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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Igbo language to die by 2025!

How imminent extinction is making its owners return to the drawing board

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A concerned diviner, who was said to be troubled about the he-goat's diminutive height in the comity of goats, was said to have asked him to come for divination for a height-gain, but he responded that he would rather go for a divination for long life because he who is alive will one day gain the height. So goes an Igbo adage.
In the days of F.C. Ogbalu, Founder of the Society for Promotion of Igbo Language and Culture (SPILC), the Igbo used to go for divination on height gain and at the end of the day, their language was able to gain some lexical height with the introduction of some new Igbo vocabularies like Mahadum (university), Okammuta (Professor), Tekinuzu (Technology), ekwenti (phone/mobile phone), nari (hundred), puku (thousand), nde (million) and ijeri (billion).
But following the prediction by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Advisory Committee on Language Pluralism and Multi-language Education that Igbo language, and by implication, culture, may be headed for extinction, "subsumed by other stronger Nigerian languages," by 2025 if nothing is done by its speakers to ensure that it is not only taught in schools, colleges and universities, but also used as language of official communications within government and business circles in the five Igbo-speaking states - Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo - the prayers, this time around, seemed to have changed from that of height gain to long life. Prof. Innocent Eleazu, a United States-based economist and a native of Obibiezena in Owerri North Local Government Area, Imo State, told Education Review that he was troubled not only by the UNESCO report but by also findings by other world-eminent scholars which seem to confirm UNESCO's.

To that end, he founded Asusuigbo Teta (Wake Up Igbo Language) Association International "for preservation of Igbo Language and Culture," a body based in Massachusetts, United States but with its Nigerian office at 14/16 Mere Street, Owerri and having Chief B.C. Ihedinma as its Secretary. Founded in 2009, it held its first annual conference in July, 2009, at Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education (AIFCE), Owerri and again in 2010 after which it decided to rotate it among the five Igbo-speaking states that make up the South-East zone. It would have been the turn of Abia in 2011, but the conference was shelved, Eleazu said, because of "security concerns." But between July 18 and July 20 this year, the rescheduled conference eventually held in Umuahia, the capital of Abia State. However, it was a disaster, an anticlimax as many prominent Igbo sons and daughters, government officials and traditional rulers who, ordinarily, ought to have graced the occasion were nowhere to be found.
That prompted Education Review to start asking some questions. Mrs. Charity Ihekire, who represented and presented a paper on the occasion, on behalf of Dr. (Mrs.) Monica Philips, the Commissioner for Education, Abia State, attributes the non-attendance of the conference by prominent Igbo sons and daughters to poor planning and publicity. "You know when a man based in United States is coming down to Nigeria to organize a conference of this nature, it will not get to the grassroots," she said. Prof. Eleazu disagreed when he told Education Review that he tried to reach out to everybody that mattered in Igboland and Abia State, including Governor, Theodore Orji and members of his State Executive Council, but cannot tell why they failed to turn up. "I wrote letters to them; I still have my copies with me," he insisted.

But according to Mrs. Ihekire, the government tried its best. "It was through the government that the organisers were able to reach the teachers that attended this programme," she noted. All the same, "the best" was not good enough as there were no arrangements made to provide refreshments, not even the common cellophane-packaged water, for the participants who were drawn mainly from schools and ministries within the state capital.
The result was that many of them were forced to endure hunger in a programme that started in the morning each day and lasted till the better part of the evening. Many left in anger. Worse still, the conference took place without the public address system, forcing the participants to strain their ears to hear what was being said and others to complain seriously of "not hearing anything at all." The organizers, it turned out, were not financially buoyant enough to provide a public address system.
Even the venue of the conference, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Nnamdi Azikiwe Secretariat Complex, Umuahia, later became a subject of contention on the second day as participants were locked out for about two hours for "non-regularization of necessary papers of permission" by the organizers. They were later allowed in, after issues had been sorted out by Prof. Eleazu and his team. But even with that, matters were hardly led to rest as unfounded rumour began to make the rounds about Prof. Eleazu collecting huge sums of money running into millions for the conference, from the five Igbo state governors, namely Theodore Orji (Abia), Peter Obi (Anambra), Martins Elechi (Ebonyi), Sullivan Chime (Enugu) and Rochas Okorocha (Imo) and pocketing everything and refusing to share it with others or putting it to the use it was meant for - namely getting a befitting venue and providing refreshments for the conference participants Initially, Eleazu did not get to hear about the rumour until this reporter brought it to his attention during an interview session in which he wanted to know the truth. Eleazu's eyes almost fell out of their sockets, from shock. "This is shocking," he said. "Now, I want to say this categorically that since I started championing this cause, no government, state or federal, has given me or my organisation a dime

