The Igbo Network
THE 2001 AHỊAJỌKỤ LECTURE
IGBO OR IGBOID:
ASỤSỤ N’AGBỤRỤ NDỊ IGBO
LANGUAGE IN IGBO CIVILIZATION
Prof. Emmanuel Nwanolue Emenanjo
B.A. (Hons.) English,
Igbo mma mma nụ
Abịa mma mma nụ
Mmma mma nụ
Delta mma mma nụ
Ebonyi mma mma nụ
Enuugwu mma mma nụ
Imo mma mma nụ
Rivas mma mma nụ
Naịjirịa mma mma nụ
Igbo bụ Igbo mma mma nụ
Ekelee m unụ
I meela, Chineke, I meela
I meela, Chineke, I meela o
Imeela, Chineke, Imeela
Nkịta nyara àkpà Nsị àgwụ n'ọhịa
Ọhịa ogwū mara ọkụkọ A naghị epio yà epiọ
Òke bàa na mkpọ Àzụ gwụ na mkpọ
Dinta buru egbé Anụ àgwụ n'ọhịa
Isi akwu daa n’àlà Nwaànyị arịa ya elu
Agụ bàa n'ọhịa Mgbada achịri ume n'aka
Mmiri riri nwa awọ À naghị egwū ya ègwù
Ahịajọkụ agbaala afo iri abụo na abụo. Ọ mụtala umu iri na isii, na ederede iri na isii. Ozugbo ha, n'asụsụ Bekee. Na ndị ochie dike ndị a, na ndị diji ndị a, na ndị ọkà okwu na otụ ilolo ndị a, ọ dịbeghị nke ọ bula n'ime ha nwere ụdi nsogbu mụ onwe m nwere n'asụsụ m ga-eji akpụpụta echemeche m ma ọ bụ kwupụta mbunoobi m Ihe kpatara nke a bụ na na 'Citation on The Ahịajọkụ Lectures' ekwuru ya n'akpughị mmiri n'onụ na:
Each lecturer is to choose his or her Language of delivery bearing in mind that the audience understands both Igbo and English.
Ụmụnne m na ụmụnna m, unu anụla ya nụ. Ọ bu ihe a ka Igolo. Gius
Nkemjika Anọka, Ode Nguru, na ndị komiti ya chepụtara ma kwuo n'afo 1o7o mgbe ha
naewube Ahịajọkụ. Ndi niile maara ihe e jiri mara m na ihe mere m jiri bụrụ ihe m bụ, maara na anọ m na nsogbu.
Ezigbo nsogbu o. N'ezie, adi m ka onye chi ya na ogo ya rịorọ olụ, n'ọnọdụ a m hụrụ onwe m n'asụsụ m ga-eji. Chi m n'ebe a bụ asụsụ Igbo; Ọgo m abụrụ asụsụ Bekee. N'ezie, ọ
na-adị m ka na ụfọdụ - ikekwe - otụtụ ndị bịara Ahịajọkụ n'afo a, bịara ihụ etu nwoke ga-esi anabata aka mgba asụsụ cheere ya. Ma a kpọrọ ya
Ahịajọkụ ma ọ bụ Ufiejọku o, ma ọ bụ Njọkụ ma ọ bụ Njọkụji, ma ọ bụ Ajamaaja, - ha niile bụ otu ihe ma bụrụkwa okwu ọkpụ Igbo. Ahịajọkụ bụ mmemme. Ọ bụkwa evueme ndị Igbo. Otụtụ ndị bịara mmemme a, n'ebe a, n'afo a, bụ
ndị Igbo. Nga a
anyi guzọrọ ugbuaaka a bụ ala Owere Nchi Ise, n'ala Igbo. Ebe
ihe ndị a niile dizi etu a, ọ bụ gini gbochiri anyi iji asụsụ Igbo gawa n'ihu? Nga olee ka mba ọ
bụla si akpata nkụ ha ji esi ihe? Kedụ ebe mba ọ bula si enweta mmiri ha na-anụ? Ọ bụ na mba ndị ọzọ?
Olee ebe e si agbata mmiri e ji esi ụgụ? Eche m na ọ bụ mmiri ụgụ gba(pụ)
Ladies and Gentlemen, the point I have tried to make is that no Ahịajọkụ lecturer before me has had my dilemma in the choice of the language for preparing and delivering his lecture. All before me who have trodden this road had no problem with their language of delivery. Not necessarily because of what they had to talk about but necessariiy because of their training. Luckily, in the extant and pristine citation crafted by those who thought of and through Ahịajọku, it was explicitly stated that each lecturer is free to choose his or her 'language of delivery' because the audience understands both ‘Igbo and English.’ Simple, children like statements are rarely childish. Are choices really ever free? Aren't they hemmed in by the imperatives of context-time, space, dramatis personae? Again, who says the typical Ahịajọku audience 'understands' both Igbo and English? And when we talk of both Igbo and English, are we talking about conjunction, disjunction or co-ordination? Are we talking of a monolingual presentation through and through in either Igbo or English or of the bilingual presentation in both Igbo and English, in one text, or of the same text presented simultaneously in Igbo, and in English all bound together as a book in the Aboyedean sense? We know that bilingualism has as many types as it has varieties. Ladies and Gentlemen, I will stoutly resist the temptation of being drawn from ikpọta ụtaba to iba n 'ime ahịa.
nwe m, we all have
our own different proverbs and anecdotes for why it is the mad man uses so many
words. That is really stream-of-consciousness at work. I have mentioned the
Igbo, Ode Nguru, Ambassador Gaius Nkemjika Anọka, master bureaucrat 'and
administrator, International diplomat, Poet, Scholar, Linguist, Thinker,
Traditionalist and a Knight in the Anglican Communion, Master Facilitator and
Strategist in Igbo Lore. Have you ever heard of The Readings on the Igbo Verb, The Dictionary of Igbo Place Names
and the still-born Standard Igbo
Dictionary (Project) scuttled by the ndorondoro between persons, offices
and location? Division of Culture in the Ministry of Information and Culture
Gwa m gwa m gwa m, ...
Gwanụ m.(ihe) ...
Ị mara, Ị marala, Ị marala ...
O befọrọ be onye?
Nri ọ na-adighị,
Onye nà ọ gaghị eri?
Ụgwọ onye ọ bụ la aghaghị ikwụ
Ihe nyirị dike?
Ihe a gụrụ aha,
O di ka aha a gụrụ ya?
Ozuru ụwa nille?
E zuru ezu gaa
E zughị ezu laa?
Maazị Chiifu, Dọkịta Frederick Chiedozie Ọgbalụ has paid his own debt. Whatever anyone likes, let him say about Ọgbalụ. Nobody can take away from him the fact that between 1944 - 1992, he literally facilitated the empowerment of the Igbo language for functional literacy, numeracy, creative literature and in the collection, transcription and description of Igbo orature. F.C. Ọgbalụ, he is also now dead. So, too, another Frederick, Professor Doctor Nnabuenyi Ogonna, the authority on Mmanwụ, in particular, and Igbo dramatic arts in general. The diegwu of the Lagos School of Igbo Studies. Maazi Tony Uchenna Ubesie proved to the international world of literary creativity that the Igbo language, can contribute its own to all genres of fiction, faction and radio-television productions. Mr Chairman, I am not aware that any or all of this ouartet-facilitators, masters, practitioners and analysts of Igbo language, literature and culture have ever had any mention at an Ahịajọkụ. With your revered permission Mr. Chairman, I pray that this highly esteemed and respected audience rise on their legs, and remove their hats, caps and headgears - in their names and in their honour, n'ugwu unu niile. May their great and large Igbo souls rest, nwa jụụụ, in the bossom of Chineke, Olisaburuuwà, Ọpụtaobie! May they become ndịichie n’ala Igbo niile. And saints of the Most High.
Ise ọ ise
Amaala, mma mma nụ Ekeleenụ
Mma mma nụ Ekeleenụ
Okwu m chighaa! Back to my language of discourse. It will be Igbo and English in complementary distribution and in line with the principle of complementary dualism which pervades Igbo thinking, Igbo mode of thought and the grammar of structures in the Igbo language. Igbo and English. Not Engligbo, for that would be Igbo oxide, Igbo carbon monoxide! Nor Igbo and English with code-mixing. Or with code-switching. Those are not allowed or tolerated in 'native like' or symmetrical micro-bilingualism. That will be our language of discourse. I would really have preferred it through and through in Igbo as I did in the first in the series of the Odenigbo Lectures: Olumefula. But do all of us here; really, understand Modem Spoken Igbo with all its complex internal dynamics and the evolving protean language for talking about Igbo IN Igbo; otherwise called Igbo metalanguage? We all are familiar with the ụkabụilu of the sick mart who went to the traditional doctor for treatment. After he had reeled off his mind, the doctor asked him to put himself at ease, comfortably. While trying to do so, a huge fart was heard. And the doctor asked him what the matter was. The patient replied, well, 'you can hear and see things for yourself. That is one of my ailments.' You all can now see with me, why it has taken Ahịajọku so long to recognize the other side of the Igbo identity and reality - the Igbo Language! Is it because we were waiting for the young to grow, in s milieu where age is something? Or is it because what concerns us most, must be treated last?
MBÈ àgaba Ajambène
MBÈ àgaba Ajambène
MBÈ gaa gaa Ajambène
Inu m, na akụkọ m na okwu m enupụụnọọ faa faa gidigwom wee nukwasị ofu nnukwute ala, otu obosara ala. Ọ bụghị ala Ịgala, ala Ọnọja Oboni.
