Odenigbo Lecture: How social media can be used to increase reach

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The 2014 Archdiocesan day celebration has come and gone but the memories and impact it made on so many participants especially first time participants will linger for a very long time.

Talking of first timers, I am one of them. I have always had the desire to participate but one reason or another have always made me miss attending.

However, in 2014, I made a personal promise to myself to attend the two days event no matter what happened. I never regretted that decision.

My decision was partly because I had a burning desire to see and also be part of the effort to sustain this my great mother tongue, Igbo language! My dear language!

I also made that decision because I manage a blog – www.alaowerri.com where I blog about things happening inside and around Owerri, the Imo State capital so I

needed to come and see for myself and find something to write about.

Another major reason I decided to participate was because I realized to my annoyance that I could not speak Igbo language without adding English! So I desperately needed to be among people who still believe and value the Igbo language.

The experience? I think it’s an article for another day. But simply put, it was breathless. I couldn’t leave the venue on the first night until the closing prayer was said. I have also never been so happy and proud to be Igbo. An assortment of very creative and wonderful presentations all pleading for sustenance of the Igbo language and also centered on the theme of that year’s lecture: Ochichi Oma: Olileanya ohaneze.

I was especially impressed with the presentation from St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Chaplaincy, FUTO and to think that one of the wonderful songs they presented was composed by a 300 level student of the institution was another source of inspiration and challenge to me. I was overly excited when I watched a group of youths from the Anglican community make their presentation. What a show of brotherliness and maturity of mind from the organizers and His Grace, Most Rev Dr. AJV Obinna. Their presentation was equally insightful and challenging and also pleaded for the Igbo language, culture and traditions to be resurrected and sustained (The good ones I mean).

I wish to commend the efforts of ndigbo in diaspora who make conscious efforts not to forget their mother tongue. Igbo language will never be extinct! I also wish to commend the initiators of the Ozisa and Igbo Ekulie newspapers that are printed solely in Igbo language.

The second and main day of the program was also wonderful as the lecturer (Odee), Professor Nwajiuba Chinedu did justice to the topic of the lecture which was largely focused on good leadership. This topic was really needed as the 2015 elections were drawing close.

All these having been said however, my major concern and area of contention is the reach of the program. I must salute the efforts of the organizers in bringing in a local radio station, Orient FM, which aided the event to reach as far as possible.

Despite the efforts of the radio station to bring the lecture to those who couldn’t make it as a result of proximity issues, I still have issues with the reach of the program. I want to believe that no Igbo person in other parts of Nigeria will be able to follow this event not to talk of those in other parts of the world. This is regardless of the program being aired on TV later or the DVD of the event. There is nothing like live participation even if it’s just live pictures and extracts from the event venue.

Are there no Igbo men, women and young people who will be overly excited and willing to be part of this event? I strongly believe there are. I currently have a friend in the abroad who is always asking me to teach her the Igbo language. She always makes sentences and asks for corrections. I don’t believe this is an isolated case. There must be thousands of others who are dying to hear someone say even ‘bia’ to them in the midst of the foreign language and cultures they see and hear on a daily basis.

I never studied computer science but I am a great fan and ICT enthusiast. I am also a great fan of social media and its applications to drive social change instead of using it for things that add no value to people. It’s sad what my fellow young people use social media to do these days. People are busy making millions of Naira and Dollars from it every single second while others are busy chatting and updating their new clothes and exposing their emptiness and shallowness.

I was very happy and excited when I saw in The leader newspaper that Most Rev. A.J.V. Obinna now had a twitter handle, I immediately started following him so that I can benefit from his immense wealth of knowledge. I was however not very happy on the discovery that it is not very much active anymore. I would like to use this medium to encourage the managers of that handle to pick it up again. There is an overload of poor and unreliable information flying around everywhere especially in the internet. It is therefore invaluable when you can find one that is to be trusted to disseminate accurate information especially on religion.

 

To be contd.