Anambra State Library Hosts Asụsụ Igbo Gà-Adịgide 2021
By Izunna Okafor, Awka
The 2021 Asụsụ Igbo Gà-adịgide, an Igbo Language promotion event organized by Anambra State Library Board has come to a successful end in Awka, with call on Ndị Igbo to cherish, promote, and protect their language and culture from going extinct.
The annual event, which is an initiative of the Library Board attracted Igbo language and cultural enthusiasts, academics, Igbo stakeholders, as well as pupils and students from various primary and secondary schools in the state.
In her keynote lecture at the event Prof. Nkechinyere Nwokoye of Igbo Language Department, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, narrated her exploits and accomplishments so far as a professor of Igbo Language, and advised those who assume that Igbo Language has no value to desist from such assumption, as the language has innumerable advantages and accords a lot of benefits to those who study or know it.
While countering UNESCO's prediction that Igbo Language will go extinct in the nearest future, Prof. Nwokoye expressed optimism that the Language will never go extinct, but urged every Igbo person to play their own part to promote and sustain the language
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chairman of the Occasion and Vice President, Ohaneze Ndị Igbo Worldwide, Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene, who commended the organizers of the event, explained that the importance of such occasion can never be overemphasized, and urged Ndị Igbo to hold their culture to a great esteem. He also decried the rate of drug abuse in the society today, especially mkpụrụmmiri, and cautioned parents and teachers to always watch after their wards and and to start early to teach them Igbo Language and culture.
Contributing, the state's Commissioner for Information, Mr. C-Don Adinuba, represented by Mr. Tony Nwaeke enumerated some of the efforts so far made by the present administration in the state, to promote Igbo language and culture, including declaring every Wednesday an all-Igbo-speaking day and Igbo-attire day in the state, as well as mapping out special pay for Igbo Language teachers in the state, among other efforts. He however called on the concerned authorities to ensure that textbooks, teaching and research materials used in Igbo land are written in Igbo Language, as is obtainable in some countries like China, whose educational materials are written in Chinese language, rather than in foreign language. This, he noted, will a long way in promoting and sustaining Igbo Language.
Earlier speaking, the Father of the Day, Chief M.C. Ngene, Ezeike Nibo, called on the students, teachers and parents who attended the event to take home and put everything they learnt into practice, even as he condemned flogging or punishing of an Igbo child by teacher or parent because he/she speaks Igbo.
Contributing, an Igbo cultural activist, Rev. Fr. Dr. Fidelis Onwudufor highlighted some forms of communicatory expressions obtainable in Igbo cultural setting, and revealed that blending Igbo with another language is one of the major threats to the sustenance of Igbo language. While advising everyone to learn as many language as possible, he advised Ndị Igbo to prioritize Igbo Language as their number-one and most important language. He said, “every Igbo person should be able to speak Igbo well, understand Igbo, write Igbo, read Igbo and do Igbo.”
In their separate remarks, Mr. John Ifejika hailed the organizers of the event and advised that the participation be extended to more schools, parents, community leaders and stakeholders from different parts of the state next time; while the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Secondary Education, Dr. Paul Ifeanyi called for completion and equipping of the long-abandoned Ogbalu Centre, and drafting of communiqué at the end of the event each year and implementing it.
In an interview with newsmen, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Social Reorientation, Mrs. Mitchell Onugbulu appreciated the state government for her commitment towards resuscitating the ailing Igbo language and culture, and called on Ndị Anambra and Ndị Igbo to complement the government's efforts by queuing into the advocacy and living it out.
In a vote of thanks, the Director, Anambra State Library Board, Dr. Nkechi Udeze, who revealed that it is a role of the public library to promote and sustain Igbo language and culture, further explained that the event was primarily aimed at promoting the speaking, spelling, reading and writing of Igbo language, especially among the young ones. She appreciated everyone who participated in the event, and urged parents and teachers to help spread the gospel, while also urging the students and the participants to put all they learnt into practice.
The event featured lecture, cultural displays by the students, essay writing competition, and spelling bee competition among the participating schools, all done in Igbo language, and after which the winners went home with prizes.