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THE 2001 AHỊAJỌKỤ LECTURE

IGBO OR IGBOID:

ASỤSỤ NAGBỤRỤ NDỊ IGBO

LANGUAGE IN IGBO CIVILIZATION

 

by

 

Prof. Emmanuel Nwanolue Emenanjo

B.A. (Hons.) English, Ibadan; Post-graduate Diploma Linguistics: (Ibadan)

M.A. (Linguistics) Ibadan; Ph.D (Linguistics) Ibadan

 

EKELE

 

Igbo mma mma nụ

Ekelee m

Abịa mma mma nụ

Ekelee m

Anambara

Mmma mma nụ

Ekelee m

Delta mma mma nụ

Ekelee m

Ebonyi mma mma nụ

Ekelee m

Enuugwu mma mma nụ

Ekelee m

Imo mma mma nụ

Ekelee m

Rivas mma mma nụ

Ekelee m

Naịjirịa mma mma nụ

Ekelee m

Igbo bụ Igbo mma mma nụ

Ekelee m unụ

Kwezuonụ

 

OKWU MMALITE

 

I meela, Chineke, I meela

I meela, Chineke, I meela o

Imeela, Chineke, Imeela

Onyeaweanyi nara (ekele) I meela

(otito)

(onyinye)

 

CHAKPII wọọọ

CHAKPII wọọọ

CHAKPII wọọọ

 

Nkịta nyara kp Nsgw n'ha

Ọha ogwū mara ọkkọ A naghị epio y epiọ

ke ba na mkpọ z gw na mkpọ

Dinta buru egb Angw n'ha

Isi akwu daa nl Nwanyị ara ya elu

Ag ba n'ha Mgbada achịri ume n'aka

Mmiri riri nwa awọ naghị egwū ya gw

 

 

Ahajk agbaala afo iri abo na abo. Ọ mtala umu iri na isii, na ederede iri na isii. Ozugbo ha, n'ass Bekee. Na ndị ochie dike ndị a, na ndị diji ndị a, na ndị k okwu na ot ilolo ndị a, dịbeghị nke bula n'ime ha nwere di nsogbu m onwe m nwere n'ass m ga-eji akppta echemeche m ma b kwupta mbunoobi m Ihe kpatara nke a b na na 'Citation on The Ahajk Lectures' ekwuru ya n'akpughị mmiri n'on na:

 

Each lecturer is to choose his or her Language of delivery bearing in mind that the audience understands both Igbo and English.

 

mnne m na mnna m, unu anla ya n. Ọ bu ihe a ka Igolo. Gius Nkemjika Anka, Ode Nguru, na ndị komiti ya cheptara ma kwuo n'afo 1o7o mgbe ha naewube Ahajk. Ndi niile maara ihe e jiri mara m na ihe mere m jiri br ihe m b, maara na anọ m na nsogbu. Ezigbo nsogbu o. N'ezie, adi m ka onye chi ya na ogo ya rịorọ ol, n'ọnd a m hr onwe m n'assm ga-eji. Chi m n'ebe a b ass Igbo; Ọgo m abr ass Bekee. N'ezie, na-adị m ka na fd - ikekwe - ottndị bara Ahajk n'afo a, bara ih etu nwoke ga-esi anabata aka mgba ass cheere ya. Ma a kpọrọ ya Ahajk ma b Ufiejku o, ma b Njk ma b Njkji, ma b Ajamaaja, - ha niile b otu ihe ma brkwa okwu kp Igbo. Ahajk b mmemme. Ọ bkwa evueme ndị Igbo. Ottndị bara mmemme a, n'ebe a, n'afo a, bndị Igbo. Nga a anyi guzọrọ ugbuaaka a bala Owere Nchi Ise, n'ala Igbo. Ebe ihe ndị a niile dizi etu a, b gini gbochiri anyi iji ass Igbo gawa n'ihu? Nga olee ka mba bla si akpata nk ha ji esi ihe? Ked ebe mba bula si enweta mmiri ha na-an? Ọ b na mba ndị ọzọ? Olee ebe e si agbata mmiri e ji esi g? Eche m na b mmiri g gba(p)tara ka e ji esi ya? ELo m na b ife di n'ubi ka wa ji esili ubi nni?

 

CHAKPII wọọọ

CHAKPII wọọọ

CHAKPII wọọọ

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, the point I have tried to make is that no Ahajk 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 Ahajku, 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 Ahajku 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 ikpta taba to iba n 'ime aha.

 

Ndị 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 Anka, 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 and The Imo State Council for Arts and Culture? What of the Aụ? The Journal of Igbo Arts and Culture? How many of us are aware that the design, popularization and the wearing, of Igbo traditional dress by nd ọl oyibo is one of the projects in Anka's multi-coloured calabash of practised and practical Igbo wisdom? The Mbari pavilion down there which now houses the Imo State Council for Arts and Culture. And the Ikenga status, two different versions of them once stood like resplendent ijele at strategic road junctions here in Owerri, to remind those who knew, and to teach those who did not know, that the metaphor of Ikenga is the driving force for success in Igbo life and endeavours. Until, during the Zubairu era of collective forgetfulness and anti-Igboness some heaven-bound dreamers appeared, claiming to see into tomorrow and claiming to be able to make the blind, walk. They came and saw those Ikenga status. And they said God said they were not good. And since then we have ceased to see them. Ashịnze Ikenga, those heaven-bound seers never made it to Damascus! Chiifu G.M.K. Anoka. He is now dead.

 

CHAKPII wọọọ

CHAKPII wọọọ

CHAKPII wọọọ

 

Gwa m gwa m gwa m, ...

Gwan m.(ihe) ...

mara, marala, marala ...

 

O befọrọ be onye?

Nri na-adighị,

Onye n gaghị eri?

gwọ onye b la aghaghị ikw

Ihe nyirị dike?

Ihe a gr aha,

O di ka aha a gr ya?

Ozuru wa 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 Ọgbal. 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. Ọgbal, he is also now dead. So, too, another Frederick, Professor Doctor Nnabuenyi Ogonna, the authority on Mmanw, 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 Ahajk. 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, Olisaburuuw, Ọptaobie! May they become ndịichie nala Igbo niile. And saints of the Most High.

 

 

Ise

Ise

Ise ise

 

Amaala, mma mma n Ekeleen

Mma mma n Ekeleen

 

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 kabilu 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 Ahajku 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?

 

 

MB gaba Ajambne

MB gaba Ajambne

MB gaa gaa Ajambne

 

 

ALA IGBO

 

 

Inu m, na akkọ m na okwu m enupụụnọọ faa faa gidigwom wee nukwas ofu nnukwute ala, otu obosara ala. Ọ bghị ala gala, ala Ọnọja Oboni.

 

Agadaaga ala a di, site n'ala ndị Nska n'Ugwu ruo na nke ndị Ikwere na Ahoada, na Ndida; ma sitewe n'Ehugbo n'Ọwwa Anyanw ruo n'ala Ndịosimili, kani na ka, nOdida Anyanw. Ala Igbo di mb dịrị tupu ndị Potokori eruo Ose Najira n'afo 1472. Ọ tọrọ Berlin. Ọ tọrọ Najira ka Najira na siri dịrị ugbu a. Ọ dị adi tupu a lo agha Bafra. Ọ di adi tupu e kerisiwe ala Najira na Steeti na Steeti olemaole ha di ugbu a, ma olemaole ha ga-ab echi. A chọọ Najira echi ma a hghị ya, ala Igbo ka ga-adikwa. A gaghị ach ya ach ma ọlị.