I met with the Chief of Staff to the President, officially, last year, a very good man, very concerned about the Igbo language. He wanted to get the five governors to back me up, but for some reasons I wouldn't know they have not done so. Maybe they will still do so, but as at the moment, I am funding this project with my personal money and with the money given to me by friends like the Eze of Igboukwu. He had been very supportive." Asked whether he has met the governors one-on-one, apart from somebody speaking or appealing to them on his behalf, he said: "I have written a letter several times to all of them, but so far, there had been no response. I am saying this realizing the fact that I am on tape.
There is nothing you can do without money. We have to have a secretariat from where we can reach people. We don't have a befitting secretariat yet. In fact, our plan is to have offices in all the five Igbo-speaking states but we don't have for now because of lack of funds." Paucity of fund did not, however, stop speakers at the conference from speaking their minds. "The UNESCO formular places the responsibility of protecting endangered language in the hands of native speakers", Prof. Eleazu noted in his welcome address.
"Therefore, ATAI Third Annual Conference will not take the conventional format of paper presentation. It will be a brainstorm of native speakers of Igbo language." Indeed, it was a time of brainstorming as speaker after speaker, speaking in Igbo language tried to paint a picture of where the rain started beating the Igbos and how they can save themselves from its continuous pounding. Prof. Francoise Ugochukwu, of Open University, UK, in her paper titled: "Igbo Language at the crossroads: ebe ka anyi na-eje? (where do we turn to?)" recommended, among other things, "the publication of standard monolingual Igbo dictionary," "support from the mass media - radio, television, newspapers" and "encouragement of dialectical development" as some of the ways by which Igbos can extricate themselves out of the problem. Dr. Chuks Osuji, former MAMSER director in Imo State, called on Igbo sons and daughters to cherish and speak their language "because it is our identity." Uzoma Okpo, a popular radio presenter and Director of Radio Services, Broadcasting Corporation of Abia (BCA), urged Igbos to love and speak their dialects and government of the Igbo speaking states to conduct their businesses in Igbo as their Northern counterparts are doing in Hausa. He also called on pastors and preachers in rural Igbo areas to use Igbo in their ministration, noting, tongue-in-cheek, that "there is no indication yet that Jesus does not understand prayer or sermon delivered in Igbo."
"I believe that this conference is another good opportunity for all of us stakeholders to come together to proffer solutions to the numerous challenges facing our Mother Tongue because a tribe without a culture has no identity," Dr. Mrs. Monica Philips, noted in a speech read on her behalf at the conference. Mrs. Ihekire, who represented her at the conference later pleaded with Education Review that "all hands should be on deck so that we can retrace our steps because there is no road in the direction we are heading to. Our children must be told where they belong because we have our culture and our language. Let our children know about it, that's what we are saying." 

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I am an Igbo, I was born an Igbo, I live the life of an Igbo, I come from Igbo, I speak Igbo, I like to be Igbo, I like to dress in Igbo, I eat Igbo food, my heritage, culture and tradition is Igbo, my parents are Igbo.

Am sorry I cannot help it if you hate my lineage. Am sorry I cannot help it if you detest Igbo, am sorry I cannot help it if you hate me because am Igbo. Igbo is who I am, my name is Igbo and I must die an Igbo.

You see Igbo as a threat, why? You call Igbo rapist, criminals, ritualist, prostitutes, kidnappers. You attribute all negative vices to represent Igbo? Why do you do that? You do because you feel threatened that Igbo might outrun the rest of the tribes. Why do you hate Igbo and despise us? You do that because we are creative, enlightened, hardworking, industrious, genius, intelligent, smart, rich, beautiful and amazing. But its difficult for you to admit it because you feel jealous of my race.

Igbo do not own politics, Igbo do not control the economy neither do we control the natural resources and the common wealth of the nation. You do, we don't and yet, despite the fact that you own everything, we still remain one indispensable race that has outshined the other race in all ramifications.

You fear us because you want to exterminate and annihilate our race, you deny us many things and yet we are stronger, richer and mightier. You fear us because we are everywhere. You fear us because no matter how rural a place might be, when Igbo steps in, they turn it into a Paradise. We have our own resources, which lies in resourcefulness, we do not bother you and your control over the polity, but yet when we cough you and the other race begin to shiver.

