George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
Imo State governor, Emeka Ihedioha has said that the immediate past governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha discontinued the Ahiajuoku Festival and Lecture series because he never valued the culture of Ndigbo.
Ihedioha who stated this during the 40th anniversary of the Ahiajuoku Lecture held yesterday at the Ahiajuoku Convention Centre, Owerri, also lamented that he inherited from Okorocha a state that is in ruins and one that has suffered monumental neglect in the last eight years.
But he said: “Today, Imo State is on the march again” as he declared that work is ongoing in 25 critical roads across the state capital just as they have awarded contracts for rehabilitation and reconstruction of parts of five major federal roads in the state.
Angry over the deplorable condition of the state he inherited from Okorocha, he vowed that “never again a man without character will rule Imo State.”
Governor Ihedioha noted that ever since the institution of the Ahiajoku lecture series by the late first civilian governor of old Imo State, Chief Sam Onunaka Mbakwe, the lecture series has remained an intellectual and cultural harvest of Igbo people where they gathered to examine the situations of Ndigbo.
He said: “It is important in this short narrative to note that during what is clearly now properly categorized as the locust years (2011 – 2018) when a man who rode on the popularity of an essentially Igbo party to beguile Imo people, but who turned out to despise everything the Igbo hold dear, a man who limped into Douglas House Owerri on a lie of the garb, never held the lecture; instead, the name of Ahiajoku Centre was changed to Imo State Investment Centre and anything that could amount to an intellectual journey of discovery for the Igbo was shunned by this man for eight years. Even all the cultural artifacts at the Mbari centre were equally destroyed and termed as idols.”
He noted that the Ahiajuoku Lecture has metamorphosed into a pan-Igbo intellectual harvest of sorts that seeks to spotlight the contributions that the Igbo have made and are still making to culture, civilization and humanity.