and missions with various dimensions, partly because the media contributes greatly in activating tourist attractions.


INTRODUCTION (CONT’D) In real life, the media is a major mediator between tourism and society, meaning that the mass media of communication, especially in highly mediated-societies like the United States and Western European nations, mediate in a process of conveying tourism products from the producers to the consumers of such tourism services or products. The effects of media communications bring sweeping about changes of attitudes, values and behaviour among the key actors in local, national and global tourism for peace, security and sustainable development, which Nigeria is striving to attain. Today, the social, cultural, economic, political and environmental benefits of tourism usher in monumental and historic changes in the country and the media has a social responsibility to enhance the blending of such local, national and international cultural values for enriched politics, society and economy. Strategic public communications that is based on access to quality information and knowledge drive the current global trend of tourism through inter-disciplinary partnership initiatives such as: conflict resolutions for eco-tourism, peace and security, quality tourism, joint ventures, technology transfer, etc.


INTRODUCTION (CONT’D) When people hear the word tourism, especially in this part of the world, they immediately think of vacations filled with entertainment and relaxation. Rarely do they think of tourism as a vital part of their community that is a necessity to their everyday life as obtained in many parts of the developed world where the potentials of tourism are harnessed to the fullest. The tourism industry is the second leading industry in the nation creating hundreds of increase jobs, businesses and property value. Developed tourism programs improve the quality of life and instil pride in communities’ throughout the world. Tourism is a social, cultural and economic phenomenon related to the movement of people to places outside their usual places of residence, pleasure being the usual motivation,UNWTO (2008).The activities carried out by a visitor may or may not involve a market transaction, and may be different from or similar to those normally carried out in his/her regular routine of life. If they are similar, their frequency or intensity is different.


WHAT IS CULTURAL TOURISM? Like the Chicken and Egg lifelong debate or the nature and nurture controversy, culture is often used as a synonym for such terms as society, sociocultural systems , and nation or tribe. Anthropologists study traditional culture while sociologists study modern society and tourist studies look at culture in its relation to adding value to communities and nations. Many scholars have attempted to define the word culture in different terms, depending on the purpose the definition seeks to achieve. Abdulrasheed , (2008) in Abubakar, (2009)saw culture as the totality of the way of life of a group of people as evolved by the attempt to meet the challenges of living in their environment. He further added that culture includes beliefs, arts , morals, knowledge , habits and any of the capabilities acquired by them.


WHAT IS CULTURAL TOURISM? (cont’d) Kroede as cited in Abdulrasheed (2008) however sees culture as civilisation as it is man’s achievements and people’s heritage. Culture has super origin content because there is no varied culture of the world that is biologically-inherited rather culture is heard and transmitted through groups and individuals in the society. He went on to further elaborate that the ability of man tosymbolise and communicate through symbols in the development of culture is very unique. Man was bestowed with a lot of values and meanings to objects in terms of relationships and ideas, ( Abdullahi , 2009). Therefore, communication media become vital to the transmission and sustenance of cultural heritage.


WHAT IS CULTURAL TOURISM? (cont’d) Cultural orheritage tourism, as it is sometimes called, is one of the fastest growing segments of the tourism industry. It is widely believed that heritage tourism can successfully help preserve resources while boosting local economies by generating jobs,promoting new businesses,and attracting more naira in the form of tax. However, little information exists about its development such as who should consider it, its significant aspects, and how to develop a successful heritage tourism site initiative or programme ,(Mohammed, 2005).What then is cultural or heritagetourism ? Cultural or heritage tourism is a travel directed towards experiencing the heritage of acity , region, state, or country. Cultural tourism enables a tourist to learn about and be surrounded by local customs, traditions, history and culture,(Bhatia, 2006).

The place of culture in tourism:

The place of culture in tourism Culture is the learned, socially-acquired traditions and lifestyles of the members as a society, including their patterned, repetitive ways of thinking, feeling and acting, (M. Harris, 1983). Heritage tourism embodies the goals of preservation and tourism and it uses the assets – historic, cultural, and natural resources that already exist. Rather than creatingand building attractions, destinations, it looks to the past for a sustainable future. Indeed these assets need preservation and often restoration or interpretation, but the foundation for creating a dynamic travel experience lives on in the stories and structures of the past.

