The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, commended the indigenous people of Anambra State studying at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) for their efforts in promoting and preserving the rich Igbo culture and tradition.
He made the commendation during the first New Yam Festival organized by the at UNN, which took place in Nsukka on Tuesday.
Achebe, who is also the Grand Patron of the Anambra People’s Assembly (APA) in UNN, said that the new yam festival holds great significance in Igboland due to the deep respect and honor that Ndigbo hold for yam.
He said, “Yam is an important crop, cultivated in every part of Igboland. It serves as food that can be eaten in different ways.
“During the time of our forefathers, the wealth of a man was calculated and measured by the length of his yam barn and not today that money has become everything.
“It’s believed that a man’s yam barn shows his strength, wisdom, ability and wealth to feed his family members and kinsmen.”
Achebe, who was represented by Prof Ifeanyichukwu Abada, the Head of the Department of Political Science at UNN, encouraged fellow Anambra indigenes studying in different higher institutions across the nation to follow the example of APA in advocating for the preservation and promotion of Igbo culture and tradition within their respective schools.
He said, “I commend the Prof Florence Orabueze-led executive for their wisdom in organising the new yam festival as well as being good ambassadors of Anambra State and urged the assembly to make it a yearly event.
“I am happy about the huge attendance of Anambra indigenes as well their friends from other states which shows that APA in UNN is doing very well.”
Prof. Orabueze, a distinguished faculty member in the Department of English and Literary Studies at UNN and the Founding President of APA, said that membership in APA is available to both staff and students who are affiliated with UNN and reside in the 13 local government areas of Anambra State, which were part of the historical Onitsha Area province.
She said, “As we celebrate the new yam festival with our brothers, sisters, relatives, friends and members of the university community, it is a good occasion to call to mind the Igbo moral ethics and values of communalism, truthfulness, justice, peace and unity.
“Today’s event will give us another opportunity to promote Igbo culture, language, traditions and our identity as Anambra people working in UNN.
“It’s good to join men and women of goodwill to ensure that the university, founded by our fathers, continues to enjoy its enviable position in academics as well as in promoting our various rich cultural heritages.”
Orabueze, the ex-Director of the Institute of African Studies at UNN, encouraged the assembly members to constantly bear in mind the motto of Anambra State (The Nation’s Illumination) no matter where they may be.
She said, “In whatever we do and say, we shall remember that we are noble and princely people from Anambra State.
“Therefore, we should ensure that we shall never allow the light in us to go out, or for darkness to assail and overwhelm us, but we must strive to be the light for other people to see.”