…Holds Christmas Carol
By Uche Amunike
The President of Out Suwakwa Igbo, Prof Pita Ejiofor, has called on Ndigbo to take pride in their roots and value the importance of upholding the Igbo Language by refusing to allow it go extinct.
He made this known recently during his opening remarks at the end of year activities and Carol of Nine Lessons held by the group at St Patrick's Cathedral, Awka, last Tuesday, December 18.
Speaking during the event, he explained that the Igbo Language almost died in their time because when pupils spoke the language in school, they were punished. This, he said, resulted in most students sticking to speaking the English Language more than they did Igbo.
In his words, 'God created the Igbo Language and we should endeavour to speak it wherever we find ourselves.'
He reeled out some of the success stories of the Pressure group, top on the list being introducing the Igbo Language as a course in Higher Institutions of learning and getting the government to promote the Igbo culture on Wednesdays; something that has become an accepted norm in the state.
The traditional ruler of Abatete, His Majesty Obi Mbamalu Okeke, for his own part, thanked the group for reducing the responsibility of traditional rulers which included promoting the Igbo culture. He lauded the efforts by the Otu Suwakwa Igbo in being part custodians of the Igbo Language and culture, saying that it was a duty expected of them as traditional rulers.
According to him, the President, Prof Ejiofor, had encouraged traditional rulers to build a team that would train Igbos in various communities so they would learn how to conduct events in the Igbo Language. He made a promise to comply with that directive during his New Yam Festival which will take place by the end of the month.
As for the President General of Nawfia Town and the National President, ASATU, Anambra State, Sir Nonyelum Okoye, ASATU had been Igbo-Language speaking compliant. He said they spoke the Igbo Language during all their public functions and gave credit to the group, advising them to visit Governor Willie Obiano in order to come up with policies that would further promote the Igbo culture and the language itself. This was even as he urged them to research on names of things that were yet to have Igbo names.
The chairman, Post Primary Schools Commission, Lady Joy Ulasi, openly condemned the organ being played by the choir in an event that was meant to uphold the culture and tradition of Ndigbo. She advised that local musical instruments be used in future programmes in order to drive home the message being passed by the group. She assured that the education sector would continue to support and promote the promotion of the Igbo Language and culture in its policies.
The National PRO of the group, Rev Fr Richard Ndubuisi Ekegbo, expressed his joy at the progress of the group and condemned the idea of Igbo people not being at home with their own language.
He regretted the failure of the group to successfully champion its cause, blaming it on what he called bottle necks.
'We as a group have been managing to do all this on our own. The government has not come to help us. The Anglican and Catholic churches have helped provide us with places for holding our meetings and events and we are grateful to them. The only impact the government has made is the vehicle given to us by Former governor Peter Obi and some promises which are yet to be fulfilled
'The present governor gave us another bus. That's all. He made a promise that he will be sponsoring two people to the United States for Igbo Congress annually, but that promise has not been fulfilled too. These are some of the few handicaps we are still experiencing.
Highlights of the event included Christmas carols and other Igbo hymns sung by both the choir and the attendees.