With the growing fear that cultural practices of some ethnic groups in Nigeria, especially the Igbo, might go into extinction, a non-governmental organisation, Marcel Ofomata Foundation, has sealed a deal with the Anambra State government to promote and preserve the culture of the people.
The partnership, Daily Sun gathered, would also champion a course that would herald attitudinal reorientation of the people.
This came as Chief Charles Tabansi has rebuilt the dilapidated building housing the Odinani Museum in Nri Kingdom, in Anaocha Local Government Area of the state.
Permanent Secretary of Anambra State Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, Indigenous Artworks, Culture and Tourism, Tony Eze Nwaka, made the disclosure when he led government delegation on a courtesy visit to the founder of Marcel Ofomata Foundation, Dr. Amaechi Ofomata, at his Isuofia residence in Aguata Local Government Area.
He said that the ministry had gladly received donation of a “roped bronze” to the Igbo Ukwu Museum by the Foundation, noting that it was a signal to many partnership possibilities in the future.
He bemoaned the fact that museum had been without artefacts and other relevant items for sometimes and lauded Ofomata for standing in the gab as a cultural ambassador in the state.
Nwaka informed Ofomata that the ministry was created three years ago by Governor Willie Obiano, with a mandate to create synergy between the state and other relevant stakeholders, in advancing cultural and tourism drive in the state to boost economic investment.
He expressed appreciation to him for keying into the government’s tourism agenda, and pledged to involve the Foundation in the ministry’s upcoming cultural events in the state.
Ofomata thanked the state Government for the visit and stressed that he will continue to support any course that would promote the culture of the people.
He observed that the Igbo-Ukwu museum is home to one of the finest artefacts in Africa, which he takes pride in showcasing to foreign and local partners whenever they are in Nigeria for an excursion.
He, however, regretted the absence of “rope bronze” one the finest artefacts at the museum, during some of their visits which spurred him to begin research and enquiry on how a replica could be made for the museum.
Ofomata called on people of goodwill to get involved and support government in promoting and preserving cultural heritage.
Elsewhere, the Odinani, a privately owned museum, which was officially inaugurated on March 18, 1972 by the Sole Administrator of the defunct East Central state, Chief Ukpabi Asika, recently got a boost too.
Curator of the museum, Chief Tony Akunne, said the dilapidated 70-year-old edifice, received a facelift courtesy of an illustrious son of the community, Chief Tabansi.
He further said that the museum contained more than 10,000 artefacts that included 17th century wooden door, sacred python, pre-colonial legal tenders, a wooden gong called ‘Ekwe Ikolo’ which was used by Eze-Nri Enwenetem in 1616AD.
He commended Tabansi for bringing back the pride of the community as well as attracting professionals from National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), Enugu, to arrange the artefacts.
“The building started collapsing, the staffs were not being paid and even some of the artefacts moulded with red earth like ‘Egbo and Abadaba’ which are usually erected during new yam festivals got spoilt because of rain.
“Tabansi singlehandedly renovated it to an ultra-modern building at an estimated cost of N50 million.”
Also, Tabansi added: “I’m happy that the old glory is coming back. Those artefacts displayed in the museum have shown that Ndigbo can produce what they need despite its crude nature.
“Particularly, Nri people have been technologically informed right from the 13th century when we started creating instruments from iron.”