 

E mee elu mee ala, mbo tọrọ eze. Ma masịrị ndị di ka Bala Usman na ndị dịka ya. Ndi a bndị ka nọ n'afọ 2001 na-eso onye di ka Hugh Trever Roper na-ako ka siri masị ha, ka Najira siri malite ma b ka Najira kwesịrị ịdị. Iji tupa okwu m ọn. E kwesịrị ikwus ya ike na ala Igbo kwupr iche n'ala mba ndị ọzọ soro mepta Najira ka anyị siri mara ya ugbuluaka a! N'ugwu ala Igbo, Ndị Nska ka ma oke ala ha na ndị Igala, na ndị Idoma. Etu ah ka di ndị Abankeleke (Izii) na ndị Idoma na ndị Tiv na ndị Mbembe. Wee ruo echi, ndị Ehugbo na ndị Archukwu maara oke ala ha na ndị agbataobi ha ndị a - ndị Mbembe, ndị Yako, na ndị Ibibi. Ndị Ngwa na ndị kwa maara nke oma oke ala ha na ndị Mmom. Ndị a niile bicha n'Ọwwa Anyanw. Na Ndịda (Najira) ndị Ikwere na ndị mnne ha, ma oke ala ha na ndị jo na ndị Ogoni na ndị Andoni. Ndị Ekpeye na ndị Ahoada masịrị oke ha na ndị zon na ndị Ogba. N'Odida Anyanw, Ndịosimili na Ndi kwani na ndị ka, ka mara oke ha na ndị. Urhobo na ndị Isoko na ndị Okpe. Ala Igbo, teela ya. Ọ teela ya na ndị egede nwere ya. Ala Igbo bụ ọkptrụọkp ala. N'Ugwuele, n'Ehugbo, na Nska na n'Igboukwu e gwputala ọtt ihe okpu kabon - 14 na-egosi na peka mpe, ndị mmadu ebiwela n'ala Igbo site n'afo 100,000 tupu a mo Jesu wee ruo afo 5,000 tupu a mo Jesu. Ọ bu ezi okwu na ndị kaa na mmta ka kaa-as ngongo n'ikwekorịta ma ndị (mmad) ah bi n'ala Igbo, n'oge ah, nke ka nke, n'Ugwuele - ma ha bndị Igbo ma b ee. Ma otu ihe di n'enweghị mgbagha b ebe Ugwele di taa. Ọ b n'ala Igbo. Mana ka m jkwaa o, mmad ole na ndị nọ ugbu a, na-ege m nti ma ihe ndị a m na-art aka maka Ugwele n'akkoala ndị Igbo? Ihe a abghị akuko mbe na ajambene. Ihe a bụ ọkptọrọọkp okwu nwere njirimara ya.

 

N'ezie br na bndị mba ndị ọzọ nwere Ugwuele n'akkoala ha, ha ga-egi ikr na gele na ngwa ndị di ugbu a, e ji ezisa ozi na redio n televishọn, na opike na ederede dịgas iche na-ekwu maka ya, na-ako maka ya, na-ama njakịrị, na na-agba oke ogbondu na egbe on maka ya. Ma na-agwa ndị mmad, ndị mba ọzọ n'wa niile: ba leren, ba hrn, ban kilibenu. A ga-ewu oke lọ ọkp e ji ọla edo chọọ mma, ka ọ ga-ab oge onye - na ndị - chọrọ, na ka onye ah-na ndị ah siri chọọ, ha ba, a s ha:

 

Kilibenu

Kiliben

Kiliben o

Kiliben

Ihe kara mere n'ekobe

Kiliben

Kiliben

Kiliben o

Kiliben

Ihe ndị ọkp mere n'akkọ

 

 

CHAKPII wọọọ

CHAKPII wọọọ

CHAKPII wọọọ

 

 

K m nke

m nke ọzọ

K s na ma nke a

m ke ọzọ

 

 

nbela maka Thurstan S na Mak Angulu Ọnwejeọgw na Frank Anọzie na Lawal. Ọ kweghị Lawal na ndị ogbo ya na di dịka ya ghta ma b chemie na oze di n'kptorọkp ngwongwo na ngwoloko ndị ah e gwuptara na Nri tọrọ nke oma, oze nke ah e gwuptara nIfe na n'ala Idu - n'usoro e jiri meputa ya. Azi gbakwaa, otoro gbakwaa ndị kwuru na ndị dere na ndị hr ihe a! Tufiakwa! Kabon-14 aruola ala! Gini ka ns na-ach n'agba? Nwata (ya bndị Igbo) na-ebu nna ya zọ amta kpara? Nwata na-egosi nna ya oke ala! Ma masịrị Lawal, ma masghị ya, ndị maara maka ola dịgas iche iche, na-ekwu ma na-akowa na oze nke e'gwuptara na Nri b ezigbote oze e jiri kọpa, tiin na leedi gwọọ. Mana oze nke e gwuptara n'Ife na Benin abchaghị ezigbo ya. N'ezie, ha bu braas eji kọpa na zinki gwọọ.

 

Ka Mak Angulu Ọnwejeọgw na Lawal nọsịrị na-eme ndọrọndọrọ a, na-agba egbe on na egbe ederede a mmad ole nogbakọ a, mara maka ya, gr maka ya nr maka ya? Ọ bghị atmatọzọ n'Igbo oxide! Ezechitaoke, Olisabuluwa na Chi Okike kenyere anyi Ugwuele, na Nri na Nska na Ehugbo n'ala Igbo na kptrụọkp ihe kp, n'akko anyi. Ozkwa, ihe gbasara anyi agbasaghị anyi. Olee uru Ugwuele baara anyi n'oge ugbu a, nwa taa? Ka bu Ehugbo ma b Nri Oreri, Aguleri na Nsuka? Ugbu a, uwa niile na-ekwu maka w.w.w. ma b: sayensi @niile.yahoo.com.

Mana ndị Igbo, ha b yahoo! Lee ihe J.C. Obienyem dere maka 'Akwa Ala Igbo Na-Ebe'

 

 

A zr un n'isụ ọha

Ma un nọrọ na-l m anya cha

m m, ole ihe m mere unu?

Amamihe un na-any os

Un jiri ha tere ni ọzọ of

Mgb unu hapr m n'ida ajo ha

Ndị m, ole ihe mere unu?

 

J.C. Obienyem Akpa Uche 1975:66-7

 

 

CHAKPII wọọọ

CHAKPII wọọọ

CHAKPII wọọọ

 

 

Ihe niile anyị nwere n'wa

nye nyr nyị ha

Chi nyere anyị o

 

Chi nyere anyị o

 

Mba niile Igbo nwere n'wa

Ass niile e nwere n'wa a

Olu niile e nwere n'Igbo

 

 

ASS IGBO: OLUMBA NA IGBO IZUGBE

 

 

O wee bl ma okwu. Ogbu a, inu m, na okwu m na akko m enukwasala ass Igbo. Ass Igbo na olumba ndị dịgasi na ya adịrịla adịrị asrla asr, n'oge kp, tupu Bekee na ka aba n'Ala Igbo. Site n'Ugwu wee ruo na Ndịda n'Ala Igbo, site n'Ọwwa Anyanw wee ruo n'Odida Anyanw n'Ala Igbo, mba bla nwere olu ha na-as e jiri mara ha. Anyi ekwuola ya na Ala Igbo b obosara ala gbanyere kw na steeti isii, dị ka Najira sịri dịrị ugbu a.

 

Ndị a b: Anịọma (na Delta State) Anambara, Imo, Ebonyi, Enugwu, Aba na Rivers. N'obosara ala di etu a, di ndị na-atu anya na bu etu nd Agbo Obi n'ala ka si as, ka ndị Ọgba ga-esi na-asu? N'obosara ala di etu a, di ndị na-at anya na ebe na ebe onye esila pta ma b ba n'ala Igbo, ozugbo mepere on ya kwuwe ka na onye na onye ya na ya na-ekwu ka, ma bnọ ketara ya nso, gaantacha ma.ghtachaa ihe ibe ya na-ekwu, ma b na-ako? Ọ di ihe so na ibe ha na-eji otu okwu, ndị ọzọ ana-eji okwu ọzọ? N'assụ ọ bla ottndịiche ptara ihe na-adi site n'otu mba gaa na mba ọzọ na site notu olu gaa na nke ọzọ. A ga-ahndịiche n'ebe na n'ihe ndị a.

