All natives of Ibibio nation have been cautioned against the abandonment of native names and other cultural identities.
The immediate past vice chairman of ExxonMobil Companies in Nigeria and advisor, Inoyo Toro Foundation, Mr. Udom Inoyo,dropped the admonition in Uyo over the weekend, while delivering his keynote address titled: “Cultural Rebirth as a Critical Element for Nation-building,” during the public presentation of an iconic book of history, “Ibibio Nation: History and Culture,” authored by Oto-Obong Uwah.
Inoyo, while encouraging the preservation of a number of healthy Ibibio cultural practices, also spoke against fixation on loathsome cultural trends such as wasteful consumption and the hosting of exorbitant burial ceremonies.
He posited, “There are other dimensions of our cultural heritage that are fast disappearing. These include our inability to confront what is not correct. How did we get to the point where we have lost our voices on what matters even in admonishing persons who are moving in the wrong direction?
“Why are we so fixated on wasteful consumption as a culture amid glaring poverty? What drives our young ones to anglicize their lovely Ibibio names if not for lack of pride in their heritage? Why are we fixated on pulling down our own?
“As a people, we must discourage costly burial ceremonies. Borrowing money or selling properties to sponsor ‘befitting burials’ rather than investing in economic ventures is senseless. Additionally, instead of building mansions that our children will not need, we should invest in qualitative education, knowing that this is the most valuable investment anybody can ever make,” he added.
Inoyo, a proud Ibibio son of Nsit Ubium Local Government Area, whose admirers describe as straight, detribalized and people-oriented, took out time to discuss modalities by which the people of Ibibio ethnic nationality can enrich their culture, regain their pride of place and contribute more to national development.
He said, “We must re-examine our values and de-emphasize material wealth and unnecessary titles because a society of ‘anything is possible’ cannot progress. A positive value system would unquestionably engender the spirit of hard work, honesty and integrity. At this point, we should all be ashamed and concerned about the recurring ASUU strike.
“Since we are predominantly Christians in Akwa Ibom State, let us practice our faith with common sense. Sick people should be treated in hospitals, not churches. While the doctors attend to our sick relations in the hospitals, the pastors should offer spiritual support through counselling and prayers. In this way, both the spirit and the body will receive needed attention. Let us stop blaming every misfortune, illness and sickness on someone else.
“I call on the State Ministry of Education to promote reading culture among our youths. In this age of the internet and mobile devices, we must encourage and support them to become global citizens. I must, at this point, salute the incredible efforts of Dr. Udeme Nana for pioneering the Uyo Book Club and I hope well-meaning individuals and corporate organizations will lend support to that initiative,” he added.
The erstwhile national president, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria, congratulated Oto-Obong Uwah, author of “Ibibio Nation: History and Culture”, for his courage, diligence, vision and thoughtfulness in writing the book as a spectacular addition to existing literature on the Ibibios, describing Oto-Obong as one of Akwa Ibom’s young and finest brains.
The author, Oto-Obong Uwah, described his book as “a modern outlook at the antiquity and sociological aspects of the Ibibio people, …a people whose documented history can be traced back to 600AD”.
On his part, the chairman on the occasion and former governor of Akwa Ibom, Obong Victor Attah, represented by Chief Asam Asam, SAN, celebrated the bold efforts of the author at documenting the peculiar culture and history of the Ibibio-speaking people of Nigeria.
Highpoint of the ceremony was the dissecting of the anatomy and content of the 392-page work by the book reviewer, Professor Effiong Johnson.
Johnson’s endnote was: “Ibibio Nation: History and Culture”by Oto-Obong Uwah, is not a positional defense in the conflux of a debate continuum on the history and culture of Ibibio nation. Rather, it’s a product of a far-reaching and thorough research aimed at giving Ibibio history a most comprehensively accurate rendering.”
Other dignitaries at the event included Ntenyin Solomon Etuk, patriarch of Ibibio nation, Oku Ibom Ibibio and president general, Akwa Ibom Traditional Rulers Council; Mr. Unwana Effiong Esang, managing directoe and chief executive officer of Primera Microfinance Bank; Mr. Segun Showunmi, political affairs analyst; Mr. Salihu Tanko Yakasai, former director general, Kano State Government House Media and Communications; as well as Mr. Babajide Ogunsanwo, founder, Leadership-By-Data and Data-Analyst, Channels Television.