Am proud being an Igbo, am proud of my heritage and culture. Igbo means high class, Igbo means independence, Igbo means hard work and strength, Igbo means riches, Igbo means resourcefulness, Igbo means self belonging, Igbo means self esteem, Igbo means pride, Igbo means swag.

Udo diri unu umunnem.
# IgboAmaka
# AnyiBuNdiMmeri

Michael Ezeaka

This is beautiful poetry ...

In response to Alaba Ajibola, the Babcock Lecturer Hate Speech against Igbos.


In Igboland women live apart from their husbands and neither cook for them nor enter their husband's quarters when they are in their period. They are seen as unclean. Even up till today such practice is still applicable in some parts of Igboland especially by the traditionalists. Before a woman can enter the palace of Obi of Onitsha, she will be asked if she is in her period, if yes, she will be asked to stay out.

Leviticus 15: 19-20
When a woman has her monthly period, she remains unclean, anyone who touches her or anything she has sat on becomes unclean.

An Igbo man's ancestral heritage, called “Ana Obi” is not sellable, elders will not permit this. If this is somehow done due to the influence of the West the person is considered a fool and is ostracized by the community.

1 Kings 21:3
I inherited this vineyard from my ancestors, and the Lord forbid that I should sell it, said Naboth.

Igbos have practiced the taking of a late brother's wife into marriage after she had been widowed until the white men came. Now it is rarely done but except in very rural villages.

Deuteronomy 25:5
A widow of a dead man is not to be married outside the family; it is the duty of the dead man's brother to marry her.

In Igboland, there is a unique form of apprenticeship in which either a male family member or a community member will spend six (6) years (usually in their teens to their adulthood) working for another family. And on the seventh year, the head of the host household, who is usually the older man who brought the apprentice into his household, will establish (Igbo: idu uno) the apprentice
by either setting up a business for him or giving money or tools by which to make a living.

Exodus 21:2
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve you for six years. In the seventh year he is to be set free without having to pay you anything.

In Igboland , the yam is very important as it is their staple crop. There are celebrations such as the New yam festival (Igbo: Iri Ji) which are held for the harvesting of the yam. New Yam festival (Igbo: Iri ji) is celebrated annually to secure a good harvest of the staple crop. In the olden days it is an abomination for one to eat a new harvest before the festival. It's a tradition that you give the gods of the land first as a thanksgiving.

Deuteronomy 16:9
Count 7 weeks from the time that you begin to harvest the crops, and celebrate the harvest festival to honor the lord your God, by bringing him a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing he has given you. Celebrate in the Lord's presence together with your children, servants, foreigners. Be sure that you obey my command, said the Lord.

In Igboland it's a tradition that the male children are circumcised on the 8th day. This tradition is still practiced till date.

Leviticus 12:3
On the eighth day, the child shall be circumcised.

In Igboland, there is a practice known as "ile omugwo ". After a woman has given birth to a child, a very close and experienced relative of hers, in most cases her mother is required by tradition to come spend time with her and her husband. During which she is to do all the work of the wife, while the new mom's only assignment to the baby will be to breastfeed. This goes on for a month or more. In the Igbo old tradition, at this time, the new mom lives apart from her husband, would not cook or enter his quarters.

Leviticus 12:1-4
For seven days after a woman gives birth, she is ritually unclean as she is during her monthly period. It will be 33 days until she is ritually clean from the loss of blood; she is not to touch anything that is holy.


The Igbo tribe is in a serious problem and danger of extinction for the following reasons:

50% of Igbos are born outside Igbo land. Meaning that those children are not likely to live and work in Igbo land and cannot speak Igbo language but foreign language (Yoruba, Hausa, French, English).

40% of Igbos girls between the age of 25 & 45 are single with no hope of marriage because 35% of Igbo boys live overseas and they have all married white ladies.

75% of Igbo youths leave Igbo land every year in search of opportunities in Yoruba, Hausa land or overseas.

85 % of Igbos have family houses and own investments outside Igbo land. They strongly believe in one Nigeria but failed to know that NO Yoruba or Hausa man has a family house or investment in Igbo land.

Igbos are the only people who believe that living outside their land is an achievement.

Igbos are the only tribe that celebrate their tradition outside their land e.g. Eze Ndi Igbo, Igbo Village in America and this is because they have family homes in foreign lands.

Igbos have failed to know that the children you have outside Igbo land especially overseas will never think of living in Igbo land. So what happens to the properties you are building for them when you are gone?

Igbos are the only tribe who see their land as a place to visit or a tourist site than a place to work and live.

