NUCO Nursery and Primary School located along Udoette Street in Uyo, the capital city of Akwa Ibom State, on Friday, March 22, thrilled her pupils, parents, friends and the neighborhood to a funfair at her maiden cultural day celebration.
It is not a norm for private schools dogged and strict on the use of English language in knowledge impartation to go down on those principles, just to educate children on the existence of other cultures abounding in Nigeria.
So on this day, NUCO took on a different pattern in its impartation of knowledge to teach her pupils the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria, which included the Hausa/Fulani; Yoruba and Igbo ethnic groups.
The Efik/Ibibio was said to be fourth largest cultural group in Nigeria alongside the aforementioned three. The Efik are the people of Cross River State while the Ibibios; the largest ethnic group in Akwa Ibom State, migrated and got independent from Cross River State. Thus, these two share similarities in terms of language, food, dressing and others.
The Efik Ethnic Group
The event which was held at the school playground was competitive as the Pupils were made to appear in apparels representing each ethnic group and graded. In the end, the Efik cultural ethnic group emerged winners and were declared the overall winner of the competitions.
Of note was the confidence and organization of the Efik representatives in the contest. The leader, ‘Obong’ (King) was in company of his ‘Obonganwan’ (Queen); the “Ekombi” dance which was a joy to behold. The Efik Ebrutu also graciously showcased the rich cuisines of the Efik/Ibibio ethnic group like “Edikang Ikong” and others.
The Yoruba Ethnic Group
Similarly, the Igbos performed incredibly well as they showcased their native attires. The ‘Igwe’ (King) and his ‘Lolo’ (Queen) in their full swing, with their maids and dancers added flair to the event as they put up the rich cultural array of the South East amidst cheers from other pupils, parents and guests present.
The Yorubas wowed all with their dexterity and beautiful attires led by the ‘Oba’ (King) and his council of Chiefs, with dance, incantations, greetings and food. They showcased their peace-loving and caring nature with beautiful women who made sure the crowd noticed their ‘Asoebi’ (uniform), ‘Gele’ (headgear) with their men richly flaunting their ‘Agbada’ (overall).
The Igbo Ethnic Group
The Ibibios are known for their confidence and great sense of humor; tasty meals, stunning costume, decency, analytical thinkers and deeply rooted in their culture. These were all brought to bare by the cultural representatives of the Ibibio nation and others of the Annang, Oro, Obolo and Eket, who presented the much talked about “Afang soup”, “Editan Soup”, “Edita Iwa” and other delicacies alongside dance, stories and others.
Then came the Hausa/Fulani, the largest ethnic group in Nigeria, occupying the northern region of the country. They are born leaders with sheer grace of population numbering millions. They have a rich culture which is dear and sacred to the people. The Hausa language is often called “National language” in Nigeria.
The Hausa/Fulani Ethnic Group
The group is dominated by Muslims with little of Christians in the mix. Their major occupation is farming and raring of animals. Their culture is rich, having a spiritual leader in the Emir, who is respected as a god in the land. Hausa/Fulani people are spread across the country, immediately you spot a person from this tribe, you easily recognize them by their dressing, language, occupation, religion and maybe skin colour and body structure. They are proud people, investing heavily in ensuring their culture stands out as the best among others in Nigeria.
The Ibibio Cultural Group
The Proprietor of the school, Mr. Nduehe Ufe, while interacting with Platinum.ng, held that the event was to teach the pupils the way of life of the Nigerian people.
“This is the first cultural day of the school organized by NUCO Nursery and Primary School. It is all about showcasing the rich cultural heritage in Nigeria. Like we teach the pupils in classrooms; culture is the way of life of the people. We decided to display what you have seen today; telling the whole world that education does not end in the classroom.
Cultural Dance by different ethnic groups
“You can see the Hausa/Fulani; Yoruba; Igbo, Efik and Ibibio cultural groups. This is done to enlighten the pupils about the way of life of our people. For example, you have witnessed a man from Hausa/Fulani pushing a wheelbarrow, selling fruits; if a child sees them on the road, that child will easily recognize the ethnic group they are coming from. That is one of the essences of the event, to create this awareness in our pupils.”
Miss and Master NUCO
When asked why the school had not embark on the event in previous years, the Proprietor said. “I cannot speak for the previous administrations, I came in 2014 and also the cultural day celebrations in other schools that are trending, four to five years ago, it wasn’t trending, maybe that is the reason the previous administrators did not go into it.”
Mr. Ufe also explained how long it took the pupils to understand what is required in each of the ethnic groups considering how successful the event was.
Presentation of Awards/Certificates to winners
“Honestly, it was a tough job, being that the duration for the training of the pupils was within school hours. They are not matured enough for them to go back and come back for training and rehearsals. It took about three weeks to get the pupils prepared and ready for the event. These three weeks gave the parents the opportunity to prepare their wards with the attires and accessories you’ve seen on display today. We really appreciate our parents, without their support and encouragement; this event wouldn’t have been a success.”
The proprietor remarked that the pupils who represented the different ethnic groups were not from those tribes yet, they represented all tribes across the country.
“We have pupils from almost every tribe in Nigeria, but the groupings and representation were not done according to the ethnic group a child comes from.”
Teachers, Parents, Guests
Moving forward, Mr. Ufe thanked the pupils, parents and all that participated in the event for making the day colourful. He assured that the next cultural day will be better than the maiden edition, while urging parents and guardians to register their wards with NUCO schools to have a test of what other pupils are enjoying.