Agadaaga ala a di, site n'ala ndị
ruo na nke ndị Ikwere na Ahoada, na Ndida; ma sitewe n'Ehugbo n'Ọwụwa Anyanwụ ruo n'ala Ndịosimili, Ụkụani na Ịka, n’Odida Anyanwụ. Ala Igbo di mbụ dịrị tupu ndị
Potokori eruo Ose Naịjirịa n'afo 1472. Ọ tọrọ
E mee elu mee ala, mbo tọrọ eze. Ma ọ masịrị ndị di ka Bala Usman na ndị ọdịka ya. Ndi a bụ ndị ka nọ n'afọ 2001 na-eso onye di ka Hugh Trever Roper na-ako ka ọ siri masị ha, ka Naịjirịa siri malite ma ọ bụ ka Naịjirịa kwesịrị ịdị. Iji tupịa okwu m ọnụ. E kwesịrị ikwusị ya ike na ala Igbo kwupụrụ iche n'ala mba ndị ọzọ soro mepụta Naịjirịa ka anyị siri mara ya ugbuluaka a! N'ugwu ala Igbo, Ndị Nsụka ka ma oke ala ha na ndị Igala, na ndị Idoma. Etu ahụ ka ọ di ndị Abankeleke (Izii) na ndị Idoma na ndị Tiv na ndị Mbembe. Wee ruo echi, ndị Ehugbo na ndị Arọchukwu maara oke ala ha na ndị agbataobi ha ndị a - ndị Mbembe, ndị Yako, na ndị Ibibi. Ndị Ngwa na ndị Ụkwa maara nke oma oke ala ha na ndị Mmom. Ndị a niile bicha n'Ọwụwa Anyanwụ. Na Ndịda (Naịjirịa) ndị Ikwere na ndị ụmụnne ha, ma oke ala ha na ndị Ịjo na ndị Ogoni na ndị Andoni. Ndị Ekpeye na ndị Ahoada masịrị oke ha na ndị Ịzon na ndị Ogbịa. N'Odida Anyanwụ, Ndịosimili na Ndi Ụkwani na ndị Ịka, ka mara oke ha na ndị. Urhobo na ndị Isoko na ndị Okpe. Ala Igbo, ọ teela ya. Ọ teela ya na ndị egede nwere ya. Ala Igbo bụ ọkpụtụrụọkpụ ala. N'Ugwuele, n'Ehugbo, na Nsụka na n'Igboukwu e gwụputala ọtụtụ ihe okpu kabon - 14 na-egosi na ọ peka mpe, ndị mmadu ebiwela n'ala Igbo site n'afo 100,000 tupu a mụo Jesu wee ruo afo 5,000 tupu a mụo Jesu. Ọ bu ezi okwu na ndị ọkaa na mmụta ka kaa-asụ ngongo n'ikwekorịta ma ndị (mmadụ) ahụ bi n'ala Igbo, n'oge ahụ, nke ka nke, n'Ugwuele - ma ha bụ ndị Igbo ma ọ bụ ee. Ma otu ihe di n'enweghị mgbagha bụ ebe Ugwele di taa. Ọ bụ n'ala Igbo. Mana ka m jụkwaa o, mmadụ ole na ndị nọ ugbu a, na-ege m nti ma ihe ndị a m na-arụtụ aka maka Ugwele n'akụkoala ndị Igbo? Ihe a abụghị akuko mbe na ajambene. Ihe a bụ ọkpụtọrọọkpụ okwu nwere njirimara ya.
N'ezie ọ bụrụ na ọ bụ ndị mba ndị ọzọ nwere Ugwuele n'akụkoala ha, ha ga-egi ikòrò na ògele na ngwa ndị di ugbu a, e ji ezisa ozi na redio n televishọn, na opike na ederede dịgasị iche na-ekwu maka ya, na-ako maka ya, na-ama njakịrị, na na-agba oke ogbondu na egbe onụ maka ya. Ma na-agwa ndị mmadụ, ndị mba ọzọ n'ụwa niile: bịa lerenụ, bịa hụrụnụ, bịanụ kilibenu. A ga-ewu oke ụlọ ọkpụ e ji ọla edo chọọ mma, ka ọ ga-abụ oge onye - na ndị - chọrọ, na ka onye ahụ-na ndị ahụ siri chọọ, ha bịa, a sị ha:
Ihe kara mere n'ekobe
Ihe ndị ọkpụ mere n'akụkọ
Kà Ị mà nke à
Ị mà nke ọzọ ụ
Kà Ị sị na Ị ma nke a
Ị mà ñke ọzọ
Ị nụbela maka Thurstan S na Maịk Angulu Ọnwụejeọgwụ na Frank Anọzie na Lawal. Ọ
kweghị Lawal na ndị ogbo ya na di ọdịka ya ghọta ma ọ bụ chemie na oze di n'ọkpụtorọọkpụ ngwongwo na ngwoloko ndị ahụ e gwupụtara na Nri tọrọ nke oma,
oze nke ahụ e gwupụtara n’Ife na n'ala Idụu - n'usoro e jiri meputa ya. Azi
gbakwaa, otoro gbakwaa ndị kwuru na ndị dere na ndị hụrụ ihe a! Tufiakwa! Kabon-14 aruola
ala! Gini ka nsị na-achọ n'agba? Nwata (ya bụ ndị Igbo) ọ
na-ebu nna ya ụzọ amụta ọkpara? Nwata ọ na-egosi nna ya oke ala! Ma ọ
Lawal, ma ọ masịghị ya, ndị maara maka ola dịgasị iche iche, na-ekwu ma na-akowa na
oze nke e'gwupụtara na Nri bụ ezigbote oze e jiri kọpa, tiin na leedi gwọọ. Mana oze nke e gwupụtara n'Ife na
Ka Maịk Angulu Ọnwụejeọgwụ na Lawal nọsịrị na-eme ndọrọndọrọ a, na-agba egbe onụ na egbe ederede a mmadụ ole n’ogbakọ a, mara maka ya, gụrụ maka ya nụrụ maka ya? Ọ bụghị atụmatụ ọzọ n'Igbo oxide! Ezechitaoke, Olisabuluụwa na Chi Okike kenyere anyi Ugwuele, na Nri na Nsụka na Ehugbo n'ala Igbo na ọkpụtụrụọkpụ ihe ọkpụ, n'akụko anyi. Ozọkwa, ihe gbasara anyi agbasaghị anyi. Olee uru Ugwuele baara anyi n'oge ugbu a, n’ụwa taa? Ka ọ bu Ehugbo ma ọ bụ Nri Oreri, Aguleri na Nsuka? Ugbu a, uwa niile na-ekwu maka w.w.w. ma ọ bụ: sayensi @niile.yahoo.com.
Mana ndị Igbo, ha bụ yahoo! Lee ihe J.C. Obienyem dere maka 'Akwa Ala Igbo Na-Ebe'
A zụrụ unù n'isụ ọhịa
Ma unù nọrọ na-èlè m anya ọcha
Ụmụ m, oleè ihe m mere unu?
Amamihe unù na-anyụ osụ
Unù jiri ha ètere ni ọzọ ofè
Mgbè unu hapụrù m n'ida ajo ọhịa
Ndị m, oleè ihe mere unu?
J.C. Obienyem Akpa Uche 1975:66-7
Ihe niile anyị nwere n'ụwa à
Ònye nyèrè ànyị ha
Chi nyere anyị o
Chi nyere anyị o
Mba niile Igbo nwere n'ụwa à
Asụsụ niile e nwere n'ụwa a
Olu niile e nwere n'Igbo
ASỤSỤ IGBO: OLUMBA NA IGBO IZUGBE
O wee bụlụ ma okwu. Ogbu a, inu m, na okwu m na akụko m enukwasala asụsụ Igbo. Asụsụ Igbo na olumba ndị dịgasi na ya adịrịla adịrị asụrụla asụrụ, n'oge ọkpụ, tupu Bekee na Ụka abịa n'Ala Igbo. Site n'Ugwu wee ruo na Ndịda n'Ala Igbo, site n'Ọwụwa Anyanwụ wee ruo n'Odida Anyanwụ n'Ala Igbo, mba ọ bụla nwere olu ha na-asụ e jiri mara ha. Anyi ekwuola ya na Ala Igbo bụ obosara ala gbanyere ụkwụ na steeti isii, dị ka Naịjirịa sịri dịrị ugbu a.
Ndị a bụ: Anịọma (na
Mkpụrụụda asụsụ, na mkpọpụta nke ọ bụla
Mkpọpụta ụdaasụsụ - ngowire, ndebeolu, ọdịdị olu, olu nka, n'abụ na n'ukwe
Mkpụrụasụsụ na mkpụrụkwu
Mkpọkpụta mkpụrụsasụsụ na mkpụrụokwu
Mkpọnuume, mkpọnaakpo, mkpọna egbagbere
Nkebiokwu, nkebiahịrị, ahịrịokwu na ndịnaya
Nnyemaka ngwaa, mmejupụta ha na mpụtara ha
Ndị Igbo niile maara nke a, ofụma ofụma, kpatara ha ji ebee otu akpata onụ na:
Mba na-achi n'olu, n'olu
Ma ha kwaa ụkwara
Ya adaa kwa kwa kwa
Ilu a bụ mmanwụ tiri onwe ya. N'ihi na achọghị m ka ego e jiri lụo nne m laa ọkpọrọ, agaghị m agbali ikowa ya. Mana n'ihi na nne m azụchaala ahịa nke ya soro igwurube laa mmụo, ka m gbalịa zipụta ụmi ilu a. Ihe ọ na-ekwu bụ na e gemizie nti na rịịị na tịịị dị n’olumba gasị anyị were anya ahụ e ji ahụ nsị osa, na ntị ahụ e ji anụ ikiri ụkwụ esu, anyị ga-ahụ ma nụ otụtụ ndịiche, site n’otu ebe gaa n’ebe ọzọ n’olumba ndị Igbo. Mana anyị bịa n’ihe ndị ahụ asụsụ jiri bụrụ otu njirimara ndị, na omenaala ha, olu na ibe ya bụ otu, site na nghọta na mpụtara dị n’iminiimi ha, na n’ọkpụ ndịrị ha – na mpụtara na nghọta ha.
