Cultural Limbo: Ihedioha brings back Ahiajoku Lecture, 8years after …Harps on sustenance of cultural heritage …Sues for synergy amongst old Eastern region

The Ahiajoku Lecture series which was neglected by the Rochas Okorocha administration in Imo State, for eight years has been revived and internationalized by the State Governor, Rt. Hon.Emeka Ihedioha.
The governor explained that 40th edition of the Lecture, marks the restoration of the most cherished Igbo cultural and intellectual summit, after nearly a decade of abeyance.
In his address on the 40th anniversary of Ahiajoku lecture series held at renovated Ahiajoku conference centre, New Owerri, Governor Ihedioha said ”
this year’s event acquires even a broader significance especially because of the presence of distinguished personalities from across the length and breadth of our country.
According to him, Ahiajoku lecture has been recreated to retain its social essence as a unifying factor among Igbo
In his words, “Ahiajoku, in Igbo cosmology, as you may wish to recall, was part of the pantheon of Igbo gods and goddesses. She was the goddess of cultivation, fertility and harvest. Today, the Ahiajoku, while losing its pagan core, has been recreated to retain its social essence as a unifying factor among the Igbo. Certainly, the festival is no longer about cultivation and harvest. It has indeed, metamorphosed into a pan- Igbo intellectual harvest of sorts. It seeks to spotlight the contributions the Igbo have made and are still making to culture, civilization and humanity. The festival is the celebration that accords formal recognition to a culture which as Igbo people, we were almost in danger of losing. It further creates a context for serious reflection on the profound cultural values of the Igbo people
Gov Ihedioha noted that the Ahiajoku festival “is intended to provide a veritable platform for defining the core tenets of Igbo culture in relation to the larger corpus of Nigerian culture, Africa and world civilization. It also seeks to provoke and encourage scholars to undertake relevant researches on Igbo culture in relation to the Igbo world view and overall human development.
The lecture, he said “was and still is, the apex Igbo intellectual convention of our time. The light kindled during the discourses radiated far beyond the shores of Nigeria.
“Since the event was founded four decades ago, it has provided a veritable platform for intellectual and cultural “Ita Nti” or caucus, among the Igbos.
He said the 2019 Ahiajoku festival, certainly marks another milestone in the Rebuild Imo Agenda.
He said ” less than a month into administration, we successfully revived this important element of the Imo State brand. It was elevated to the status of an Institute by a Director General.
“This is with a view to making it a first class resource centre on Igbo culture and civilization
According to him, “the institute would also drive the implementation of the actionable resolutions of the conferences as well as serve as a veritable institutional memory.
” At its full bloom, it would be a centre for the production and exchange of films, music, theatre and literature.
“Furthermore, it would serve as a vehicle for the celebration of other Igbo artistic forms like Mbari.
Governor Ihedioha spoke on the need for the nation to reduce dependence on oil
He said “The dark clouds are looming as oil has now become an “endangered species”
” The central issue is that the days of oil are numbered. The question however is how prepared are we for a life after crude oil?
He continued ” It is also instructive to note that we are also carrying out seed of salvation. As we are aware, Nigeria was once the world’s largest producer of palm oil.
He said oil palm remains one of the most important cash crops in the region and could serve as a major driver for the economic development of the region, in line with the vision of the Niger Delta Regional Development Master plan.
He said ” I have stated it again and again that the years of the oil palm are not over. Consequently, Imo State is poised to regain its leadership in the subsector in the next three years.
He called on Igbos to forge a new sense of brotherhood rooted in forgiveness and mutual respect.
“As a people the South East and South South regions we must recreate that sense of entreprise that made the old Eastern Region the fastest growing economy in the world at the immediate past independence era” he stated
Mmeanwhile, it was a harvest of Igbo cultural and intellectual gathering as the 2019 and 40th edition of the Ahiajoku Lecture Series took place at the Ahiajoku institute in Owerri,with a call from Gov.ihedioha for the people of the Old Eastern region to resolve all forms of misconception about the Igbos neccesitated by geographical division and begin to foster brotherhood ,recreate that sense of enterprise the region was known for and strengthen their common bonds now that oil is gradually fading for the socio- economic development of the region.
The lecture series which is a pan Igbo intellectual harvest abandoned in the last eight years but revived by Gov Ihedioha brought together leaders and intellectual giants from the south east and south south part of the country with Prof Michael Echeruo as the guest lecturer and Igwe Alfred Achebe and Rtd. Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe as chairman and co-chairman.
Addressing the people,Governor Ihedioha expressed delight for restoring the most cherished Igbo cultural and intellectual summit after nearly a decade of abeyance. He stated that Ahiajoku lecture series has provided a veritable platform for intellectual and cultural discourse amongst the igbos. This he said made the state to build an institute for it. He pointed ” Ahiajoku as you may wish to recall is a unifying factor among the Igbos . The festival is no longer about cultivation and harvest ,it has metamorphosed into a pan Igbo intellectual harvest of sort. It seeks to spot light the contributions that Igbo’s has made and still making in culture ,civilization and humanity. It further creates a context for further reflection of profound cultural values of Igbo people”. He charged the people of the region to use the opportunity to thinker on how to improve on the economic situation without placing all their hopes on the federal government.
In his keynote speech, the chairman of the ocassion and the chairman South East Council of Traditional Rulers, Igwe Alfred Achebe commended Gov.Ihedioha for his efforts in restoring the nearly lost Ahiajoku lecture series instituted by Late Sam Mbakwe in 1979.
The Onitsha monarchi stated that the igbos are a global brand created to spread all over the world and dominate it by their God given talents,but regrettably today, the race is lacking vital cohesion and focus.This he said is the driving force for the establishment of the lecture series to awaken our people to their responsibilities..He prayed for a stronger support for Ohaneze and called on the igbos to eschew antagonism in the business clime.
Delivering his lecture titled OGU ERI MBA..WE SHALL SURVIVE, the guest lecturer Prof.Michael Echeruo who incidentally was the pioneer lecturer of Ahiajoku in 1979,noted that since after the war,the Igbo’s have not gotten to where they ought to be because of deficiencies in leadership..He said “Today,many years later,we must admit that our full self-realization as a people and the validation of our dreams of an igboland as a model homeland have not been validated. The pattern of Igbo civil discourse, the quality of Igbo leadership at state and national level with many exceptions,even the quality of our pride in ourselves and inheritance as Igbo people had apparently diminished under the pressure of our needing to just survive and the anguish to put a stop to our dreaming of might have been,to abruptly stop singing songs of fatherland in an often unwelcoming imperium..He stated that this attitude must stop and Igbos must take their destinies in their hands and aspire and dream big like their forbearers. He noted that once the igbos put their house together and provide quality leadership, their story will change for good..
The event which started with Colloquium,Art Exhibition,Cultural Night and lecture had in attendance governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa ibom state, Gov.Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Former Governors Achike Udenwa, Peter Obi and Ikedi Ohakim ,Deputy Governor of Ebonyi state and representatives of the Governors of the South East and South South States, Notable senators and house of representative members from the region amongst other dignitaries.
Gov ohakim noted that Ahiajoku lecture series will be henceforth be a major driver towards the unity of old eastern region and called on the leaders of the area to sit together and draw a road map for the economic development of the region.

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