Last week the Ogirisi of Igboland Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka organized a full fledge cultural event at Rojenny Tourist and Games Village Oba to mark the end of 2012. The one night event which involved various dancing groups, masquerades and music concert by youths was witnessed by visiting African Americans who were in Igbo Land to identify with their ancestral home. Prominent personalities also witnessed the Night event during which the host Chief Ezeonwuka fielded questions to journalists on the purpose of the cultural event, the state of Ndigbo, Nigeria and his assessment of year 2012.
Firstly let us take your reaction on the death of Yakowa, Azazi and others who died in the Helicopter crash in Bayelsa last weekend?
It is most unfortunate that such prominent people had to die on a very short air shuttle. It is another sign of carelessness in some quarters which really have to be probed with utmost seriousness. It is sad and shameful to have such accident at this modern age of highly sophisticated and advanced technology. There is natural feelings that something was wrong somewhere and that is why the incident have to be probed with a serious view to avoid future occurrences. Permit me to use this opportunity to commiserate with the family of Yakowa, Azazi and others who died in the crash and charge those in position to probe the incident to do a good job to unmasked the circumstance behind it .
What is the reason behind the cultural night event?
The reason is to revive and promote the culture of Igboman which is on the thresh hold of being extinguished in the system. Our people have massively turned their back at the culture and tradition of our ancestors and the development is having negative impact on our day to day live. Things are changing for the worse. Other tribes are progressing ahead of Ndigbo because they respect the culture of their lands. People are dying untimely under unacceptable but avoidable circumstances. The crime rate is high. Armed robbers and kidnappers are terrorizing people in Igbo land. As I speak with you Igbo guys in Diaspora, in Abuja, Lagos and elsewhere are afraid of coming home for Christmas and New Year because of fear of being kidnapped or attacked by armed robbers. Worst of all most Igbo businessmen who have enough resources to invest in the land and provide subsistence activities for the youths are running away. They are taking their business to other part of the country or even aboard where they feel their lives and their resources are safe. The situation is very bad and dangerous toward the development and progress of Ndigbo and nobody is doing anything about it. The federal government appears to be incapacitated in check mating kidnappers and Armed Robbers in Igbo land. As matter of fact Ndigbo are doomed if we don’t find lasting solution to the menace of insecurity. I have told them that the solution is not running away they have to come back and let us joins hands to fight the problem. On my own as the Ogirisi Igbo with the mandate for conflict resolution among the people individually, family, community and general level, I have made recommendations in finding lasting solution to the problems facing Ndigbo. My recommendations includes according those who died during Biafra civil war the normal Igbo burial rite, this is one. Secondly I have told Ndigbo to stop depositing dead bodies in mortuary because it unholy and absolute nonsense. Storing dead bodies in mortuary is totally nonsense. Our antecessors in their wisdom and concern for the welfare of the succeeding children established it that when someone dies the person have to be buried immediately with the survivors according him or her the deserved burial rites, but today we have ignored that particular way of burial by storing dead bodies in mortuary. In Igbo land today the number of dead bodies in various mountains are alarming and I can tell you that their spirit are behind some of the problems we have in Igbo land now. Having said all these things I want you people to quote me anywhere that I have observed and said as Ogirisi Igbo that the causes of the problems of Ndigbo especially insecurity are traceable to the failure of the people to follow the cultural path of their ancestors. We have tried boys oyee, bakkassi boys, vigilante group with the Police and Army to no success. Let us go back to the root and appease our ancestors and the gods of the land. Some people mostly Christian would totally disagree with your recommendations on the ground that they are against their interest to involve in some cultural activities because they have negative implications of paganism? Such Christians are more dangerous with their activities than armed robbers and kidnappers. They brain wash the people with fake miracles, false prophesy and extort money from poor widows to build mansions, buy exotic cars and private jets. They are not models for good character and behavior among the people. They are agents of darkness who aid crime in the society. And except we reject them and go back to the way of our ancestors the society would continue to grow from bad to worse.
One of the major highlight of the cultural night you hosted is the presence of the African Americans. how come their visit to Rojenny?
They came to identify with Igbo land as their ancestral home land. There was a research which proved that Igbo land is the ancestral home of the African Americans. It was discovered that their fathers were those who were sold to white people from Igbo land as slaves during the slave trade and those who were convinced by the out come of the research came down from America to perform the ritual of cleansing at the palace of Eze-Eri in Aguleri, Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State. They were taken to a place called Omambala river where the Eze-Eri carried out the cleansing exercise to cleanse them from the abomination and stigma of slave trade. We invited them as part of tourist attraction in their land of origin.
What is your expectation in the on going review of 1999 constitution?
I am expecting noting because we need to review three major things that are far more important than constitution. The three things include our Religion, our education and our diet. I call it review of (RED) Religion, Education and Diet. You see it is high time for Nigerians to look at these three things critically. People commit grievous crime of extortion and get away with it in the name of religious practice. A lot people have lost their sense of reasoning and thinking because of religious practice. We have to look at it; we have to review it with utmost seriousness. Some of the churches have nothing to offer for the welfare of the society yet they are milking the society on a very fat note because the state and all worth not recognize them. Such churches mostly the so called Pentecostals are supposed to be shut down from operation completely. Then we talk about education, our universities are producing empty headed graduates with bogus certificate. No skill acquisition program in Nigeria university system. In other countries student are practically taught about carpentry, motor mechanic, and other things that should help them to be self employed on graduating. So we have to review our education mostly at the university levels. Lastly we have to review our Diet. The kinds of food Nigerians eat are terrible. I have told people around me that it is very bad to eat pounded cassava because pounded cassava which is called fufu or akpu is highly demonic. It is demonic in the sense that it has no nutritious ingredients capable to enhance one’s body or sense of reasoning. Most Nigerians don’t know that bad food contribute a lot to their sense of reasoning on the negative. Have you ever thought about the reason why Nigeria cannot be found in the field science and technology, why our athletes cannot win Olympic medal. It is because of bad food that people consume on daily basis. So my brother we have to look at the diet we take. India, China and other Asian countries did all these things reviewing their diet and other things before finding their way out of darkness to the light. And except we do same we shall ever remain in darkness and suffering.
What is your assessment of 2012?
Very poor. Nothing changed nor improved for the better. Corruption increased, armed robbery and kidnapping increased. Nigeria still remains darkness with out hope for steady power supply. More people died this year than last year. Is that a good sign of a growing country? So 2012 is a colossal failure and except we review RED we are going no where.