Asụsụ Igbo nwere otụtụ olumba. E nwebeghị ike imatacha olumba ole di n'asụsụ Igbo. Otu ihe anyị maara bụ na ọ karịrị steeti ole a na-asụ Igbo ka asụsụ mbụ, maka ụfọdụ ma ọ bụ niile, na ha. Otu ihe ọzọ anyị maara bụ na olumba ndị a erughị ka komuniti ndị nweere onwe ha, na goomenti ndị di ugbu a n'Ala Igbo, na-ekewapụta aghara aghara. Otu ihe ọzọ anyị maara bụ na e nwere otu olumba, oge, ndị mmadụ na adimkpa nyeela ndị Igbo. Ọ bụ nke a ka a na-akpọ Igbo Izugbe. Asụsụ di ka Igbo, a na-asụ n'obosora ala di dika Ala Igbo, asụsụ nwerela abidii ya oke mgbe, asụsụ nwerela otụtụ ederede na ya, asụsụ so asụsụ abụo ndị ọzọ bụrụ asụsụ Ala Naịjirịa, a na-akụzi site n'otaakara wee ruo yunivasiti dị ka A1 na A2, asụsụ a na-asụ na redio na televishon, were ya na-eme otụtụ ihe ndị digasị iche iche, asụsụ bụ na ndị na-asụ ya ruru 20m ma ọ peka mpe. Asusu di etu a kwesiri inwe Izugbe abuo - nke osusu na nke odide. Izugbe Osụsụ na Izugbe Odide abụghị ebiri. Nke osụsụ tọrọ nke odide. Izugbe asụsụ Igbo malitere kemgbe ndị Igbo si na mba digasị iche bidoro nwewe mmekorịta n'ọgbako, n'azụmahịa, n'ụlo ụka, n'ama egwuregwu, n'ụlo akwụkwọ, n'egemnti na mkpịrịta ụka na ejije na ihe ndị ọzọ a na-eme na redio na televishon. Izugbe Odide malitere kemgbe ndị ụka Siemesi tinyere anya n 'asụsụ Igbo imepụta na ikpụpụta otu olu Igbo ga-abụ ozuruigbo niile onụ. Na mbụ na mbụ ndị Siemesi wubere Isuama site na mgbali. Schon, na Saro.' Mana ka Schon garuru Abo sụo Isuama n'enwegbhi onye ghọtara ya ka ọ kpụpụta na akamere anaghị adi n'asụsụ. Achịdikịn Denis ewee gbalịa chopụta Yunion Igbo ka ọ bụrụ Igbo Izugbe. Nke ahụ kụkwara afo n'ala. Ida Ward ewee haziwe Central Igbo, etu Welmers na Welmers siri hazie Compromise Igbo. Na ndị a niile ọ dighị nke a nabatara ka ọ bụrụ Igbo Izugbe. Ma ka agha Bịafra biri, n'afo 1970, Otu Iwelite Asụsụ na Omenaala Igbo bidoziri haziwe Igbo Izugbe nke e jizi ede ederede Igbo ugbu a. Na mkpọkọta okwu m, ọ kwesịrị ka anyị mata na Isuama, Yunion, Central na Compromise Igbo jikọrọ aka mee ka mpupụta na nhazi Igbo Izugbe na-aga were were. Ọ bụ naani Igbo Izugbe a nwere ọkaasụsụ Igbo. Ọ bụ nke a bụ otu oke ndịiche di n'etiti olumba ndị ọzọ e nwere n'asụsụ Igbo na Igbo Izugbe.
Sọọ nwata ụ nọ n'ikpele mmili
Kwe m eke Ekene Oma
O ma Oma na udo
Údo Ùdo obele
O bele Obele nza
Nza Nza atụle
Atụle Atụle òbò
O bo Obo n'ụgbo
Ụ gbo Ụgbo n'amì
Amì Amị gololịo
Osikapa Joloof O nà-àsonashị kombiìfu
Ladies and Gentlemen,
THE IGBO OF INNOCENCE
THE ESSENCES IN IGBO CIVILIZATION
In the age of innocence the indịgenous, native and original Igbo were simple child-like, hardworking, imbibing from their elders who were steeped in essence, in the lores and mores of Igbo culture and civilization. As the young Igbo grew up they were exposed to and imbibed four crucial 'cults' (but without the pejorative senses of today).
Essential in his inculturation programme, the Igbo amika and ntoroobia, were taught to recognize the Alusi or supernatural being forces for what they were. Even though they could have the features of men, the Alusi were neither living human beings (mmadu) nor dead human beings (mmuo). In the age of innocence, the Igbo, whatever was their location in Igboland, shared an identical conception of the Cosmos. To them the universe was divided into four complementary departments:
Ùwà, Mmuo, Alusi and Okike. Uwa (-wa break open; split open, be cracked) in the world of the senses is seen in Igwe (the heavens or firmament) and Ala (the earth) Uwa is inhabited by Mmadu (living human beings), Mmuo (dead ancestors who, as ndịichie, the canonized ones, can re-incarnate, or as Akalaogoli can't re-incarnate, or Ekwensu, mischievious spirits, and Agwu, the maverick ambivalent trickster spirit which through divination, Afa, reveals to human beings the complex nature of the cosmic relationships in the Igbo world. Very close to but distant from Uwa ndị Igbo, is Chi Ukwu (Chukwu), the Great Chi (God), Chi Okike = Chinaeke (the Creator), Olisabuuwa (the God that carries the world). In the pristine world of their bucolic innocence, the Igbo revered Chukwu (God), the Great Enigma, Amaamaamasịghịamasị (The-known-and-not-so-known). Ọnọnsomateeaka (One-that-is-near-but-still-far). The innocent Igbo venerated Chiokike because:
In the philosophy of Igbo knowledge
In the age of innocence the rural Igbo had very great respect for Ndu (life) because it comes from God. It is greater than money or wealth. It cannot be foundered by blacksmith. All things are only useful if they have life.
In the age of pre-innocence, God allowed Death to be in order to checkmate Man. There are many versions of the aetiology of death in Igbo cosmology. The race to deliver the message of life and death from God to man by the Dog and the Tortoise exists in Igbo folklore. God had to bring death to the world so that:
Onye lote ọnwụ
O mea nwayọọ
In the age of innocence the Igbo respected age and the elders almost to the point of reverence because:
Nwatà kwụlụ ọtọ ọ má-afụ yá
A hụ, e kwughị nà-ègbu okènyè
E kwuo, a nụghị nà-ègbu nwatà
In their ranking of professions or attributes, the igbo of innocence ranked brain over brawn:
Kalịa aya gà-èli ọtụ ilòlò
Ya lia dike
Thus the strategic thinker, the philosopher, a bundle of brains is preferred to the warrior, the military strategist, the man of strength. For, whereas the latter is replaceable and dispensable, the former is not replaceable, and is indịspensable. Tied to the virture of thinking and geometric reasoning is the indgenous Igbo ranking of amamihe (absolute wisdom) amamizu (absolute wisdom) over:
Àkọ 'smartness, ‘wit’ as in Nwa Ebule Ako
Uchè ‘commonsense’ (without real wisdom)
Àkọ nà uchè ‘wisdom’
If the above analysis is correct, what then do these mean?
Àkọ bụ ndụ
Uchè bụ ndụ
Uchè bụ afa
Uchè bụ àkpà
The autochthonous Igbo of innocence prized material possessions but would not make a fetish of them because material possessions come from God.
In the light of the above what is?
Àkụ ụba àkụ nà ụbà
Possessions possessions of assets wealth
· Eluluù (animal resources)
· Akụmakụ (forest resources)
· Ndịinyom (wives)
· Ụmụ (children)
· Ohù (slaves)
In terms of wealth, the Igbo of innocence were concerned more with the creation and acquisition of wealth - than with the spinning of money. The image of the King in Every man which the Ikenga and the Ụkwu na Ije cults seem to portray, is only partially correct. Adventure and success are not only carried out and achieved in society, they are measured against other people in and the virtues society. Persuasive eloquence, rhetoric and oratory associated with the Uhu-cult are society-determined. So, too, is commandịng personality and influence of the Iru-cult, society-driven. The Igbo of innocence was a community dweller and a team worker.
For while he knew that:
1. Onye ya na chi ya kwụ
O dighị ihe ga-eme ya
2. Onye kwe, chi ya ekwe
He also knew and believed that:
1. Mmadụ bụ chi ibe ya
2. Ịhà mè ịha me ịhà
3. Ọgọ bụ chi ogbenye
4. Ofu onye adị-abụ ebò
5. Ofu aka adị-eke ngwugwu
6. Ofu onye adị-ebu ozu enyì
7. Ofu onye adịghị mma n'ije
8. Otu mkpịsị aka rụta mmanụ
Ya eruo ndị ọzọ
9. Ihe kwụrụ
Ihe akwụdebe ya
10. Onye maani ya kwụ
Odudu atagbuo ya
11. Ọkọ kọba mmadụ
O gaa kwụde mmadụ ibe ya
Ka ọ kọọ ya;
kọba anụ ọhịa
O gaa n'ahụ osisi
12. Otu onye lie onwe ya
AKA ya ga-apụtarịrị
13. Nwata nwe ọkpà
Mana n'ezi okenye
Ka ọ na-akwa
14. Onye fee ezè,
Ezè eruo ya
15. Ọhà nwè tutuu
Tutuu nwè ọhà
16. Aka nri kwọọ aka ekpe
AKA ekpe akwọọ aka nri
All the above proverbs emphaize the complementry roles of indịviduals with indịviduals - inhuman society. So, too, does the aetiological anecdote about why 'Fowls go in twos - because the thing that kills fowls (hawks) come from above. If one fowl sees the enemy first, it alerts the others. So too do personal names like:
emphasize complementation, reciprocity and group plidarity.
