The Chairman and Managing Director of Ifotec Group of Companies and also publisher of an arts and culture magazine, Chief Francis Aghedo, tells EKENE OBIDIKE the need for youths to embrace the country’s arts and culture

As publisher of a magazine that specialises in Arts and Culture, how do you view the youths’ involvement in culture?
It is sad to note that our cultural heritage is almost non-existent. We are losing our culture to foreign ones we cannot sustain. Many people now prefer to divert to a culture that does not in any way suit our purposes. However, some youths have taken certain steps which I see as cultural reawakening. What they are doing will ensure that our culture does not totally disappear into the thin air.

What about cultural imperialism, like the youths bringing in the culture of the other nations that are even inferior to our culture?
Yes, I agree that to a large extent, the youths import the culture of other nations. Some actresses act almost nude, exposing the important parts of their body. But don’t forget, the same youths encourage tattoo which the white ‘stole’ from us, the blacks.

What roles do you think parents should play to revive our culture?
Parents contribute to the cultural decadence. Some women dress half naked and they not only fail to teach the younger ones when they dress half nude, they also need to be cautioned on how they mislead the younger ones. Also, schools should teach arts and culture. They should embark on campaign to help us go back to our arts and culture. Let women dress like women and men also dress like men. Religious institutions have a role to play. In some churches, women seduce pastors. The church should help in the area of proper dressing, while ladies should cover the vital areas of their bodies. We have a good culture, let us preserve it. The cultural groups that we used to have in schools need to be encouraged, while government should recognise the fact that culture made it easy to mould our children into good behaviour.

How did you venture into publishing?
I come from Benin City, Edo State and love arts and culture. Meanwhile, it is in Benin that you can find real culture in existence and anything that has to do with culture is my hobby. This encourages me to publish a magazine on arts and culture. I also see this as an opportunity to bring us back to our culture.

As a businessman, when and how did you start?
I started in the 1990s as a one-man business. But we have graduated into a limited liability company. For example, I started the transport section with two vehicles, today, we have many in our fleet. Later, we went into printing, warehousing, plastic waste recycling and capped it with publishing a magazine on arts and culture.

What are the problems facing business enterprise in the country and your suggestions?
The major problem is lack of electricity or power supply. Owing to lack of power supply, many companies have relocated to Ghana where power is stable. Most companies run their businesses using diesel and this makes goods and services to be expensive. For example, bank charges are too high because they power their computers with diesel for lack of electricity. Another major problem is insecurity and bad governance. If the government can train our police very well and provide them with modern and sophisticated equipment, they will perform better and be in good position to protect lives and properties. Because of insecurity in the land, many Nigerians in diaspora who want to come home to invest cannot return for fear for their dear lives.