For the visionary and assiduous Professor ChinedumUzomaNwajiuba, Vice Chancellor, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State, who never relents until visible results are achieved and for those who believe in his vision to build an Igbo Centre of record in the university, it is a dream come true, when the just completed Igbo Centre Complex was on Tuesday 15th December, 2020, commissioned by Mr. Peter Obi ‘ OkuteNdigbo, Former Governor of Anambra State, as part of the activities marking the University’s Special 5th Convocation, where he delivered the convocation lecture titled “Nigeria’s Economic Growth Will Depend On Innovation and Entrepreneurship”.
The journey to have an Igbo Centre that will be driven by true Igbo spirit of diligence, power, love and promotion of the Igbo essence started as soon as Prof. Nwajiuba took over mantle of leadership as 2nd VC of the young and most serious public university in Nigeria. The vision was further enhanced by his creation of a special committee on Igbo Centre, followed by the historic international zoom conference hosted by the committee and led by Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba himself, in July, 2020, with prominent Ndigbo, even in the diaspora, contributing ideas and support for the establishment of an Igbo Centre to behold. Chief Osita Chidoka, Former Minister for Aviation and Chief Nnia Nwodo, President General of OHANEZE NDIGBO, were lead speakers.
The AE-FUNAI Igbo Centre is named after OLAUDAH EQUINO, an Igbo sailor, writer, merchant, slave abolitionist, who was born in October 1745 and lived till 1797. Equino was the first black activist of Igbo extraction, who got his freedom from slavery and contributed towards the freedom of other slaves in America.
In her welcome address, elated Dr. Mrs Anne Nwankwo, Director of the Centre, welcomed the Chief Guest, Mr Peter Obi, all other guests and members of the university community present at the event, stating that “The idea of the Igbo Centre was conceived by Prof. ChinedumUzomaNwajiuba in 2018. Since then it had had one challenge or the other but, today, we are glad this dream has become a reality. We have gathered here not only to celebrate the magnificent building for the centre but to make a clarion call on ways to rekindle the passion for Igboness”.Dr. Anne Nwankwo, who spoke in Igbo,said that the AE- FUNAI Igbo Centre shall be a place for cultural renaissance and a place for academic development and thanked Prof. Nwajiuba for creating the centre and offering her the opportunity to serve as Director of the Centre. She enthused further that“nowNdigbo at home and in the diaspora can come around for excursions, summer lessons, carry out researches on who we are and culturally bring our children back to their ancestral values and belief system”. She promised to work hard with her team to ensure the dream does not die.
Highlights were the presentation of a sonnet on the ROCK on which the centre stands, composed by our erudite Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba, display of Igbo dance drama and exhibition of artworks.