For many years now, there have been talks about the looming extinction of the Igbo language and as a result, efforts have been made by different Igbo groups and individuals to ensure the promotion of the language in order to avert its pending death.
In line with this, the government of Imo state is set to launch Ikoro, the first newspaper written in the Igbo language. This is coming after many years of planning and making arrangements for its production and as reported in Vanguard, the presentation of the newspaper will hold on March 15th, 2016 by the Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
Dr Samfo Nwankwo, the Special Adviser to the Imo State Governor on Igbo Affairs, while speaking on the matter during a courtesy visit to Vanguard Newspaper said Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (retd), Chief Enwo Igariwey, Pascal Dozie and Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (retd) among other prominent Igbo leaders, are expected at the occasion scheduled to hold as the Imo Internal Conference Centre, Owerri.
Aside from Ikoro, governor Okorocha would also on the same day launch the mandatory teaching and learning of the Igbo language in all schools in Imo State, disclosed Samfo Nwankwo who is also a director, Ikemba Odumegwu Ojukwu Centre, OWENI.
Asked if the governor was by any means imitating the Yoruba and Hausa, which have newspapers in both languages, Nwankwo answered in the negative, emphasising that the move is to make sure that the Igbo language did not go extinct. According to him,
The fact that Igbo language is going extinct, which is a dangerous development is behind the move. If nothing is done to arrest the situation, we will have identity crisis. We felt attention should be paid to the reading of Igbo language, which is part of our culture. It is time for us to go back to our roots and be proud of our language.
Nwankwo further stated that the mandatory teaching and learning of the Igbo language in all schools in Imo up to first and second years in higher institutions is supported by the “Development of Igbo Language Law 9 of the Imo State House of Assembly”, adding that the Imo State Government is taking responsibility for the funding and sponsorship of the publication of Ikoro.
The Igbo newspaper would cover events in the five South-East states and other parts of the country where the Igbo language is used.