 

Mkprụụda ass, na mkpọpta nke bla

Mkpọpta daass - ngowire, ndebeolu, dịdị olu, olu nka, n'ab na n'ukwe

Mkprass na mkprkwu

Mkpkpta mkprsass na mkprokwu

Mkpọnuume, mkpọnaakpo, mkpọna egbagbere

Nkebiokwu, nkebiahịrị, ahịrịokwu na ndịnaya

Nnyemaka ngwaa, mmejupta ha na mptara ha

Ndị Igbo niile maara nke a, ofma ofma, kpatara ha ji ebee otu akpata on na:

 

Mba na-achi n'olu, n'olu

Ma ha kwaa kwara

Ya adaa kwa kwa kwa

 

Ilu a b mmanw tiri onwe ya. N'ihi na achghị m ka ego e jiri lo nne m laa kpọrọ, agaghị m agbali ikowa ya. Mana n'ihi na nne m azchaala aha nke ya soro igwurube laa mmo, ka m gbala zipta mi ilu a. Ihe na-ekwu b na e gemizie nti na rịịị na tịịị dị nolumba gas anyị were anya ah e ji ah ns osa, na ntị ah e ji an ikiri kw esu, anyị ga-ah ma n ottndịiche, site notu ebe gaa nebe ọzọ nolumba ndị Igbo. Mana anyị ba nihe ndị ah ass jiri br otu njirimara ndị, na omenaala ha, olu na ibe ya b otu, site na nghta na mptara dị niminiimi ha, na nọkpndịrị ha na mptara na nghta ha.

 

Ass Igbo nwere ott olumba. E nwebeghị ike imatacha olumba ole di n'ass Igbo. Otu ihe anyị maara b na karịrị steeti ole a na-as Igbo ka ass mb, maka fd ma b niile, na ha. Otu ihe ọzọ anyị maara b na olumba ndị a erughị ka komuniti ndị nweere onwe ha, na goomenti ndị di ugbu a n'Ala Igbo, na-ekewapta aghara aghara. Otu ihe ọzọ anyị maara b na e nwere otu olumba, oge, ndị mmad na adimkpa nyeela ndị Igbo. Ọ b nke a ka a na-akpọ Igbo Izugbe. Ass di ka Igbo, a na-as n'obosora ala di dika Ala Igbo, ass nwerela abidii ya oke mgbe, ass nwerela ott ederede na ya, ass so ass abo ndị ọzọ br ass Ala Najira, a na-akzi site n'otaakara wee ruo yunivasiti dị ka A1 na A2, ass a na-as na redio na televishon, were ya na-eme ott ihe ndị digas iche iche, ass b na ndị na-as ya ruru 20m ma peka mpe. Asusu di etu a kwesiri inwe Izugbe abuo - nke osusu na nke odide. Izugbe Oss na Izugbe Odide abghị ebiri. Nke oss tọrọ nke odide. Izugbe ass Igbo malitere kemgbe ndị Igbo si na mba digas iche bidoro nwewe mmekorịta n'ọgbako, n'azmaha, n'lo ka, n'ama egwuregwu, n'lo akwkwọ, n'egemnti na mkpịrịta ka na ejije na ihe ndị ọzọ a na-eme na redio na televishon. Izugbe Odide malitere kemgbe ndị ka Siemesi tinyere anya n 'ass Igbo imepta na ikppta otu olu Igbo ga-ab ozuruigbo niile on. Na mb na mbndị Siemesi wubere Isuama site na mgbali. Schon, na Saro.' Mana ka Schon garuru Abo so Isuama n'enwegbhi onye ghtara ya ka kppta na akamere anaghị adi n'ass. Achịdikịn Denis ewee gbala chopta Yunion Igbo ka br Igbo Izugbe. Nke ah kkwara afo n'ala. Ida Ward ewee haziwe Central Igbo, etu Welmers na Welmers siri hazie Compromise Igbo. Na ndị a niile dighị nke a nabatara ka br Igbo Izugbe. Ma ka agha Bafra biri, n'afo 1970, Otu Iwelite Assna Omenaala Igbo bidoziri haziwe Igbo Izugbe nke e jizi ede ederede Igbo ugbu a. Na mkpkọta okwu m, kwesịrị ka anyị mata na Isuama, Yunion, Central na Compromise Igbo jikọrọ aka mee ka mpupta na nhazi Igbo Izugbe na-aga were were. Ọ b naani Igbo Izugbe a nwere kaass Igbo. Ọ b nke a b otu oke ndịiche di n'etiti olumba ndị ọzọ e nwere n'ass Igbo na Igbo Izugbe.

 

Sọọ nwata nọ n'ikpele mmili

Kwe m eke Ekene Oma

O ma Oma na udo

do do obele

O bele Obele nza

Nza Nza atle

Atle Atle b

O bo Obo n'gbo

gbo gbo n'am

Am Amị gololịo

Osikapa Joloof O n-sonashị kombifu

Oswayịwayị ya

 

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).

 

  • Ikeng the cult of the right hand which symbolizes indịvidual achievement through hard work (with one's hand);
  • Iru-cult the cult of the face which sytnbolise one's commandịng personality and influence;
  • hu-cult - 'the cult of the body and tongue which symbolise personal charm and persuasive eloquence;
  • kw n ije - 'the culture of the limbs which symbolise success in adventures.

 

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:

 

w, 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, Amaamaamasghamas (The-known-and-not-so-known). Ọnọnsomateeaka (One-that-is-near-but-still-far). The innocent Igbo venerated Chiokike because:

 

 

Ikeechukwuebuka Chukwunọnso

Chukwuebuka Chukwuenweghịiwe

Chukwunweikeniile Chukwunwendu

Chukwukadiba Chukwujindu

Chukwumanya Chukwumaobimmadniine

Chukwubike

 

In the philosophy of Igbo knowledge

 

Chukwu kere Ala na Mmad

Ma Ala ka mmad

 

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.

 

 

Osondagwgike Ndbeze

Chukwbndo Ndbisi

Chukwunwend Ndkaego

Chukwujind Ndkaak

Ekejind zakpnd

Ifebnand Mdịkaanwifemgaemedị

Ifesinand Oblnamdịndifemgaemedị

Ifeakand

 

 

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 ọnw

O mea nwayọọ

 

N'ihi na

 

Ọnwategwu Ọnwenweiro

Ọnwataka Ọnwamaoke

Ọnwasoanya Ọnwakpaoke

Ọnamaoke Ọnwnọnso

Ọnweliego Ọnwweteaka

Ọnwelingo Ọnwejeọgw

Ọnwenweoyị Ọnwamaife

 

 

In the age of innocence the Igbo respected age and the elders almost to the point of reverence because:

 

Ife oknye dn ni f

Nwat kwlọtọ m-af y

 

A h, e kwughị n-gbu okny

E kwuo, a nghị n-gbu nwat

 

In their ranking of professions or attributes, the igbo of innocence ranked brain over brawn:

 

Kala aya g-li ọt ill

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:

 

kọ 'smartness, wit as in Nwa Ebule Ako

Uch commonsense (without real wisdom)

kọ n uch wisdom

tbịrịkọ diplomacy

 

If the above analysis is correct, what then do these mean?

 

kọ b nd

Uch b nd

Uch b afa

Uch bkp

 

The autochthonous Igbo of innocence prized material possessions but would not make a fetish of them because material possessions come from God.

