Chinyere, We Mourn You with Tears in our Eyes!
We Remember You with our Hands on our Bereaved Chest!!
We thank God that you lived in our Age!!!
It was Friday, September 28, 2018. I could not go to the office as I was still suffering from what is colloquially referred to as Jet Lag. It was not only the long travel back from the US, but the tedious restless schedule I had to keep in order to accomplish the ADF assignment that took us to the USA.
Unable to go the office, and yet with some very urgent tasks to attend to I summoned the ADF Administrative Secretary to the house for briefing and assignment. The banks have insisted that the pioneer ADF Treasurer must sign a document to enable ADF open sub-accounts for some of her branches.
So I called Chinyere’s three numbers, I could not get any answer. I had to call Barr, Chinedu Duru, one of our dedicated activists, and asked him to go to the Institute of Nigerian Languages, Aba, where Chinyere works as the Director-General.
Barr Duru later called back and broke the heart-rending news – THAT CHINYERE PASSED ON A WEEK BEFORE!
I knew she was very sick, I visited her in the hospital at Asokoro. She had a serious health challenge. She was flown abroad for treatment. And now Chinyere is gone!
Chinyere was one of the great Amazons of Igbo Culture and Civilization. What Catherine Acholonu was to Igbo Pre-history and what Flora Nwapa was to Igbo Literature, Chinyere was to Igbo Language, Culture and Civilization.
She was among the finest and most dedicated disciples of the great F. Ogbalu and the venerable Akanu Ibiam, President and Patron respectively of the Society for the Promotion of Igbo language and Culture (SPILC).
Among the pioneer Igbo Linguistic scholars that took to the calling for the promotion of Igbo language and civilization were late Prof Nolu Emenanjo, late Prof Philip Akujiobi Nwachukwu, etc.
This testimony is better complemented by ADF letter of Congratulations to Chinyere on her appointment as the Director-General of the Institute of Nigerian Languages. Prof Nolue Emenajo was also before his death the Diretor-General of the same Institute,
Here goes our Congratulatory Message to Chinyere:
Prof Chinyere Ohiri-Anichie
Institute of Nigerian Languages
Federal Ministry of Education
August 6, 2016
ADF Congratulates You on Your Appointment as Director–General, Institute of Nigerian Languages, Federal Ministry of Education
On behalf of the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), I write to congratulate you on your well-deserved appointment as the Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Languages.
Indeed, if one can talk of ‘A Calling’ in this context, Chinyere, you have shown greater devotion than anyone in living memory to the development of indigenous languages of Nigeria. Igbo language, your mother tongue, has been a great beneficiary of your life-long crusade for the preservation and development of Igbo language.
Some of us in ADF first met you in the United States at the Igbo Studies Association Conference where you presented such a graphic and moving picture with statistics showing the unfortunate decline and neglect of Igbo language both by the owners of the language themselves and by the international Community.
You have eloquently raised the urgency and validity of the crusade for the preservation of Igbo language and cultural heritage to the status of human rights. This is eloquently argued in your paper presented at the historic International Colloquium on the Igbo Question in Nigeria– captioned ‘Preserving Igbo Language ancestral language and upholding the Human Rights of Igbo children’
As the distinguished Professor of Linguistics and Language Education; President of the Linguistic Association of Nigeria; expert in the preservation, development and promotion of Nigerian languages, you have championed the use of indigenous language in the conduct of legislative affairs in the State Assemblies. This you had done with the Lagos House of Assembly as you have been championing the same case for the use of Igbo language in the Imo House of Assembly in your capacity as Executive Secretary of Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) Language and Culture project Committee.
We hope your new assignment will help to accelerate the on-going ADF project of producing a more authentic version of the Igbo translation of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.
Chinyere you can always be assured of ADF prayers, best wishes, support and collaboration in the discharge of your onerous responsibilities.
Wishing you all the best
PROF. UZODINMA NWALA
As part of ADF Contribution to her Memorial, ADF shall publish Chinyere’s epochal Research Report with which she alerted the world on the >Annihilation of the Ancestral Language as Human Rights Violation of the Igbo.>