By Ikenna Nwokedi
The Directorate of Igbo Village and Centre for African Civilization (IVACAC), Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka on Friday, 25th November 2022 held a successful Ohazulume Conference.
The event with the theme, “Ndigbo and Nigeria’s Future: 2023 General Elections in Perspective.” took place at the ASUU Secretariat Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka with custodians of the rich Igbo Culture and Tradition as well as various political office holders and intending aspirants in attendance .
In his address, UNIZIK Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Charles Esimone, stated that Igbo nation is one of the tripod on which Nigeria stands and has never been in the shadows but instead has played key roles at every stage of the country’s political evolution.
According to him, it began from the constitutional conferences of colonial Nigeria in the National Convention of Nigeria Citizens (NCNC) led by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe in the first republic of Nigeria in which NCNC formed a Coalition Government with the Northern People Congress (NPC) with Alhaji Tafewa Balewa as the then Prime Minister.
The Vice-Chancellor who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof. Frederick Odibo highlighted that Ndigbo were also visible in governments in the second, third, fourth republics and in the various military interregnum.
But in all of these, he stated that one position has eluded the Igbo man which shows that the Igbo Nation is yet to be fully integrated into Nigeria following the end of the civil war.
The institution’s Chief Executive described the theme of the conference as apt to the extant political conscientization in Nigeria in general and in the South East in particular especially with the emergence of a so called third force in the country’s political terrain with the Labour Party fielding a Presidential Candidate from the South-East.
Chairman of the occasion and YPP Candidate for Anambra Central Senatorial zone, Dr. Chinedu Umeadi said that the idea behind this year’s conference is about the unity of Ndigbo and speaking with one voice.
“The unity of Ndigbo is very crucial to our collective gain. We need to come together knowing that we are brothers and sisters. There is need for us as Ndigbo to change the way we think and do things for our own good and in furtherance attending to our yearnings and aspirations”,
” I am delighted that there are young people here, listening, assimilating and paying attention to the avalanche of great speakers on the occasion. The theme of the conference had the perspective of 2023 election which highlighted the problems of Nigeria”,
“My advice to the youths of this nation is to get their PVCs, vote according to their conscience and more importantly voting the right candidate,” he said.
Dr Umeadi thanked the IVACAC for the initiative behind the programme as very vital in realizing who we are as Ndigbo and ways to empower the tribe towards the growth and development of the nation.
The Keynote Speaker and former Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Imo State University, Owerri, Prof. Jerome Okonkwo eulogized IVACAC for the idea behind Ohazulume Conference which is instrumental in defining Ndigbo and their philosophy.
Prof Okonkwo stated that Igbos were known for economic independence in the olden days. He highlighted some key terms in Igbo concept such as ‘Nhazi’ which means to lead, guide and conduct as well as ‘Ngozi’ which means that Igbos want what can be seen.
On the aspect of democracy, the scholar said that the true meaning of the word is not being showcased in the present political dynamics in the nation stating that efforts should be made to keep the tradition and culture of Ndigbo as well as inculcating the habit of speaking the language by the infants and children of school age in our society.
In his remarks, the Special Guest for the occasion and member representing Anaocha, Dunukofia and Njikoka Federal Constituency, Hon. Chief Ferdinand Dozie Nwankwo said the Igbos are endowed with rich culture and tradition which makes them distinct and unique from other tribes in the country.
The lawmaker emphasized that the Igbos have rich arable lands for agriculture and where known in the not too recent past for their prowess in the area of farming.
Reacting to the theme, one of the Royal Fathers of the Day, Igwe Enugwu-Ukwu na Eze Umunri, HRM Igwe Sir Obumneme Ralph Ekpeh said that UNIZIK as an institution is laying a good foundation via celebrating and maintaining the rich cultural heritage of Ndi Igbo.
The monarch acknowledged the Director of IVACAC, Very Rev. Fr. Prof. Bonachristus Umeogu for not allowing Igbo language to fade but kept bringing ideas to sustain it. He urged Ndigbo to do away with complaints about Nigeria but to keep building themselves by staying United.
Earlier, the Director of IVACAC and conference host, Very Rev. Fr. Prof. Bonachristus Umeogu described Ohazurume as a multifaceted, multidimensional concept and theory which involves Igbo Communitocratic decision making and Igbo multimodal ideology.
“Ohazulume is that deposit and expression from where the Igbo Spirit emerges to possess the people, it involves the microcosmic quintessence of Igbo macrocosmic world which also depicts the undivided unity of the spirit of Igboness”,
“Ohazulume guarantees the eternity of the Igbo people (Ohagwu) and establishes the united agreement of the spirit of Igbo people (Ohajekwu), he said.
The Director of IVACAC disclosed that Ohazulume establishes the united agreement of the spirit of Igbo people and underlines the prevailing courage and power of Igbo people.
Cultural displays formed part of the Conference Highlights. Also present during the occasion was the State Commissioner for Culture, Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Don Onyenji; Labour Party Candidate for Awka North and South Federal Constituency, Prof. Lilian Oby Orogbu, Principal Officers in the University and other members of staff of the institution.