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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Jews inherited Igbo traditions

A mountain of issues has been made of the supposed Jewishness of the Igbo people of Nigeria. In fact, the issue had been the subject of a controversial litigation war that was fought all the way to the Israeli Supreme Court some years back.
But eminent afro-centric scholar and author, Prof. Catherine Acholonu, says it would amount to historical revisionism to claim that the Igbo are a part of the Hebrew race. If anything, she says, the Jewish culture had been enriched by Igbo traditions as result of earlier interface between the two peoples thousands of years before the birth of Jesus Christ.
“So rather than say Igbo are Jews, I would say that the Jews are among the people that have inherited Igbo traditions,” Acholonu told Daily Sun in Abuja.
As a matter of fact, she insists, the Hebrews inherited the Canaanite traditions that were already entrenched in the region before they arrived. According to her, those traditions were more Igbo than Jewish, hence there is a closer relationship between Igbo and Canaanite traditions than there is between Igbo and Jewish traditions. The author who has documented her latest findings in a forth-coming book, Origin of the Igbos, says there is evidence that the Hebrews encountered the Igbo people on their arrival to Canaan and were influenced by the traditions of the Igbo.
This is not the first time Acholonu is towing an un-treaded path. As a young academic in the early stage of her researching career about 20 years ago she had written the Igbo Roots of Olaudah Equiano, a work which traces the ancestry of the famous African American slave-author to Isekke in Anambra state. Her latest major work was the Gram Code of the African Adam which suggests that the biblical Adam might have been African after all. Surprisingly, nobody has come out to challenge the information contained in the two seminal works.
In arriving at her conclusions about the relationship between the Igbo and Jews, she says she never relies on what the Igbo say about themselves as this could be misleading and may not stand up to close scrutiny. Instead, the author says she has studied a number of phenomena, including the oral traditions the neighbours of the Igbo, like the Binis and Yoruba as well as those of the Hebrews and the Sumerians: “I have studied the Ifa with regard to the Igbo, the records about the Igbo in Yoruba Ifa tradition; I have studied what the Binis say about the Igbo; I have studied what the Igbo say about themselves; I have studied the Hebrew phenomenon; and I have gone beyond.

I have studied the literatures of the Igbo and have gone beyond the literatures of the Igbo. And I have studied pre-Abraham era to know what actually happened. I studied the Canaanites to know who is actually who.”
Her background in linguistics easily comes in handy in her research. Using her linguist’s skills, she explains, she is able to trace the journey of a languages from the beginning, and analyse it to arrive at a conclusion. “I trace the languages backwards, where words meet, where they touch, where people have followed words.”

According to Acholonu, a situation in which Igbo words occur in other civilizations that had existed some 5,000 - 6,000 years ago, would normally trigger a question as to the relationship between the two cultures, especially where the words have the same meaning and the same sound.
“When you find words with the same sound, the same meaning three four, five six, ... 10, 11 times between Igbo language and another language, it means there is some relationship. It is either that they are the same people or they encountered themselves at one point. And if Igbo words are borrowed, it means that Igbo made some impact in that civilization for them to borrow some Igbo words,” she explains.
Not unmindful of the controversy the present work might generate, Acholonu dares anybody who holds a contrary view to prove her wrong with his own research evidence. She describes herself as a mere researcher who does not invent anything, but only relies on the information she unearths in the course of her scholarly researches.
She explain further: “I search everything, everywhere I look for information. When I get information I put them together and put them on paper. The highest I can do is to tell you this thing suggests this, this suggests that. I won’t tell you this is this or this is that, I’m a researcher; I don’t invent anything. So when I present the information, you can go and search and check all the quotations I have made and know whether I invented anything at any point. If everything I quoted is as it is, then you might have to do more research to be able to prove me wrong".
She thinks it would be wrong for anybody who is not comfortable with her position to engage her as a person because she has invented nothing, but has only put things together. If anything, she invites people to engage with the issues raised in the book through their own independent research to either validate or dismiss them. And she says that since she wrote the book on Equiano over 20 years back, nobody has challenged it as a book.
“No one has taken that book and done research to say, Catherine is talking nonsense or not. People can pick up a chapter or a particular point and say, oh, why this, why that. But you have never had anyone who did research as a way of engaging that book. I have never had any researcher engaging me as researcher qua researcher, that is how is dine abroad. In which case you go to the field, do your own work and say this person is wrong because I have better information,” Acholonu says.

