By IKENNA EMEWU
When he was in power as the governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife had a mantra –Think Home Philosophy.
In a chat with him in Abuja on a day he marked his 81st birthday, Ezeife, the economist and former federal Permanent Secretary recalled that his inaugural speech on the day he was sworn into office was Think Home.
Many years later, Ezeife has a concern like he had about the economic features of the Igbo years ago.
He told AcademiaUncut in an exclusive interview that his yearning today is the revival of the good old ways of the Igbo nation when cohesion was the landmark of the people.
He furthered his thought by suggesting that the states in Igbo land or the South East geopolitical zone need to rejig the school curriculum to incorporate Igbo values as course or subject of study in the various levels of schools.
While discussing issues of value revival, he lamented that the threat the Igbo nation faces is what he called the extremely negative individualism. He argued that the trend is what must be halted before it halts the future of the Igbo, a people known for cohesion and unity, where everyone lived for everyone.
“While the Igbo have been working hard and forging ahead, but those great qualities that defined us have been neglected and such neglect would work against us if nothing is done now. We have digressed from unity and communalism to individualism at an annoying and worrisome level that we all live for the self now, which is the direct opposite of what we really are or the way we started.”
The former governor called on the governments of the states of the South East to make an addition to the content of the courses of study in the schools and there should be subjects that teach the younger Igbo generation the history of the people, how the Igbo lived in the past and those values that made them overcome obstacles and come this far.
He said only such deliberate indoctrination and awareness on the younger generation would return Igbo to the mutual respect they had but lost.
“We had a world so filled with love, decorum, respect for the elders and elders in turn teaching and handing the values of our people to the younger generation for continuity.
“It is unity, love, integrity and respect for our traditions that made us survive till now. If the 1gbo weren’t together, after the civil war, we would not have survived the obstacles put on our way. But today, all those are gone and lost.
Today, what we have are loud people, so uncouth about their successes and not modest in any way. We have our great values replaced by greed and avarice. Our world was one where people asked those that made sudden wealth how they came about such fortunes, and those that wouldn’t explain their means of wealth were distanced and called to order by the community and that way, we had so much peace and less competition that is today driving us mad.
I feel concerned about the decay and how fast it comes, so I call on the governments of our states to think about and introduce those subjects fast before we lose everything or drift too far away that we might not find our way home. It is really important and I call on the governments to use their political offices to entrench such required turnaround. It’s very vital for our survival.
There is everything right about children going to school to be taught about our traditional ways and how to keep them alive. There is nothing wrong to introduce such courses as compulsory for all Igbo students from primary school through secondary to the tertiary level.”