What I have been saying so far suggests complementation rather than polarity, inclusivism rather than exclusivism, and holism rather than indvidualism. Too much: exists in the political, sociological and cultural literature about the Igbo being an extreme indịvidualist, a lone ranger (= I-go-before-others). I would not, however, like my audience to go away with the impression that the Igbo society of innocence and the Igbo people of innocence did not have their fair share of mavericks, madmen and deviants. They had. But they believed these were the exceptions that give vibrancy and relevance to the rules.
Some people among the Igoo of innocence did do what they were not expected to do. The ten, universal commandments were broken. There was incest. There was adultery, fornication and abortion. For the Igbo language has words for these. People ate animals, fishes and fruits they were forbidden to eat. People went to other people's farms and removed yams and cocoyams from their farms and barns. But there were sanctions for those caught in the act. There were public confessions, executions, and suicides for those who offended grieviously against ala. For:
A rịàghị àrịà ànwụ
For those who confessed their transgressions, there was forgiveness. For:
The Igbo of innocence lived in and operate within his umunna, at the three levels of partilinage: minimal, major and maximal. He also lived and operated within the Ikwunne or Nnamochie - the matrilinage. At the widest level, he operated within a village. Beyound that, he went into an mba - another or foreign land adjacent to his and with which it had all sorts of alliances and relationships. Even in some of the known (Igbo) kingdoms the king, even where there was a primogeniture, was treated as a President-for- as long as he proved himself people-centred, democratic and republican - and his people were satisfied with his reign not rule. For:
Ọhà nwè ezè
Èzè nwe Ọhà
In conclusion, the Igbo of innocence loved and coveted wisdom and applied it to all he thought, said and did. For him Chukwu himself created wisdom and so all true wisdom came from Chukwu. This true wisdom is not just one of intellect, derivable from facts but a passion for truth. The young garnered it from counsel, instruction and observation from the elders and the wise, through informal traditional education whose unwritten texts were the folktales and other narratives the proverbs, anecdotes, tongue twisters, riddles, songs and poems of all descriptions and genres, feasts and festivals. Whether as technical knowledge, or hypostratic knowledge, true knowledge as against spurious wisdom is what kept the Igbo going in their arcadian innocence.
THE BACKGROUND TO EXPERIENCE
Mutual trans umunna, trans ogo, trans mbam, trans mba contacts,
with other sub-cultural Igbo groups within Ala Igbo. This was one factor.
Mutual trans Igbo culture contacts with their non-Igbo neighbours (
THE IGBO OF EXPERIENCE
According to Onwuejeogwu (1987)
exprience intergrated the theatre of Igbo civilization into what is today
Aju e ji èbu ezè dọ nà ngwùrù niile
Di n'ime Olu nà Igbo
Ebe m nwèrè òkpu mmèe mmèe
Jide ija nà ñkù akpukpọ
Ezè, ọ fọrọ ihe ọzọ
Àjàdu nà-akpọ isi àlà, ọ na-akpọrọ onwe ya
Ebe ọ bu ego bu igidigi oju eze
Ego tụa ahụ, eze adawaa!
Ma eze naịrà, ọ bụ eze gini?
Eze ụra atụ na eze nkwōro
E gbue ebi naabo, e zoo otu
Okwu sie ike, ndị uwe ojii na
Bikonụ, eze naịrà, ọ bụ eze gini?
Nolue Emenanjo (ed.) Ụtara Nti pp. 63-4.
Put in the most simplistic language the combination of all the agencies and forces of the post-innocence era resulted in the emergence of men without shape, women without ears, shapes without forms, hollow men without backs; for whom all things are not where they are supposed to be, the spirtus mundị was ambivalence, the zeitgeist; snakes swallowing snakes. Ebe niile abụrụ mmadụ mmadụ, mana mmadụ akoo. Ụkwụ eju ala, mana ije adighị. N'ezie, ọkụkọ agbasaala okpesi. Ndị nọ n'ala bidoziri dagbuwe ndị nọ n'elu. Akwụ wee chaa n’ọdụ igù. Ịkwighịikwighị efebezie n'ehihie. Eỳi n'ehihie. Ndị eze akarịa ndị ha na-achi. Ya abụrụ mpụ n'elu, mpụ n'ala. Enyi mbekwu na Uze ejuzịa n'ebe niile Nke bụzi na n'Abụja na n'Ajegunle, e nwezi eze ndị Igbo? Nke a, abụghị eze akhje! Ka ndị eze siri hie nne ka aha (otutu) ha siri na-eyi egwu ma dikwa egwu!
Ndị bụ na karịa ha ga-echepụta ma rụpụta ngwa ọhụrụ, ha alaa defence, rụo ngwa ahụ akpụrụka ma mepụta ajasa ya, adịgboroja ya, ijebu
ya! Nke a emezie ka n'Ala Igbo niile mana ọ karịrị n'Aba na Ụlụ diwazịa ka Lo Wu, oke obodo ahịa di na Shenzhen na
I will now end my observations and impressions about the Igbo experience with this poem, (a little adapted) from an anonymous hand. It's title:
(THE) NOTHING PEOPLE
They do not lie.
They just neglect to tell the truth.
They do not take,
They simply cannot bring themselves to give.
They do not steal,
They will not rock the boat,
But did you ever see them pull an oar?
They will not pull you .down,
They'll simply let you pull them up,
And let you pull them down.
They will not hurt you,
They merely will not help you.
They do not hate you,
They merely cannot love you.
They will not burn you,
They'll only fiddle while you burn.
They are the nothing people,
The sins-of-omission folk,
And, therefore, worse.
The good, at least, keep busy, trying,
And the bad try jut as hard.
Both have that character,
That comes from caring, action and conviction.
The honest sinner with God and Satan.
They know the price of everything,
But do not know the value of anything
They scream about national character.
But, given the chance,
They live and practise family character.
Or sell out their own quota and the character
Or scatter everything, like the fowl
Scatter and scatter lest another eat!
Enye m i ọkwụlụ inyom inyom inyo! ọkwụlụ Inyom
Enye m i ọkwụlụ inyom inyom inyo! ọkwụlụ Inyom
Enye m i ọkwụlụ inyom inyom inyo! ọkwụlụ Inyom
Okwụlụ àkpàjili inyom inyom inyo! ọkwụlụ Inyom
Asụsụ neafụ o inyom inyom inyo! ọkwụlụ Inyom
THE IGBO LANGUAGE OF EXPERIENCE
Ndị gboo kpara ụka n'asụsụ a
Ha kọrọ akịkọ ọchị, daa kwàkwàkwà;
Iwe hà pụtàrà n'okwu zuru òke;
Ha gbàrà ìzù, ghọta ònwe hà n'Ìgbò
Ha bụrụ Mbe n'echìche okwu Ìgbò
Ha bụrụ Ndùrì bụkwa nwa Ọkịrị
Ha zara ọkwà nka, zaakwa ọchị agha
A kpọrọ ha mà ọkà okwù mà ọkà alò
N'ọnụ na nghọta, ha nọrọ bụrụ Ìgbò
J. C. Obienyem, 'Mbo m Na-Agba' Akpa Uche p. 69.
The Igbo language of innocence was, as should be expected, a closed circuit phenomenon. Each person spoke his dialect (D1) in his umunna, his ogo, his onumara, his mbam - essentially and unrepentantly, undịluted. The smiths who produced the Igbo-Ukwu bronzes must have spoken an undịluted Aguukwu-oeri D1. So too the axe makers at the foundries at Ugwuele, an Okigwe D1. And the salt makers of Uburu, and undịluted Ehugbo D1. What did the Nri aka nshi speak when they went on their religious njem across those parts of Igboland within the Nri hegemony? At the axe foundries of Ugwuele what language did the master axe makers, their patrons and their clients speak? When the Aro went on their exploits beyond Ibiniukpabi, and, for Ibiniukpabi, how did they communicate along their routes? What language was used by the Ekumeeku Warriors who were drawn from all parts of Aniomaland? At the salt markets in Uburu and the horse markets at Nsukka, how did the buyers and sellers communicate? My haunch (given today's experience) is that Igbo-speaking people who left for other Igbo-speaking mba modified their D1 - or learnt and used the more prestigious D1, for purposes of intra-group communication. Let it be emphazised that inspite of the political independence of the mba, there were many forms of formal and informal contacts and for inter-dependence between various Igbo-speakingpeople before the dawn of experience: trade, marriages, fairs, festivals, feasts, and even wars. These were veritable avenues for mutual exposure to different lects, varieties, jargons, sound systems, syntactic structures, lexical elements and semantic systems in the Igbolanguage.
With experience came greater mobility within ahd beyond Igboland, as the Igbo and their land now had greater contacts with other peoples, other cultures and other languages. The nascent Spoken Standard Igbo began to grow and grow in its lexical inventory, especially, in the names of plants, animals, geographical features and phenomena alien to Igbo culture. Words like osikapa, otanjele, jakị, dawa, akamu, alakwuba, agidi akpoto, elele, munchi from Ugwu Awusa, ụrooshi, ichafo, abada, panya, from European Languages via the Coast; oloma, agboro, wayo, ashawo, jedijedi from yorubaland; Iduu, iyase, Agwuele, from Edoland; banga, bonga, ogogoro, agogo from the Niger Delta, mmom, abasị afaniko, Ibibi from Ibibio-Efikland. Just as new words were coming in and being domesticated to the realities and imperatives of the Igbo sound and lexical systems, so too, new tales, proverbs, and anecdotes were being welcomed and added to the repertoire of Igbo folkore, poems and songs. Collectors of unwritten Ibo literature are used to choruses, non-ideophonic words, phrases and sentences which they often treat as either 'archaisms', 'nonsense words or 'obscurities'. These so-called archaisms and nonsense words may well be from languages which are either siblings of the igbo language or 'live' languages spoken by non-Igbo neighbours of the igbo or others who have come in contact with the Igbo. As for the 'obscurities', those references which may now look opaque may well be references to phenomena in cultures and literatures which are neighbours to th igbo. Among the Anioma, for example, references to Ala Iduu are copuous. And characters like Giant Alakwukwu, an Agwuala (i.e. Giant), Gbanwula Asigie, Ogiso and Ezechime, feature robustly in their folklore and oral histories. These and many more features of the language contacts between Igbo and the languages of their neighbours are begging for urgent studies.