Not even a more controversial work like the Gram Code of African Adam, which is now being reversed has been so engaged. Of course, the pre-publication interview granted by the author elicited a flurry of criticisms from across the world. But as soon as the first copies of the book rolled off the press, everybody shut up, and nobody has engaged the thesis of the book till tomorrow. It is three years since the book came out, and Acholonu is still challenging people to disprove it through research “because I feel that research is the future of education.”

Although Acholonu has been appointed a professor of African history and philosophy by a university in North Carolina in the US, based on the Gram Code, she does not consider herself a historian. Nor does she see herself as another scholar of Igbo studies by reason of her ongoing work, instead, she sees herself as a pure researcher, a detective who uses what is known to unravel the one that is not know.
One interesting thing is that Acholonu has never been known to engage Igbo issues in her research. But for her work on Equiano, none of her earlier research efforts had centred on the Igbo. She explains that her research interest has always been in the Africa issue because she is intrigued “our blackness and Africanness”. It is this need to know who the Africans are as black people vis-a-vis the rest of the world; what makes them unique that fires her zeal.

“I have great ideas, so what is this thing about black and blackness, I have to engage with that. And then I engage myself with my Nigerianness. I know that Nigerian people are wonderful people. They are some of the most intelligent people that you can find anywhere in the world; the most courageous, self confident human beings you find anywhere in the world are Nigerians; so that intrigues me. I like to know why Nigerians are the way they are, so I research into our Africanness and our Nigerianness, that’s why you find me doing work in Cross River State and things like that,” she explains.

Her present work was a child of circumstance in the sense that she stumbled on the information contained in the book while researching on other issues. According to her, while trying to trace the place of the black man in world civilizations, she found a lot of things concerning the Igbo by the way. The author says: “Everywhere I looked, I saw something to do with the Igbo. That wasn’t my subject, I played it down. The African thing was what I was interested in. But at a point I now realized there was need to put together things I have found out about the Igbo, because when I read some of the things that are being written about the Igbo people by themselves, I realize that there is a lot of misinformation and there is very little information, and people don’t know much about who we are. That’s what the book is about.”

Acholonu has almost finished the book, and intends that the public presentation coincide with the 50th anniversary of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart this December. Part of the book was presented at the Igbo studies Association Conference in Howard University in April and, according to the author was very well received.
On the subject of anti-Christ which was the title of a most recent book authored by Dillibe Onyeama and reviewed by her, Acholonu thinks the issue is most timely results of her research works in both Africa and the Americas suggest that something drastic would happen to the world soon, just as the bible has warned. According to her, there are so many signs coming that have been given in the scriptures about end time, and those signs are all there for people to see.
Noting that authors from all over the world, especially in the west have been engaging the issue of end times and the second coming of the Christ, she says it is interesting that a Nigerian is talking about the issue of anti-Christ which also means Nigerians are talking about the issue of the second coming. “However, where I disagrees is that he named someone as the anti-Christ.

1 comment:

Onyemobi said...

Alot of what she is saying has alot of validity. Igbos are not descendants of Jews. They are our descendants.


I am an Igbo, I was born an Igbo, I live the life of an Igbo, I come from Igbo, I speak Igbo, I like to be Igbo, I like to dress in Igbo, I eat Igbo food, my heritage, culture and tradition is Igbo, my parents are Igbo.

Am sorry I cannot help it if you hate my lineage. Am sorry I cannot help it if you detest Igbo, am sorry I cannot help it if you hate me because am Igbo. Igbo is who I am, my name is Igbo and I must die an Igbo.

You see Igbo as a threat, why? You call Igbo rapist, criminals, ritualist, prostitutes, kidnappers. You attribute all negative vices to represent Igbo? Why do you do that? You do because you feel threatened that Igbo might outrun the rest of the tribes. Why do you hate Igbo and despise us? You do that because we are creative, enlightened, hardworking, industrious, genius, intelligent, smart, rich, beautiful and amazing. But its difficult for you to admit it because you feel jealous of my race.

Igbo do not own politics, Igbo do not control the economy neither do we control the natural resources and the common wealth of the nation. You do, we don't and yet, despite the fact that you own everything, we still remain one indispensable race that has outshined the other race in all ramifications.

You fear us because you want to exterminate and annihilate our race, you deny us many things and yet we are stronger, richer and mightier. You fear us because we are everywhere. You fear us because no matter how rural a place might be, when Igbo steps in, they turn it into a Paradise. We have our own resources, which lies in resourcefulness, we do not bother you and your control over the polity, but yet when we cough you and the other race begin to shiver.

