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Enugu Govt. urges communities to preserve cultural heritage



Enugu State Government has urged communities in the state to preserve and promote their cultural identities and heritage for their younger generations to know them.

Dr Kingsley Udeh, the State Commissioner for Rural Development, made the call on Thursday during the 2nd edition of Great Achallaukwu Festival by Affa community in Udi Council Area.

Reports state that the great Achallaukwu Dynasty comprises some communities in Igbo-Etiti, Uzo-Uwani and Udi Local Government Areas of Enugu State.

The festival which began with the Holy Mass celebrated by the Spiritual Director of Great Achallaukwu Dynasty, Rev. Fr. Joe Ezechi, had many sons and daughters of Affa in attendance, including Affa traditional ruler, HRH Marius Ahamu.

Udeh, represented by the ministry’s Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Ifeoma Ogbu, said there was need for communities to promote and sustain their culture from dying.

He said to correct people’s negative attitude to their culture, “Enugu government is calling all the communities in Enugu and their leaders to resuscitate their culture through training and retraining people on their culture”.

Udeh said the manner youths acted and dressed in this era was not benefitting to their culture and, as such, the stakeholders should sensitise them to uphold those values in their culture.

“Today this community is celebrating ancestral father called Achallaukwu and it is occasion all members of the community should embrace.

“I am advising them to take the celebration serious by exploring the opportunity to reach out to all the strata of the community which include women, youths, children and elderly.

“There is need to cooperate and bring their culture to enviable height,” Udeh advised.

During the homily, Ezechi said the celebration signified brotherhood and togetherness of all the sons and daughters of Achallukwu ancient kingdom.

He regretted that people often neglected the culture of their ancestors, adding there was need to revive it.

The clergyman, who said he had studied Igbo culture and region, explained that culture was what defined people and showed their true identity.

“I feel pain how people keep throwing away their culture in name of paganism. We cannot throw them away but remind ourselves whom we are.

“We only need to remove the harmful part of it to suit modern life,” he said.

An elder, Mr. Emmanuel Eketaonwu, said the event was used to remember their days, stressing they had done it in a traditional way before some people advocated doing it in a modern way, to accommodate Christianity.

“We accepted and we do not have problem celebrating it together as brothers and sisters,” he added.

The President General of Affa Autonomous Community, Mr. Victor Uchedienyi, said the event was to celebrate their paternity and ancestral bond and cultural values.

According to him, the celebration will help to integrate their strength, overcome their weaknesses, make them one indivisible people and promote love and relationship.

Uchedienyi, who is the convener of the event, said their forefather, Achallaugwu, had children dispersed and developed into numerous communities, retaining some of his cultural values.

“We shall no longer tolerate any dividing element in our paternity relationship. Great Achalaukwu Dynasty will continue to transform their culture to suit modern day society.

“We are called upon to co-exist and concentrate on the things that can bind us together, transform ancient practices that are obsolete and analyse our values and market our rich cultural values,” he said.


Gov. Ugwuanyi inaugurates Nnamdi Azikiwe’s centre in Enugu



Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State on Friday converted old Premier’s Lodge of the defunct Eastern Region to Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe Centre for Historical Monument of Great Zik.

Reports state that the centre houses Zik’s interviews, showcase of his leadership qualities, exhibition of his life, scholarly awards, media releases in form of documentaries and movies as well as his dressing.

Inaugurating the centre, Ugwuanyi said it was conceived to serve as a historical, educational, cultural and tourist monuments in honour of the late Zik.

The governor, who described Zik as a scholar, foremost nationalist, an outstanding and inspirational leader, said he was pleased that his administration came up with the idea which started five years ago.

He, however, emphasised the need for people to appreciate the past leaders for their contribution and efforts for the wellbeing of the country.

The General Manager, Enugu State Housing Development Corporation (ESHDC), Mr. Chukwuemelie Agu, thanked the governor for remodeling the centre earlier earmarked for demolition.

According to him, the place serves as official office of the Great Zik of Africa while the other side was his residential home known then as Premier Lodge.

Agu said the centre would preserve the lyrics and history of the Premier of the then Eastern Region, and the corporation had placed high premium on preserving his relics such as shoes, eye glasses and cloths.

“ESHDC is highly privileged and excited to be part of this memorable and historical project,” Agu said.

Also, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, while thanking Ugwuanyi for not making the great works of Zik swept under carpet, said the centre would help to uphold the legacies of their son, Owelle of Onitsha.

He stressed that the gesture was not ordinary, particularly in Nigeria where people easily forgot the efforts and suffering of past leaders.

“Children coming behind us will not know about Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Michael Okpara and others unless they visit centre like this to appreciate their efforts, legacies and philosophies.

“With this, they will emulate their leadership principles and sense of humanity, so that in future more like them will emerge,” he said.

Achebe, who lauded Federal Government for reintroducing History in school curriculum, said: “It is worst policy decision a nation can make by denying their people the knowledge of their history and place in the world.

“It is a common knowledge that the most effective way to conquer a nation is not by physical arm like Russia, the real conquest is when you deny people the sense of their history, language and culture.

