Today more than ever before, discussions on Igbo tradition and culture have become more obvious particularly since a couple of years ago, when it was speculated that the Igbo language will disappear (go into extinction). Since then, many scholars, students, teachers and believers in traditional issues concerning Igbo have woken up and taken the issue very seriously.
In towns and villages particularly at the lowest level of Igbo gathering( family, kindred, amala, aladimma )or any other gathering of Igbo persons, The issue of Igbo language extinction have become a matter of intensive discussion.
Therefore, as an Igbo person (scholar) with undiluted interest in Igbo language and culture beginning with this edition, I would be concentrating on discussing series of Igbo culture and tradition in this weekly column taking one aspect of Igbo life for exhaustive discussion every week.
Although I have written two books in Igbo language that are in vast and wide circulations (at home and overseas)-the foundation of Igbo tradition and culture being the latest. I don’t think that it is making the desired impact as wide as possible as it was intended. In this column, on weekly basis, I’ll take one aspect of the Igbo life for exhaustive discussion such as: Igbo life, family, marriage/traditional marriage (their variation and varieties) names and their anthological meanings, child bearing, festivals, Igbo folklore, series of ceremonies, the myth behind kola nuts, different explanations of different lobes of kola nuts when broken, celebrations such as the new year festival, conferment of chieftain titles and their significant, etc.
By embarking on series of explanations and interpretations of different Igbo ways of life, students particularly those who are studying Igbo language and culture including traditional governments would be able to see that to study Igbo language and Igbo culture which are beautiful things. It is interesting, revealing and entertaining particularly the aspect of Igbo proverbs, idioms and adages.
In addition, I take it on myself through this medium to invite those sons and daughters of ours who have genuine interest to study Igbo language and culture to join in the discourse. Those who have the burning desire to learn more about Igbo language and culture should feel free to get in touch with me in case of any question and clarification without any consideration.
It is my intellectual opinion that according to public relations ethos, “if you can do something without talking about it, it will die in you.” Because part of public relations profession is doing something and talking about it.
Unfortunately more often than not, we Igbo scholars, teachers and students quarrel over the reason why it is that no two Igbo persons can indulge in a conversation for a short period without injecting an English word. We also quarrel over why most of our people particularly the elites would prefer their children speaking English to Igbo language. Our housewives, especially those of the elites take it upon themselves to see that their children converse in English than the Igbo language. It is painful and indeed disgusting.
Let me drop this here. A couple of years ago at a church thanksgiving service which I organized to celebrate my 81st birthday, I made it a point of duty that the church service should be conducted in Igbo language with the permission of my diocesan bishop. My second daughter who lives and resides in America was selected to read the gospel/lesson in Igbo language.
She stunned the congregation when she read with speed and fluency to the astonishment of members of the congregation including the clergy men. My bishop Rt. Rev. Chamberlin Ogunedo, the Anglican Bishop of Mbaise diocese could not hide his excitement when he took few minutes to assail on my daughter (Onyechere) with praises.
The origin of this was that since I was born, I have always taken interest in Igbo affairs. And while we were living in the US, I was buying my children book on Igbo so that they will pick interest. In addition, while we were still in the US, I was delighted in teaching them everything about Igbo tradition and culture to the effect that now that they have grown, they still speak Igbo language fluently of which I am proud of and of which others may be jealous of. This has not deprived them of speaking either good English or American jargon.
I am not telling this story for self aggrandizement rather to drive the point home that if you sow a corn it will produce corn and not pear. “I hope this is very instructive. Therefore this is an open invitation to my country men and women of Igbo extraction to begin now if they haven’t began to read Igbo books and also to imbibe in their children the act of speaking Igbo language and it will not stop them from speaking English language or becoming whatever they want to become in life in the future and to stop speaking “mixkogbuo and “ stopukwa ya.”