Am proud being an Igbo, am proud of my heritage and culture. Igbo means high class, Igbo means independence, Igbo means hard work and strength, Igbo means riches, Igbo means resourcefulness, Igbo means self belonging, Igbo means self esteem, Igbo means pride, Igbo means swag.

Udo diri unu umunnem.
# IgboAmaka
# AnyiBuNdiMmeri

Michael Ezeaka

This is beautiful poetry ...

In response to Alaba Ajibola, the Babcock Lecturer Hate Speech against Igbos.


In Igboland women live apart from their husbands and neither cook for them nor enter their husband's quarters when they are in their period. They are seen as unclean. Even up till today such practice is still applicable in some parts of Igboland especially by the traditionalists. Before a woman can enter the palace of Obi of Onitsha, she will be asked if she is in her period, if yes, she will be asked to stay out.

Leviticus 15: 19-20
When a woman has her monthly period, she remains unclean, anyone who touches her or anything she has sat on becomes unclean.

An Igbo man's ancestral heritage, called “Ana Obi” is not sellable, elders will not permit this. If this is somehow done due to the influence of the West the person is considered a fool and is ostracized by the community.

1 Kings 21:3
I inherited this vineyard from my ancestors, and the Lord forbid that I should sell it, said Naboth.

Igbos have practiced the taking of a late brother's wife into marriage after she had been widowed until the white men came. Now it is rarely done but except in very rural villages.

Deuteronomy 25:5
A widow of a dead man is not to be married outside the family; it is the duty of the dead man's brother to marry her.

In Igboland, there is a unique form of apprenticeship in which either a male family member or a community member will spend six (6) years (usually in their teens to their adulthood) working for another family. And on the seventh year, the head of the host household, who is usually the older man who brought the apprentice into his household, will establish (Igbo: idu uno) the apprentice
by either setting up a business for him or giving money or tools by which to make a living.

Exodus 21:2
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve you for six years. In the seventh year he is to be set free without having to pay you anything.

In Igboland , the yam is very important as it is their staple crop. There are celebrations such as the New yam festival (Igbo: Iri Ji) which are held for the harvesting of the yam. New Yam festival (Igbo: Iri ji) is celebrated annually to secure a good harvest of the staple crop. In the olden days it is an abomination for one to eat a new harvest before the festival. It's a tradition that you give the gods of the land first as a thanksgiving.

Deuteronomy 16:9
Count 7 weeks from the time that you begin to harvest the crops, and celebrate the harvest festival to honor the lord your God, by bringing him a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing he has given you. Celebrate in the Lord's presence together with your children, servants, foreigners. Be sure that you obey my command, said the Lord.

In Igboland it's a tradition that the male children are circumcised on the 8th day. This tradition is still practiced till date.

Leviticus 12:3
On the eighth day, the child shall be circumcised.

In Igboland, there is a practice known as "ile omugwo ". After a woman has given birth to a child, a very close and experienced relative of hers, in most cases her mother is required by tradition to come spend time with her and her husband. During which she is to do all the work of the wife, while the new mom's only assignment to the baby will be to breastfeed. This goes on for a month or more. In the Igbo old tradition, at this time, the new mom lives apart from her husband, would not cook or enter his quarters.

Leviticus 12:1-4
For seven days after a woman gives birth, she is ritually unclean as she is during her monthly period. It will be 33 days until she is ritually clean from the loss of blood; she is not to touch anything that is holy.


The Igbo tribe is in a serious problem and danger of extinction for the following reasons:

50% of Igbos are born outside Igbo land. Meaning that those children are not likely to live and work in Igbo land and cannot speak Igbo language but foreign language (Yoruba, Hausa, French, English).

40% of Igbos girls between the age of 25 & 45 are single with no hope of marriage because 35% of Igbo boys live overseas and they have all married white ladies.

75% of Igbo youths leave Igbo land every year in search of opportunities in Yoruba, Hausa land or overseas.

85 % of Igbos have family houses and own investments outside Igbo land. They strongly believe in one Nigeria but failed to know that NO Yoruba or Hausa man has a family house or investment in Igbo land.

Igbos are the only people who believe that living outside their land is an achievement.

Igbos are the only tribe that celebrate their tradition outside their land e.g. Eze Ndi Igbo, Igbo Village in America and this is because they have family homes in foreign lands.

Igbos have failed to know that the children you have outside Igbo land especially overseas will never think of living in Igbo land. So what happens to the properties you are building for them when you are gone?

Igbos are the only tribe who see their land as a place to visit or a tourist site than a place to work and live.

