No fewer than 13 states are participating in this year's Igbo (Uturu) cultural Carnival organised by the Igbo Renaissance Centre of the Gregory University, Uturu, Abia state.
The Chairman of the carnival, Prof. George Obiozor, commended the initiator, Dr Greg Ibe, the Chancellor of the university, for his efforts toward the preservation of the Igbo culture and values.
Obiozor, a one-time Minister of Foreign Affairs, said the Igbo culture was facing serious threat of extinction, but that it could be saved through such initiatives.
He enjoined Ibe not to rest on his oars and expressed the confidence that the carnival would achieve greater national and international acclaim.
Sen. Uche Chukwumerije, representing Abia North Senatorial District, enjoined the people not to allow their rich cultural heritage to extinct. He said many Nigerians were imitating foreign cultures at the detriment of the country's rich culture.
Chukwumerije noted that advanced nations, including America, were spending so much to preserve their own culture.
Mr Olusegun Runsewe, the Director-General, National Tourism Development Corporation, said it would help to preserve the Igbo language and culture.
Runsewe, represented by Mr Vincent Arua, said the lack of such carnivals portrayed the Igbo as a people without a culture.
He expressed the hope that the carnival would help Africans in Diaspora to trace their root, in addition to wealth creation through tourism.
The initiator of the carnival said that he drew his inspiration from his belief in the study of anthropology that "culture is life. "The Igbo culture and language will not go extinct if it is passed on from the old to young ones," Ibe said.
He said that the carnival, being the fifth edition, would set goals for the organisers, beyond the celebration of the people's cultural heritage.(NAN)