 

Chukwunweba

Chukwujiba

Ekjiba

bsnchi

 

But if:

 

Ndbk

Nwabk

Mmadbk

Madwụụba

 

And then:

 

Nwakba

Mmadkaba

 

In the light of the above what is?

 

k ba k n b

Possessions possessions of assets wealth

 

 

          Elulu (animal resources)

          Akmak(forest resources)

          Ala (land)

          Ndịinyom (wives)

          m (children)

          Oh (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 kwu 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 kw

O dighị ihe ga-eme ya

 

Or

 

2.      Onye kwe, chi ya ekwe

 

He also knew and believed that:

 

1.      Mmad b chi ibe ya

2.      h m ịha me ịh

3.      Ọgọ b chi ogbenye

4.      Ofu onye adị-ab eb

5.      Ofu aka adị-eke ngwugwu

6.      Ofu onye adị-ebu ozu eny

7.      Ofu onye adịghị mma n'ije

8.      Otu mkpịs aka rta mman

Ya eruo ndị ọzọ

9.      Ihe kwr

Ihe akwdebe ya

10.  Onye maani ya kw

Odudu atagbuo ya

11.  Ọkọ kọba mmad

O gaa kwde mmad ibe ya

Ka kọọ ya;

kba anụ ọha

O gaa n'ah osisi

12.  Otu onye lie onwe ya

AKA ya ga-aptarịrị

13.  Nwata nwe kp

Mana n'ezi okenye

Ka na-akwa

14.  Onye fee ez,

Ez eruo ya

15.  Ọh nw tutuu

Tutuu nw h

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:

 

 

Adimabua Nwagb

Adaha Igboango

Nwaha Igbonaekwu

Obiha Igboakalza

 

 

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.

 

 

  1. O digh ala na-enwegh ngwere

 

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:

 

  1. gbu mma n-la na mm
  2. Ogbru onye n onye gb yị la
  3. Ajghị j eri kptr

A rghị r nw

 

For those who confessed their transgressions, there was forgiveness. For:

 

Mmehie dịka-dị

Mgbaylị adị-dị

 

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:

 

Ọh nw ez

z nwe Ọh

 

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 (Edo, Ịgala, Isoko,' Urhobo, Ịjọ, Ịzọn, Ogoni, Mbembe, Idoma, Ibibio, Yoroba, Awsa). This was another factor. Then the economic contacts with the Royal Niger Company. Then the colonial intervention from Berlin through 1900, 1911, 1914, 1954 and 1960. From punitive military expeditions to occupation and colonization. And the introduction of the culture of the hustlings and ballot-box democracy. Add to these the missionary enterprise of the orthodox Christian groups from 1857 for the CMS, and 1885 for the RCM, and the laisser faire modern-day freaks and charlatans that have come with the halleuyah Revolution. (Cotton, 1995; Obiora, 1998). Here irrationalism, counter culture, ecstasy, induced conversions, link up with the cutting edge of neuro-science and pseudo-christianity. And the romance with Western Education. Then the Biafran debacle and the post-Biafran military and civilian potitics, .post-Biafran monetary and fiscal policies, and the grammar of pauperizatin and marginalization. The effects of all of the above were seen in varied perspectives and, at various levels of religious, socio-political and economic realities.

 

THE IGBO OF EXPERIENCE

 

According to Onwuejeogwu (1987) exprience intergrated the theatre of Igbo civilization into what is today called Nigeria. Igoland ceased to be .a theatre of civilization. It became a periphery of a larger periphery whose capital is at Lagos and its centre is London. From being simple and child-like theIgbo of experience became rather naive and childish as their shattered psyche grew from tragedy and tragicomedy, to slapstick comedy and farce. Nkem has replaced Nkeanyị. I-go-before-others has replaced Erima (eriri Omumu Nwa) Group Solidarity (Anyanwu, 1993; Mozia, 1982/87). The punitive military expeditions that imposed Pax Britanica and the Biafran experience, all these made nonsense of egbe cham and traditional charms, gunpowder and machetes. The descration - and deposition of Eze Nri, Eze Aro, Obi Agbo Obi, all before 1911; the demystification of the oracles at Archukwu, Oka, Diobu, mụnneha, the introduction of a monetized economy. The birth of Eastern Region and Nigera. The replacement of open consultative and consensual democracy with Westminster type of democracy and the secrecy of the ballot box. The treatment of Christianity as Mammon and the elevation of Jesus into an Industry or a corporation with the features of a LTD. Or a PLC. The incorporation of syncretism into some pseudo-christian assemblies and communions, in their beliefs and worship. The replacement of traditional secret societies with modern Eruo-American brotherhoods and sisterhoods which meet in Lodgies! The romance with Western Education and its devaluation of traditional education. The enthronment of indịvidualism and materialism, the enthronment of the English Language not only as The Language of Wider communication, God's own language, with Latin for the Catholics in the post-Sanahan era, and, later, the Official Language of Nigeria. From some twenty-seven traditional monarchies and kingdoms at Abo, Agbo, Isele Ukwu, Nri, bl-Ukwu, Ọsọmale, Ọnịcha Ado, Ugwuta, etc., we now have well over 800 autonomous communities each with its own Eze. And, in Aniomaland, we have, in addition, modem political contraptions designed for and co-existing with a bicameral polity with the Okpara system in places like Asaba, Okpanam and Ibusa, The Asagba of Asaba, The Asagba Okpanam and the Obuuzo of Igbouzo are really not eze but Presidents-for-Life! All these because, as Obienyem has observed in his poem 'Di Anyị, I Brla Eze'

 

  1. Ez gb di mfe

nweghị om:

Aju e ji bu ez dọ n ngwr niile

Di n'ime Olu n Igbo

Ebe m nwr kpu mme mme

Jide ija n k akpukpọ

Ez, fọrọ ihe ọzọ

 

  1. N'Olu n gb ez na ad n'obi masịrị ya;

jdu n-akpọ isi l, na-akpọrọ onwe ya

Ebe bu ego bu igidigi oju eze

 

  1. jadu chi ya m any a, majite ego

Ego ta ah, eze adawaa!

Ma eze nar, beze gini?

Eze ra at na eze nkwōro

E gbue ebi naabo, e zoo otu

Okwu sie ike, ndị uwe ojii na ndị dibia erie ego

Bikon, eze naịr, beze gini?

Nolue Emenanjo (ed.) tara 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 abr mmad mmad, mana mmad akoo. kw eju ala, mana ije adighị. N'ezie, ọkụkọ agbasaala okpesi. Ndị nọ n'ala bidoziri dagbuwe ndị nọ n'elu. Akwụ wee chaa ndụ ig. Ịkwighịikwighị efebezie n'ehihie. Eỳi n'ehihie. Ndị eze akara ndị ha na-achi. Ya abr mp n'elu, mp n'ala. Enyi mbekwu na Uze ejuza n'ebe niile Nke bzi na n'Abja na n'Ajegunle, e nwezi eze ndị Igbo? Nke a, abghị eze akhje! Ka ndị eze siri hie nne ka aha (otutu) ha siri na-eyi egwu ma dikwa egwu!

 

Mmirinaeznaọkchi I

Otuonyeanaetunuabala I

Oshmrrieonyeorieọgwya I

Odịkonamba I

Gwugwuga I

Odmnaegbuag I

Ananaagbaegbeọnaatahwịhwịọ I

Mmirinaarịugwu I

 

Ndị b na kara ha ga-echepta ma rpta ngwa hr, ha alaa defence, ro ngwa ah akprka ma mepta ajasa ya, adịgboroja ya, ijebu ya! Nke a emezie ka n'Ala Igbo niile mana karịrị n'Aba na l diwaza ka Lo Wu, oke obodo aha di na Shenzhen na China. Ebe a ka a na-as na b ya b isi obodo ngwa aha bla adịgboroja n'wa niile. N'ezie, a na-asI na, n'aha Aba, ngwa bla nwezuru ezie ya, de main de main, na oyiri ya, y.b. akprka ya, zuru iri. Ọ b ihe a soro mee e ji as na ị chọọ ịmata Aba i ga-etukwuru ala. I kwr oto i gaghị ah ttr rachaa. Onye ọ bla n'Aba, ọ kachasndị aha, tukwuru etukwu na-ede ibe ya ka ọ ro ya akprka, mee ya emeghị erne gos ya na nwa Aro di iche, mkpọọl adịkwa iche; kuzie ya na aha na-aka mma n'etiti Arọ na Mbise.

