The Head, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Enugu State Office, Mr. Nnaemeka Nwajagu, has reiterated that Africa’s culture is not fetish, maintaining that contrary to the Whiteman’s view, painting the African culture black, our culture has remained beautiful.
Nwajagu stated this while delivering a goodwill message on behalf of the Executive Secretary, Professor Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, as special guest at the launching of a book, titled: Ezillo History and Cultural Heritage, written by Hon. Maxwell Enuke, at Ezillo, the headquarters of Ishielu LGA of Ebonyi State.
He said that it is impossible to see a people whose ways of life are totally bad; and expressed his confusion in understanding why the same Whiteman, who described Africa’s culture in very bad light, should spend his last kobo to buy the same culture in the form of artefacts and other cultural materials he had written off.
He thus urged the people of Ezillo to always feel free to express their culture wherever they find themselves, “be proud of your culture, it is your identity and heritage.”
While describing the book as a well researched, in-depth and fascinatingly rich work, Nwajagu said that the Institute was at the occasion to draw from the deep knowledge contained in the book, savour the richness of Ezillo culture, and celebrate with the author on his great achievement.
He further remarked that he sees the author as NICO’s worthy partner in the culture sector, informing the author and the August gathering that the book has eased the Institute’s job in the area of research.
In his opening remark, the Provost of College of Education, Ikwo, Ebonyi State and Chairman on the Occasion, Professor Silas Omebe, while welcoming guests, especially non-indigenes of Ezillo, appreciated the efforts of Hon. Enuke Maxwell Ali, recalling that it has not been an easy task; hence, it took him about ten (10) years to complete the work.
Omebe likened the book to the great books of the Achebe’s, the Soyinka’s and the Shakespeare’s, whose values keep appreciating from generation to generation; and enjoined Ezillo youths at home and in the Diaspora to get the book and read to help them have pride in their heritage and identity.
The Vice-Chancellor of Caritas University, Enugu, and the Book Reviewer, Professor Alumode Benjamin, while reviewing the book, did not agree less with Mr. Nwajagu, when he said that the whole essence of the book, Ezillo History and Cultural Heritage, is to keep the culture of Ezillo people alive for generations to come.
Alumode, who scored the 644-page book very high, in terms of coverage, treatment and design, however stated that it has its flaws, especially as it relied in oral history as its references, since oral history is never 100% correct being that it is retold over and over time; and therefore challenged the youths of Ezillo to take up from where Enuke has stopped to research further into the history and culture of Ezillo people.
The occasion featured varied traditional dances of both men and women, with ‘Omebe’ masquerade performance taking the centre of attraction.
Ibe Michael Ogbuu & Nnenna Ewa
NICO Enugu State Office