By Emeka Mamah
ENUGU—APPARENTLY worried over the predictions that Igbo was one of the endangered languages in the country as parents no longer communicate with their children in their native tongue, the apex Igbo cultural organisation, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has asked Ndigbo to speak their vernacular at both social and unofficial engagements for the young ones to learn.
President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, made this known during yesterday’s International Language Day celebration in Enugu.
In a statement signed on his behalf by his Media Adviser, Chief Emeka Attamah, Nwodo decried the growing decline in the use of Igbo language among Ndigbo in carrying out both their official and unofficial engagements.
Ohanaeze “regretted that even at most social, cultural and economic gatherings made up of only Ndigbo, they unfortunately resort to English language, which largely is not the case with other major ethnic groups in the country.”
He, however, said “that Ohanaeze Ndigbo was ready to, in conjunction with interested parties, undertake activities that would promote and propagate Igbo language, such as debates, music competitions, fashion parades, films and cultural festivals, among others,” and asked governments of Igbo-speaking states to build cultural or arts centres that would help preserve Igbo cultural artefacts as well as encourage their state Councils of Arts and Culture to enable them perform optimally.
“Ohanaeze also urged the Igbo states to ensure that special days are set aside for the wearing of purely Igbo attire for those in government and the use of Igbo language in carrying out legislative proceedings in their state assemblies on such days.
“It further called on state governments in Igbo land to make Igbo language a compulsory subject in their schools.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo further advocated the harmonisation of iriji (New Yam) festivals in Igbo land to be held on a unanimously agreed day to help unite Ndigbo more and make them speak with one voice on all national issues,” the statement added.