Igbariam (Anambra) – Prof. Fidelis Okafor, the Vice Chancellor of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU), has called for the establishment of film villages in the South East Zone to ensure preservation of Igbo cultural values.
Okafor made the call at a cultural carnival organised at the Igbariam campus of the institution on Friday.
The vice chancellor said that the film villages if established would also create avenue to entertain people on folklores and tales as well as present Igbo values to the world.
“The Igbo language, instead of gaining communication grounds in the hierarchy of languages, is currently moving downwards.
“If the South East governments support the film villages, the promotion of the Igbo culture, language and values, which are on the decline, will be preserved,” Okafor said.
According to him, the institution decided that Igbo language will be used for official communication every Wednesday.
He explained that the cultural carnival was a yearly affair of the institution aimed at promoting Igbo language and culture.
“The institution has a comprehensive programme to produce quality graduates that can stand the test of time in their various disciplines.
“It is our hope that the Igbo language will be one of the celebrated languages in Africa,” Okafor said.
In his remarks, former Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Prof. Pita Ejiofor, urged students of the institution to blend their academic pursuits with the good morals of Igbo culture.
He said the UNESCO Advisory Committee on Language Pluralism and Multi-language Education had predicted that Igbo language and culture may become extinct.
The don said the language and cultural values may become subsumed under other stronger Nigerian languages by 2025 if nothing was done.
“Therefore, all hands must be on deck to save the Igbo language from going into extinction,” Ejiofor said.
Ejiofor is also the founder of “ Otu Suwakwa Igbo,’’ a body founded to preserve the Igbo language and cultural values.
Highlights of the occasion were cultural performances and mgba (wrestling competition), among other activities.