The Odinani Museum in Nri kingdom, Anambra built in 1948 has received boost after years of dilapidation.
Nri is the historical ancestral kingdom and cradle of Igbo civilisation while the Odinani Museum is the collection house for valued cultural antiquities that depict the origin and history of the Igbo nation.
Chief Tony Akunne, the curator of the museum, told newsmen on Thursday that the monument was officially inaugurated on March 18, 1972 by the Sole Administrator of the defunct East Central State, Chief Ukpabi Asika.
Effort to rebuild the museum was courtesy of Chief Charles Tabansi, an illustrious son of the kingdom who single handedly built an ultra-modern edifice for the museum at an estimated cost of N50 million.
Akunne said the museum contained more than 10,000 artifacts which included 17th century wooden door, sacred python, pre-colonial legal tenders, a wooden gong called ‘Ekwe Ikolo’ which was used by Eze-Nri Enwenetem in 1616 AD.
He said Nri had existed 900AD and endowed with its preservative nature of legacies bequeathed by the ancestors and had attracted foreign archaeologists and anthropologists for academic exercise.
The curator said the museum suffered dilapidation since 2010 after the brains behind it, late Prof. Kenneth Dike, a foremost historian and Prof. Michael Onwuejiogwu, an Anthropologist stopped giving attention to it.
He said: “The building started collapsing, the staffs were not being paid and even some of the artifacts molded with red earth like ‘Egbo and Abadaba’ which are usually erected during new yam festivals were destroyed because of rain.”
Akunne thanked Tabansi for bringing back the pride of the community by building the ultra-modern house for the custody of the numerous antiquities.
He said that Tabansi had given the place a face lift by bringing professionals from National Museum and Monument, Enugu, to arrange the artifacts in the museum.
On his part, Tabansi said he moved to rebuild the museum having watched the antiquity reduce to rubble and in fulfillment of the wish of his late father who was regent of the kingdom.
Tabansi said he was expecting the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo on December 28, at the official unveiling of the rebuilt museum adding that he was happy that the old glory was coming back.
Osinbajo said: “Those artifacts displayed in the museum have shown that Ndigbo can produce what they need despite its crude nature.
“Particularly, Nri people have been technologically informed right from the 13th century when we started creating instruments from iron.
“The new museum would be officially opened by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo in December and we shall honour Onwuejiogwu for his contributions to the kingdom on his literal works about Nri hegemony.”