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By Nwadike Ifesinachi

The Catholic Arch Diocese of Owerri held their annual Odenigbo Lecture at the Obiri Odenigbo Villa in Assumpta Cathedral Owerri with more than 5000 people in attendance. The event held on 7th of September, 2013.

It commenced with a Holy mass which started by 9:00am and was spearheaded by Arch Bishop AJV Obinna, Vicar General Rev Fr Patrick Ibole and Rev Fr Osuagwu.

This was followed by refreshment and entertainment from various cultural troupes while waiting for the lecture to commence. Speaking to the Immaculate Writers blog reporter, the Chief Organizers of the cultural troupe, Prof. Tony A.B.C Duruaku (HOD, Theatre Arts Department, ALVAN) and Prof. Johncliff Nwadike (HOD, History and International Relations Department, IMSU), said that the extra ordinary performances of the various cultural troupes reiterates the fact that the Igbo ancestral music surpasses that of any other culture in the world.

The lecture kicked off at exactly 01:50pm with opening prayer by Arch Bishop Obinna followed by the Odenigbo anthem and presentation of kolanut.

The guest lecturer, Professor Pita Ejiofor, the former Vice Chancellor Nnamdi Azikiwe University and the founder of OTU SUWAKWA IGBO INITIATIVE, was ushered into the pavilion with twenty-one gunshots salute.

The topic for this year’s Odenigbo was “OGANIHU IGBO: ONODU ASUSU IGBO. It pressed the need to intensify efforts to put the use of Igbo Language in the front burner of our national discuss.

The Odenigbo lecture series was initiated in 1996 by His Grace, Most Rev Dr AJV Obinna, to address the dwindling fortunes of Igbo Language and culture within the framework of Church evangelization. The late professor Chinua Achebe and Professor Dora Akunyili were one time Odenigbo Lecturers.

Notable guests at the event are: Professor Viola Onwuliri (Minister of State, Interior) who also represented Hon. Emeka Ihedioha (Deputy Speaker, House of Reps), Senator Chris Anyanwu, Captain Iheanacho (former minister of Interior), Governor Peter Obi (ably represented by Anambra State Commissioner for Justice), Prince Eze Madumere (Deputy Governor  Imo State), Professor Ukachukwu Awuzie (Vice Chancellor, Imo State University), Professor Asiabaka (Vice Chancellor, FUTO), Bishop Ezeonyia of Aba Diocese and a host of other dignitaries.

In his closing remarks, Arch Bishop Obinna thanked Professor Pita Ejiofor, for an eye-opening lecture and enjoined Ndi Igbo to join forces with each other to revive Igbo language. He also used the medium to announce next year’s Odenigbo lecturer in the person of Professor Chinedu Nwajiuba who shall be treating the topic “Ochichi Oma: Olile anya Ohaneze.

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