Dean Faculty of Arts, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Rev. Fr. Prof BonaChristus Uchenna Umeogu, yesterday said Kolanut remained most important in the family of a true Igbo personality in terms of welcoming his or her guests.
In a press statement made available to journalists in Awka on the import of Kolanut , Rev Fr Umeogu called on Igbo people across the world to sustain the tradition of welcoming their guests first with kolanut, be it at home front in South-East, Nigeria, or anywhere they have called home across the world, as a means of sustaining their rich culture and tradition yoked around Kolanut tradition.
Umeogu, a Catholic Cleric, and a Professor of Philosophy , Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Unizik, appealed to families to continue to pass on the tradition of Kolanut as the greatest seed ever to generations yet unborn by teaching their teenagers the tradition of kolanut. He recalled his strides in promoting Igbo Language and culture through his writings, radio and television programmes and organizing events.
He said further that Kolanut ritual is a culture in Igbo land that should be respected, adding that for the history and culture of Ndigbo to be preserved and transmitted, all Igbo people must admit the symbolic nature of Kolanut in Igbo culture from time immemorial.
He pointed out the need to break the kolanut in Igbo language in respect of the Kola nut’s long age tradition of no English language while breaking it.
He expressed dismay over the gradual decline in the respect accorded Kolanut among the people of the south-eastern Nigeria in recent times. He described Kolanuts as one of the core values of Igbo people, which engender love and peace among brothers, adding that Kolanuts is a sacred fruit and that God listens to prayers made during it’s presentation and breaking.
It would be recalled that Rev Fr Prof BonaChristus Umeogu delivered the 50th Inaugural Lecture at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), Awka on Kolanut last year which attracted people from all walks of life as chaired by Prof Charles Esimone, Vice Chancellor, Unizik.
The theme of the lecture was “Kolanut in Igbo Metaphysics: A Phenomenalysical Research Into Its Symbolismic Universe.” Rev Fr Prof Umeogu’s in the course of his research for his jubilee lecture discovered and produced Igbo Kola nut juice for stimulation, energizing and sustenance of the body. He already has over 400 Metaphysico-Communion Living drugs from his BonaChristus’ Symbolismic Pharmaceutical Laboratories. He prays and heals through efficacy of prayer , his drugs and herbs.
He promised to be speaking about Kolanut every other year and as occasions grant to highlight the need to cherish it in Igbo culture and tradition more than presently done. He launched some of his books on that day.
Hence, Rev Fr Prof Umeogu who is the Foundation Director, Igbo Village and Center for African Civilization (IVACAC), Unizik appealed to teachers and students of reality to transform , ‘’our knowledge of reality by the authority and specialization of kola nut symbolismic universe and the constitution and institution of the sciences and Arts involved’’.
Umeogu said the Kolanut tradition which affords the Igbos the opportunity to offer fervent prayers to God at every gathering is one tradition that should be sustained.
Umeogu said further that: ‘’The Kola nut is a multivalential symbol of Igbo thought and culture and correctly depicts the multidimensional individuality and personality of the communalistic Homo symbolicus: onye Igbo.
‘’The information, out-formation, transformation, conformation and even deformation of the kola nut reveal how God, the world, human existence, the society, and knowledge came to the world through Igbo land and culture; but I have to establish both for now and forevermore that the genesis and ontology involved in the context under attention is symbolic , or at best, symbolismic.
‘’So, the conflicts of ontologies involved in the consideration of the polyglot genesis of Igbo reality is resolved in and by the logical significance of the kola nut’s symbolismic universe: of kola nut symbol , of kola nut symbolism , of kola nut symbolismic expression and Kola nut symbolismic deposition’’.
The clergyman who has a PhD in African Metaphysics , with two M.A’s in Western Metaphysics and New Testament Exegesis as well as B.Phil both in Nigeria and Rome said: ‘’Some of the reverences being accorded to Kolanut are no longer being observed due to lack of knowledge and we must wake up as a people to check this trend,” he said.
He is the founder, convener and moderator of UNIZIK 1st Ogirisi Igbo Lectures on ‘’Ofo : Igbo symbol of Authority’’ and so many other lecture series, organizations and journals.
Rev Fr Prof. Umeogu noted that kola nut is one substance that is highly respected in Igboland hence it has both the mystical and medicinal effects to human being just as the substance contains both magnesium and potassium which helps to control heart pain.
On the mystical aspect of kola nut, Prof. Umeogu noted that it has a nature that can be influenced by words and thought, “there is life in kola nut. He that brings kola brings life. There is something in kola nut that is affected by behaviour and attitude.”
Prof. Umeogu blamed the poor respect given to kola nut on poor knowledge of the substance but urged the members of the society to embrace kola nut as the symbol of unity. “Let us go into what unites us as people and against what divides us. Since we all accepted kola nut as symbol of unity, it is the only thing that can unite us completely” he said.
He said further that Kolanut came from the tropical and subtropical rainforest of Africa and other continents but migrated through culture into Igbo world hence Ndi Igbo separated the Kolanut from profane use and dedicated it to sacred use.
He explained that Kolanut contains ingredients that stimulates, sustains and services the human body, adding that it has distinguished roles to play in Igbo land hence Ndigbo use it in prayers and sacred communion between God and man.
Umeogu said kolanut is capable of solving the ethnoreligious crisis that has continued to threaten the peace and unity of the country adding that when he spoke on the topic last year, it was informed by the significant roles Kolanuts played in the unity of Igbos as well religious groups and politicians, adding “Kolanut has the capacity of uniting not only the three major tribes of the nation, but Christians of different sects as well as traditionalists and politicians” .