Documenting Anambra’s history, icons, cultural heritage

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Determined to preserve its rich history for posterity, especially as a state that prides itself as torchbearer in diverse human endeavours in Nigeria, Anambra State government, will, in the coming days, present a compendium, a comprehensive photo-history book of the state, that will showcase Anambra in all its glory.

The book entitled, “Anambra Light of the Nation: A Compendium,” which was sanctioned by the state government as part of the state’s 25th anniversary marked in the last quarter of last year, is designed to celebratee Anambra’s rich history/cultural heritage, enterprising spirit and the exploits of its people, as well as the arts and craft, food and lifestyle, iconic personalities, past and present leaders and traditional institutions. 

Speaking on the reasons behind the compendium, Chief Emeka Okonkwo, coordinator of the Anambra at 25 project, said: “ Our dear state, Anambra, is the land of several firsts in different fields and its people have contributed in many ways in shaping the history of Nigeria, but one of the greatest problems we have is that the history of Anambra and the numerous exploits of our people are not well documented for people, especially the future generation, to appreciate.

“Take, for instance, the great strides of pioneer transporters, such as Ekenedilichukwu or the unequalled business acumen of the late billionaire, Sir Luis Odumegwu Ojukwu, and several others whose lives were tales of integrity, hard work, enterprise and unblemished character that are worthy of emulation.”

Throwing more light on the project, he stated that the compendium would be an “authentic referral material on Anambra that is devoid of partisan politics as it seeks to give a factual and accurate information of Anambra’s 179 communities, early civilisation, government structures, past and present leaders, traditional festivals and religions.”

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He added that the book would also “highlight our beacons, who have placed Anambra on the global map as well as our icons that have made Anambra proud at the national stage.”

A synopsis of a section of the book, Our Enterprises, made public by the publishers, read in part: “Anambra State is easily the state with the highest number of billionaires in Nigeria. This is not surprising, considering the well-known commercial, industrial and enterprising nature of Ndi Anambra. And it is marketed by Great Source Investment, run by an indigene of Anambra State, who also played a key role in the anniversary events last year.

“Right from the colonial era, Ndi Anambra have continued to excel in industries, trade and commerce. The achievements and exploits of Ndi Anambra’s forebears, such as Sir Louis Philip Odumegwu Ojukwu, are legendary.”

Profiles of notable industries and their promoters form part of the business section, it also revealed.

 Dr. (Mrs.) Njideka Duru of the Centre for Preservation of Indigenous History, speaking on why Anambra deserves a documented, comprehensive history, stated that: “Among the Igbo, there is a strong attachment to Anambra… In the build-up to Nigeria’s independence in 1960, for example, apart from a handful of individuals from other neighboring states, most of the personalities that called the shots from the eastern flank were from the present-day Anambra. There were, for instance, the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr. Akwaeke Nwafor Orizu, both at different times, President of the country and Senate President, respectively.

“They also had younger contemporaries such as late M.C.K. Ajuluchukwu, Mbazuilike Amaechi, Igwe Osita Agwuna and Dr. Okechukwu Ikejiani. These people, at the time, helped to sustain the fire of Nigeria’s nationalism.

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“Even after Independence, when the ship of the Nigerian state left no room for the Igbo, the task of charting the path for self-actualisation of the people, through the instrumentality of the Republic of Biafra, fell on Gen. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, again from Nnewi, Anambra State. Also, at the height of the civil war, when the federal authorities were looking for an administrator for the East Central State, they settled for the late Ukpabi Asika, from Onitsha, Anambra State, too.”

These sentiments have often been echoed by many, who assert that in entertainment, literature, science, administration, law, sports, the military and entrepreneurship, Anambra has produced men and women of remarkable achievements that are worth documenting.

Documenting the life and times of these great men and women of Anambra State origin and their successor generations, who have made their mark in different fields, the State government reasoned, would inspire the spirit of excellence, enterprise, hard work and ingenuity in the current generation and those to come.

Source – The Sun

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