 

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 scavenge.

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,

The neither-good-nor-bad,

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

Who says:

Scatter and scatter lest another eat!

 

 

CHIAKPII wọọọ

CHIAKPII wọọọ

CHIAKPII wọọọ

 

 

Enye m i kwl inyom inyom inyo! ọkwl Inyom

Enye m i kwl inyom inyom inyo! kwl Inyom

Enye m i kwl inyom inyom inyo! kwl Inyom

Okwlkpjili inyom inyom inyo! kwl Inyom

Ass neafụ o inyom inyom inyo! kwl Inyom

 

 

THE IGBO LANGUAGE OF EXPERIENCE

 

...n'okwu Igbo

Ndị gboo kpara ka n'ass a

Ha kọrọ akịkọ chị, daa kwkwkw;

Iwe h ptr n'okwu zuru ke;

Ha gbr z, ghta nwe h n'gb

Ha br Mbe n'echche okwu gb

Ha brNdr bụkwa nwa Ọkịrị

Ha zara ọkw nka, zaakwa chị agha

A kpọrọ ha m ọk okw m ọk al

N'ọn na nghọta, ha nọrọ brgb

 

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, jak, dawa, akamu, alakwuba, agidi akpoto, elele, munchi from Ugwu Awusa, rooshi, 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, abas 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 bla chọrọ iga n'ihu, ndị ọ bla chọrọ iga n'ihu, ezi na lọ ọ bla, mnna ọ bla, ebe ọ bla, ogo ọ bla, uhe ọ bla, mba ọ bla, obdo ọ bla, n'ezie, agbrụ ọ bla chọrọ iga n'ihu ga-ebu zọ gwọọ ọgw mmad tupu ya agwọọ ọgw ego. Maka na mmad b mma di na nd na n'elu wa a. Leekwa aha ndị a ndị Igbo na-aza:

 

 

Mmadbak Mmadbuko

Mmadwụụba Mmadnaecheibeya

Mmadkaego Madmerewajiasoso

Mmadbchiibeya Ihekanammad

Mmadbike Mmadkaife

 

 

Ị gwọ ọgw mmad aptaghị iga na diba. Ọ b iga akwkwọ gaa nweta mmta na mmba si n'akwkwọ. Ọ b ima akwkwọ wetara ka mmad ghara iko mmad ibe ya ma b mba ya. Ọ bụ ụko mmad kpatara mmad ga-eji eju, a ka na-ach mmad. Iga akwkwọ b isi dkp nti n'etiti ndị na na mmepe obodo na agbr. Ọ b ezie na:

 

Akwkwọ n-tọ tọ

Ọ n-ra ah na mmta

M onye nwere ntasi ob

O ga-amuta akwukwo

 

ga ezi akwkwọ na-eweta mmta na mmata. Ndị a na-eweta amanihe na amamizu. ga akwkwọ na-enye mmad or aka na aka or. ga akwkwọ na-ach ma na-egbochi

 

  • Amaghị nka ass
  • Amaghị ege ntị
  • Amaghị echebara ihe echiche dị omimi
  • Amaghị ag ederede na akwkwọ ndị dịgas iche iche
  • Amaghị aghta ma b akota eserese na diagram, na tebulu, na fịgo ndị dị iche iche
  • Amaghị at ihe na is ihe

 

ga akwkwọ na-akzi nka ndị dị ịche iche

 

  • Nka ọgg na odide ihe
  • Nka e ji aghta ma b. akota eserese na diagram, tebulu, na fịgo gas
  • Nka ott na oss ihe
  • Nka nzlite amamonwe
  • Nka maka opịpa ihe gas
  • Nka mpiako na nhazi
  • Nka nzulite aka or na or aka
  • Nka maka mkpata na ndokọ k
  • Nka maka mmata aka ọr na ọr aka
  • Nka maka mmihe

 

ga akwkwọ na-enye mmad ike na ikike karịrị akarị n'ih ndị a:

 

(a)  mmata na mmta maka

 

  • chpta na idokọ esinaaka
  • Nyocha esinaakonauche
  • Ozzọgg isi
  • Iji aka na ako onye chwa ihe ndị ọzọ dịịrị mmad mkpa

 

(b)  nka dịgas iche iche maka:

 

  • Ọgg isi na ntrịch.e
  • Nchepta na nhazi ir
  • Mkpebi esinaọggisi
  • Iji ako na nka tinye n'echemeche
  • Ikwu na ibe imeko ihe na ibiko on

 

(gb) Mmaraonwe y.b. mmad imara onwe ya site nij ma ichptas oziza ajjndị a:

 

  • Onye/gịnị ka m b?
  • Olee ihe ndịm nwere ike imeli?
  • Aga m ejiko aka m nọrọ duu n'agbaghị mbo bla n'ihi na onye kwe, chi onye ah ekwetakwala?

 

(c)  ngwa ndị na-ezipta na mmad adịrịla ezigbo niikere maka ibi nke oma nwa nke ubu a:

 

  • Or aka na aka or ptara he e jiri mara onye
  • Mkpata ak na-abawanye ma na-amwanye, kwa daa, kwa izu, kwa onwa, kwa afo
  • Nkwere nonwe onye nime ihe bla

 

(d)  mmad ih onwe ya nzo zịri ezi na nemume kwr oto. Nke a ga-enyere mmad aka ikwus ike na:

 

  • O b m di ihe a. Ọ bghị onye ọzọ. Eji m anya m ahụ ụzo ma werekwa ntị nke m na-an ihe
  • Aga m emeli ihe a neleghị onye ọzọ anya, najghị onye ọzọ nke a na-eme
  • Ọgbọ dị iche, ibe dị iche
  • Otu nne na-am man bghị otu chi na-eke
  • Onye kwe, chi ya ekwe
  • Mmad ibu onwe ya neleghị anya naz
  • Mmaditinye onwe ya niile, ndu ya niile, ike ya niile, echichle ye niile, nịhe bla na-eme najghị ihe (ojoo) ga-esi na ya pta

 

ga akwkwọ b oke ihe. Ọ na akziri mmad nka ndị a bụ ọkachas ibe ha:

 

(i)     nka ntoala,

 

  • Maka ọgg na odide
  • Ọnọgg na nọmba
  • Iji akara, ma eserese na fịgo dịgasị iche mee ihe
  • Ott na osisi gbasara aka na uhịe: volum, aro, ago, njem

 

(ii)   nka maka obibi ndu gbasara nzlite onwe

 

  • Opịpa ihe
  • Mkpezi na nhazi
  • Mwughari ihe - iji nke a rie/mee nke a

 

 

(iii)  nka enwemakaol maka

 

  • Mmta akaol na olu aka
  • Nzulite aka ol na olu aka
  • Nzlite akpamak
  • Mmwanye na ntowanye
  • Nka omm ihe

 

(iv) nka maka ammihe ebighị ebi, agw agw

 

N'ezie, ig akwkwọ abghị nnanị maka inweta asambodo e ji achọl oyibo ma b e ji agwanye akwkwọ. Ọ b maka iz mmad, ah mmad dum, obodo niile na agbr niile ka mmepe na ọganiihu wee jupta n'echiche na n'echemeche ndị mmad na mba ha.

