Promoting Igbo language and culture

Eze Crown

There is no doubt that given the way the Igbo language and culture are being relegated, in a few years to come, the once-popular language and culture might go into extinction. It is a sad reality that among most Igbo parents today – both educated and uneducated – it is unfortunately fashionable to speak the English language to little children in the homes, even in our villages. Most of the time these little children learn adulterated English from their parents at home and believe it as the right way to communicate with others. Most of them understand Igbo language and can communicate well with it but are forbidden by their parents from speaking it. The result is that today we have children who are confused, are neither here nor there.
They cannot speak good English and they cannot speak the Igbo language as well. They seem to be lost. The question is why is this so? The answer lies in the wrong belief by there parents that when their children speak English, they have become “modern”, socially elevated and accepted in the society.
This is a serious psychological problem ravaging most of today’s Igbo parents. People of other cultures like the Yorubas, Hausas/Fulanis, Efiks, Ubrobos, and others are still very proud of their native languages as their identities and proudly cling to them while our Igbos are ashamed of theirs. Even Yoruba children in London and U.S.A are brought up by their parents there to be proud of their language, speak it and identify themselves as Yorubas in those countries. The same goes with people of other ethnic groups like the Ashantis of Ghana.
The onslaught is not only on the Igbo language but also on our cultures and tradition. Our children and youths can hardly identify with Igbo proverbs, traditional music and most cultural festivals have already gone into extinction. Igbos are at crossroads today. If this trend continues, the future of Igbos as a people is seriously threatened.
Edge express newspaper is of the view that a conscious effort to resuscitate and ensure the survival of Igbo language and cultural heritages be developed by various state governments of the South East and institutions such as churches. We suggest that in nursery, primary and secondary schools, speaking of Igbo language be made compulsory for all at certain designated hours with some sort of punishment for offenders. The churches have to caution parents against this “destruction” of their children by uprooting them from their identity and cultural heritage. We also call on South East governments to make the Igbo language compulsory in our schools and also making a pass in the Igbo language compulsory at First School Leaving Certificate, Junior WAEC and Senior WAEC.
Edge express newspaper also urges the state governments to design programmes aimed at promoting Igbo language and culture and awarding prizes and honours to pupils and students who excel in the Igbo language at such programmes. Igbo language competitions need to be introduced and Igbo language teachers highly rewarded and celebrated.

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