“That was what Colonial Masters did to us but Zik and others fought for it but we Nigerians subsequently denied ourselves history.”

Thanking Ugwuanyi on behalf of the family, the wife of Zik, Prof. Uche Azikiwe, said the family would not forget what the governor did for them.

She said: “The centre is going to be a legacy project in Enugu and a centre where anybody visiting Enugu will come to see as well as tourists attraction for many.”

Earlier, Zik’s son, Mr. Uwakwe Azikiwe, said that Ugwuanyi conceptualised the ideal of immortalising his father by renovating the old Premier Lodge where Zik resided and worked as Premier of Eastern Region from 1954 to 1960.

Uwakwe, who is the Special Adviser to Ugwuanyi on Special Duties, stressed that it was presented to them in 2016 and renovated by ESHDC.

“There are sections for his personal life, independence, first and second republic, places named after him,” he added.

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EDI FESTIVAL: Ooni seeks more women participation in governance as Ife remembers Moremi



The Arole Oduduwa & Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, has sought the increased inclusion of more women in leadership positions across the country

Ooni Ogunwusi who doubles as Co-chairman, National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN), made the call at his ancient Ile- Oodua Palace in Ile-Ife on Monday, while celebrating the annual Edi Festival.

EDI Festival is an annual ritual in Ile-ife done in acknowledgment of the heroic life and sacrifice of Moremi Ajasoro, an Ife woman who helped to secure the land from foreign invaders in the early days.

Speaking at the event, Ooni Ogunwusi explained that the prestigious culture of the Oduduwa race dignifies the female gender like their male counterparts, adding that these virtues must be upheld and practiced daily in the society.

“We all are witnesses to the outstanding performance of some Ministers, Commissioners, head of companies and even countries across the globe, our women here in this part of the world are as capable as their counterparts anywhere globally. The difference is the opportunities that we create for them to perform optimally.” The Ooni said.

Speaking in her capacity as the Global Ambassador of ‘Queen Moremi Ajasoro Initiative’ an Ooni’s queen, Olori Aderonke Ademiluyi-Ogunwusi who flanked her husband during the event added that the festival equally signals the start of activities for the annual Queen Moremi Ajansoro contest by young talented ladies. She used the occasion to announce the official opening of the portal for application for the portal for application for 2022 edition of Moremi Ajasoro Cultural and Leadership Pageant, the winner of which will be crowned as the Queen Moremi Ajasoro (QMA) 2022 who goes home with a grant of 1m Naira, a branded car and other prizes.

“Like the whole world is aware of, we are not just doing beauty contest. We are doing contest of creative ideas, leadership abilities and productivity. We call on interested young ladies to apply via designated online platforms.” Olori Ademiluyi-Ogunwusi noted.

The outgoing QMA, Oluwabukunmi Grace Akinwale told the pressmen who had sought her views on the annual cultural festival that the carry of Moremi torch of liberty is very symbolic as the torch was said to be the weapon that Moremi Ajasoro used to conquer the Ugbo people that threatened the peace of the ancient people in Ife several centuries ago.

This year’s EDI Festival rites climaxed at night yesterday when the Ooni led members of Ife Traditional Council and the entire gathering in a 500-meter procession to the Moremi Statue of Liberty with the torch of liberty, known as INA’SAN.

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UNESCO to consider Nigeria cuisines as intangible heritage



UNESCO has called on Nigeria to forward a list of its traditional cuisines for consideration for inscription as intangible heritage.

Dr Tawfik Jelassi, the Assistant Director-General Communication and Information UNESCO, made the call at a dinner on Monday night in Abuja to welcome participants to the Global Media and Information Literacy Week

It was reported that the week-long event with the theme: “Nurturing Trust: A Media and Information Literacy Imperative’’ is being attended by 193 UNESCO member countries physically and virtually.

Speaking at the dinner, Jelassi said he was wowed by the amazing cuisines, particularly the traditional menu and enthralled by the traditional dances that complement it.

According to him, some Nigerian traditional cuisines are qualified for inscription into UNESCO list of intangible heritage and a step should be taken in achieving that.

Though not on the menu list, Jelassi particularly referred to a traditional Itsekiri soup, “Egbele Koko miyo’’, adding that he was made to understand that it was an irresistible delicacy prepared to stop a man from cheating on his wife.

“Egbele Koko miyo’’ in Itsekiri language means “A cock can never reject maize seeds”.

Jelassi called on Nigeria Permanent Representative to UNESCO, Hajia Hajo Sanni to take a step in submitting some of the traditional cuisines for consideration for listing as intangible cultural heritage.

On his view about Nigeria, Jelassi said just a day in the country, he had seen Nigeria at its best and “its diversity is the source of its enrichment’’.

Intangible cultural heritage according to UNESCO is a practice, representation, expression, knowledge, or skill considered to be part of a place’s cultural heritage.

Examples include community gatherings, oral traditions, songs, knowledge of natural spaces, healing traditions, and foods.

Others are holidays, beliefs, cultural practices, and skills of making handicrafts, methods of agriculture and cattle breeding, traditional navigation skills, as well as cooking skills.

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