Esther Akpan and Kosiso Anokwuru, Abakaliki
Recently, the premises of the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, (AE-FUNAI) wore a carnival-like air, as the management, students and other members of the university community celebrated its 2019 Igbo Cultural Day.
The occasion, which took place at the Igbo Village along Chief Martin N. Elechi Road AE-FUNAI, was characterised by colour, glamour and enthusiasm.
In attendance were thousands of students, staff, parents and dignitaries. Eze Erimogudu III of Amagu, Ikwo, Eze Domnic Alo, joined the AE-FUNAI community in celebrating the rich cultural heritage and promoting the culture of the Igbo.
Declaring the ceremony open, Prof. Romanus C. Ejiaga, Dean, Faculty of Humanities, thanked the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba for making the event a remarkable one. He noted that the essence of the programme was to showcase that Igbo language and culture was being highly promoted in AE-FUNAI as championed by the management and staff of the university.
Professor Ejiagha emphasised that Igbo language was under threat, adding that if members of Igbo race could not collectively join hands and do the needful, the language might become extinct.
He noted: “Igbo culture is not just about Igbo language. It is also about the food we eat and what we wear. Parents in the Diaspora should imbue in their children a home culture by bringing them to their ancestral homes regularly on holidays so as to acquaint them with the Igbo traditional culture.
“Our children have deviated from that which we are known for by trying to be what they are not. We should make them embrace our values and traditions and be proud of our language and culture.”
Prof. Nwajiuba, who sported a native attire, expressed profound satisfaction about the theme of the event – “Igbo Language and protection of the Igbo People; Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.”
According to him, many Nigerians, especially the Igbo, have 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.
Dr. Queen E. Agwu, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Ebonyi State, was chairperson of the occasion. She noted that the quality of human lives was dependent, to a great extent, on the ability to benefit from culture. She expressed appreciation at the establishment of AE-FUNAI in Ebonyi State.
She regretted that some Igbo parents have neglected their roles in ensuring that the Igbo language should be the first language a child should learn. She consequently charged parents, staff and students to always remember the Igbo culture even when they travel to foreign countries in search of greener pastures.
At the event, some of the students were honoured with traditional titles. Among them were Mr. Eze Christopher, (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, (Ugochi Mere Eze-Gburugburu-Nke-Mbu Na AE-FUNAI).
The event also featured students’ debate, drama presentation and dance competitions by various groups.