Igbos are the only tribe who instead of promoting and appreciating their culture through movies and documentaries they have sought to ridicule it by portraying rituals, killings, wickedness, love for money and other social vices which were not originally inherent in our culture thereby cursing more harm than actually promoting their culture.

Igbos are the only people who without hesitation believe their history and description when it is told or written by an enemy or a foreigner. E.g. that you do not love yourselves or that you love money.

Igbos are the ONLY largest tribe on earth who fought for their independence and failed to achieve their freedom after 40 years.

Igbos are the only tribe who fails to honour their brave heroes and heroines especially the innocent children starved to death during the Biafran war.

Igbos are the only tribe who embraced their enemy after a bloody civil war and subsequently become slaves.

Igbos do not find it necessary to teach their own version of history to their children.

Igbos fight for marginalisation in Nigeria but has no collective strength or teeth to bite.

Igbos how long are you going to fight for your relevance in Nigeria?

How long are you going to fight for a functional airport, rail networks and other structural establishments that underpin sustainable development?

How long are you prepared to wait for your enemy to guide you to your destiny?

Oh Igbos!
Where are your leaders?

Unfortunately, none of them live and work in Igbo land. If you wish to save the future of your children, your identity, your generation and your race then you need freedom and that freedom is Biafra.

Ukpana Okpoko gburu bu nti chiri ya!

By Chime Eze

The Igbo: We die for causes, not for personalities

Written by Emeka Maduewesi

~on fb. 28th September, 2016.

The Igbo will never die for anyone. We will not even riot for anyone. But the Igbo will die for any cause they believe in because the Igbo have a true sense of justice and a determination to obtain it.

The Igbo will not riot because one of their own lost an election. Operation Wetie was the Western response to a massively rigged 1965 election. The Yoruba doused fellow Yorubas in petrol and burnt them alife. Properties were burnt with occupants. The Igbo will never do this.

In 1983, the Yoruba went on a rampage again over the massive rigging by NPN. Lifes were lost and properties destroyed. The riots were over personalities.

Contrast that with Anambra State where Chief Emeka Ojukwu was rigged out by his own NPN, who also rigged out Chief Jim Nwobodo. The Igbo did not protest because the goat's head is still in the goat's bag.

In the North, ba muso was the battle cry when Sultan Dasuki was imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate. The riot and protest lasted for days and crippled economic activities.

The Igbo will riot over issues and causes. The Aba Women Riot was over Tax. The Enugu coal mine riot was about conditions of service. The Ekumeku Uprising was over British colonialization.

Those of "Ekumeku" ancestry - Umu Eze Chima and Umu Nri - were at the forefront of the struggles for Nigerian independence, with people like Dr. A A Nwafor Orizu and Chief Osita Agwuna serving prison terms. Any struggles the parents could not conclude is continued by the children by other means.

The Biafran war was a response to the genocide. The war in fact was brought upon us. The battlefield was Eastern Region. The war ended in 1970 but the issues and causes were not resolved. That is where we are today.

The Igbo will also jointly rise to fight evil in their midst. They did it in Onitsha in the 1980's, Owerri in the 90's, and with Bakkassi in the 2000.

The Igbo will not die for any man. But the Igbo will stand by any man who symbolizes their cause and their pursuit of justice. Even if the man dies, the struggle continues, and like the Ekumeku warriors, the children will pick up the baton from their parents.

This is the Igbo I know, the Igbo I am, and the Igbo we are. This is my story. Feel free to tell yours.


"My boy, may you live to your full potential, ascend to a dizzy height as is possible for anyone of your political description in your era to rise. May you be acknowledged world-wide as you rise as an eagle atop trees, float among the clouds, preside over the affairs of fellow men.... as leaders of all countries pour into Nigeria to breathe into her ear.

But then, Chuba, if it is not the tradition of our people that elders are roundly insulted by young men of the world, as you have unjustly done to me, may your reign come to an abrupt and shattering close. As you look ahead, Chuba, as you see the horizon, dedicating a great marble palace that is the envy of the world, toasted by the most powerful men in the land, may the great big hand snatch it away from you. Just as you look forward to hosting the world’s most powerful leader and shaking his hands, as you begin to smell the recognition and leadership of the Igbo people, may the crown fall off your head and your political head fall off your shoulders.

None of my words will come to pass, Chuba, until you have risen to the very height of your power and glory and health, but then you will be hounded and humiliated and disgraced out of office, your credibility and your name in tatters forever...”


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