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Thursday, December 10, 2015


First published on 6/22/09, 6:31 AM Western African Time

Ossie Ezeaku - AntwerpBelgium

African peoples have long relied on oral accounts to learn about their past. But the down side of this tradition remains its vulnerability to embellishment. The absence of written records, passage of time and the hunger for greatness have made the method the most unreliable. Egypt is one good example. In the face of mounting evidences, the archaeological findings in Egypt have continued to generate intense racial politics. In the same vein, the quest for political and social mobility in Igboland has progressively turned her history into a subject of differing interpretations.
Addressing the historical factors that shaped the modern Igbo was vital for the knowledge of not only the present and future generation of Ndigbo, but for none Igbos alike. Thus, modern day discussions on this particular subject, for posterity's sake, should be devoid of politics.

In that context, to divorce either the Igala or the Benin influence from the modern Igbo cultural evolution would be a travesty of history. The evidence of the cross cultural mix appears to be genuine. Thus, the debate should instead focus on the extent of each one of these rich cultures on the other, especially the issue of settler and aborigine in the western Igbo region, and as well as in the East. This particular aspect has not only heightened the interest of eastern Igbos, It has equally generated a quiet acrimony amongst the western Igbos. I mean those of them who had remained steadfast with their Igbo roots, and the others who would defend their claim of Benin ancestry vigorously. The future implication of this situation in the context of Nigeria's contemporary politics is what I'll comment on later in this thread.

According to several sources, Igbo people evolved over a long period of 4000 BC to 500 AD in Igboland through waves of migrations. Oral accounts stated that her northern neighbours migrated into her heartland in search of fertile land and rich marine life. The majority of which were Igalas. The Igalas settled amongst the locals east of the Niger, altering the historiography of many towns in today's Anambra state. Affected also, were parts of the present Oshimmili local government in Delta state.

Anambra state is of course 96 percent indigenous Igbo, however, there are traces of Igala history in some communities of the following local government councils of the state--Ayamelum, Ihiala, Oyi, Awka North, Aniocha, Dunukofia, Onitsha North, Ogbaru, Anambra East, Njikoka, Anambra west, Onitsha South, and Awka South. The migration did not only affect the area known today as Anambra state, a sizeable portion of Enugu state's communities have Igala ancestry as well. Thus, it would be right to call it a reverse migration, occurring about eight hundred years after which Eri was reported to have founded the modern Igbo nation with its set of unique religious doctrine. It was also a period one of his sons, Onoja, was said to have departed northwards and founded the Igala land.

Eri's children were listed as Nri-Ifikuanim Menri, Agulu, Onoja (founder of Igala), Ogbodudu, Onogu and his only daughter, Iguedo. Together and respectively, his off-springs were instrumental to founding the towns of Aguleri, Igbariam, Ogbunike, Nando, Nri, Enugu-Ukwu, Nteje, Enugu-Agidi, Oraeri and so many other settlements in the East and West of the Niger. It is indeed difficult to draw a line between Igbo and Igala history.

Having said that, P.E. OKWOLI, a native Igalan, and renowned historian stated that in the ancient times, new rulers from the Igbo communities of Igala ancestry must go to Igala to be taught kingship rituals and ceremonials. Although he mentioned that Igala and UMUERI towns are related, but added that UMUERI needed not to go to Igala for any sort of tutelage. An exemption that might explain Nri-Ifikuanim and Agulu's seniority to their younger brother Onoja, the founder of Igala.

P.E. Okwoli further stated that "In Nsukka and the rest of Igboland, there is a popular masquerade, which is called Agabaidu, and this is a significant cultural point. In Nsukka, the word Agabidu is used to refer to an eminent man, while it is used to refer to a King in Igala. Also Asadu is the word for kingmaker among the Igbo, while it takes the form of Achadu among the Igala. There are some other words which are signs of close cultural ties shared by both Igala and the Igbo. These include Atama, which means Chief Priest in both languages. Among the Igala, Atta means father, among the Igbo it refers to the eldest person. Ajogwu means warrior among the Igala and the Igbo"

The town of Asaba shares similar history with those others in Anambra and Enugu states. Before its "modern founder", Nnebuisi migrated from Nteje in the Anambra region to join his Igalla father who was a resident, Asaba was aboriginally inhabited by Ugboma and his lineage. Ugboma was a farmer from AWKA in the present Anambra state. (H. Vaux, 1934), ( The aboriginal group assimilated those of Nnebisi and vice versa, and the refugees from different parts of Benin Empire. Nnebisi eventually renamed the town AHABAM, also meaning "I've chosen" In the Igbo language. Thus, Asaba's historical trajectory, geographical location, culture and language constitute the bulk of its overarching Igbo credentials.

