​OHANAEZE – IGBO HOLOUCAUST MEMORIAL, IGBO DAY AND AHIAJOKU LECTURE

The Ahiajoku intellectual festival remains one of the greatest inspiring Igbo achievement post civil war. However, like most things Igbo that start off well and develop hiccups along the line, Ahiajoku seem to have joined the long line.

The reasons for the above are not farfetched. Starting from a pan Igbo affair in real terms, it has been downgraded to almost an Imo affair due to the unnecessary disunity and power play amongst Igbo governors.

However, it does not take nuclear science to reinvent this epic festival of culture and intellectualism and use it once more in repositioning the Igbo world especially at this critical point in our history and the history of Nigeria.

One of the reasons for the near downgrading of the festival to an ‘Imo thing’ could be in its permanent abode in Imo state.

Could part of its revival therefore include its rotation amongst the various Igbo states? Rotating the Colloquium to hold in the home state of the year’s lecturer is therefore highly advocated in its revival.

Making it to be rendered in Igbo with a translated English and French version and making same available worldwide will also add additional incentives.

Creating a cult of the LECTURERS and funding them to become an Igbo think-tank group is very important. Getting UNESCO interested in the Ahiajoku project would be very ideal.

This year is the thirty fifth (35yrs) of the program and can be celebrated with the publication of a compendium of all the past lectures.

This year’s lecture can also be modified in such a way to make it a reflection on thirty five years of Ahiajoku with different scholars critiquing different lectures of old and aspects of the program and advocating their idea of a way forward. This will help in repositioning the program for the present Igbo challenge.

Getting all Igbo state governors to nominate distinguished scholars and administrators as members of the planning committee should be considered.

On the usual September Igbo Day, Ndi Igbo should be bold enough to brand the Igbo Remembrance Day what it really is, that is ‘Igbo Holocaust Remembrance Day’ as is practiced world over. Defeat in war over fifty years ago is not a reason to shy away from what befell Igbo in 1967.

This remembrance is strictly to make sure we have in our purview what happened and never to forget and to perpetually be on guard that it does not happen again.

Reducing the memory of the dead to a mere diplomatic Igbo Day Celebration is not enough as a Jewish saying informs us that “to forget the dead is akin to killing them twice.”

The ball is in the hands of our present proactive Ohanaeze leadership to consider the above and put them in place.

Ibe Gerald

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