Posted by News Express | 1 December 2019 | 766 times
Owerri, the Imo State capital, on Saturday played host to numerous distinguished Nigerians who besieged the city for the 2019 Ahiajoku festival.
They include the Obi Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, Commdore Ebitu Ukiwe (rtd), ex-governors Achike Udenwa and Peter Obi, former FRSC Corps Marshal Osita Chidoka, King Jaja of Opobo, governors of Abia and Akwa Ibom states, Okezie Ikpeazu and Emmanuel Udom; Nna Nwodo, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and several Igbo traditional rulers, while the governors of Ebonyi, Delta and Bayelsa States sent representatives.
Former Nigerian Ambassador to USA and Israeli Professor George Obiozor, Professor O.C Nwanna, captains of industry, religious leaders and members of the academia were also in attendance.
Renowned academic and Professor of Literary Studies, Michael Joseph Echeruo, in his lecture entitled ‘Ogu Eri Mba’(We Shall Survive), disclosed that slave trade in Igbo land was the most social event or crisis that destabilised the Igbo society.
Unlike in Yoruba land and Dahomey where slavery was part of the process of state formation, the Professor of Literary Studies noted that slave trade in Igbo land was strictly a private business.
“People went into slave trading the same way they entered the palm oil trade when that became the going line” adding that in Igbo land, it was a straight forward entrepreneurial effort financed and promoted by brave daring men, using funders and capable field agents.
He argued that nothing more was expected or gained than the accumulation of wealth and the personal power that usually came with it and the public recognition which followed.
Echeruo, who delivered the first Ahiajoku lecture in 1979, some eight years after the Nigerian civil war, warned that the Igbo stand to gain nothing by claiming a Jewish identity parallel to that which they already have as Ndigbo.
He stressed that what they need to do is to understand the history and aspiration of the Jewish people and to participate in an intelligent even if in a spirited way in discussing issues, concerning them.
Obi Onitsha-Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, speaking on the occasion praised the late Chief Sam Mbakwe for initiating the Ahiajoku lecture series in 1979 which he described as a celebration of Igbo intellectual harvest.
Governor Emeka Ihedioha regretted the neglect of the Ahiajoku lecture by the immediate past administration in the state and assured that the 2019 edition was in accordance with the spirit of his “Rebuild Imo Agenda”. (Sunday Independent)
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