NRI High Chief Tasks Igbos On Promotion Of Their Culture

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By Julie Sylvia, Onitsha

A High Chief in Nri, Anaocha Local Government Area, Anambra State, Eddie Nwaeri, (alias Okutaoloibe), Tuesday, described culture as customary beliefs, social norms and material traits of a racial , religious ,ideas,and social behavior of a particular people or society that should not be allowed to go into extinction.

Nwaeri made the description during the grand unveiling ceremony of the statue of Eze Nri Obalike, the Legend, the 14th Eze Nri of the ancient kingdom and hegemony, Nri Obalike 1 of Umu- Nri Omalo, Royal Lineage, who reigned AD 1889–1936.

He said that the event was an opportunity to immortalize the 14th Eze Nri of Nri, Eze Obalike and bring to limelight the role he played in preserving the tradition and culture of not just Nri people but the Igbos in general.

Oba Nwaeri said that Obalike reign witnessed a major assault on the culture, traditional institution and authority of the Priestly king of Ndi Igbo, “Eze Nri” by the colonial masters who forced the Eze at a gunpoint to abrogate the Nri values and instructed them to pay respects to the whiteman.

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” Yes he did that just to save the lives of his people knowing that such pronouncement cannot hold in Nri and Igbo land since they Igbos have a degree of control over external forces and Internal politics of the older Igbo settlement.

“This belief is ingrained with the concept of peace , harmony and truth, ritually symbolised and enacted in the ceremonies of the Ozo title men who were the political elite, would be difficult to abrogate with one forced ceremony.

Oba Nwaeri noted that Professor Paul Basau of Oxford University, UK in his good will message at the unveiling ceremony and other anthropologists, explained that the attempted rape of the Igbo culture did not lead to the expected annihilation of Igbo civilisation as the truth cannot be buried.

He called on the Nri people to come in large number as the time is very apt to change the narratives and inculcate the Igbo ideology into the younger generations.

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” It is a recognition of the fact that we must leave a legacy for our children. Who is in a better position to tell the story of Eze Nri Obalike but his educated grandson who by the grace of God is 98 years old and as fit as a fiddle, has set the pace.

“It is a clarion call for us to assimilate other cultures that will bring progress to our society but retain those that define us as a unique creation of God “Chukwu Okike”.

” These include but not limited to respect for our elders, mastering the English language but preserving our mother tongue, our dress code, cultural heritages, among others.

” Our culture and tradition have evolved over thousands of years and define who we are, we cannot let it go without handing over to our children in a manner they can appreciate.

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” Oral tradition has served us well in the past but now we need to document and create sculptures and films to immortalize our cultural heritage.

“We need more professors of Igbo language, professors of anthropology, professors of traditional Africa religion and professors of music -cultural heritage to ensure our cultures are preserved.” he said.

Oba Nwaeri said that the Indigenes of Nri Kingdom, worldwide celebrated on May 4th 2024 the unveiling of 14th Eze Nri of Nri, Eze Obalike and greeted the proud people of Nri globally.

” I commend Prince Ben Egwuatu Okolo, Onwa of Nri, grandson of Eze Nri Obalike for this amazing insight, also the chairman of the event professor Perer Umeadi,” Eze -Otosi Nri, (Chief Judge emeritus) Anambra state and the unveiler, Prince Ikenna Onyesoh, regent, Eze Nri Enweleana and Oba Larry Nwagwu, Head, Nri Traditional council .”Nwaeri stated.

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