Finally the Imo State government has held the 2019 edition of the Ahiajoku lecture at Owerri, inside the newly renovated Ahiajoku Convention Centre.
The main lecturer during the occasion was Prof. M.C.J. Echeruo who was also the first lecturer when the series started 40 years ago in 1979.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Imo State Governor Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha lamented Owelle Rochas Okorocha’s decision to discontinue the Ahiajoku Festival and Lecture series, which was started three years after the creation of Imo.
Ihedioha described Okorocha, the immediate past governor of the State as a man without character, a hater of Ndigbo and someone who never valued the culture of Ndigbo.
The Governor went further to make it public that he inherited from the past administration of Okorocha a state that is in ruins and one that has suffered monumental neglect in the last eight years.
According to him, “Today, Imo State is on the march again. Never again a man without character will rule Imo State.”
The Governor who has always displayed his zeal to re-build Imo, equally informed the people that ever since the late first civilian governor of old Imo State, Chief Sam Onunaka Mbakwe, came up with the Ahiajoku lecture series, it has remained an intellectual and cultural harvest of Igbo people.
In his further explanation, Ihedioha said, “It is important in this short narrative to note that during what is clearly now properly categorized as the locust years (2011 – 2018) when a man who rode on the popularity of an essentially Igbo party to beguile Imo people, but who turned out to despise everything the Igbo hold dear, a man who limped into Douglas House Owerri on a lie of the garb, never held the lecture; instead, the name of Ahiajoku Centre was changed to Imo State Investment Centre and anything that could amount to an intellectual journey of discovery for the Igbo was shunned by this man for eight years.
“Even all the cultural artifacts at the Mbari centre were equally destroyed and termed as idols.”