UNN Gaduate Invents Modern Igbo Calendar

Image via Sun News


--Less than a month after Chairman, Enugu State traditional rulers’ council, Igwe Lawrence Agubuzu in his proclamation at the Iwajiofu 2019 (New yam festival) of his community, challenged Information Communication Technology experts to include Igbo calendar in cell phones to display the four Igbo market days on the screen; a University of Nigeria, Nsukka, (UNN) graduate has designed and unveiled an Igbo calendar.

In what looked like great astrological breakthrough, Emmanuel Ezikanyi made history when he presented and defended the calendar in the presence of UNN academics.

The graduate of Adult Education and Administration who may emerge recipient of the special traditional award promised by Igwe Agubuzu claimed to have developed the Igbo calendar application currently on Google play store which he said was subject to occasional upgrade.

He said the essence was to sustain the dying culture and tradition of the Igbo. “What I want to achieve with this work are firstly, to restore our original Igbo traditional calendar and make sure that our people understand it and use it on our day to day life. This is because the rate at which our culture is fading away is shocking and shameful. So, we need to restore it. Again, we will use this work to settle disputes that occur as a result of miscalculation of lunar months among those that use it in our cultural events.”

Ezikanyi said that he discovered in his research that different communities have difficulty in counting lunar months, citing Aku Diewa Igbo-Etiti LGA, Nsukka LGA and Orba in Udenu LGA, all in Enugu state as places where the miscalculation was prevalent.

According to him, it will ensure that Ndigbo have a unifying standard calendar that will regulate their cultural events; for instance, the feast of new yam festival that depends on moon in fixing its date of celebration.

“As Ndigbo, we should stop the use of civil calendar in place of Igbo traditional calendar. Today, our people use civil calendar and attach Eke, Orie, Afor and Nkwo on it and term it Igbo calendar. That is not Igbo calendar at all. Different authors use international fixed calendar with 13 months of 28 days each with addition of one day making it 365 days of solar year as our calendar. This work has addressed this problem of misconception of Igbo traditional calendar. It also shows that Igbo traditional calendar has male and female calendar, the male calendar is based on lunar month which alternate 12 months in a year; sometimes one month is added to balance the year. Each month has 29 or 30 days and female calendar is based on weeks which have 28 difference periodic months; it takes each of this month 14 days to complete one solar year of 365 days,” he explained.

Ezikanyi’s invention further addresses the problem of Igbo date system of Uka Eke, Uka Nkwo, Uka Afor, Uka Orie and so on, used in various periodic meetings or for fixing date by the rural dwellers which always posed challenge to those in urban centres.

He further explained: that” This work has provided Igbo date formats that will enable people to use moon and weeks in writing dates and joint date. It also provides formula to convert Igbo date to civil date and civil date to Igbo date; formula to find out when someone was born by using formula to convert date to Igbo native week. For example, with this formula I found out that 1/10/1960 was Eke and Saturday, 15/1/1970, with this we can find out those born on Eke, Orie, Afor or Nkwo day, so that we can maintain our natural and unique name of Nwa Eke, Nwa Orie, Nwa Afor and Nwa Nkwo. Finally, every Igbo person should understand and use our traditional calendar all over the world. This work has provided phone APP, titled Modern Igbo Calendar on Google play store, but needed to be updated, to ensure that distance is not a problem. Above all, the calendar is a wonderful instrument for unity and cultural stability. No culture can survive without calendar that regulates its activities. So, for Igbo to exist as a united people, they need their traditional calendar to bring them together as one entity.”

However, the young graduate who is currently awaiting his mandatory National Youth Service Corps told our reporter that he began the project in 2015 but “When my work came into limelight, I was invited by the Director of Institute of African Studies, UNN to defend the invention which I did. I have also presented the work to the entire council of traditional rulers, Enugu North chapter and it received an unprecedented acceptance.”

Regardless, he said that his challenge had been the sponsorship to publish the calendar and update the phone App that is online. He would also need sponsorship to create the awareness in the media especially radio and television.

In addition, he said: “I want the state Governments of South East to adopt this work in schools so that our children will learn it. Again, I want schools in the region to adopt Igbo calendar reading in the curricula from primary to university level. This will go a long way in enhancing Igbo language and culture.”