IGU AKWUKWO NA IGU EGO
Onye ọ bụla chọrọ iga n'ihu, ndị ọ bụla chọrọ iga n'ihu, ezi na ụlọ ọ bụla, ụmụnna ọ bụla, ebe ọ bụla, ogo ọ bụla, uhe ọ bụla, mba ọ bụla, obdo ọ bụla, n'ezie, agbụrụ ọ bụla chọrọ iga n'ihu ga-ebu ụzọ gwọọ ọgwụ mmadụ tupu ya agwọọ ọgwụ ego. Maka na mmadụ bụ mma di na ndụ na n'elu ụwa a. Leekwa aha ndị a ndị Igbo na-aza:
Ị gwọ ọgwụ mmadụ apụtaghị iga na dibịa. Ọ bụ iga akwụkwọ gaa nweta mmụta na mmụba si n'akwụkwọ. Ọ bụ ima akwụkwọ wetara ka mmadụ ghara iko mmadụ ibe ya ma ọ bụ mba ya. Ọ bụ ụko mmadụ kpatara mmadụ ga-eji eju, a ka na-achọ mmadụ. Iga akwụkwọ bụ isi dọkpụ nti n'etiti ndị na na mmepe obodo na agbụrụ. Ọ bụ ezie na:
Akwụkwọ nà-àtọ ụtọ
Ọ nà-àra ahụ na mmụta
Mà onye nwere ntasi obì
O ga-amuta akwukwo
Ịga ezi akwụkwọ na-eweta mmụta na mmata. Ndị a na-eweta amanihe na amamizu. Ịga akwụkwọ na-enye mmadụ orụ aka na aka orụ. Ịga akwụkwọ na-achụ ma na-egbochi
Ịga akwụkwọ na-akụzi nka ndị dị ịche iche
Ịga akwụkwọ na-enye mmadụ ike na ikike karịrị akarị n'ih ndị a:
(a) mmata na mmụta maka
(b) nka dịgasị iche iche maka:
(gb) Mmaraonwe y.b. mmadụ imara onwe ya site n’ijụ ma ichọpụtasị oziza ajụjụ ndị a:
(c) ngwa ndị na-ezipụta na mmadụ adịrịla ezigbo niikere maka ibi nke oma n’ụwa nke ubu a:
(d) mmadụ ihụ onwe ya n’ụzo zịri ezi na n’emume kwụrụ oto. Nke a ga-enyere mmadụ aka ikwusị ike na:
Ịga akwụkwọ bụ oke ihe. Ọ na akụziri mmadụ nka ndị a bụ ọkachasị ibe ha:
(i) nka ntoala,
(ii) nka maka obibi ndu gbasara nzụlite onwe
(iii) nka enwemakaolụ maka
(iv) nka maka amụmihe ebighị ebi, agwụ agwụ
N'ezie, igụ akwụkwọ abụghị nnanị maka inweta asambodo e ji achọ ọlụ oyibo ma ọ bụ e ji agụwanye akwụkwọ. Ọ bụ maka izụ mmadụ, ahụ mmadụ dum, obodo niile na agbụrụ niile ka mmepe na ọganiihu wee jupụta n'echiche na n'echemeche ndị mmadụ na mba ha.
O bụ maka ịzụ anu ahụ mmadụ na nke ime mmụo ya. Ọ bụ maka ịzụ anya onye ka ọ na-aru ma ọ bụ rụkarịa olụ dịịrị ya. Ka mmadụ wee nwee ike leruo ihe anya iji hụ nsi osa na iji mara anya nke e lere ele na nke a rọrọ arọ. Ọ bụ maka ịzụ echiche ndị mmadu ka ha wee mata na tutuu nwe ọhà, mana ọhà nwekwa tutuu; na ofe na-atọ ka ọkwụrụ ma n'agbaghị mkpụrụ ka ọkwụrụ abụghị ofe ọkwụrụ. Ịga akwukwọ na-azụ imi mmadụ ka ọ nwee ike iminyere imi na mmiri ịchọpụta ebe ndị mmụo si abata n'elu ụwa. Ịgụ akwụkwọ na-azụ ire mmad ka ọ dị ire, nti mmadụ ka ọ wee nwe ike mata myiri na ndịiche dị n'etiti egbe na egbe. Ọ bụrụ na iga akwụkwọ bụchasịrị ihe ndị a niile anyị kwuputarala, ọ bụ gini bụ mbunuuche ndị a na asị na:
Unù na-àgu akwụkwọ,
Anyi àna-àgu egō,
Fa ncha bụ
Onye na-asị na igụ akwụkwọ na igụ ego bu otu ihe na-agwa ụwa niile na ọ maghị asụsụ Igbo ma ncha. Isi ngwaa a bụ – gụ dị n’ịgụ
akwụkwọ na igụ
onụ (ego) abụghị otu n'ụtoasụsụ Igbo, na na nghọta ha. Akwụkwọ enweghị onụ ma ọ nọmba: A naghị agụ ya ka e si agu ego nwere onụ na nọmba. Ka ị sị na ị ma nke a, I mazigo nke ọzọ
ahụ? Ya bụ, onye sị na ịgụ akwụkwọ na ịgụ ego bụ otu, ihe ọ na-agwa uwa niile bụ na ọ bụ iti, iti bolibo, okpe, mumu, ewu
Nupe! Ọ na-agwa uwa niile na ọ maghị na amaghị akwụkwọ, amaghị agụ na amaghị
Ebe ndị ọzọ na-ekwu maka yunion – European Union, Africa Union – ọ ka na-ekwe maka Ọtọnọmọs komuniti. N’ebe ndị ọzọ n’ụwa ugbu a nnukwute kompịnị ole na ole na-ejikozị aka abụrụ otu agadaga kompịnị, ọ ka na-ekwu maka kompịnị nke ya na ụmụ ya nwoke naanị. Ịhe ụwa ugbuluaka a, abụkwaghị nwa Arọ iche, mkpọọla iche, nwa ọhụhụ/isoma ichie; amaala iche, nwaofo iche. Ọ bụ aka weta, aka weta, onụ eju. Ọ bụ a gbakọọ nwa mmiri ọnụ, ọ gbaa ụfụfụ. Ọ bụ ihe kwụrụ, otụtụ ihe ndị ọzọ akwụnyere ya. Ọ bụ ony aghala nwanne ya. Ịgwebụike. Onye naanị ya kwụzi ugbu a, odudu emee ya otụtụ ihe! Onye na-agaghị akwụkwọ agaghị aghọta izụ a, ugbu a. Onye na-amaghị akwụkwọ ọ nwere ike nwee otu agadaga ụlo, ma ọ dịghị ụzo e sị aga ya. N’ime onụ olụ ọ bụla dị n’ụlo ya, e nwere televịshọn (na Akwụkwọ Nsọ) Mana ọ dịghị nkọwaọkwu ọ bụla n’ụlo ahụ niile. N’oge ugbu a, olee eve onye, na ndị dị etu a, ji azụ aga? Ọkpaakụerieri. Mmirịnaezonaọkọchị. Ibe ya jiri ugbo elu na-aga njem, ọ were moto abalị ebe ọ ga-anọ n’obere oche! Ọ were bụrụ ụka bụrụ ilulu.
IGBO OR IGBOID
Mba na-achị n’olu n'olu
Ma na-asụ n’olu n’olu
Mana ha kwaa ụkwara
O daa kwa kwa kwa
O daa n'olu olu
Time was when it was fashionable to be Igbo. It was then a mark of achievement to know and speak Igbo, with pride and gusto especially among the neighbours of the Igbo. Northcote Thomas recorded in 1914 that during those times it was nothing strange beyond the Nsukka frontier to find ‘a knowledge of Igbo extendịng fully one day’s match into Igara country but no correspondịng knowledge of Igara on the Ibo side of the frontier.’ The Ovie of Abraka paid tribute and received recognition from the Obi of Abo. Igbo ritualists, smiths and traders from the Igbo heartland were not strangers in Isokoland, Ogoniland and Ijoland. Just as Igala, Nupe and Idoma traders were common sights in Ohambele in Ndokiland. On the southern flank at least in the Niger Delta, at that time, and up to fairly recently, it was fashionable and a mark of achievement to be born of an Igbo mother. For the belief was that:
Onye nne ya na-abughị onye Igbo
O naghị aba n'ihe
CHIAKPII CHIAKPII wọọọ
CHIAKPII CHIAKPII wọọọ
Once upon a time Timer
Once upon a time and it was a very
long time ago, the Igbo, the Yoruba the Edo among many others of their present
day neighbours, spoke one very big language. Then some 6000 years ago, so say
some historians of language, the Igbo, the Yoruba and the
And all these came to pass. Then came the Europeans as traders, missionaries and colonial administrators. And Igboland was conouered by force. And sacred Igbo institutions, icons and their language got into a terrible bind. And the English Language was subtlely introduced and imposed through the Education Codes and Ordinances, grants-in-aid to Schools, and the missionary activities of the Catholics, especially during the Sanahan and post-Sanahan eras. The massive bombardment of all these on the Igbo psyche led some of them to the point of believing that 'the native' was a bushman who continued to use his language. The new elite - the Igbo kotuma otue ntu, the interpretes, the cashiers and the non-Igbo colonial administl.ators carried out all their transactions in English, not Igbo. Then came the 'great' Igbo Orthography Question - that big ferocious storm in a tea Cl.lP perpetrated, fuelled and confounded by the CMS and the RCM over the writing of just a few letters of the Igbo Alphabet. So, from 1929 - 1961, no serious creative literahlre was produced in the Igbo Language. Afigbo (1981), and Emenanjo (1974: 1993) among others, have said most of all there is to say about how the Igbo were used by the Igbo to underdevelop their language.
