Agbor indigenes celebrate Iwaji, task parents on use of Ika language
Residents of Nigeria Police Barracks, Ogba, Ikeja, would not forget in a hurry the day Agbor indigenes in Lagos converged on their vicinity to celebrate Iwaji (New Yam).
Tagged Idumuesah Agbor Day Celebration, the event served the dual purpose of rewarding members that have contributed to the development of the over 45 year-old union in Lagos and their local communities.
Speaking on the essence of the event, President, Chief Emmanuel Okosis Iweriebor, said it is to showcase the culture of Ika people, for the indigenes to interact, and the youths to know themselves.
In his view, culture is a catalyst to development, so government should provide platforms for people to freely showcase it, especially the positive aspects for the development of society.
He said: “We cannot run away from our culture because it is everything about us politics, business, religion or mere interactions. In fact, anybody that is not proud of his/her culture is not fit to live. It is in line with this that we are celebrating Iwaji to tell the youths that there is dignity in labour and also for them to be truthful in whatever they do in life and to live at peace with their neighbours.”
Quoting Dr. James Aggrey, who said Africans should be proud of their colour, Iweriebor said most youths do not know the history and culture of their communities, which amounts to not living by the expected norms and virtues of the place one claims to come from.
He explained that Ika culture promotes peace and harmonious co-existence with people from other ethnic groups, as well as chastity. He noted that no married Ika woman would for any reason be unfaithful to her husband without the ancestors not punishing such a woman, if she refused to confess.
Urging governments at all levels to reintroduce history teaching in schools, he said this is the only way to make youths know about their past, compare it with the present and chart a way for the future.
Shedding light on the celebration, Secretary of the union, Festus Alikwe, said aside mingling and feasting, the occasion was aimed at promoting Ika language.
He noted that most Agbor indigenes, especially those in cities, don’t always communicate with their children and wards in Ika, but use English language instead, making the youths to find it difficult learning and speaking the language. He said if the trend is not checked, the language would go into extinction in the nearest future.He, therefore, urged parents and all stakeholders to save Ika language and culture.
Alikwe noted that part of ways to correct the error is for parents to speak the language in their homes, as well as for unions such as theirs to use it at their monthly meetings.In his opinion, when a man is stripped of his culture he becomes a nonentity.
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