A socio- cultural Igbo group under the auspices of “Nzuko Ozo Ndi Igbo”, recently celebrated Igbo New Year with a call on ndi Igbo to promote and preserve their cultural heritage.
The event was marked with a Lecture entitled,” Iguaro Ndi Igbo ” with the theme “Iguaro Ndi Igbo and its relevance in Cultural and Socio-Political life of Ndigbo in Nigeria and the World”.
Declaring the event open, Chairman of the occasion, Pat Ezeagwu, said the programme was aimed at reviving Igbo culture and creating awareness to youths on the need to embrace their culture.
He explained that the way the white people had Georgian Calendar that contained months and seven days in a week was the way Igbo people had four days known as ‘Izu’ comprising Eke, Orie, Afo and Nkwo.
“As people, rest on Sunday is the way people rest on Eke day in Igboland. If you are a good farmer, you do not joke with Eke day”, Ezeagwu said.
The chairman added that Igbo calendar had 28 days and there was nothing in Georgian calendar that was not in Igbo calender, stressing that “the white only cheated us by creating their own culture in us”.
Speaking, the National President of Nzuko Ozo Ndi Igbo in Nigeria, Prof. Ike Oluka, described the group as non-political, non-profit and apex socio cultural organisation of Ozo title holders in Nigeria.
According to him, Ozo is the highest Igbo traditional title outside the traditional ruler- Igwe or Eze, which served as means of social and economic qualification of who is who.
“They ensure peace, see that taboo and abomination -“Nsoala” was not committed by standing on the part of truth all the time,” he said.
Oluka explained that Igbo tradition had traditional calendar unlike Georgian Calendar that had an unequal based months.
“Some have 28, 29, 30 and 31 days in a month and 365, 366 in a year but Igbo lunar calendar has four days of native week, seven weeks of 28 days that make a month and 13 months of equal number that make a year of 364 days.
“Our calendar shares resemblance with Chinese and Jewish calendars and our ancestors led by Nri was able to calibrate on the movement of stars for their daily, weekly and yearly activities without mistake,” he said.
The Vice -Chancellor, Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, Monsignor Prof. Christian Anieke while speaking, noted that no humanbeing existed without culture or identity. He said culture shaped and directed people.
Anieke pointed out that culture was as important as one’s life, adding that there was need for Igbos to go back and retrace their roots.
“They should go back to those Igbo stories of Mbe- tortoise and his wisdom, the same ideology, that makes Igbo people unique and wise,” he said.
Anieke lauded the Labour Party Presidential candidate, Peter Obi, saying that Obi symbolized the Igbo wisdom in Mbe story given the manner he responded to issues.
He observed that even when insulted and cajoled, Obi would still give a positive response, saying, “this is what I want all Igbo people to learn, an ability to do things with wisdom”.
The keynote speaker, Prince Chukwuemeka Onyesoh from Nri in Anambra, noted that it was absolutely wrong to say that Igbos had no cultural history and were not civilized before the coming of the whitemen.
He said the problem were created partly by the colonial masters, missionaries and substantially by the politicians.
“The apparent misrepresentation of Igbo culture by Nigerian scholars has been a major concern to me over the years,” Onyesoh said.
He added that Igbos had organised kingdom, culture and kingship before colonisation and before many kingdoms in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Chairman, Planning Committee of 2023 Iguaro Ndi Igbo, Dr Alex Ogbonnia emphasized the need for all Igbos to join hand to take their culture to the highest height.
He said that the idea of the group was to teach the younger generation the need to uphold and promote their culture.
Ogbonnia advised that Ndigbo must identify with their roots and uphold those cultural values they were known for and ensure they do not go into extinction.
He commended the participants for finding time to attend the programme, stressing that the group would continue to organise such event that sustain and promote Igbo culture.