Then came the Nigeria-Biafra War. And
the Igbo were again conouered by force. And this came with a new type of
linguistic dilemma - the displacement of glossotomy
or languag unity, with glossogamy or language splitting. On the eve of the Biafran adventure, the Igbo
had a high profile in
One of our weak points as a people is that we do not know how to manage crises, adversity failure or misfortune. As an either... or people not a both...and people we cannot understand, let alone reconcile why, in Chinese, the symbol for crises and adversity is the same for challenge, prosperity, success, growth and development. As something likeu, a NothIng People when we charter a society association or group in the interest or service of our people we seem to make it our own, not allowing for new or other synergies and conglomerate action. Why is it that we have so many societies today' fighting' for Ndị Igbo'? Where is Otu Iwelite Asusu na Omenaala Igbo - The Society For Promoting Igbo Language and Culture? Why was Igbo Language Association never allowed to stand?
Okwu m chighaa. With the Fallen House
of Biafra, many Igbo-speaking peoples and groups started to say that they are
no longer Igbo. This has resulted in new myths of origin in certain
communities. If it is not
Ihe Ọkwa Ekwe Nà-Ekwu
Ma ọ bụ kwọrọ ụgbọ gaa onwa
Ma ọ bụ wuo ụlọ elù
Nke ọla edò gbùru egò
Mgbe unù eleghìghàrị Asụsụ na Òmenààlà unù anya
Ihe unù nà-eme agbasaghị m
Unù mara sụọ Frenchị ma ọ bụ dee Jaman
Ma ọ bụ gaa ụka na
Unù mara sọm mà ọ bụ mara anya ahịa
Mgbe asụsụ unù nà-àdachigha àzụ
Ihe unù nà-eme agbàsaghị m
J.C. Obienyem in Akpa Uche pp. 64-5.
Add that in the spelling practices, the Onwu Orthography and the conventions in use for Igbo since 1961 had to be re-written in all sorts of ways to de-Igbonize them. An agu can discredit its agutude. But it cannot disown it. Or wish it away. It cannot. Never ever!
THE IGBO LANGUAGE AND HUMAN COMMUNICATION
There is nothing new in the observation that there is a one-to-one relationship between language and culture, especially, among a people for who there has not been any language shift and language death. Nor is there any originality in the view that not everything in the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis was headed in the wrong direction. In spite of all that have happened to the Igbo people and their culture, their language has shown a great deal of resilience and vitality, moreso in the spoken medium. The ire-cult survives in the njakili phenomenon which has become a veritable source for word-smithery in the Igbo language. This is found especially among the agbero, mechanics, petty traders, members of the underworld, popular musicians, itinerant magicians, acrobats and vendors of all sorts of mechandịse including Christianity, pimps and prostitutes, and their fellow travellers. There now exist hundreds if not thousands of words, structures, proverbs, anecdotes, wellerisms, as well as slang, argots, and colloquialisms in the Igbo lexicon. It will not be out-of-place to hypothesize that all these may constitute a subculture language of its own, completely closed to outsiders. This language is full of Igbo words with new 'underground' meanings, Engligbo and X-Igbo, where X is any language in contact with Igbo.
If a new 'underground' language for which Igbo is the substratum currently co-exists with Igbo, this is simply because languag is essentially a medium for intra-group human communication in response to the many variables of its dynamic environments and needs. The Igbo language has always been a link and bridge between and among the people rather than a gulf or a gully. Over the 6000 years of its existence, the dialects of Igbo were always media for mutual understandịng through mutual intelligibility. How?
(i) Human communication, in the same language, but, in different dialects, is only possible among those who share genetically the same linguistic community and so 'feel they belong to the same language and believe they speak alike in all respects' (Martinet: 1967).
(ii) Igboland constitutes one culure area and, by the same token, one linguistic community: The Igbo linguistic communiiy is a very large one in terms of territory, terrains and population. A large culture area, of necessity, has sub-culture areas. In many respects, dialects are the linguistic equivalents of subcultures.
(iii) When people belong to the same culture area, speak the same language but use different dialects, they are more concerned with understandịng what is said rather than the way it is said. At their relaxed moments, they make fun of and laugh at the idiosyncracies of the different ways they all say the same thing. With time, these idiosyncratic ways begin to disappear and we have the emergence of a spoken standard. 'What disappears when the speakers of different dialects of the same language meet and speak, each speaking his own dialect are for th'e mot part those peculiarities which people first - or always notice - in others and are inclined to make fun of (Jespersen: 1946).'
(iv) Human language is essentially a cultural construct. It is a sociofact, a mentifact and a artifact fashioned by man for intra-group communication. It is a behaviour that is learned and used by all who believe they belong together in the same culture area.
spite of present-day differences in the surface structures of different Igbo
dialects, they share lots of common things in their underlying structures, from
sounds to meanings. Emenanjo' s (1981) comparative study of auxiliaries in the
grammar of Igbo reveals that there are correspondences between the various
dialectal elements used to express negation, tense and aspect across Igbo
dialects. These elements include auxiliaries, tones and tonal patterns which
are extraordinarily stable and systematic. Anagbogu's (1991) study of
nominalization, Uwalaka's (1983) study of verbal-nominal combinations,
Nwachukwu's (1975) study of noun phrase sentential complementation or Igwe's
(1974) study of afiixes in the grammar of Igbo, all these reveal unity in basic
structures but diversity in dialectal forms for which regular correspondences
are available across the dialects. Armstrong's (1967) Comparative Word Lists of Five Igbo Dialects reveals 'one striking
unifying factor which is obvious from these lists. There is an extraordinary
stability of tone through the whole range of dialects studied. Igbos who speak
or understand other dialects than their own are relying to a very great extent
on tone. Tones are one of the principal means to mutual intelligibility of
dialects.' Tones are also basic if not precondịtions for the mutual
'modification' or 'accommodation' of dialectal forms, when 'unsophisticated,
rural', 'traveled' and 'intelligent' Igbo people meet and have to communicate
in Igbo. These were the first-hand field experiences and findịngs of
foreigners like Westermann (1929), Ward (1935; 1941) and Green (1936)
concerning how and why the Igbo handle the issue of one language, many
dialects. But the significant thing about their findịng for us now is
this - they all predate the application of lexicostalistics to the study of the
Igbo language. They all predate the introduction of glossogamy into Igbo
studies. They all were carried out at a time when the Igbo had not become a
(vi) Human language is essential to human
communication. But human communication involves much more than speech sounds
arranged in a structured systems of words, phrases and meanings. It is a
complex and intangible phenomenon that is linked to and associated with many
variables which unclude physical well being, one's definition and
identification of self and group, socia1 needs, the nature of direct and indịret
experiences within and beyond self and group. It involves dialogue and is thus
bidirectional, context-sensitive, culture-driven, simultancous, relatively
unstructured, with an interdependence of participants requiring explicit and
immediate feedback. Human communications only meaningful in communication
contexts in which all the interlocutors who may be two, many or a mass, may be
in private or in public. It may be intra-cultural or extra-cultural. So crucial
and critical is human communication to the definition of man-in-society that
the normal literate person is believed to spend some 70% of his working hours
daily communicating. And so central is human: communication to human understandịng
and intra-, and extra group cohesion that words alone are not and cannot be the
only carriers of meaning, in a speech act. This is what is called 'The
Container Fallacy' (Haney: 1986). Human communication through speech is
conveyed by verbal and none-verbal cues. Non-verbal cues include spatial,
temporal, visual and body movements. It is estimated that well over 700,000
possible signs can be transmitted via body movements in the form of eye
movements, facial expressions, body mannerisms that accompany speech acts,
dresses and costumes, hand gestures, voice cues: volume, loudness, timbre,
pitch - among other features of paralanguage. Verbal and non-verbal
communication are mutually complementary and mutually reinforce, replace or
even contradict each other and one another. Whereas non-verbal cues are known
to convey messages that are prmarily relational or emotional, the verbal ones
convey messages that are lexical - and lingual. For relational., emotional and
lexical communication to effectively take place, the participants must belong
to the same speech community, speak the same language, dialects notwithstandịng,
enjoy robust and warm relationships which filter all the interference and noise
which are associated with mistrust, anger or confusion; the impenetrable
barriers to mutual understandịng, desired feedback, misconception,
distortion, improved relationships and action. When all these condịtions
are met, the input will produce the desired output, and the receiver's meaning
will be equal to the sender's meaning. When all these condịtions are met
it is then, and only then, that real communication takes place. In terms of
verbal communication per se, of the four crucial language skills that make up
the total communication time, 53% is expended on Listening, 16% on Speaking,
(i) They have become serious victims of the virus of glossogamy, a post-Biafran epidemic in parts of Igboland; or
(ii) They have refused to use and exploit the potentials inherent and genetic in intra-Igbo communication;
(iii) They are completely devoid of, and lacking the LAD - devices and the audio-oral skills in Igbo; or
(iv) They have forgotten that as a component of ethnicity and group awareness, human language can be used to give or hide information as well as to communicate and exclude; or
(v) They are being plainly and fashionably dishonest playing to the gallery of those who are slavishly interested in the phenomenon of Igbomosaic; or
(vi) They have refused to heed the findịngs in the Container Theory or the warnings of honest historians or archeologist of language, and of psychologists and sociologists of human communication, that words alone without empathic listening are meaningless in intra-group communication within the same speech community. Some more words about glottochronology and its handmaid, lexicostatistics, for creating so many 'new' languages out of the Igbo language Hicks and Gwynne (1996) and Renfrew (1987), among very many others, have drawn attention to the many flaws in glottochronology - and lexicostatistics as techniques for historical linguistics and dialectology. In the words of Renfrew (1987: 117) 'Glottochronology in its single assumption is just too good to be true. Onwuejeogwu (1975) has drawn attention to some fundamental problems in the application of lexicostatistics in the study of Igbo. And this critique not only forced Williamson to look again at the technique but also to change the nomenclature and classification of Igbo from the Izi Ekpey Group of Related languages or language cluster to the Lower Niger Languages which are essentially all dialects of Igbo. The title of Paul and Inge Meier and John Bendor-Samuel's 1973 book Grammar of Izi: An Igbo Language is mischievious, patronizing and misleading for imposing Euro-American post-Biafran prejudices on Igbo, and mixing politics with academics in general, and linguistics, in particlar. How about a title like this for a book on English linguistics: A Grammar of Cockney: An English Language?
