Ndigbo Royal Heritage Worldwide, NIROH, has started making preparations for staging a “Unity Day” celebration in Awka, the capital of Anambra State, out of concern that Igbo cultural traditions are quickly vanishing.
According to the Igbo social, cultural, and pan-Igbo organisation, the event would take place in Alex Ekwueme Square in December.
According to NIROH, the purpose of the gathering was to unite Ndigbo for potential sober reflection and constructive action.
Its President General, Dr. Paul Okoye, who disclosed this at a press conference, in Abuja, further explained that the event “will bring all Igbo together, irrespective of political and religious affiliations”.
Noting that the event “seeks to reinvent a new direction for the people”,Okoye lamented that “most things the ethnic group was known for were fast eroding, making it difficult for them to speak in one voice and forge common political front”.
According to him, he has re-instituted the unity day festival with the sole purpose of unifying the Igbo nation, adding that, “the event would be a week long celebration beginning from Monday 28, November 2022 to Sunday December 4, 2022”
Highlights of the event according to him, include, “the Marathon, the Great Homecoming, Wrestling and Folklore and the Igbo Day Pre-conference”.
He further emphasized that, “the event was designed also to rebuild the bridge that was broken in 1966 and initiate the process of healing the land, especially, in the realization that no ethnical component of Nigeria can go it alone.
“The aim was not to apportion blame but to try to repair that which had been destroyed, maintaining that the North before the civil war used to be the closest ally of the Igbo nation underscoring the need to reinvent the friendship”.
Okoye also made known his regrets on the erosion of the culture and tradition of Ndigbo by extremists, cautioning that “action must be taken immediately to reverse the ugly trend”.
He lamented on the fact that the people of the region were on the verge of becoming a people with no history or sense of cultural identity.
“We as a people must accept that our culture is being bastardized in the wholesome acceptance of the western culture and Europeanization of our populace in the process of neocolonialism.
“The total erosion of our culture and tradition by extremists has to be checkmated without further delay. We are losing grip of our children and money tends to be our God. No respect for elders.
“We are at the verge of passing as a people without history or cultural identity. Our language is suffering near extinction and nobody seems to be proud to associate himself with Igbo origin.
“As the Holy Scripture says, let’s give to Caesar what belongs to him and to God what is His. The reclaiming of our cultural heritage is a task that must be done. All hands, therefore, must be on deck to leave a bequeathing legacy for the succeeding generation” .
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