 

O b maka ịz anu ah mmad na nke ime mmo ya. Ọ b maka ịz anya onye ka na-aru ma b rkara ol dịịrị ya. Ka mmad wee nwee ike leruo ihe anya iji h nsi osa na iji mara anya nke e lere ele na nke a rọrọ arọ. Ọ b maka ịz echiche ndị mmadu ka ha wee mata na tutuu nwe ọh, mana h nwekwa tutuu; na ofe na-atọ ka kwr ma n'agbaghị mkpr ka kwr abghị ofe kwr. ga akwukwọ na-az imi mmad ka nwee ike iminyere imi na mmiri ịchpta ebe ndị mmo si abata n'elu wa. g akwkwọ na-az ire mmad ka dị ire, nti mmad ka wee nwe ike mata myiri na ndịiche dị n'etiti egbe na egbe. Ọ br na iga akwkwọ bchasịrị ihe ndị a niile anyị kwuputarala, b gini b mbunuuche ndị a na as na:

 

Un na-gu akwkwọ,

Anyi na-gu egō,

Fa ncha b ife ọgg.

 

Onye na-as na ig akwkwọ na ig ego bu otu ihe na-agwa wa niile na maghị ass Igbo ma ncha. Isi ngwaa a b g dị nịg akwkw na ig on (ego) abghị otu n'toass Igbo, na na nghta ha. Akwkwọ enweghị on ma nọmba: A naghị ag ya ka e si agu ego nwere on na nọmba. Ka ị s na ị ma nke a, I mazigo nke ọzọ ah? Ya b, onye s na ịg akwkwọ na ịg ego b otu, ihe na-agwa uwa niile b na b iti, iti bolibo, okpe, mumu, ewu Nupe! Ọ na-agwa uwa niile na maghị na amaghị akwkwọ, amaghị ag na amaghị ede, b ora, ora ogbugbu kariri AIDs dị ire. Ọ na-agwa wa niile na maghị ag na amaghị ede b njo, njo kachasịrị njo niile - njo ogbugbu. Ọ na-agwa uwa niile na jiri aka ya chp onwe ya n'gbo. Ya askwala na zo erukwaghị ya. Ọ chpla onwe ye n'or bekee na ihe ndị soro ya. Ọ chola onwe ya n'agmakwkwọ di elu. Ọ chola onwe ya n'iso ndị isi n'otu ndọrọndọrọ bla. Ndọrọndọrọ ughu a, n'ebe bla, aghọọla an enyi. Otu onye enweghị ike ibuli ya. Ndọrọndọrọ abghị aha, nke ji abr azmaha. Ọ bu okwe e ji birikambiri, onye daara ibe ya, onye daara ibe ya. Ọ b ako, uche na ntbịrịko ka e ji egwu ya. Ọ bghị gbata gbata. Ọ bghị a nọrọsa nime ogwu ma b ahh a na-ach ikwo ya. Ọ bụ ọha ogwu juptara. A na-arụ ụkw aba ya. Ọ bghị okwu e ji njakịri akpa. Ọ b akpaalaokwu ka e ji eso ya b akpa okwu. Ọ bghị an e ji akpt mma egbu. Obghị ọg a na-etu on aba. Ọ bọg e ji akpa uche aba. Ọ b ijele nwegasịrịr ijere nzo ya, na nahuya niile. Onye na-agghị akwkwọ achola onwe ya niga nlo ezemeezu ịtpta aro onya ga-eji ala, nala anyi. Nezie, jirila aka ya kpaara onwe ya oke nihe bla, nebe bla, nọgbakọ bla notu bla. Ọ meela onwe ya ihe akaje nezi na o ya, netiti mnna ya, nlo ka, nga na naga bla. Otu na otu bla nọ na ya, ga na-agbara ndị ma akwkwọ boịboị, na-agbabara ha oso aha, na-agbara ndị ọzọ apịlịko! Ked ka udi onye dị etu a ga-esi ebizi nelu wa nke ugbu a? E-mail, Internet, Komputa, Ifo! Bekee aruola ala!

 

Ebe ndị ọzọ na-ekwu maka yunion European Union, Africa Union ka na-ekwe maka Ọtọnọmọs komuniti. Nebe ndị ọzọ nwa ugbu a nnukwute kompịnị ole na ole na-ejikozị aka abr otu agadaga kompịnị, ka na-ekwu maka kompịnị nke ya na m ya nwoke naanị. Ịhe wa ugbuluaka a, abkwaghị nwa Arọ iche, mkpọọla iche, nwa hh/isoma ichie; amaala iche, nwaofo iche. Ọ b aka weta, aka weta, on eju. Ọ b a gbakọọ nwa mmiri ọn, gbaa ff. Ọ b ihe kwr, ott ihe ndị ọzọ akwnyere ya. Ọ b ony aghala nwanne ya. Ịgwebike. Onye naanị ya kwzi ugbu a, odudu emee ya ott ihe! Onye na-agaghị akwkwọ agaghị aghta iz a, ugbu a. Onye na-amaghị akwkwọ nwere ike nwee otu agadaga lo, ma dịghị zo e s aga ya. Nime on olụ ọ bla dị nlo ya, e nwere televịshn (na Akwkwọ Nsọ) Mana dịghị nkọwakwu bla nlo ah niile. Noge ugbu a, olee eve onye, na ndị dị etu a, ji az aga? Ọkpaakerieri. Mmirịnaezonaọkchị. Ibe ya jiri ugbo elu na-aga njem, were moto abalị ebe ga-anọ nobere oche! Ọ were brụ ụka br ilulu.

 

 

IGBO OR IGBOID

 

Mba na-achị nolu n'olu

Ma na-as nolu nolu

Mana ha kwaa kwara

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 days 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 Edo began to speak diffrent languages. And each of the 'new' languages began to develop dialects. But the dialects did not prevent people from understandịng themselves. But one thing happened. Those dialects at the culture margins retained, in different respects, the original features of the original Igbo language which historians of language call Proto-Igbo. The Igbo at the centre and periphery of the igbo speech community continued to live and communicate without much difficulty, even though traveling then was severely limited by very many realities. But there were contacts between and among Igbo people who needed to. Trade, trade fairs, politics, marriages, festivals, skirmishes and wars provided veritable avenues for permanent contacts between and among various Igbo people and their neighbours. At that time, the English Language and its syncretic scion, Pidgin were still to be in Igboland. And so transactions between these people must have been in some form of spoken Igbo - the predecessor of our Modern Spoken or Standard Igbo without a Received Pronunciation. It is true that there were written texts here and there in Igboland in different types of scripts - Nsihidi, Uriala, Uri Mmuo and Nwagwu Anieke's. But these were used by 'closed' secret groups and societies for their in-group transactions. And so their influence was very limited. And so the evolving spoken Standard Igbo continued to hold sway especially among the Igbo who had to travel beyond their mba. Even at that, such travelling or travelled igbo must have added diglossia to their Igbo, while for the Igbo at the culture margins bilingualism of the 'native like' type must have been acquired. We are not unmindful of the ambilingualism of the Olukwumi among the Enuani in Aniomaland of Delta state or of E and Ika at Igbanke in Ikaland. Among the Igbo at the culture margins there could have been a sprachbund or language convergence involving the mixture of languages not only in vocabuary but also in the overall structures of Igbo and the languages enjoying convergence with Igbo. It is a pity we have no written records in this area!

 

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 Nigeria and so it was fashionable to be Igbo. At the end of the adventure, the Igbo had no profile in Nigeria. And so it was not fashionable to be Igbo.

