39. CHANGING VALUES AND NORMS IN THE IGBO NATION
Rev. Jonathan Chidomerem Egesi
Department of General Studies,
Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo-Ohaji
Imo State – Nigeria.
Igbo culture (omenala ndi Igbo) is the customs, practices and tradition of Ndi Igbo. It comprises ancient practices as well as new concepts added into the Igbo culture either by evolution or by outside influence (eg, Christianity which condemns osu cast system and killing of Ejima “twins”). These custom and traditions include the Igbo people’s values and norms according to how Ndi Igbo showcase visual art, music and dance forms, as well as their attire, cuisine and language dialects and other forms by which Ndi Igbo exhibit their rich-cultural heritage. Quite evidently, owing to their various subgroups, the
variety of their culture is heightened further and therefore changing values and norms in the Igbo Nation become imperative.
Definition of culture portrays the totality of peoples’way of life as well as how they are transmitted from generation to another and even to another yet unborn. Just as values say stealing is sacrilegious, norm says violating the behavioural standard by stealing another’s property attracts sanction. It is noteworthy thatndi Igbo should fine-tune their cultural heritage now in order to shape their future in the direction of positivism. In view of the above therefore, we need to celebrate the positive facets of our rich-cultural heritage and change the odd facets since change is the only constant thing in nature. This gross-exhibition of pessimism in the culture of ndi Igbo such as killing of twins, osu cast system and others should cease to lurk.
The positive features such as melodic and symphonic musical style, the traditional ancient Igbo religion “mythology” which recognizes Chukwu as their God, the New Yam Festival, the Igbo traditional attire which reveals the identity of a true Igbo man, the Nze na Ozo title which underscores outstanding reputation and integrity, the unique form of apprenticeship of ndi Igbo in which their entrepreneurial spirit is boosted, kola nut (oji)
which occupies a unique position in the cultural life of Igbo people inter-alia should be celebrated and held in a very high esteem. Conclusively, Igbo culture deals with certain artifacts and mores by which the Igbos singles themselves out from other ethnic groups. The culture of the Igbos finds expressions in their agriculture, intellectual reasoning, moral values, dresses, foods, kinship, marriage and languages.
How culture survives depends in the people’s capacity to learn and transmit it to succeeding generations. This paper therefore, seeks to enjoin ndi Igbo to go back and fine-tune their first love which advocates the novel traditional Igbo norms and values which is where their rich-cultural heritage is entrenched. Ndi Igbo, onye aghakwala nwanne ya!