Evolving national cultural policies for modern African states: Nigeria’s experience and the implementation of its cultural policy at the grassroots
Any Africanist researcher who is familiar with the manner in which some Western historians, social anthropologists and other scholars have espoused and propagated certain ‘racist theories' that relegate or deny the facts of the phenomenal achievements which pre-colonial African societies made in the areas of civilised historical and cultural evolutions, growth, transformations and development before 1800, would appreciate the urgent need for modern African Nation-States to formulate and adopt for implementation, ‘pro active’ national cultural policies. These policies are to aim not only at reviving, preserving, promoting and properly presenting the positive elements in African indigenous arts and cultures, but also at facilitating an enhanced understanding and appreciation of these vital aspects of the African heritage and development. Indeed, the purpose of this study is threefold. First is to call attention to, or stress, the need for all modem African countries to evolve national cultural policies for use in re-engineering and reinforcing the general processes of growth and development in these countries. Second, is to show that such policies serve as veritable intellectual sources for generation, documentation and dissemination of new ideas, concepts and models needed to enrich our general knowledge about our arts and cultures. Third, is to show the nature, structure, value and significance of the Nigerian model of the sorts of ‘Afro- centric' cultural policies to which reference is being made in this study, especially the manner in which this Nigerian model of the policies is being implemented at the grassroots for national development. Emphasis will be on the role which the parastatals under Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism have been playing in the implementation of the nation’s cultural policy at the grassroots. This emphasis on the role of these parastatals stems from the fact that they are the main organs of the Federal Government of Nigeria which have the mandate and the primary responsibility for implementing the cultural policy at the grassroots.