 

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 Benin or some other empire, it must be Oriental. Clearly, all these people have got their anthropology, history, and historiography all wrong. Igbo personal names did not sound well. And so, Ngozi had to be changed to Blessing, Ihuoma to Fineface and Anuri to Happiness, to sound better. Their Igbo place names did not look or sit well in their new states and environment. And so some affixes had to be excavated from the archeology of protor-Igbo for synchronic use. All these irked Obienyem so much that he said so, very despondently but picturesquely, in his poem:

 

Ihe Ọkwa Ekwe N-Ekwu

 

  1. Unu gbaa akwa mmri gafere anyịm

gbasaghị m

Ma b kwọrọ gbọ gaa onwa

Ma b wuo lọ el

Nke ọla ed gbru eg

Mgbe un eleghghr Ass na menl un anya

Ihe un n-eme agbasaghị m

 

  1. Unu gaa Rosh m b gaa Amerik

Un mara sọ Frenchị ma b dee Jaman

Ma b gaa ka na London ma b na Rome

Un mara sọm m b mara anya aha

Mgbe ass un n-dachigha z

Ihe un n-eme agbsaghị 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.

 

(v)  In 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 problem to Nigeria or to themselves. Williamson's study of Ika and Ukwuani and of the Lower Niger Group of Languages where carried out or had their gestation period during the Nigerian civil war. And most, if not all her informants were Igbo students marooned on the Nigerian side of the Nigeria - Biafra war. This whole attempt at creating and reproducing new languages out of Igbo could be called Igbomosaic, following the same phenomenon that has been called Euromosaic in European linguistics.

 

(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, 17% on Reading and 14% on Writing. In other words, 69% of 70% of communicating time is expended on the Audion - Oral skills. Listening: effective listening, attentive listening, active listening, is what makes human communication possible moreso for interlocutors involved in intra-cultural communication through dialects. Listening, strategic listening, listening with the 'third ear', listening 'between the lines', empathic listening - these are the condtio sine qua non for intra-group communcation. It is these types of listening that sensitize the participants to the unspoken messages embedded in the non-verbal cues. Listining, and especially discriminatory listening, enables interlocutors to selectively attend to, hear, understand and remember sounds and symbols. Through listening, interlocutors are able to discriminate properly between and among different speech sounds, words, structures, dialectal forms and deconstruct them for the meanings desired. Through hearing interlocutors are able to successfully filter noises from real speech. Through understandịng they are able to audit, interpret, re-interpret what they hear and assign meanings to these. In the speech acts of human communication, as in life, empathy and empathic listening enthrone a willing suspension of disbelief and the absence of effective understandịng. They establish relationships rather than break them. They keep wide open ALL the channels from speaker to hearer and vice versa. They block the tendency, out of mistrust, fear and prejudice to unduly criticize, summarize, conclude, agree or disagree with the speaker. They block deliberative listening which tends toward minimum understandịng of speaker's comments from the speaker's point of view. With empathy and empathic listening, the speakers - hearers are more concerned with understandịng what is said rather thah how it is said. Thus, they ignore internal and external distractions. Empathy and empathic listening are very careful and focused. Their thrust is a stubborn willingness not to judge, evaluate, or criticize but rather to be an accepting, permissive and understandịng listener. They help interlocutors to mutually get into their inner frames of reference rather than, indịvidually, listening and respondịng from their different non-mutual frames of reference. From the foregoing, therefore, it is clear that in the pragmatics paralinguistics and ethnography of human communication, many more things are as involved as, if not more relevant than words, the building blocks of language, the concerns of descriptive linguistics and the basic items of which are considered in lexicostatistics. When, therefore, Ika, Ikwere, zi, Ekpeye Ukwuani or Ahoada people say they do not hear or understand Igbo, it is either:

 

(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 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 Lagos School are doing and teaching their students, does not appear to me to be doing sufficient justice to these works of great creativity.

 

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? Omenkọ, 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 Jọ 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 Ahiajku 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 Anambra State Ugo, and the extant Abia State Onwa? All these are veritable outlets for creativity and analyses in Igbo. They all should be revived. For me, these count much more than the Mmanwu Festival of Enugu State, and the Omenimo and Ugwuabia of Imo and Abia States respectively. I think we have had more than enough of traditional dances and such spectacles. A discussion of language and literacy among the Igbo cannot lose sight of the pervasive (some may say pernicious) presence of and preference for English in Igboland. Igbo ga-adị. Bekee ga-adị. These are realities nobody can or should wish away. Igbo and English laguages are not in competition but in complementation. Igbo is our own. But its use should go beyond phatic communiction and tokenism in public places. English is the one that works! Hence, at World Igbo Days or Congresses whether in the United States of America or in Enugu, the language of most transactions is English, spoken by people in three piece suits or in three-piece babariga or overflowing up-and-down caftans, the Malian style. Yes. We certainly need English Igboland because in Igboland, English occupies an intermediate position between a 'Foreign Language' and a 'Second Language'. On account of this, therefore, just as we are spoiling for 'resource control' in our states, we should also use the concurrent status of education in a democratic federal republic to plan and implement an educational policy that best suits our circumstances. Such a policy should have a robust bilingual education component. A recent World Bank - sponsored project which the National Institute for Nigerian Languages, Aba, has just completed in selected classes in selected primary schools in the Bende LGA of Abia State has thrown up some findịngs akin to those from the Ford Foundation sponsored Six Year Primary Project in Yoruba, in parts of Yorubaland. In the whole of Igboland, we need a bilingual education in Igbo and English so that the products will have the necessary language skills to be useful citizens who enjoy reading and writing in Igbo and English. Because, not only are the reading nations the leading nations and the winning nations; those who know how to read and write lead mankind.

 

NCHIKOTA, NA MKPOKOTA

 

What we have tried to present you in this year's festival is an okwu, an uka, an ilu, an kbilu - 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; zọ nk, enyi) from the permanent (Ezeji: the achiever; zọ mmiri; zọ). 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 Nigeria and her plural ethnic nationalities, of which the Igbo are one, into modernity and economic prosperity.

 

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.

 

CHAKPII wọọọ

CHAKPII wọọọ

CHAKPII wọọọ

 

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? Ked nke anyị ch?

 

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 Ahiajku lecturer in the new millenium. We thank, most profusely, all those who have made this possible.

 

Igbo b Igbo mma mma n

Alawala m, n

Amaala, mma mma n

Alawala m, n

Igbo bIgbo mma mma n

Alawala m, n

Naịjira kwezuon

Alaala m

Naịjira alaala m n

Kwezuon

 

 

E. Nolue Emenanjo

National Institute for Nigerian Languages, Aba

 

 

 

 

 

10 October 2001

 

 

IGBO OR IGBOID:

ASỤSỤ N'AGBỤRỤ NDỊ IGBO

LANGUAGE IN IGBO CIVILIZATION

 

 

 

PROF. EMMANUEL NWANOLUE EMENANJO

B.A. (Hons) English, Ibadan; Post-Graduate Diploma Linguistics: (Ibadan);

M.A. (Linguistics) Ibadan; PhD (Linguistics) Ibadan

 

 

Former Head

Dept. of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages

University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt (1984 - 1986)

 

 

Former Dean

Faculty of Humanities

University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt (1986 - 1989)

 

 

Former Provost

College of Education, Warri (1990 - 1992)

 

 

Executive Director

National Institute for Nigerian Languages, Aba (1992 - )

 

 


FOREWORD

 

Another eminent Igbo scholar of Delta State origin - Professor Emmanuel Nwanolue Emenanjo is taking the podium for the 2001 Ahiajoku Lecture. The choice of this great scholar and linguist as this year's Ijere - Masquerade by the 2000 Ahiajoku Lecture Planning Committee, was not a matter of chance.

 

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 Nigeria were no longer one people. Ndigbo both at home and diaspora should now see themselves as a people with a common destiny; moreso in the present democratic dispensation. It is a joy to learn from this lecture that Ndigbo have a very dynamic and progressive language, just like the people who use it.

 

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

BY

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 Biafra. It is the same attitude which has brought modern science to where it is today. Because of this particular legacy of Igbo Enwe Eze and others going along with it, the fact that most of Ndi Igbo enwegh eze is not something to bemoan but something to be proud of.

