In the late nineties, right at the beginning of my emergence into societal consciousness as child, much of my socialization took the form of listening to immediate discussions of older family members and observing key elements featured within the walls of my environment. I vividly recall playing around the foot of the statue of the famous King Jaja in my hometown Opobo Town in Rivers State, asking nonchalantly about the significance of such monumental edifice, receiving little to no mentally satisfying response.I began to develop quite an urge to find answers to this and many other questions that burdened my curiosity from my early years. Very recently however, I have matured into the realization that some of these questions may never be entirely answered, given that many cultural narratives have little to no documentation of the account of actual events or preserved individual manuscripts description of one’s ethnographic background, against which any cultural narrative might be viewed. I am however indebted to the earlier works of number of scholars including my father, D.J Epelle who felt it necessary to give a rather detailed account of events from the past especially from the 19th century when cultural history embodied so much representation than it does today. Where these sources deemed inadequate, technological advancements showed up in time to provide a channel for accessing even more resource for learning original cultural history of Nigeria with published works of many African history professors from all over the globe in archived pages on the internet. Nigeria, before the emergence of Western colonialism, consisted of over 450 ethnic groups, independent of each other and having its own culture, religion, politics, mores and economic activities. The British colonialists then brought these disparate groups together under one political umbrella and called it “Nigeria”.
This effort was such that the colonial masters could to foster unity between these disparate groups to enable them exploit the natural resources of the territory unperturbed. The British further imposed on the people, their foreign culture, education, art, language and religious expressions, presenting Nigerian cultural and social values as archaic and anachronistic. This made the people abandon their culture replacing it with the foreign way of life.
Many years after colonization tampered with the narrative of the indigenous practice of Nigerian people, the arrival of the new media era brought in a wave of innovation and even more threat to complete extinction of indigenous Nigerian culture. Globalization as it is called is further alienating the people from their roots. The impact of information and communication technology driven by the fast pace of the internet easily makes many nations, including Nigeria, look the same, speak one language, profess one faith, listen to one type of music and eat the same type of food.
Technology has revolutionized all facets of human life making man subject to a certain degree of control by gadgets such that life without gadgets is drab and worthless. Cultural narration even in the traditional contexts of entertainment is facing threats to its sincere representation by technological sophistication which have obliterated traditional forms of entertainment to the extent that production performance in native depiction is completely eclipsed. Nigeria now tends towards enslavement of its human potential rather than utilization whereby human memory is replaced with computer memory, subjecting the human intellect to redundancy, indolence and decay.