AE-FUNAI SHOWCASE IGBO CULTURE, MARKS IGBO DAY IN GRAND STYLE
Staff and students of department of Languages/Linguistics/Literary Studies, Faculty of Humanities, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, (AE-FUNAI) and other members of the university community and their guests, recently celebrated Igbo day in grand style, where guest speakers and participants dressed in Igbo traditional attire and made presentations only in Igbo language. The occasion which took place at the Igbo village along Chief Martin N. Elechi’s road AE-FUNAI, attracted dignitaries including HRH Eze Erimogudu III of Amagu, Ikwo, Eze Domnic Alo, who joined AE-FUNAI community in celebrating Igbo people and promoting the culture.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba, who witnessed the ceremony called on many Nigerians especially the Igbo extraction to always express themselves in their mother-tongue and exhibit their traditional leanings in character and dressing, adding that Igbo dialects and culture should be respected and promoted always. His body language suggests deep reflection of the event as his regalia was practically native.
Prof. Romanus C. Ejiaga, Dean, Faculty of Humanities, in his welcome address, thanked the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba to making this event a remarkable one. He added that Igbo language and culture is highly promoted in AE-FUNAI as championed by the management and staff of the university.
Professor Ejiagha averred that Igbo language is under threat and that if we stand by and do nothing, we will lose the fight. He said that Igbo culture is not just about Igbo language but showcases the food we eat and what we wear. “Our children have deviated from that which we are known for by trying to be what they are not. Embrace our values and traditions and be proud of our language and culture”, he said. He encouraged parents abroad to imbibe in their children a home culture by bringing them regularly on holidays so as to acquaint them with Igbo traditional culture.
Dr. Queen E. Agwu, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Ebonyi state, and the chairperson of the occasion, maintained that the quality of our lives to a great extent depends on the ability to benefit from our culture and expressed her appreciation at the establishment of AE-FUNAI in Ebonyi state, adding that higher institutions bring development to the society and attracts government attention to infrastructural developments and rural expansion which in turn, promotes peoples culture. She lamented that parents have neglected their roles in imparting Igbo language as the first language a child should learn and appealed to parents, staff and students to always remember the Igbo culture even as they travel abroad for further education.
Dr.Ngozi Onuora, Coordinator, Igbo Centre pointed out that the theme for this year’s Igbo cultural Day focused on Igbo Language and protection of the Igbo People; Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. She maintained that it is only in Igbo land that parents beat their children simply because they speak Igbo language and that children of nowadays (Igbo children) no longer have respect for their elders at home and outside in the name of copying other peoples’ culture. Why have we neglected the culture which our forefathers left for us?, she rhetorically queried. Dr. Onuora urged parents and staff to wake up from slumber, join hands together to bring back our lost tradition by helping our children to learn and speak Igbo language.
Prof. Nkechinyere Nwokoye, a lecturer in the department of Linguistics/Igbo, opined that Igbos have a unique way of life, the way they greet, the way they dress and live like brothers and sisters with great love for each other makes them unique. She maintained that Igbo names are significant and indicates the background of a person, adding that attention has to be paid to the kind of names we give our children.
Highlight of the event were Chieftaincy awards to Mr.Eze Christopher as ‘Ozo Igbo Ndu-Nke-Mbu Na AE-FUNAI’, Mr.Ifeanyi N. Nwudele ‘Mmiri- Na-Ezoro-Ora-Nke-Mbu Na AE-FUNAI’ and Mr Chuwuebuka Ezennaka as ‘Ugochi Mere Eze-Gburugburu-Nke-Mbu Na AE-FUNAI’ .
Students Debate, Drama presentation and Dance competitions by various groups were not left out in the celebration package.