Nigeria’s Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, has described literature as a vital tool for promoting understanding and cultural values.
Mamman said this in Abuja yesterday at the 13th Literature in Northern Nigeria Conference with the theme “Literature and Environment in Northern Nigeria.
The minister, represented by Dr Yusuf Saeed, the Director, Reform Coordination and Service Improvement in the ministry, said the conference would go a long way in promoting the country’s cultural values.
He said that it was heartwarming that scholars were beginning to look at the ignored and silent aspect of knowledge and research.
Similarly, Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na’allah, the Vice Chancellor, University of Abuja (UniAbuja), opined that people were trained within the scope of their languages, culture and folklore.
He said, cultural productions, values, language and folklore represent everything about people and environment where they come from.
“The language we speak helps to tell who we are and how we behave and represent our environment.
“The way we are trained is within the scope of our language, culture and our folklore.
“When you go to our folklore, you will see elements of science, technology, values and expectations of the society in you.”
The vice chancellor said that cultural innovations had always been there, adding that innovation was not anything new to Nigerian culture.
“Innovation should be inward. Think about what we need to advance within our cultural realities and bring out innovations that will suit our ways of life,” he reiterated.
He added that, novelists, singers and folklore should be able to represent what is happening in the society in their books and songs.
In his remarks, Dr Bukar Usman, President, Nigeria Folklore Society said there was a great relationship between literature and the environment.
According to him, this is because we invariably are a product of our environment.
Usman affirmed that a vivid and classic example of the relationship between literature and environment could be found in folktale narratives.
He said, these narratives invariably use animals or objects commonly found in our environment to depict and inculcate societal values in child upbringing.
“The issue of the relationship between literature and environment remains constant in the determinants of literature content and thrust.