Ndigbo have been advised to trust in God and not allow fear to rule their lives because it impedes development and breeds discrimination.
The Catholic Bishop of Awgu, His Lordship, Most Rev. John Ifeanyichukwu Okoye gave the advice, Saturday September 2, 2017 while delivering this year’s Odenigbo Lecture at the Odenigbo Pavilion of the Maria Assumpta Cathedral.
The lecturer, who spoke on the topic, “Uwadiegwu: Mma na Ujo di nuwa ndi Igbo,” regretted that fear has taken root in the lives of most Igbos and their relationship with one another. This has bred lack of trust and suspicion as every Igbo person now sees his relative as one who hates him, even when he has done him no harm.
Often times, people believe that it is their relations that are responsible for their stagnation or lack of progress. Most Igbos no longer believe that one could die a natural death, but attribute every death to diabolical manipulation, as everyone is afraid of the next person.
The bishop posited that it is such baseless fear that breeds discrimination among Ndigbo. This lack of trust discourages mutual assistance and co-operation. He lamented that Ndigbo have abandoned one of their most revered attributes, “unity and co-operation.” Today, people harden their hearts over the sufferings of their own kits and kin. People dread assisting others with what they have lest the gift would be used to poison them. This fear has resulted in the lack of progress among Ndigbo. Everyone ruled by fear cannot achieve anything substantial. Anyone afraid to study, can’t progress and whoever is ruled by fear cannot govern well, warned the bishop.
The Most Rev. Okoye stated that the fear which is desirable is one that would make one avoid evil and embrace goodness. Such fear destroys evil. Good fear is that which leads to holiness.
The bishop extolled the noble values in Igbo culture saying that God loves Ndigbo with exceeding Igbo culture and tradition, he said, is full of goodness such as love, respect, being our brothers keeper etc. He however warned that the vehicle for uplifting and harnessing these blessings is the Igbo Language. He then appealed to all Igbos both at home and in diaspora to help in uplifting the language.
The lecturer explained that the word, “Uwadiegwu,” is neither a cry of despair, helplessness nor acceptance of defeat but an indication that Ndigbo have what it takes to discover and actualize their God-given talents and endowments.
The Odenigbo lecture was the climax of this year’s Owerri Archdiocesan Day Celebration, an occasion of thanksgiving and home coming which commemorates the elevation of the former Owerri Diocese to the status of an Archdiocese in 1994.
It would be recalled that the founder of the Odenigbo Lecture Series, the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri His Grace Most Rev. Anthony J.V. Obinna presided at the Eucharistic celebration on the Archdiocesan Day and preached the homily. After the lecture, he thanked the lecturer and presented the Odenigbo Plaque to Bishop Okoye and announced the Odenigbo Lecturer for 2018 as Dr. Mrs. Patricia Okoye, who will lecture on: Isuzi idezi na iguzi Igbo