By Ikenna Nwokedi
The Directorate of Igbo Village and Centre for African Civilization (IVACAC), Nnamdi Azikiwe University on Friday, 1st December 2023 held her annual Ohazulume Conference with the theme, “The Igbo Race in Global Perspective (Ndigbo N’Anya Mba Uwa).”
The event which took place at the Chike Okoli Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies (COCES) saw custodians of the rich Igbo Culture and Tradition ranging from academics and political office holders gracing the occasion
In his address, UNIZIK Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Charles Esimone, commended the Directorate led by the Director, Very Rev. Fr. Prof. Bonachristus Umeogu and his team for ensuring that the centre remains vibrant through regular activities of Igu Aro festival, Iri Ji festival and Ohazulume annual conference.
Prof. Esimone opined that the Directorate has sought to keep the mandate of preserving, mutatis mutandis, the Igbo tradition and culture, identifying not merely the outward forms but the core values that sustained Igbo Societies in precolonial and colonial times.
In his remarks, Chairman of the occasion and the Honourable member representing Njikoka 2 Constituency at the Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Jude Akpua, said that the idea behind this year’s conference is for Ndigbo to be reminded of their roots and re-learn about the culture and traditions of Ndigbo.
Hon. Akpua lamentated that it is quite unfortunate that some people who are of Igbo origin residing in Abuja do not identify with their culture nor understand Igbo cultural values.
The lawmaker commended IVACAC for sustaining the momentum by ensuring that Igbo cultural orientation is sustained emphasizing that Igbo culture and tradition must not be allowed to go into extinction.
In his keynote speech, Prof. Joseph Agbakoba eulogized IVACAC for the idea behind Ohazulume Conference which is instrumental in defining Ndigbo and their philosophy.
Prof. Agbakoba averred that Ohazulume connotes Igbo Consensus building and Communal spirit which depicts the undivided unity of the spirit of Igboness.
He emphasized that Oha is sovereignized which represents the will of the people and seek to establish an order that is communal fostering bonding and unity among many people.
In his remarks, the Director of IVACAC and Conference host, Very Rev. Fr. Prof. Bonachristus Umeogu described Ohazulume as a multifaceted and 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),” Father Umeogu 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.
Reacting to the theme, the Honourable Commissioner for Culture, Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Don Onyenji stated that UNIZIK as an institution is laying a good foundation via celebrating and maintaining the rich cultural heritage of Ndi Igbo.
He 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.
Others who spoke on the occasion were the Guest of Honour, Barr. Gabriel Orji, Traditional Rulers of Awka and Enugwu-Ukwu na Eze Umunri. Cultural displays formed part of the Conference highlights.