These days apart from fiery speeches at UNESCO fora,or other International Assemblies,custodians of culture are hardly able to hide their ignorance or their superficial knowledge of the ancestral heritage.

For this reason,succeeding leaders and top functionaries of public offices in the country are even more ignorant of their real culture than their predecessors were.

Moreover the endemic corruption prevalent in the society helps to destroy the stronghold of some conservatory measures taken by legislative edicts promulgated to protect the threatened heritage.

Against this background,our Oyo/Ogbomoso Correspondent,examines the problem to decipher the basic reasons for defaults in protecting cultural heritage in the country.

These days,decision-makers are called "Managers"or less fortunately "intellectuals".They are graduates of Universities whose upright minds have been taken over by corruption as well as lacking in sense of history.

Despite reforms experienced since independence by the quasi-totality system of formal education inherited from the colonial masters,Nigeria is still far from harmonious integration of her cultural heritage in the frame work,methods and official pro grammes.

Successful Government transformation pro grammes after independence brought a number of political and economic successes which were at the detriment of the preservation of the country's cultural property.

Intensive agriculture began in Nigeria with little regard for protection of prospective archaeological sites,shrines,and sacred places.

Forests were cut down,ploughed,some communities were displaced,shrines and cultural site affected,potential archaeological sites were distorted by indiscriminate cultivation of land.

No cultural institutions or Universities were incorporated into the pro gramme to take care of sites that would have been located before ploughing.

Investigation shows that there was no archaeologist or museum specialist employed in the process of development,to monitor the cultivated sites for traces of buried cultures.

By this time,a lot of possible archaeological sites and surface finds had been lost.

Road Construction firms across Nigeria linked and has still linking towns and villages thereby spearheading encroachments on and destruction of potential sites and monuments.

No archaeologist or museum specialist,it was discovered,was employed by any of the firms,not even the Ministry of Works employed archaeologists to oversee,or monitor any possible rescue work.

How many accidental finds have been reported since the oil boom period of development in the country?.

Conservation and development of cultural resources does not end with systematic excavation or ethnographic collections,just as it was gathered that alot of the archaeological excavation that made the 2000 Years Ancient Art of Nigeria,started with accidental finds.

Surprisingly,the NATION discovered no State or Local Government in the Country can boast of having residents archaeologists,as they do with other professions.

The recent development in cultural policy,though made provisions for the preservation,promotion and presentation culture and the establishment of administrative structure,but unfortunately not for its production,coupled with starvation of funds.

What is more,some of the present generation of Nigerian cultural experts do not allow enough curiosity to know more about cultural materials from ethnic groups other than their own.

Nigeria is particularly rich in prehistoric sites and historic monuments.

Speaking at one of his numerous public presentations,the world renowned scholar in culture and tradition,Professor Wande Abimbola,said apart from cultural sites and reserves which serve as potential tourist attractions,Nigeria has abundant cultural festivals"that are rich in mythology and diversity,which can also be harnessed to generate revenue, as well as serve as means of creating some feelings of shared love and brotherhood among the various ethnic groups in the country".

Prof.Abimbola noted that in spite of the fact that these festivals attract many tourists from different parts of the world,the basic question is "do these towns have both appropriate and enough facilities like good roads,potable water supply,electricity supply,rest houses,hotels,festival holiday camps to accommodate tourists?".

While lamenting that dearth of conservation in this part of the world has brought numerous problems in the scientific study of our heritage,the expert submitted that lack of funds is a major problems which has brought hardship to cultural experts who were once equipped to meet with rescue and emergency cases in archaeology and ethnography.

"Construction firms engaged in roads,mining,and building construction should be mandated by Government to employ archaeologists to monitor,excavate,rescue finds,report on exposed or discovered sites,and at the very least provide the requisite funds to Universities or the museum,to carry out such works.This is how several sites were founds in the course of the conduct of the archaeology of London".

Besides,Prof.Abimbola stated that disaster planning and conservation of all monuments and sites must be considered along with their development,not until there is earthquake or as the aftermath of fire disaster.

According to him,"more conservation legislations are needed to correct or fit in with urban planning and thus check the uncompromising attitudes of leaders who want to neglect or destroy old things for new ones.The absence of a cultivated and appreciative interests by many Nigerians,particularly those in authority has adversely affected the conservation of our cultural heritage,as deconsecration of monuments and sites through theft,religious fanaticism,politics and sentiments have thwarted efforts in conservation and development".

Prof.Abimbola,however called for proper enlightenment of traditional rulers, Chairmen,Councilors,and leaders of Local Government areas,on the need to preserve historical materials and keep watchful eyes on historical materials in their areas of juridiction.

They,according to the cultural Scholar,in turn will take up the responsibilities of educating their subjects,and preventing theft and destruction.

Prof.Abimbola therefore warned that"the history of this country will be distorted if these leaders are allowed to replace place names,street names and converting cemeteries into playgrounds in the name of modernization.

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