By Ikenna Nwokedi
The Society for the Development of Igbo Philosophy, Science and Technology (SODIPSAT) UNIZIK over the weekend held a successful maiden Viva Symposium with the theme: “Medico-Cultural Exploration of Igbo Cardinal Values of Life and Name (Ndu na Afa)”.
The event which took place at the Finotel Classic Hotel Awka saw custodians of the rich Igbo culture and scholars converge for the epoch making event.
In his address, UNIZIK Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Charles Esimone, stated that Igbo Culture is a rich culture which a lot of people say emanated from the Jews but the difference between our culture and that of the Jews is proper documentation by that of the Jews.
Prof Esimone said that when cultural practices are documented, it creates room for evaluation and transmission from one generation to the other.
The Chief Executive of the institution emphasized that the creation of Igbo Village and Centre for African Civilization (IVACAC) is to bring about the marriage of town and gown.
He explained town as the custodian of Igbo heritage and the gown being the academia who are saddled with the responsibility of documenting findings on Igbo medicine, Igbo engineering, Igbo technology and the need to interrogate the findings using empirical system of interrogating hypothesis and other innovations.
In his remarks, the Executive Governor of Anambra State, H.E. Prof. Charles Soludo said that the theme of the symposium is apt as it highlights who the Igbo race are and the need to acknowledge their contributions to the Socioeconomic development of the nation.
The Executive Governor who was represented by the Commissioner for Culture, Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Don Onyenyi defined culture as a way of life.
He highlighted his manifesto for the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Entertainment to include Art and Cultural festival, Iri Ji Ndigbo and other events that will aid the display of the rich culture and tradition of Ndigbo.
Making his presentation, one of the discussants, Very Rev. Fr. Prof. Bonachristus Umeogu in his paper termed ‘Igbo Cardinal Values of Life and Name in Igbo Philosophy, Science and Technology’ said that the mysterious marriage between life and name can be seen in pang and bang of birth, in the seed and egg of life that grew in water and blood to become a name.
The scholar stated that life has become a name and in Igbo Philosophy, Science and Technology, you can never find life without a name.
Prof Umeogu also said that Igbo names are not mere tags to distinguish one thing or person from another but are expressions of the nature of that which they stand for.
He also opined that names have the power to control variables as career, ability, luck, intelligence, culture, belief, positive and negative dimension, and polar conditions involved in one’s being.
Delivering his paper on ‘Life and Name: Role of In-Vitro fertilization (IVF) in resolving fertility and child issues in Igbo society’, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration) and Founder, Life International Hospital Awka, Prof. Joseph Ikechebelu, stated that science has created medical interventions to save most marriages on the verge of collapse owing to childlessness.
The Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology opined that IVF which can be described as assisted reproduction incorporates assisted conception, pregnancy and safe delivery, neonatal intensive care and childcare.
Prof Ikechebelu also said that Igbo core values of life runs through life from beginning to the end with concepts such as ‘Izinye Ndu – Conception and Delivery’, ‘Izo Ndu – Protection of Life’ and ‘Ichekwa Ndu – Preservation of Life’.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Administration said that IVF requires coming together of the sperm and egg to form an embryo in the laboratory while the embryo is transfered into the woman’s womb on day 2, 3 or 5 of development.
He re-emphasized that the first IVF delivery was in 1978 with the birth of Louise Brown who is now 44 years while the first IVF delivery in Anambra State happened in 2011 at Life Specialist Hospital Nnewi as his achievement with his crew of doctors.
Prof Ikechebelu disclosed that over 412 babies, 221 males and 191 females, have been delivered at his medical facility while also mentioning other aspects in IVF such as sex selection and surrogacy commonly referred to as renting of womb.
Other highlights of the symposium was a testimony by Mrs Judith Obi who gave birth to triplets with the aid of IVF after having to wait for 19 years.
Present at the occasion were members of the institution’s Governing Council, University Management, Principal officers, traditional rulers, Student Union Government (SUG) and Awka community dwellers.