Cultural tourism concepts:

Cultural tourism concepts Globally, there is a sense in which sweepingglobalisation , coupled with advancement in information and communication technology especially in the West have combined to change the entire perception about reality, the world over. Arising from the process,and effects of globalisation,we not only seem to be increasingly aware of events around us and other parts of the world but also the possibility of drawing the entire humanity into this.This is perhaps because the impact of globalisation is felt more in relation to politics and economy. In reality however, its greater consequence has as much to do to do with culture as any other aspect of human life, both as a practice, specific to communities and peoples and as a process that is continuously changing and shifting across borders.Significantly however, it is the growth of new technologies of information and communication that fresh insight into and perception of people about culture may be attributed.

Cultural tourism concepts:

Cultural tourism concepts Thus in reaction to this development,UNESCO at its conference in1982 where it deliberated on cultural policies of development gave vent to a new concept that was referred to as “cultural dimension of development”. Through this newconcept , it was hoped not only to invest in culture a veritable tool for the analysis of development in different societies but also and significantly to reconceptualise it as the “main concept of a new humanism” in a globalising era. Interestingly, ever since the initial recognition of the concept of “cultural dimension of development” UNESCO at the initiative of the UN had in 1988 proclaimed a decade of cultural development (1988-1997) a move that was followed with the establishment of “a world culture and development commission” the report of which was submitted in 1995. At the African level also, the then OAU developed a copious plan of action under the name “the Dakar plan of action” in 1992 to address the issues of harnessing “cultural industries of development in Africa” of course prior to that there has been in place several declarations including the Accra conference of 1975, Lagos plan of action 1980, and the Lome agreements, none of which actually went beyond the mere ritual of declarations,(Christy, 2006) and (John, 2005 ).


NIGERIA’S CULTURAL TOURISM INITIATIVES Nigeria is one of the countries with very rich cultural heritage that can be generous sources of tourist attraction. The cultural heritage of Nigeria dates back to antiquities when what is known today as Nigeria was inhabited by people with advanced and sophisticated knowledge of the use of clay, tin , zinc and copper, ivory and stone in architecture, sculpture curving and weaving . Within the cultural context, flourished great civilisations which today have helped to explain the depth and excellence of the cultural history of Nigeria, ( Aliyu , 2003 ).


NIGERIA’S CULTURAL TOURISM INITIATIVES (CONT’D) Amongst the earliest heritage of the country arethe impressive, well organised and expansive civilisation known as the Nok Culture which covers the whole of central Nigeria, theDiama Terracotta figurines situated along the Nigerian-Cameroun border in North Eastern Nigeria, theIgboUkwu bronzes in Anambra South Eastern Nigeria, the Great Art of Ife, the Owo Terracotta sculptures,EseiSoap Stones in South Western Nigeria, theCourt Art of Benin which is the most widely known in black Africa, the Ikom Stone monoliths all in the South- South,the Dakarkari funerary pottery sculpture in Zuru and Dabai North-West and a host of others like the Tsoede bronzes of the Nupes , Yelwa Terracotta in Kebbi etc.,(Bello, 1992).


NIGERIA’S CULTURAL TOURISM INITIATIVES (CONT’D) However, to fully appreciate the richness of the cultural heritage of Nigeria, we must go beyond civilisations of antiquity and examine the cultural events in contemporary Nigeria. The nation is undoubtedly very rich in cultural festivals which are unique and exciting just as the communities where they exist. Such cultural festivals among many include ArgunguFishing festival in KebbiState,Boat Regatta festival in riverside areas like Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa , Cross River, AkwaIbom , and Kwara . In the North the Durbar festival has become an important event that celebrates the gallantry of horsemen and the communities pay tribute to their emirs. Among the Igbo is the MmanwuMasqueradefestivals , theIrijifestival (new yam), the Osun Oshogbo festival, theEyo Masquerade etc.


THE ROLE OF RADIO IN YOUTH EMPOWERMENT Culture lends significance to human experience by selecting from and organising it. It refers broadly to the forms through which people make sense of their lives, rather than more narrowly to the opera or arts of museums, (R. Rosaldo , 1989). There are vast opportunities for youth to harness in cultural tourism since Nigeria recognises religion, Nigerian languages, foods, dress, cultural festivals, traditional medicine and environmental planning as part of her cultural heritage, and that is where the mass media are factored in because the heritage has to compete seriously with modernity in the mass media before the desired impact can be made on the people .


