In many South South Igbo clans, the people strongly feel they are not Igbo, but Benin. This development is evidently due to the political system of Nigeria. Because of this, they resent ethnic identification with the Igbo of South East.. This resentment has resulted in a number of things including the usage of a mother tongue in childhood education.
The desire to create a separate identity from the Igbo of South East, many of these clans would not allow for the teaching of the Igbo language in their schools, as they had tuned their minds to see Igbo as an imperial language. For instance, the Rivers State government, making a declaration that Igbo was not indigenous to the state, is unlikely to include the Igbo language in the educational curriculum. So these Igbo clans that have seen themselves as tribes, seek to develop orthographies for their different dialects.
There are only a few people who show interests in making these respective dialects as an educational discipline. Also, there are no professional researchers or linguists to develop the dialects as fields of studies.
Secondly, these dialects are not studied in any University. And even if these dialects are taught at the primary levels of education, they have not even gained wide acceptance among all speakers of the dialects.No sufficient books or literature or materials for the dialects, and these dialects are not taught at the secondary level, unlike in the South East zone where Igbo is part of the educational curriculum.With these, the younger population of these groups are not taught literacy in their mother tongue, neither their dialect nor Igbo izugbe.
Recently, we have had different nomenclature such as "Echie Orthography", "Egbema Orthography", "Ogba, Ekpeye, Ndoki, Ndoni, Ikwerre Orthographies, etc. which didn't yield results.And with the state government knowing the truth that "they are all Igbo", It would not spend resources for more researches to be carried out in these areas... rather, more on distinct centralized Ogoni and Ijaw.
The identity crisis has put the Rivers Igbo in a dilemma and many of them would rather be literate in Hausa than in Igbo. The unwillingness to adopt the Igbo language which has become a leading African language, as an academic discipline, has put the Rivers Igbo at disadvantage. As it had made them micro minority linguistic groups even among the actual minorities, at a time when speakers of dialect clusters are fusing to develop their languages, taking advantage of their numerical strength. For instance, the central Izọn based on the Kolokuma/Opokuma dialect is even taught and accepted in schools all over Ijaw states and part of the academic curriculum even in Ogbia and Epie speaking areas.
Resources are invested for the promotion and learning of the Ijaw language.
In the South South, we have students (although few) learning their indigenous languages up to the SSCE level, Efik-Ibibio, Urhobo, Edo. What happens to the Igbo speaking areas?
In the next few years, there may almost be no youth from the Rivers Igbo area who would be literate in either his dialect or Igbo izugbe..., when all other non Igbo southern minorities would be boasting of the literacy of their people in their Dialects. I doubt that Igbo is a discipline in any of the Universities in Rivers and Delta States. There is even a higher chance of Ogoni and Izon being taught in the tertiary institutions of those states than there is for the Igbo language..
Ohaneze Ndígbo, and the government stakeholders from the Igbo speaking parts of the South South should look into this issue.