Igbos are the only tribe who instead of promoting and appreciating their culture through movies and documentaries they have sought to ridicule it by portraying rituals, killings, wickedness, love for money and other social vices which were not originally inherent in our culture thereby cursing more harm than actually promoting their culture.

Igbos are the only people who without hesitation believe their history and description when it is told or written by an enemy or a foreigner. E.g. that you do not love yourselves or that you love money.

Igbos are the ONLY largest tribe on earth who fought for their independence and failed to achieve their freedom after 40 years.

Igbos are the only tribe who fails to honour their brave heroes and heroines especially the innocent children starved to death during the Biafran war.

Igbos are the only tribe who embraced their enemy after a bloody civil war and subsequently become slaves.

Igbos do not find it necessary to teach their own version of history to their children.

Igbos fight for marginalisation in Nigeria but has no collective strength or teeth to bite.

Igbos how long are you going to fight for your relevance in Nigeria?

How long are you going to fight for a functional airport, rail networks and other structural establishments that underpin sustainable development?

How long are you prepared to wait for your enemy to guide you to your destiny?

Oh Igbos!
Where are your leaders?

Unfortunately, none of them live and work in Igbo land. If you wish to save the future of your children, your identity, your generation and your race then you need freedom and that freedom is Biafra.

Ukpana Okpoko gburu bu nti chiri ya!

By Chime Eze

The Igbo: We die for causes, not for personalities

Written by Emeka Maduewesi

~on fb. 28th September, 2016.

The Igbo will never die for anyone. We will not even riot for anyone. But the Igbo will die for any cause they believe in because the Igbo have a true sense of justice and a determination to obtain it.

The Igbo will not riot because one of their own lost an election. Operation Wetie was the Western response to a massively rigged 1965 election. The Yoruba doused fellow Yorubas in petrol and burnt them alife. Properties were burnt with occupants. The Igbo will never do this.

In 1983, the Yoruba went on a rampage again over the massive rigging by NPN. Lifes were lost and properties destroyed. The riots were over personalities.

Contrast that with Anambra State where Chief Emeka Ojukwu was rigged out by his own NPN, who also rigged out Chief Jim Nwobodo. The Igbo did not protest because the goat's head is still in the goat's bag.

In the North, ba muso was the battle cry when Sultan Dasuki was imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate. The riot and protest lasted for days and crippled economic activities.

The Igbo will riot over issues and causes. The Aba Women Riot was over Tax. The Enugu coal mine riot was about conditions of service. The Ekumeku Uprising was over British colonialization.

Those of "Ekumeku" ancestry - Umu Eze Chima and Umu Nri - were at the forefront of the struggles for Nigerian independence, with people like Dr. A A Nwafor Orizu and Chief Osita Agwuna serving prison terms. Any struggles the parents could not conclude is continued by the children by other means.

The Biafran war was a response to the genocide. The war in fact was brought upon us. The battlefield was Eastern Region. The war ended in 1970 but the issues and causes were not resolved. That is where we are today.

The Igbo will also jointly rise to fight evil in their midst. They did it in Onitsha in the 1980's, Owerri in the 90's, and with Bakkassi in the 2000.

The Igbo will not die for any man. But the Igbo will stand by any man who symbolizes their cause and their pursuit of justice. Even if the man dies, the struggle continues, and like the Ekumeku warriors, the children will pick up the baton from their parents.

This is the Igbo I know, the Igbo I am, and the Igbo we are. This is my story. Feel free to tell yours.


"My boy, may you live to your full potential, ascend to a dizzy height as is possible for anyone of your political description in your era to rise. May you be acknowledged world-wide as you rise as an eagle atop trees, float among the clouds, preside over the affairs of fellow men.... as leaders of all countries pour into Nigeria to breathe into her ear.

But then, Chuba, if it is not the tradition of our people that elders are roundly insulted by young men of the world, as you have unjustly done to me, may your reign come to an abrupt and shattering close. As you look ahead, Chuba, as you see the horizon, dedicating a great marble palace that is the envy of the world, toasted by the most powerful men in the land, may the great big hand snatch it away from you. Just as you look forward to hosting the world’s most powerful leader and shaking his hands, as you begin to smell the recognition and leadership of the Igbo people, may the crown fall off your head and your political head fall off your shoulders.

None of my words will come to pass, Chuba, until you have risen to the very height of your power and glory and health, but then you will be hounded and humiliated and disgraced out of office, your credibility and your name in tatters forever...”


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