THE ROLE OF RADIO IN YOUTH EMPOWERMENT The mass media plays important roles in shaping attitudes and behaviour of people and not only youth in all parts of the world, especially in highly mediated societies like the West and the US. Brookfield (1986), argues that the organization, products and effects of the mass media should be regarded as important phenomena by educators of adults because the media plays crucial roles in framing our views of the world and the context within which we decide which issues and problems are significant in the political realm. Youth belong to an age bracket that always needs to be guided in all that they do. Because of this relative young age of the youth and their inexperience of life, they are unlikely to know the potentials they possess. This is where the role of the mass media in bringing out their potentials of cultural tourism actually comes to bear. The mass media is all important in all facets of human life as Raufu ,(2003) argued: “…The changing role of Mass Media in our society today can be linked to the changing lives of people, especially in this globalised world where communication has interconnected the entire world, whatever happens in one part of the world is automatically known to other parts of the world. Mass media plays tremendous role in virtually all facets of human life, be it social, political or economic. As an institution, the mass media is basically the single most important means of reaching out to a large heterogeneous audience at the same time and, they are used for information dissemination, education and entertainment of the society. “


OTHER LEGACY MEDIA IN YOUTH EMPOWERMENT There are other legacy media outlets like television, cable and satellite stations that require outsourced services of producers, mainly because their audiences are scattered and diverse and sometimes cut across international borders. These legacy media outlets require more programmes produced about the culture of different societies than those media organisations that focus more on local audience and the international media organisations are the major agencies that draw international attention to tourism attractions countriesare blessed with. These legacy media organisations pay heavily for the production of such programmes because they have wide audiences which in turn also attract handsome adverts from corporate organisations.Caribbean /South American nations have for long discovered the power of making series of soap opera that are transmitted in different parts of the world, and in the process, makegood money for the stations and the producers of the programmes , while in turn projecting their cultures.


SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS At the moment, there are no specific statistics of Nigerians that are on social media networks, but it is clear that many of the youth, using smartphones and other mobile phones, are on different social media networks especially facebook and twitter. However, there are indications that most of the youth that on social media outlets do not have much time to know what is happening on legacy media. As such, the social media platform can be used to promote the culture of any community the youth decide. If, for instance groups, like the Nigerian Anti-Oil Subsidy Removal Group, can use the social media to mobilise Nigerians against government’s plan to remove subsidy on petroleum in 2012 on or the Save Nigeria Group can mobilise support for the recognition of Jonathan Goodluck as Acting President, using facebook , with followers all over the world, similar groups can be made on the social media to promote the nation’s cultural heritages and activities especially festivals.


TRADITIONAL MUSICALS/HOME VIDEOS Traditional music, particularly those that have a mixture of piano or Western musical instruments and traditional African songs have come to be accepted among youth in Nigeria today, regardless of their educational levels and whether they are rural or urban dwellers and, interestingly such musicals are fast becoming popular outside the country. In Saudi Arabia, for example, Hausa films produced in Nigeria in Hausa language have a very large market that promotes the Hausa culture to not only the Hausa community in that country, but also to many others that interact with them. The case of the acceptance of Igbo and Yoruba films in United States and Europe is also the same, only that most of such films feature crimes, ritual killings and armed robbery, while the Hausa films focuses attention on love and crimes, thus tarnishing the image of the country instead of projecting it.


CONCLUSION Although many concerted efforts have been made in Nigeria to boost the tourism sector and turn it around to an employer of mass labour , a number of reasons have adduced to its decimal performance and colossal failure. Adzer (2007) highlighted the following factors as being responsible for the failure of past efforts at addressing unemployment through tourism: Poor policy formation and coordination. Policy discontinuity and lack of sustainability. Absence of policy framework, institutional framework and delivery machine. Absence to target setting for ministries, agencies and programmes . Absence of coordination, complementation among the three tiers of government. Duplication of functions among institutions and agencies. Unhealthy reveries among institutions and agencies. Non-involvement of traditional authorities and community groups in projects selection and implementation. Embarking on projects that are relevant to the poor.


RECOMMENDATIONS The United National World Tourism Organisation , (UNWTO, 2004) report, in Adzer (2007)entitled “Tourism and poverty alleviation: Recommendation for action”, identified seven areas of action through which tourism development could fight poverty, were identified and analysed . These include: Empowerment of the poor in tourism enterprises. Supply of product and services by the poor to the tourists (informal economy). Creation and management of tourism enterprises by the poor as micro small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) or community-based enterprises (formal economy). Tourism taxation to benefit the poor. Voluntary actions by tourism enterprises and tourists. Investment in basic infrastructure to develop tourism while befitting the poor.


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