IGBO in Nigeria and in diaspora have been urged to value, cherish and promote the Igbo language, to save it from going extinct in nearest future, as predicted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
The founder of Otu Sụwakwa Igbo Prof. Pita Ejiofor made the call while speaking at a one-day event organised by Anambra State Library Board, for promotion and sustenance of the Igbo language and culture.
Narrating his experience and how he embarked on the Igbo language promotion across the various dioceses in the State in 2012; Prof. Ejiofor, who is also a former Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, decried the rate at which Igbo people ignore their language these days and delight in speaking English and other people’s languages.
He opined that it is such things that account for greater reasons for the rueful downfall of the Igbo language. He further noted that promotion of Igbo language should be a duty for all and sundry, even as he appreciated the State Library for organising such laudable event. He equally pledged that he and his brainchild, ‘Otu Sụwakwa Igbo’ will never relent in contributing their best in the promotion of Igbo language and culture.
In her opening remarks, the Director, Anambra State Library Board, Dr. Nkechi Udeze said they initiated the event to contribute their own quota, as a public library, in the promotion of the dwindling Igbo language, further noting that they will henceforth mark the event annually.
She condemned the lachrymose acts of some teachers, schools and Igbo parents who do not speak or allow their wards to speak Igbo language in their schools and families.
Dr. Udeze who highlighted the importance of knowing and mastering one’s own language, also called on the relevant authorities in the State to start monitoring the implementation of the State Government’s directive of wearing Igbo attire and speaking Igbo language every Wednesday in all public schools and offices in the state.
On his own part, the Traditional Ruler of Nibo, Igwe Michael Chukwuemeka Ngene (Ezeike the IV) urged every Igbo person in position of authority anywhere in Igbo land and beyond to always speak Igbo language to Igbo people under them, and regularly use the language, so as to preserve and sustain it.
Contributing, the Chairman of Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, Anambra State Chapter, Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene decried the rate at which Igbo language and certain Igbo cultural heritages that are going extinct, due to negligence and unsupposed imitation of the foreigners by the Ndi Igbo, both in Nigeria and in diaspora.