In a bid to promote the use of the Igbo language and culture especially among the youth in the city, a royal father, and Eze Ndigbo of Ejigbo, HRH. Eze (Ambassador) Nicholas Emenike Njoku, (Eze Ohazurume) Eze Ndigbo of Aigbaka Ejigbo, has established a school where the children will be taught the Igbo Language and culture.
At the unveiling of the school “Nmuta Omenala N’ Asusu Igbo” and the launching of N150 Million fund for a School Bus and School Permanent site held at Ronik Comprehensive School, Ejigbo, on Sunday, Eze Njoku who has been personally funding the project stated that the initiative was to guard against the possible threat of extinction of the Igbo language and culture in the nearest future.
He regretted that most parents of Igbo extraction have failed to teach their children how to communicate in their language and hoped that they would take advantage of the school and enroll their children. He added that the school is free of charge and appealed for support with a school bus or property that could be converted into a conducive teaching and learning environment.
Speaking on the use of Igbo proverbs during conversations, Eze Njoku described Igbo proverbs as the oil with which Ndigbo eats conversation particularly when there are strangers in their midst, stressing that he has much to disclose about Igbo language and proverbs soon which would be recorded and played here and in the diaspora.
Council of Ndieze and other important dignitaries present at the event commended Eze Njoku for the vision and promised to support to ensure it is replicated in all the other local government areas in Lagos state.
Some of the students of the school displayed some rich Igbo dance steps and recited Igbo numbers, amounts, and lexicons to the admiration of the guests.
Some dignitaries present at the event include: Chief Sunday Ossai, President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos state chapter, Eze Stephen Agabiga, Eze Igbo of Bariga LCDA, Lagos state, Igwe L.Ezenwa, Chief Sunday Ude, Chairman of Igbo-speaking community in Lagos state, Queen Lady Happiness Ajali, woman leader of Ohanaeze, in Ejigbo, Dr. Sunday Ojukwu, Eze Ndigbo in Amuwo Odofin, Eze (Dr.) Alex Sunday Nwonye, Eze Igbo of Ejigbo, Eze (Dr.) C.C. Nwokedi, chairman of the Council of Ndieze in Lagos state, and many others.
President of Ohanaeze, Chief Sunday Ossai, in his remark commended Eze Njoku for the initiative which he said would preserve the language and be beneficial to the youth and called on Igbo parents to avail their children the opportunity to learn to communicate in Igbo language.
On his part, Eze (Dr.) C.C.Nwokedi, chairman of the Council of Ndieze in Lagos and Eze Ndigbo of Ijugun and Ijedodo communities commended Eze Njoku for the project and advised parents to bring their children up with sound knowledge of Igbo language and culture, He also appealed to Ndi Igbo to support the project which he likened to an investment that would benefit every Igbo person.
On the significance of the event, Eze Nwokedi said, “It is a call on every Igbo person to ensure that his/her children understand and speak the Igbo language, everywhere they go because if we stop our language, in a short period of time, our language will be forgotten. So what he is doing is to open people’s eyes.
“Parents, anywhere you live, ensure that your children speak the Igbo language because without Igbo, when they travel to the village, they cannot relate with villagers, some might forget to tell drivers where they are going which is a disgrace to the parents for not teaching their children our culture and language. It will be bad that one has a child that doesn’t know where he comes from. The child cannot explain the meaning of his name in Igbo. He cannot know the meaning of Eke, Orie, Nkwor, and Afor, it is bad.”
In a chat with journalists, Eze Stephen Agabiga, Eze Igbo of Bariga LCDA, Lagos state, said the initiative would help our children to speak the Igbo language, adding, “If you go to Israel, there is a tribe that speaks the Igbo language as we do here in Nigeria. Igbo language is a good language but people are bastardizing it. Parents should ensure that they enroll their children in this school and also speak Igbo language at home. When they go to school, let them learn English there.
“What Eze Njoku is doing today is what we Ndieze should have jointly done but he has taken the responsibility to initiate and start it alone, so it’s very commendable.”
Chief Sunday Ude, Chairman of the Igbo-speaking community in Lagos state, on his part, said, “It’s as if this programme is organized for me personally because I have been calling on our people to ensure they teach our children our language. The truth is that our Igbo language is facing extinction in the next few years if nothing is done urgently about it.”
The highlight of the occasion was the unveiling of the school structure and the donation of funds.