From BONIFACE OKORO, Umuahia
Vice Chancellor of Abia State University, Uturu (ABSU), Prof. Uche Ikonne, has expressed optimism that Igbo culture would not die.
Ikonne expressed this view at the public presentation of the book “Five Hundred And Fifty Igbo Proverbs With Translations” authored by Chief Simeon Ihemanma, the pioneer Sole Administrator of the defunct Nneochi local government area. The event held at Michael Okpara Auditorium, Umuahia, Abia State.
The ABSU VC, represented by the institution’s Dean, Faculty of Agriculture of ABSU, Prof. Christopher Emereole, Prof. Ikonne insisted that Igbo culture was not dying as widely held but undergoing transformation.
“Igbo culture is not dying, it is undergoing transformation and people are reinstituting the culture, so it will not die. This book is a bridge between the old and the present and between the present and the future.
“Anybody telling you that Igbo culture will die is a liar. Igbo is a very invaluable nation in the whole world and its culture has been documented from Things Fall Apart to the present day and all our culture has its roots and it is a living one,” Ikonne posited.”
He charged Igbo youths to be proud of their culture and language and speak it with all boldness as a living language.
Reviewing the 81-page book, at the Prof. Anthony Nwabughogu from Abia State University, Uturu (ABSU), described it as an important contribution to the study of Igbo language and culture through the medium of the proverb as it was “informative, precise, clear and adequately complements existing Igbo literature.
“Since the resurgence of interest in Igbo studies, following the attainment of independence by Nigeria in 1960, the concentration of scholars has been on writing books and articles on Igbo language and literature. Few works have been done on the Igbo proverb, said Nwabughiogu who identified the genre as a difficult aspect, and “a preserve of top class writers or those imbued with the talent.”
The author of the book said the book would be a great asset to teachers and students of Igbo language and culture from primary to tertiary institutions in Igbo land.
“There have been several calls from notable Igbo leaders, professionals, scholars and people of goodwill not to allow Igbo language to go into extinction,” Ihemanma said, and called on Southeast governments, particularly Abia State, not to allow Igbo language to go into extinction.