 

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 Delta State, is today the frontline scientist of languages of the Igbo-speaking peoples. You will hear of his exploits in that field from another scholar of repute who will read his citation. Since Igbo language is the main vehicle of Igbo culture and civilisation, of our Igboness, many people must consider it a little odd that it is only this year, more than two decades after the establishment of the series, that the first lecturer in the language is being fielded. The rash and the impatient may even go further and indict those in charge for a serious dereliction of duty symptomatic of the attitude of Ndi Igbo to their language. Since it would be unnecessary to make excuses for this obviously serious lapse, an attempt must be made to explain it. One explanation is the lack of continuity in the Committee that runs the lectures. Rarely has any Chairman served long enough to bring his imprint to bear on the planning. Representatives of the higher institutions, and even of the parent Ministry, are also constantly changing. Perhaps this should be looked into by Government by means of a more formalised institutionalisation of the lectures. Another explanation is that Committee after Committee kept on looking for the most towering intellectual giants of the race, no matter their discipline, instead of looking at disciplines and ensuring fair representation and coverage. Consequently the areas of science and English literary studies have had more than their fair share, while many other equally relevant disciplines have been left out. One hopes that this unacceptable imbalance in the way flag-bearers of disciplines are featured will be addressed in future. Where a relevant and vital discipline has not produced a professor of repute, I do not see anything wrong in featuring its foremost promising Reader or even Senior Lecturer.

 

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 Lagos under the auspices of the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC) on the challenges which globalisation poses to Africa and the Black World. From the proceedings and the communique of the symposium it was quite clear that these challenges are largely cultural - how Africa and the Black World can become full and participating members of the new global village. For such a goal to become a reality, urgent and far-reaching actions must be taken in such areas as group consciousness, language, identity and organisational capacity. I am rehearsing all this here to remind all concerned how important to the Igbo man such institutions as Ahiajoku, Ozuruimo, Ugwu Abia and so on are. They are instruments for cultural capacity building for the Igbo man and woman. That means we must begin to take Ahiajoku and its organisation more seriously.

 

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. Africa and the Black World must join the dialogue of civilizations - and would it be wrong if they did so through the Igbo man and his culture? I do not think so. Perhaps this was what Zik of Africa had in mind when he said the God of Africa had appointed the Igbo race to deliver the Blackman from bondage.

 

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.

 

Happy Listening, Happy Reading.

 

Adiele Afigbo

Ezihehaus

Amaikpa Ihube

Okigwe - Imo State

November 2001

 

 

 

 

 

AKPELE MAKA DIJI: CITATION ON THE 2001 AUIAJOKU LECTUER

PROFESSOR EMMANUEL NWANOLUE EMENANJO B.A. (Hons.);

Post-Graduate Diploma in Linguistics; M.A.; PhD Linguistics (Ibadan),

Professor of Linguistics, University of Port Harcourt (1984- );

Executive Director, National Institute for Nigerian Languages,

Aba, Abia State, Nigeria (1992- ),

Edeogu Ibusa; Knight of St. John International

 

 

Mr. Chairman,

Your Excellencies,

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 April 21, 1943, in towns that are in present-day Katsina State. Mekasua's second name is Nwanolue. All the male children who came before Nolue refused to stay on and so the logic and meaning of his Igbo name, the only name which he now prefers to be called by, albeit, in its abbreviated form. Then Nolue's eldest sister got married in 1949. And, as was the practice in those days, Nolue was given to her, to serve her. And that was to be at Burutu where he got baptized at the St. Anna's Catholic School. It was there and then that the name Emmanuel was imposed on him - a name he rarely uses, these days, except as an initial. Perhaps, it is beginning to dawn on you all that I, really know Nolue inside out; outside in.

 

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 Nigeria's Premier and pre-eminent university - the University of Ibadan, where he took his B.A. (Hons.) English in 1966; a Post-Graduate Diploma in Linguistics in 1971; his M.A. (Linguistics) in 1975; and } his PhD. (Linguistics) in 1981. After his formal education, he has had a most chequered but most rewarding working experience, having been in turn an Education Officer in the Federal Ministry of Education, a tutor, research fellow, Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages, University of Ibadan; Editor (Oxford University Press); Lecturer, Alvan Ikoku College of Education (where he rose to the position of Reader and Dean, School of Arts). From there, he became Visiting Scholar in the Department Linguistics and African Languages, University pi Port Harcourt, 1983 where he was elevated to the rank of a full Professor of Linguistics, Head of the Department of Linguistics and African Languages: 1984 - 1986, and, subsequently Dean, Faculty of Humanities: 1986 - 1988, returned for a second term in 1988, a term which he did not complete because he was called to higher duties by his home State, then, Bendel State in January 1990, when he was appointed Provost, College of Education, Warri. Again, even before completing his first term at Warri, he was found out by Professor Aliu Babatunde Fafunwa at the time, the Federal Ministry of Education and, on the recommendation of one of his teachers at the University of Ibadan, Professor Emeritus Ayo Bamgbose, the 'father' of Nigerian Linguistics.

 

Nolue moved again from Warri to Aba as the foundation Executive Director of the National Institute for Nigerian Languages, his present post. That was in 1992. Ladies and Gentlemen, as you can see with me, Nolue is the exceptional case of the proverbial rolling stone that gathers great moss!

 

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 Studies in Nigeria and allied and cognate disciplines that Professor Emenanjo is a worthy votary for today's lecture. Without pre-emptying his learned discourse today, it will repay scrutiny to emphasize Professor Nolue Emenanjo's pioneering role in the scholarly promotion of Igbo language studies, and academic publishing in Nigeria. One can, indeed say, without fear of contradiction that the state of Igbo language studies today in Nigeria (when the dilettante is separated from the professional) is where Professor Emenanjo has left it. His publications in Igbo language studies are legendary, ranging from primary school through secondary to university levels, made up of some 123 published works of which some forty-six books bear Professor Emenanjo's name, excluding another ten books and sixteen articles still in press. He gave the inaugural lecture in the Odenigbo series. Igbo language studies in Nigeria today is synonymous with today's lecturer, Professor Emenanjo, with who it is our luck and privilege, to hold intellectual discourse this morning. But Mr. Chairman, Nolue does other things in addition to Linguistics and Igbo Studies. And the things he does and how he does them border on paradoxes. A professor in. today' s Nigeria with a very beautiful wife and eight children four of who are graduates and only one of the remaining four is not yet in the university. An orthodox practising Catholic. In fact a Knight of St. John International. And yet a traditionalist, and a progressive fatalist. On the outside, he is withdrawn, almost standoffish. An introvert. But inside he is caring, warm, kind, people-oriented, community-driven. An extrovert; Nolue holds the title of Edeogu of Umuodafe, Ibusa, and was among the foundation Councilors of the Obuuzo-in-Council in Ibusa. On the face of it, you would think No1ue is a pacifist. But don't touch him in matters that have to do with principles and persons that are close to his heart! Nolue loves Nigeria as much as he loves Aniomaland in particular and anything good, Igbo, in general. In matters Anioma he belongs to many strategic think-tanks there and has been charter president/secretary of elite Anioma socio-cultural orgnisations or clubs in Port Harcourt, Warri and Aba. He is a Patron to well over twenty social and developmental associations, and clubs in Ibusa and Aniomaland. Nolue has been entered in five national and international biographies. In 1997/8 he was invited to the Hall of Fame for 'Select Nobility' and nominated to the 'Gold Record of Achievement' of the American Biographical Institute. Nolue also holds many distinguished fellowships. The latest of these is that of the Modern Languages Association of Nigeria for his very distinguished benchmark contributions to Igbo studies.

 

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, University of Port Harcourt

Dean, Faculty of Humanities, University of Port Harcourt.

 

 

 

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