The reawakening of Ndigbo cultural consciousness received a boost recently with the grand celebration of New Yam Festival popularly known as Iri ji Ndigbo in
Besides, the fate of Ndigbo in contemporary
At the venue of the New Yam Festival, the
PRESIDENTIAL GOODWILL MESSAGE
As excitement rent the air,
The diplomat urged Ndigbo to participate actively in the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation assuring that the president is committed to the cause of the group.
Nwanna said his doors were open to assist Nigerians in
The diplomat, who assumed office barely four months ago, urged Nigerians in
CHALLENGES FACING NDIGBO
Earlier, CIC leader and chief host of the festival, Chief Udechukwu Onuorah in a welcome address said, the maiden Iriji festival of his association in
“Iri ji” was chosen this year because of its uniqueness in Igbo culture and tradition. So unique that we need to proudly showcase this great and powerful heritage to the whole world and especially our non-Igbo brothers, sisters and friends – young and old,” he stressed
Underscoring the essence of Iri ji, Onuorah said the festival demonstrated the generosity and selflessness of Ndigbo. But he was quick to point out that these attributes of Ndigbo have been eroded greatly to the extent that the ethnic nationality has become “
Onuorah, however, said casting blames on the decay in Ala-Igbo (
“It’s high time we retraced our steps with a view to reversing the trend. And, we must do it now for the sake of our children” he said. The challenges facing Ndigbo, Onuorah said are the disappearance of Igbo language and cultural heritage, Igbo unity, identity, networking and empowerment.
“The Igbo Language, culture and tradition are disappearing at an alarming speed. Ndigbo have been moved downward to the fifth or sixth tribe in
The CIC leader also threw another challenge to his kinsmen, “some of us are now asking the inevitable question, what the fate of Ndigbo existence is in the near future at this rate of depletion. One would have thought that in the face of the growing global ethnic identity drive, Ndigbo would need to look to our strengths which increasingly will lie in the talent and diligence of our people: our capacity and ability to refocus and re-educate ourselves and bounce back,” Onuorah noted.
On the challenges facing CIC
“The wholesome use of Igbo Language to express, explain and interpret Igbo thought is very much neglected among Igbo people, if not shunned. It is for this reason and many others failing values that the leader of the Council in the UK, Chief Udechukwu Onuorah and his members came together to organise this unique event” he noted
He later performed the cutting of the New Yam with other eminent Igbo chiefs.
AGWU’S COMEDY AND DANCE
The New Yam festival was spiced by hilarious performance by stand up comedian, Julius Agwu. At every point, the audience would not help but laugh as Agwu dished out rib cracking Jokes. He equally deployed his creative mind in raising some funds for CNC, but not much was achieved as “Londoners” are typical “Aka Gum” (tight fisted) way of life remained intact. In his act, Agwu danced away with the charming laughter of Nze Odu-Obi, but he met a stonewall, when a young man refused to allow his “oyibo” girl friend to hit the dance floor with the big time comedian. Incidentally, the “oyibo” girl’s skimpy wear raised eyebrow in the hall, just as some whispered why the lover boy was protesting Agwu’s open invitation for a dance. Apart from Agwu’s bag of humour performance, the traditional Abiriba war dancers, igba akwune echenyi and ikporikpo ogu dancers thrilled the audience with their scintillating songs. For young Nigerian Brits, Ndigbo culture was on parade without the luxury of travelling home to see it.
Preceding the festival was a conference with the theme “Igbo Unity and the Integration of Ndigbo into the
Hope that Igbo language can be salvaged was ignited when every speaker delivered his lecture in the native language. A senior lecturer at
On kola nut, he stressed that it as a spiritual significance and not a mere item for consumption. Nworah, who is a controversial Nigerian internet columnist, noted that Kola nut is not only used to welcome visitors but a ritual item.
He expressed dismay that most Ndigbo abroad have relegated their native language to the background so much that their children hardly speak Igbo Language.” To reverse the ugly trend the prolific writer called on Ndigbo to freely teach their children Igbo Language irrespective of where they reside abroad. On titles, Nworah lamented the abuse of traditional title taking in Igbo land especially with people of questionable characters buying up honours with a fee. Such abuse of title amongst Ndigbo, Nworah contended should be checked before the Igbo culture is further eroded by charlatans.
Another speaker, Enyinna Amadikwa used the platform to push an ideological agenda, claiming that Ndigbo’s salvation lies in restoration of the
He said his
“We are not Nigerians, we are Biafrans, we want our country back” is the catch phrase for Amadikwa’s group. The GSM leader contended that Ndigbo would be restored to pre-eminence through the return of Biafra, adding that
Amadikwa, who said his grand father was among the fearless Ndigbo men who challenged colonial rule in Owerri, said his group has been putting structures in place to boost Igbo Language. You may not agree with Amadikwa’s group ideological learning but the native wear (Isi-Agu) and caps its members wore celebrated quintessential Igbo culture.
On his part, Chief Kene Mkparu admitted that his peer group has been held captive by not teaching their children Igbo language based on reality abroad.
He however called for understanding of their plight. Mkparu said while efforts should be made to reverse the dwindling fortune of Igbo language that is his peer group is taking Ndigbo culture to a higher pedestal through exporting Nollywood to
While the young speakers pointed the way forward for Ndigbo, Chief Vincent Umenyiora stressed the imperativeness of unity and stability in
Reviewing the New Yam Festival, a former intern with Daily Champion and a postgraduate student in
Until the next edition, the just concluded maiden Iriji festival in