IGBO LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE
Language is primarily spoken. It's
survival in the spoken medium is the mark of a people robustly loyal to their
language. But its survival in robust creative literature and other literary
classics is the mark of a true civilization. For, it is the texts in all the
genres of literature, and other ancillary and cognate areas, like phiosophy,
literary critisism and stylistics that valorize and perpetuate a language and
its civilization. Even if the language eventually dies! Not the linguistic
studies or grammars in or about the language. In the use of the Igbo language
for creative literary purposes, orature appears to have done better than
written literature. With Igbo orature, the genres have been largely identified
and established, their structures or forms have also been identified. Hefty
collections of some ọ these have been made and studied. While the minor genres
have been reduced to writing (even if amateurishly) - the folktales, proverbs, songs,
poems, anecdotes, tongue twister, conundrums; the more mature genrs, - the
epics, the sagas and the extended prose narratives are only now beginning to
have serious mention in the collections and critiques of the Azuonyes, the
Okpehwos, the Ugonnas and the Uzochukwus, among others. It is unfortunate that
the rich corpora of tales, epics and sagas which where being collected from the
Aguleri areas of Anambra State and studied by the Nsukka School of Igbo Studies
under the assiduous professional leadership of the Azuonyes and the Udechukwus,
have suffered some serious setbacks with the 'brain drain' that has taken away
the duo. For example, from some of the corpora collected and studied under
their guidance, it has been established that there are tales which take one
long (big) Igbo week i.e. eight days, to tell. I have in my corpora an egwu
une, partly narrative and partly sung to the accompainment of the une,
a string instrument, a folktale collected from Ibusa. I have transcribed this
in some fifty pages of A.4 paper, typed. There is not much problem collecting
orature by the professionals. But there is with its transcription. Two
problems, among others, stand out. What is the nature of the 'line' in Igbo
poesy? For the scholars in the Lagos School of Igbo Studies, 'something'
appears to have been extablished. But this 'something' was not quite acceptable
to the late Prof. Donatus Nwoga who was battling with this problem at the time
that he left. The second problem - the dialect into which the text should be
rendered. I believe it should be in the dialects of the performers. Attempts to
reduce texts to the sound system and orthography of a Central or Standard
variety of Igbo does irreparable damage to the spontaneity vibrancy,
unioueness, and authenticity of these texts. Texts collected in any lect or
variety of Igbo should be faithfully reproduced in writing, in the lect or
variety of the performers with their entire local colour, phonological and
structural idiosyncrasies, in full and intact. To do anything different, as the
scholars of the
But why has creativity in written Igbo not fared so well? The Orthography controversy? The Dialect issue? The linguistic and literary 'immaturity' of the practitioners? The neglect of publishers and the formal school system: The absence of receptive and willing audience? The abandonment of literature in Igbo by the 'mature' Igbo creative writers for Literature in English? The genres of Igbo written literature? The shape or structure of the serious, well-crafted prose narrative: cylindrical, curvilinear or linear? Then, the language of creative Igbo literature? Emenyonu's Rise of the Igbo Novel is good schlarship in mellifulous prose for which Emenyonu is known. That book is now a classic. But is it conceived, executed, titled and headed in the right direction? Some scholars brought up in the Euro-American and Anglo-Saxon traditions of literature see everything right and exellent about the contents and argumentation in the book, and tend to trivialize the reactions of scholars of African literature in African languages, to the praxis and crisis of identity thrown up by the text.
Ladies, and Gentlemen, what really is creative literature? It is, simply put, the use of language to create domes of pleasure. It is the use of language through displacement and the exploitation of deviation in its multifarious forms, to provide entertainment, provide food for thought and thought for food for the readers wherever they might find themselves - Ala Bingo Otu Ebe, Ala Iduu, Erewhon, Utopia, Umuofia, Wonderland, Treasure Island etc. Essential to the definition of literature is human language. If written literature is meant to grow from and expand the horizons of the orature of a culture and its people in THE language autochthonous to the culture and its people, shouldn't the written literature of a culture and its people be in THE language indịgenous to the culture and its people? If one of the definitions of poetry is the best words in the best order, or whatever was thought but never so well expressed In a named language should the best words in English crafted'to the best order in English be used to express a poem in Igbo? The essential difference between English Literature and Literature in English lies somewhere between endogamy and autochthony - right there in the bowels of identity.
Now, lastly, - another impression and another problem for Igbo written literatur. Shouldn't great literature flow from the barrels of spontaneity in tranquility? Omenụkọ, Akpa Uche, Udo Ka Mma are the firsts in their respective genres. And all of them were thrown up by literary competitions. Competitions have time frames. They are prize-driven. They are context-sensitive. They are mechanical. Great written literature takes time to be. It consumes celebral energy. It is not written for a prize or to raise money, like Rasselas. It is not even written by those with formal training in creative writing and literary criticism. Tony Ubesie's works were all written before he went to the university. His Isi Akwu Dara N'Ala and Jụọ Obinna are great prose narratives. Tony Ubesie confided in me that his biro went dry after his exposure to literary aesthetic in the university. The posthumous festschrift we have put together in his honour is seeing its debut at Ahiajọku 2001. The Igbo language can do with many more Ubesies in the different genres of creative literature - short stories, novels, plays, poems, faction, etc, etc. Let people write in their dialects if they are not comfortable in or conversant with Standard Igbo. (But why shouldn't they be?) And here I agree with Chinua Achebe. If the works are good and with great potentials they can be re-done in Standard Igbo or translated into English and other Languages by competent hands who should not distort the flavour, the internal logic and dynamics of the works. But will we be ready to read the prose narratives and go to the theatres to watch the plays, and buy the printed texts?
LITERACY AMONG THE IGBO
Literacy in Igbo is very low and I doubt that our people are a theatre-going people. Our people are very selective in expendịng their money on written texts. Hence church bulletins and denominational newspapers are rarely bought by the faithful. Given my very close association with publishing houses as an editor, a literary agent and assessor, I am aware of hundreds of texts in genres of all sorts IN Igbo.
Some of them are of excellent quality. All these are begging to
be published. Publishers, we all know, are into hard-nosed business: not into
vanity publishing and philanthropy! Can the Igbo governments of today in all
the Igbo states not follow the example of the Literature Bureau of the early
colonial governments? And can these governments not help out with Igbo
newspapers like the Ogene of old? Abiola is no longer there to give us Udoka.
Neither is Ogbalu there to give us Anyanwu. We hope Nzisa,
which the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri has established, will succeed and
survive like the Odenigbo Lecture Series. What as become of the Imo State Anu -
A Journal of Igbo Arts and Culture; the defunct
NCHIKOTA, NA MKPOKOTA
What we have tried to present you in
this year's festival is an okwu, an uka, an ilu,
an ụkàbụilu - all these rolled into one. Where
is the cohesion? Where are the links? Our interpretation of civilization is not
one about large empires and monarchies, military campaign and conquests, big
feats and the subjugation of othcrs. No. Civilization for us, is a mental
construct populated by ideals, fired by ideas which are the undersoil of Igbo
life and cosmos: the four cults that motivate and moderate the Igbo, respect
for traditional authority in age and in other institutions including
constituted authority; the inscrutability and fear of God, reverence for life
and the awe and usefulness of death; wisdom to appreciate that man, nations and
civilizations are not great by the virtue of their wealth but by the wealth of
their virtues; wisdom to distinguish between appearance and reality, and the
ephemeral (Ezemfu the wastrel; ụzọ nkụ, enyi) from the permanent (Ezeji:
the achiever; ụzọ mmiri; ụzọ). We have argued against group
illiteracy and the dropout syndrome. We have emphasized that illiteracy is a sin,
a mortal sin; a crime, a capital crime. Illiterate people are liabilities. They
have no dreams, no theoretical thinking, no strategic
planning. They have no focus and lack long term durable ideals. They lack all
the skills of language and cannot use language to articulate ideas. They cannot
engage in geometric reasoning and can neither be proactive nor synergize. They
lack Stevn Cowen's seven attributes of the Effectiveness, and the seven
desirable virtues in the Vision 2010 Report needed to steer
The Igbo of the 21st century must see education for what it is - the summation of all the processes for developing abilities, attitudes and all other forms of positive attributes needed for self and group socialization, realization and the total empowerment; the acquisition of skills of all sorts including the skill of being civilized. Ability to live with problems and paradoxes and find solutions to them. We need language transmission in Igboland. We abhor the issue of lack of inter-generational transmission leading to language shift, and the absence of language loyalty among the Igbo. There are, among the Igbo, population movements, urbanization, mixed marriages, pressures to learn the official language. These should not be seen as liabilities but as challenges to the Igbo language - and the Igbo people.
Igbo and Igboid have been used in this work as metaphors. Igbo is unity with diversity; Igboid, diversity without unity. Word compoundịng, derivational processes and holistic dualism in the language of the civilization point in the direction of one rather than of the other? Kedụ nke anyị chọ?
THANKS AND APPRECIATION
Permit me now, Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Ladies and Gentleman, to do the first thing last. Thanks and appreciation. I feel highly elated. My family, friends and associates feel very happy. My discipline feels fully recognized, for all the honour done to all of us for being the first Ahiajọku lecturer in the new millenium. We thank, most profusely, all those who have made this possible.
