Towards Pan Igbo Unity in the 21st Century: Igbo Myths of Origin as a tool

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Ikwubuzo, I.
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A Journal of Nigerian Languages and Culture: JONLAC
Some extant Igbo myths of origin. portray Ndiigbo as a people with a common primordial descent. Over the millennia the Igbo have experienced steady growth and expansion to the point that the Igbo nation today no longer reckons with that original bond of kinship relation as revealed in their mythology. The modern Igbo society is as volatile as any other society in Africa. Conflict incidents and situations that trigger inter community feud as evidenced by that between Aguleri and Umuleri in Anambra state, do arise. Ndiigbo are seen by other Nigerians as a people who are anything but united as demonstrated by their undaunted readiness to sabotage one another in their selfish quest for political offices, and the lack of will they exhibit in the pursuit of any common goal for their collective well being. The discordant tone that greets any attempt (such as the recent one by Ohanaeze) tomake Ndiigbo form a common front for them to make positive impact on the Nigerian polity is positive impact on the Nigerian polity is a clear indication of their disunity which affects not only the realization of their political ambition but also their attainment of desired heights in other spheres of national life. This paper first of all highlights some instances of incidents and attitudes that illustrate the disunity of Ndiigbo. The paper then attempts to demonstrate that one of the ways of stemming the tide of disunity among Ndiigbo lies in emphasizing the people's common descent using their myths of origin some of which embody the tenets of Igbo/African traditional philosophy of life that encourages tolerance, peace, hospitality and being one's brother's keeper; and condemns violence, murder and other forms of abominable acts. The paper, therefore, explores the possibility of using Igbo myths of origin to re-orientate, educate and sensitize the younger generation of Ndiigbo in the 21" century about their close affinity. It suggests that disseminating the information on the close affinity of Ndiigbo will promote the unity of the Igbo nation. Finally, the paper recommends the introduction of Igbo myths of origin into the oral literature curricula of our schools, and the encouragement of our dramatists to adapt such myths for dramas or films for public consumption. This way, myth can be a tool for enhancing pan Igbo unity in the 21st century, and thus the veracity of the Igbo saying, 'ldin'otubuike'(Unity is strength), will be more appreciated.
Scholarly articles
kinship relation , Igbo myths , Igbo society , Igbo nation , Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION::Languages and linguistics
Ikwubuzo, I. (2005). Towards Pan Igbo Unity in the 21st Century: Igbo Myths of Origin as a tool.A Journal of Nigerian Languages and Culture: JONLAC