Eziomume Solomon, Nnewi
As the Igbo language, culture, tradition and ordinances have continued to dwindle, an Igbo socio-cultural group, Emume Owuwa Anyanwu Organisation, founded to promote the course of the Igbo, has officially been inaugurated in Anambra state, with the mandate to revive, revamp and promote such ideals that were almost forgotten.
The inauguration, held in Awka on Saturday, February 8, drew dignitaries from all walks of life, including members of the organisation from Imo, Abia, Enugu and Ebonyi States.
While inaugurating the officers at the headquarters of the organisation at the Ngozika Estate, Awka, promoter of the group, Chief Frankel Nwachinemelu Ogwujimba, tasked the officers to go into their wards, local government areas and zones to propagate the ideals for which the group was known.
“He said: “Emume Owuwa Anyanwu is formed to promote Igboness, propagate unity among Igbo people, promote speaking of the language, promote observance of Igbo culture, tradition and ordinances; as well as promote literature, folklore and patriotism among young Igbo folks.”
He also said the group would help in promoting tourism in the five south east states, in order to promote happiness and longevity, earn foreign exchange and promote the image of the Igbo nation to the wider world.
“Our aim is to bring out the genuine and original identity of the Igbo man. We want to reinvent the industrious Igbo man; the Igbo man that can reason independently and fend for himself.
“We want to bring out some of the forgotten ideals of the people, and also reintroduce some of the local games, traditions and cultures that were long forgotten and abandoned.”
He said the group would be apolitical, as it would not be engaging in any political activities.
Speaking after the inauguration, Anambra State coordinator of the group, Rev. Cannon Chris Orajekwu, commended the promoter for his noble initiative and promised that in the next few weeks, the group would be fully on ground in all nooks and crannies of the state with messages that would promote the ideals of Ndigbo.
He urged his officers at the zonal, local government and ward levels not to be found wanting in the discharge of their functions in their various areas of jurisdiction.
The event featured cultural dances, group photographs and other side attractions.
Culture enthusiasts have said that the Igbo were richly endowed culturally, and, if properly harnessed, could be a major foreign exchange earner for the South East region.
They listed the Mmanwu; New Yam and Ofala festivals as events that could be repackaged to huge tourism activities; etched in the calendar and attract international tourists.
So far, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo was already working with the traditional rulers’ council in the South East for a unified Iri Ji festival.
A culture/tourism promoter, Moses Idika described the emergence of Emume Owuwa Anyanwu Organisation as heart-warming particularly in the face of the recent prediction by the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) that “half of the 7,000 plus languages spoken today will disappear by the end of the century” including Igbo by 2050.
Since the prediction, various groups had been making concerted efforts to protect the language.
In fact, at the commemoration of the 2018 International Day for Mother Tongue, organised by an Abuja based non-governmental organisation, Centre for Igbo Arts and Culture (CIAC), the Eze Igbo of Abuja, Ibe Nwosu encouraged more sons and daughters of Igbo to take titles as a means of protecting Igbo language and culture.
“Our people must be encouraged to take titles. As a titled man; you will have more interest in the language and culture where you took title. So, by this, we will further preserve our language as an identity,” the traditionalist urged.