Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
Students of Community Secondary School, Awgbu, Orumba North Local government Area of Anambra State recently doused the fear of extinction of Igbo language, as they turned the school to centrepiece of Igbo culture. It was their cultural day and the children did not disappoint guests who were thrilled to the end with spectacular displays of various ways of life of the Igbo.
The United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO) had raised the alert that Igbo language would be no more by 2050.
Dressed in varied traditional Igbo attires, the little children had the Igwe and the Lolo who not only offered kolanuts to their guests but also took time to perform all the rituals associated with kolanut breaking in Igbo culture.
The selected girls among the school children performed the Ugomma dance dressed as young Igbo maidens with various customized uli facial and body marks.
There was the Itu ona where the performers displayed various agile actions spiced with words of exhortations and accolades for the gallantry of the Igbo.
The Mbem, a display of Igbo folklore presented in masquerade language, slangs and voice slant performed by another male student sent the entire audience standing in awe. The school children also acted the role of a native doctor who asked for answers from the divine through Igba Afa.
Still not exhausted with their displays, the audience were also held the audience spellbound with an Igbo dance known as Egwu Ebube Dike and Igba Mmanwu, local wrestling (Mgba). The presentations were capped with a news bulletin in Igbo known as Akuko Uwa as rendered by a duo of male and female students of the school.
In an address at the carnival, the school principal, Mrs Ogbuagu Gladys said the cultural event was put together by the school in its quest to continue practicing, improving and sustaining Igbo culture and towards showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Awgbu community and indigenes of Igbo land in general.
She noted that all the presentations were made possible because of the great pains the staff and students took to exercise their God-given talents and intelligence.
The principal also expressed immense gratitude to Governor Willie Obiano for boosting education in the state, as well as the Commissioner for Education, Prof Azuka Omenugha and the Chairman of Post Primary Schools Service Commission (PPSC), Lady Joy Ulasi for their periodic mentoring.
She also listed the various problems facing the school which included non-provision of conveniences for the staff and students, fencing of the school, renovation of the Corps members’ lodge, absence of security guards, electrification of the school, a strong power house, photocopying machine among others.
Noting that the school is going through a difficult time because of underfunding and insecurity, the principal called on parents and guardians including public spirited individuals to help sustain its growth and development.
While thanking the Chairman of the occasion, Prince Chinedu Akwuaka, Ochendo Dikeora Awgbu for accepting the responsibility and other assistance he has rendered to the school, she disclosed that students of the school have won different academic awards including scholarships from Orumba Forum, Catholic Women Organisation, and the Chijioke Nwankwo Scholarship Foundation, among others.
Chairman of PPSC, Lady Joy Ulasi who was represented at the occasion in her remarks noted that the Awgbu Community Secondary School has had its fair share of trials culminating in the posting of four principals to the school in four years but expressed hope that a new dawn has begun. She stated that it takes collective struggle to train children in school, noting that government has employed enough teachers to take care of the children’s training in school.
She called on parents to monitor their wards and children to prevent truancy and other anti-social behaviours.
Chairman of the occasion, Prince Chinedu Akwuaka in a remark, also thanked the principal and all who take part in moving the school forward. He lauded the hosting of the cultural carnival by the school noting that the rich cultural heritage of the Awgbu people and Igbo in general should be preserved, promoted and protected at all cost.
Akwuaka noted that such events promote the spirit of brotherhood and oneness while eschewing hatred, hostility and strife in the school and the community. He pledged his continued assistance to the school and called on all other illustrious sons of the community to answer the clarion call and support the school since government cannot solve all their problems.