By Justice Nwafor
Irked by the continuous dereliction of Igbo language, Imo state Governor, Rochas Okorocha has begged Ndi Igbo not to let Igbo language, which he described as a precious gift from God, die.
He said all hands must be on deck to make sure that Igbo language survives the extinction threat it is currently facing.
According to the United Nations, Igbo language is among the languages that will go into extinction soon, if not nothing is done to revive and promote it.
Governor Okorocha made this known on Wednesday at the commodious Imo International Convention center (IICC), Owerri, where sons and daughters of Igbo extraction gathered to celebrate the 2018 edition of International Day Of The Mother Tongue.
The plea was the first statement that preceeded from the Governor’s mouth when he mounted the podium to speak.
After picking up the microphone, he started, in Igbo, “my brothers, I have a request to make. I want to beg our youths, mothers and fathers. I want to beg everyone here today, please don’t allow this God given language to die. Don’t allow Igbo language to die”.
The governor said Igbos are from Israel, noting that the language was not originally called Igbo but Hebrew. According to him, it was because of the mispronounciation that led to the pronunciation of the language as Igbo.
He also said that the pull him down syndrome among the Igbos is highly regrettable, bemoaning that it has cost the people a lot of good things, while charging the clergy to be mindful of what they say in the church, advising them to always preach unity, love and oneness among Igbos, because, according to him, “we are one”.
Speaking further, Okorocha advocated the teaching of science subjects in Igbo language, harping that it is only when the subjects such as Biology, Chemistry, Agricultural science, Mathematics, Physics etc are taught in Igbo language that Igbos will start doing greater exploits in science and technology. He gave examples like China, Korea, Japan etc as countries who are doing exploits in science and technology in their mother tongues.
Highlight of the event was the unveiling of three phenomenal works in Igbo language by Rev. Fr. Prof. Jerome Okonkwo, director general, Igbo Language Development Centre and Special Assistant to Okorocha on Igbo affairs. The works are: Achara, Akuko Ohia Imo and Ikoro Igbo.