It was all about the Ihiala people of Anambra State in Odofin Park Estate, Ijesha, Lagos, when its sons and daughters, including the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Research and Planning, Mr. Valentine Ntomchukwu, gathered recently in Lagos to mark the sixth edition of Ihiala Cultural Day and award presentation to deserving Nigerians.
While speaking on the importance of the occasion, President of Ihiala Progress Union, Lagos branch, Onuchukwu Modestus said, “We set aside a day every three years to showcase the cultural heritage of Ihiala people in Lagos State, and contribute towards the progress of our community. We also use the occasion to award people who have contributed not only to the Ihiala cause but also to Nigeria as a whole.”
According to him, one of the best ways to preserve culture is to carry children along, saying, “Teach them what culture stands for and its importance in people’s life. We organise seminars for elders and the youths, and we also empower our women.”
Modestus said apart from celebrating the day once in three years, they also organise monthly seminars to discuss culture, identity, and how to live in the host community as well as discuss progress, adding, “On the grand finale, we reward outstanding Ihiala persons and non-Ihiala. Our awardees may not be from Ihiala, but we recognise them for their contributions to the country or where they reside. We do this to show our gratitude and to encourage them so that they can do more for human development.”
An executive member of the Union, Obika Ohanus lamented that modern ways was gradually making the younger generation lose touch with culture, adding, “They have lost the sense of pride. We also get to showcase our rich culture to the Yoruba.”
On her part IPU President, women’s wing, Mrs. Lolo Anne Ezemegbu, said, “It is a lot of hard work to get everyone together but my people are cooperating when it comes to moving the union forward and that is why we’ve been able to achieve a lot. We teach our people how to relate with their host communities and we inculcate love in our children by sharing love with our spouses. We team up as one in the presence of the children. The unity between a man and his wife fosters a lot of values in the upbringing of the children.
“If our women can take care of their homes, they can also take care of Ihiala and if all the families are in order, it means the enture Nigeria will also be in order. So, I call on every Nigerian woman to teach their children their culture for posterity sake.”