By; Ifeanyi Okonkwo (Anambra),
Nnamdi Azikiwe University on Wednesday 11th of April 2018, commemorated the first festivity to preserve and foster "Igboness" (Ejirimara Igbo).
The celebration of “Ohazurume Igbo” by the University was also used to recognize heroes of the Igbo Nation.The festival is also aimed at reviving and revitalizing the Igbo language and culture, especially, among the younger generation.
In a welcome address by the Vice Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Professor Joseph Ahaneku. The professor, expressed his joy over the success of hosting the first edition in the University.
According to the Vice Chancellor (VC) the University decided to set up the Igbo Village and Center for African Civilization in order to revive and revitalize Igbo language and culture in the context of contemporary times and to promote and propagate the culture in tandem with African civilization.
Prof. Ahaneku also used the occasion to appeal to all Igbosons and daughter's at home and in Diaspora, as well as other well-meaning Nigerians to kindly donate generously to the noble cause.
Defining culture in his speech, Prof. Ahaneku said, “Culture has been variously defined, but put succinctly, it is the way of life of a people which includes their social organization, language, belief, tradition and dressing. In other words, it is the totality of the ways in which a people adopt to cope with the entire ramifications of their environment”.
President General of Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, Chief Barrister Nnia Nwodo in his speech at the occasion, praised the school’s administration led by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ahaneku, for the great initiative, stating that, the administration is all about making a mark and leaving legacies that will be remembered.
He went on to mention some of the characteristics of Ndi Igbo, which according to him are, “been clever, adventurous, up and doing, courageous, ability to persevere, versatility and many more.”
Chief Barr. Nwodo, challenged students of the institution to stand up and use their initiative as they move on in life. He advised them to emulate the legends of Igbo land, who have written their names in the sands of time as role models.
“These heroes who we celebrate today have immortalized their names through their good deeds are being remembered today because they were different from the crowd”, Chief Nwodo said.
His Royal Majesty (HRM) Obi Gibson Nwosu, EzeUzu 2 of Awka, who was the Chairman of the occasion, in his address hailed the institution for its achievements so far and also prayed for more wisdom and foresight upon the Vice Chancellor as he continues to pilot the affairs of the Institution.
Very Rev. Fr. Prof. Bonachristus Umeogu, Director Igbo Village and Center for African Civilization on his part said, “As a Priest, it is my calling to help our people know and understand their culture. If there are traditions that are mixed up, it is Paramount to separate good from evil. Authentic Christianity will be built because no one can escape from his environment. Faith and culture cannot be separated”.
“A new idea is always difficult from its foundation but with time this fruit will germinate. We must develop the future from the labour of our heroes past”. He concluded.
Some of the heroes, who were honoured at the occasion include, NnamdiAzikiwe, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Chief Dr Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, Rev. Fr. Iwene Tansi.
Others include, Chief Mike Okpala (Power Mike), Barrister Sam Mbakwe (PhD), Prof. Chike Obi, Dr. Michael Iheonukara Okpara, Prof Kenneth Dike and General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi.