The Imo state Commissioner for Education Professor Viola Onwuliri has urged Ndi Igbo to make sure that Igbo language and culture are effectively propagated so that the language will not go into extinction.
Onwuliri stated this in an address at a seminar/workshop organized by the Imo state Ministry of Education for teachers in Igbo language from all the public secondary schools in Imo state.
At the seminar/workshop titled “one day seminar on teaching of Igbo language in a 21st century education system of Rebuilding Imo agenda anchored by Secondary Education Management Board (SEMB), held at Government Secondary School, Owerri, the commissioner urged parents to bend down and teach their children Igbo language at home.
She said that it is unfortunate that Igbo people love other tribes language than theirs and that such attitude must stop in order to sustain Igbo language.
“It is a shame that parents find it difficult to teach their children Igbo language. The Yoruba and Hausa will like you to speak their language with them. But our people will find it difficult to encourage other tribes people to speak Igbo language. If our people do not take time to encourage Igbo language and sustain it, the language could go into extinction”, the commissioner said.
Onwuliri who said that she had A1 in English language but speak Igbo language to the core, also said that a bill shall be presented to the Imo state House of Assembly which will mandate those campaigning for elective positions in the state to use Igbo language through out their campaign.
She recounted the effort being made by the Catholic Arch Bishop of Owerri Ecclaisiastic Province A.J.V. Obinna who has been using his Odenigbo annual lecture series to continue to propagate and sustain Igbo language and culture. “I thank our Governor Right Honourable Emeka Ihedioha who also loves Igbo language and culture and is ready to do everything possible to sustain it. We should be proud of our language, going by the slogan “Igbo Amaka.” During colonial days, if you speak Igbo in a class, you will be flogged by the teacher. It must be stopped. Any school that does not speak Igbo in our land ought to be closed down,” she stated.
The commissioner further said that Igbo culture should be arranged in good order so as to eliminate some of our borrowed forms of culture. “Esebi is not Igbo language, it is borrowed. We should be able to arrange our culture in good order and teach same for everyone to learn. We should use Igbo kola in all our Igbo functions,” she advised, adding that other Igbo states do not use “gworo” or non Igbo kola nut in their functions but that Imo people are fund of using non Igbo kola nuts in their functions.
She also opined that Igbo language must be used in all functions in Igbo lands.
The education commissioner told the participants that the outcome of the seminar/workshop will present a framework for the way and means of propagating Igbo language and culture, as such will arm the state government to act on the matter.
In an earlier address, the Executive Secretary of the Secondary Education Management Board (SEMB) Barr. (Mrs) Elfrida Oby Anyikude thanked the Commissioner for coming up with the seminar/workshop plan.
She said that our children are lost as far as Igbo language is concerned and therefore, pleaded that they should be thought the language in the interest of Igbo tribe.
She praised the pragmatic actions of the commissioner whom she said has come to boost education development in Imo state.
She also told the participants that each of them would receive a certificate of participation.
In her own address, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education thanked the commissioner and the governor for thinking in line with the development of Igbo language and culture.
She said that they have now retuned the value of Igbo language which was more or less rather regarded as no language.