Igbo bụ Igbo mma mma nụ
Alawala m, nụ
Amaala, mma mma nụ
Alawala m, nụ
Igbo bụ Igbo mma mma nụ
Alawala m, nụ
Naịjirịa alaala m nụ
E. Nolue Emenanjo
National Institute for Nigerian Languages,
IGBO OR IGBOID:
ASỤSỤ N'AGBỤRỤ NDỊ IGBO
LANGUAGE IN IGBO CIVILIZATION
PROF. EMMANUEL NWANOLUE EMENANJO
B.A. (Hons) English,
Dept. of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages
Faculty of Humanities
for Nigerian Languages,
Another eminent Igbo scholar of
There was an urgent and obvious need to make some solid 'statement on yet another aspect of Igbo civilization that has raised some controversy; and this borders on the language of the people. Surely, Professor Nolue Emenanjo, as is popularly known, is certainly the renowned Igbo Linguist of International repute to make such a statement.
Igbo is the language of Igbo people. But somewhere along the line some reputable scholars who mayor may not have had a firm grip of Igbo language tried deliberately to fashion out some Igbo dialects as clusters of related languages. The title of this year's Ahiajoku Lecture - IGBO MA OBU IGBOID - is therefore, very timely.
Happily enough, Professor Nolue Emenanjo is a terrific Igbo linguist and scholar who has put in a lot of research into this aspect of Igbo life. In his lecture; Nolue Emenanjo has effortlessly disabused the minds of the Igbo and non Igbo of the fallacy that Igbo was a cluster of languages and not one language. Igbo language is rather self sufficient with a wide variety of dialects which continually enrich and broaden it.
I am glad this Lecture will now lay to rest
the ugly insinuation that because Igbo was interpreted as a cluster of
languages by misinformed linguist, Igbo speaking people of
I most sincerely recommend that every Igbo and non-Igbo should possess a copy of this year's Ahiajoku Lecture, as a valuable intellectual property.
Chief Finbar Ochulor
Hon. Commissioner for Information and Culture.
A CITATION ON AHIAJOKU LECTURF AND FESTIVAL 2001
PROFESSOR A. E. AFIGBO (NNOM)
We are here again, one year after, with something very interesting to offer. I think it was J.P. Clark, as he then was, who wrote in one of his poems saying:
He drives well
Who arrives again and again
At the market
With fresh vegetables
Last year it was
Igbo Enwe Eze delivered by the famed physicist, Professor Cyril Agodi Onwumechili.
Somehow because of certain negative connotations inherent in that title,
negative connotations for which the lecturer was in no way responsible, the
lecturer's point was not properly understood. The result was that the lecture
evoked wild anger and reactions in certain quarters. I doubt that many of those
who reacted in this manner read it, or if they did that they misunderstood it. In Anambra this negative reaction
caused the Front For The Defense of Igbo Heritage to organise an inaugural lecture
around the traditional Iguaro Ndi Igbo to counter it. The lecture was given by
Professor Onwuejeogwu, himself an Ahiajoku Laureate. In it he subjected
Professor Onwumechili, the Ahiajoku Planning Committee and many others to vile
attack. For the avoidance of doubt let me summarise Onwumechili' s argument. He
said some Igbo have eze, but that the general image presented of the Igbo in
the books and by the Igbo in the way they talk about their individualism and
republicanism is that of a people who have no Eze. This general culture and
image of Ezelessness has
left the Igbo with certain legacies, some good, some
bad. Top on the list of the good legacies is self-reliance which goes with a
certain lack of slavish
mentality towards authority. This is the character trait which explains what
Ndi Igbo achieved in the last one hundred years, especially in
Let me invite those so minded to go back to the lecture and re-read it for the nuggets of wisdom left behind by the pen of this seasoned Igbo scientist. I have myself decided to address this problem of Igbo Enwe Eze in a separate publication. Now that publication, when it issues, must be counted amongst the results of that deftly crafted Ahiajoku lecture.
This year we have
arrived again at the Ahiajoku festive fair with another fresh vegetable. By J.P. Clark's parameters, we must be
jolly good drivers. It is in the
field of Igbo language proper and it is being served by Professor Emmanuel
Nolue Emenanjo. Emenanjo, who hails from Ibusa in
Somehow it is a pity that the lecture of today is taking place behind the backs of certain titans who laboured assiduously in, the field of Igbo language development - Chief (Dr) F. C. Ogbalu and Ambassador G.M.K. Anoka, for instance, now all of blessed memory. It would have been more deeply satisfying to have them physically, not just spiritually, in the audience, nodding their heads and cheering along with other attendees. But not to worry. According to the Tiv sage and ethnologist, Akiga Sai, the old mushroom dies. New ones take its place. That way the mushroom tribe continues.
About the third week
of August this year, we attended an international symposium in
Perhaps we cannot
thank the Imo State Government enough for instituting Ahiajoku and sustaining
it over the years. Perhaps also we should not fail to remind her that the full
possibilities of Ahiajoku are yet to be realised. What we have experienced
these past 22 years is only the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps only a dialogue
between the Government on the one side and the past Ahiajoku laureates and past
Chairmen of Ahiajoku Planning Committees on the other side would make it
possible to bring to the surface the 9/10 of the iceberg currently below the
water's surface. Ahiajoku must not be limited to a mere homage to Igbo culture
and civilization. It must be given the scope to become the celebration of Igbo
culture and civilization in its fullness and splendour. Our culture and
civilization must not continue to be treated as a side-show. It must become not
just the main show but the show. At one time was said the main
problem of the world was the colour line. Today, it is the problem of culture.
Distinguished Ahiajoku celebrants, let me at this point invite you to this year's Ahiajoku festival and feast. It is a festival and feast with a difference. For the first time in the history of the festival and feast you will be leaving this venue with a text of the lecture in which English and Igbo are freely used to bring out the knowledge on offer.
Amaikpa – Ihube
AKPELE MAKA DIJI: CITATION ON THE 2001 AUIAJOKU LECTUER
PROFESSOR EMMANUEL NWANOLUE EMENANJO B.A. (Hons.);
Diploma in Linguistics; M.A.; PhD Linguistics (
Professor of Linguistics,
Executive Director, National Institute for Nigerian Languages,
Edeogu Ibusa; Knight
My Lords Spiritual and Temporal, Esteemed Colleagues,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
Ekeleekwa m unu
Nke Onye chi ya rie
Nke Onye ze, ya zerie
I do not know, really, what qualifies me to perform this task today except that for close to two decades, now, paths of our 2001 Ahiajoku Lecturer and mine have continued to cross.
First, at the Alvan Ikoku College of Education, where he was in the Department of Igbo Language and Culture (as the present Department of Nigerian Languages was then known and called) and I was in the Department of English. Then, at Shell Camp Owerri, where we both lived in. He in B63. Then at the University of Port Harcourt where he is in the Department of Linguistics and African Languages and I am in the Department of English and Literary Studies. And again both of us lived in the professorial quarters at Ghana-Ama. And the present office which I have found myself in, was occupied by him for three of the four years he was a two-time Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, before he took off eleven years ago on his National Adult Service Corps! When I gave my inaugural lecture at Uniport, he gave my citation. When he gave his, I gave his citation. So you can see that this is not my first citation on this year's Ahiajoku Lecturer.
Our lecturer's real
first name is Mekasua. It
is an Hausa name and it means 'one born in the market'. Mekasua's mother was a
great trader and had her son at Malumfashi where she had gone to, from Daudawa
where the Emenanjo family lived, then. All these happened on
Nolue is a true
Anioma Igbo son from Ibusa in the Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta
State. Emmanuel Nolue Emenanjo had his primary education in Saint Anna's
Catholic School, Burutu; his secondary education in St. Anthony's College,
Ubulu-Ukwu (where he took his West African School Certificate in 1960); and Holy
Ghost College, Owerri (where he took his Higher School Certificate in 1962).
For his University education, he attended
Nolue moved again
from Warri to
If we agree that
Professor Nolue Emenanjo has had a most rewarding working experience, we will
equally agree that he has had a full, activity-studded life as a professional
in Linguistics, Literary Creativity and Aesthetics, Tertiary Education
Administrator, and Publishing. He is Africa's representative in the UNESCO
Linguapax Project; where he belongs to the Technical Committee on World
Languages; member, Nigerian Academy of Letters; member, Literary Society of
Nigeria; member, Folklore Society of Nigeria; two-time President, Linguistics
Association of Nigeria; Consultant, defunct Bendel State Language Committee;
Consultant on Language matters to the Nigerian Educational Research Council and
The West African Examinations Council; Consultant, National Council on
Education for the production of Teachers of Nigerian Languages; Researcher,
Legislative Terminology Project; Researcher, Technical Terminology Project;
Researcher: Igbo Metalanguage Project; Co-editor, Igbo Metalanguage; Editor,
Nka: A Journal of the Arts: Editor,
Kiabara - Journal of the Humanities; Editor, Nigerian Language Studies; Chairman, Editorial Board, ANU
- Journal of Igbo Arts and Culture, and Consulting Editor to over twenty local and international
journals. I forgot to add, member, Committee on the Establishment and
Management of Delta State University. All the above point to a very active and
unremitting devotion to academics and service, hardly matched by his peers.
But, perhaps, it is for his pioneering and leading roles in Igbo Language
Mr. Chairman, Sir, before the Benediction becomes longer than the Mass itself, it is my pleasure and privilege to present to you, perhaps, the most rounded, the most erudite, the most versatile Igbo Language and Literary scholar in Nigeria today, who also happens to be a renowned descriptive linguist, dialectologist, bilingual translator, sylistician, lexicographer, poet, literary critic, artist, folklorist, language educator, language engineer, academic publisher, - and teacher - whose philosophy of life is: possibilism, simplicity, accessibility, and humility, and whose motto is: "It is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice".
Professor Charles Nnolim, B.A.; MA; Ph.D.,
Professor of English,
Dean, Faculty of Humanities, University of