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UNIZIK Igbo Village will be a centre for tourism – Fr. Umeogu

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By Gabriel Chy Alonta & Lawrence Nwimo

The Director of Igbo Village and Centre for African Civilization, Very Rev. Fr. Prof. Bonachristus Umeogu, has said the Igbo Village of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, would serve as a tourist center for Igbo culture and tradition.

Fr. Umeogu, a renowned philosopher and Christian mystic said this at the 2021 Igu Aro Igbo Festival and Unveiling of Igbo Calendar organized by the Directorate of Igbo Village and Centre for African Civilization (IVACAC) in partnership with the Anambra State ministry of Diaspora, Culture and Tourism.

The clergyman said the Igbo village on completion, will be a center for tourism in the institution and Anambra state, as well as a mini university that would house Igbo Science and Arts, cutting across different disciplines. He said time has come for the Igbo people to emulate the Chinese and return to develop their culture.

He said the festival was a foundational programme for the year and that such had not been organized in any citadel of learning except the novel exercise at the institution. “Unizik is the first institution to organize Igu Aro in the whole of Africa and it is a way of the gown speaking to the town.”

Also, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof Charles Esimone, while lauding the Igbo Village for the historic event, said the university was not just supposed to be the custodian of culture and tradition but proper propagation of tradition of the people.

“Nnamdi Azikiwe University have taken culture and tradition very serious because we recognize that the Igbo culture is vanishing and our youths are not familiar with what our culture protects.

“We want to institute in this university, Igbo village and centre for Africa civilization and one of the things I want to showcase is the richness and importance of Igbo culture.

“We are using the opportunity to unveil the infrastructural plan we have for the centre and we hope to have the structures put in place to serve as a place where people, all over the world would learn everything about the Igbo culture and tradition,” he said.

Anambra State governor, Willie Obiano, speaking through the Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, Indigenous Artworks, Culture and Tourism, Hon. Kenneth Anierobi, said Igu Aro is in line with the ideas and programmes of his administration and urged institutions of learning to galvanize youths towards sustaining, developing and propagation of Igbo culture and tradition.

He said, “youths are the future of Igbo culture and if the youths are not carried along, portends danger for the Igbo culture. We try to get the youths imbibe the Igbo language, fashion, food and artifacts as well as lead the charge for the preservation and propagation of our culture.

“The culture and tradition of the people is their identity, if you lose your culture, you lose your identity and if you lose your identity, you are gone,” he said.

Earlier, the tradition ruler of Enugwukwu kingdom, Igwe Ralph Ekpeh, has decried that most people confused Ofala Festival with Igu Aro ceremonies, stating that the later had all the ingredients found in the former. He further explained that Igu Aro is Oracular, spiritual and ritualistic especially as Eri Monarchs are entitled to make statements of future events and about truths through it.

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