On the other hand, during the course of Benin Empire's military expansion, some of the descendants of prince Odigbo of Nri who founded Ogwashi Uku, migrated back East, Anambra region precisely, and co-founded the settlement known today as Nsugbe. Their village, Umu-Ogwari, installed the first Obi of Nsugbe in about 1550 AD. Obi Ofili, the last king, was dethroned by the British in 1875.

Quite often, it is the Benin theory of Onitsha history that is widely circulated in the media, especially in the internet. Other accounts of Onitsha history would suggest that Onitsha is a federation of differing lineages, arriving at different times in history. Again, Igala is one of them. And what could be the most revealing part of Onicha history is the IGUEDO factor. The Iguedo factor is one of the ancient folklores in the communities of Anambra region of Anambra state. This is a rural and agrarian region that would gain nothing from claiming Onicha affinity. But, again, there is an Igbo proverb that says " the direction in which a crying baby points his fingers, would either indicate the location of his mother or father"

Their versions of the tale were though inconsistent like all others, but collectively, what was clear and consistent in their various versions were that the beginning of Onicha was not outside Igboland, and that the lady, IGUEDO, was central in the evolution of Onicha. The folklore states that Onicha descended from Iguedo, the daughter of Eri. The historical lady is still highly revered in some parts of the town. The Iguedo clan is made up of the neighbouring towns of Ogbunike, Nando, Umuleri and Awkuzu. Onitsha is geographically contiguous to Nsugbe, an UMUERI town, and shares dialectical similarities with these communities.

The people of Ogbunike reported that as recent as the1940s, Onitsha indigenes traditionally joined the Umu-Iguedo clan to celebrate "Olili-nne-Iguedo"; an annual festival that brings the descendants of Iguedo together in the town of Nando. The elders of Ogbunike community made this public in an explanatory letter to the Resident Officer, Onitsha province, dated 12th October, 1932. The signatories insisted that Onicha was an off-spring of Iguedo. However, the District Officer, on 29th November 1932, after consultations, replied thus:

"The Umu-Iguedo (sic) Towns certainly have an Onitsha relationship---but with only one quarter thereof---that is, OGBOLI. It would not be practicable to divorce OGBOLI from the rest of Onitsha and I do not think that Mr. Bridges has recommended this....."
This account, however, might be disputed in some quarters in Onicha today, even in Ogboli. But an account of this nature, that comes from neighbouring communities that have long existed before Benin's influence on Onicha, cannot be totally dismissed. Of note, is the import of the current Nri Kingdom, which cited the town of Onitsha as one spot of her ancient diaspora settlements.

While not dismissing the totality of Benin's influence on Onicha, research of Onitsha families reveals the presence of unrelated bloodlines that today appear as members of the same family. There are two types of such bloodlines. The first type consists of families that have established their own autonomy after having constructed mythical genealogies, including inventing nonexistent offspring for the founder, to pass themselves off as part of the direct line of descent. The second type consists of families that did not separate from the family into which they had merged. They share the same names and history. It is only during ritual matters, when they are excluded from performing certain rites, that it becomes obvious they are not part of the genealogical line. Investigation often reveals that the latter branches may have been the line of a domestic servant, slave, or an immigrant who lived with the family. (Nkiru Nzegwu, Elizabeth Isichei 1978, 104-107)

Curiously, the only four Ogboli settlements in Igboland have continued to embrace Nri/Eri ancestry. These are the OGBOLI villages of Nkwerre in Imo state, Atuma, Issele-Uku and Igbuzo in Delta state respectively. Infact, the IGUEDO factor is a huge one in that another Onitsha village, UMUIKEM, undisputedly traces their origin to the town of Umuikem in Nando, a member of Umuiguedo clan as well. On the other hand, Olosi and Obi-Ikporo villagers are mostly the descendants of Onitsha daughters married to non-indigenes. Time was, when the matrilocal custom of Onicha mandated non-indigene bridegrooms to settle down in Onitsha with their Onicha brides. An assimilation system known as "Idigbe" or "Mgba" (Nkiru Nzegwu).

On the other hand, the etymological question raised by the existence of Onicha Ezza--Ebonyi state, Onicha Uboma--Imo state, Onicha Nwenkwo--Imo state, Onicha Mbaise--Imo state, Onicha Nweorie---Imo state, Onicha Ngwa--Abia state, Onicha nweafor--Imo state, Onicha Amairi--Imo state, Onicha AmiyiUhu--Abia state etc., would continue to offset the notion that the origin of the word Onicha was outside Igbo-speaking land. What would have made these Onichas in the east to be pronounced and spelt the same way with the other Onichas who claims Benin ancestry, is what many stake holders would be interested to know.

Questions are being asked from both sides of the divide. The present generation are locked in the thinking of what logically can be the truth and what can not in these oral stuffs.

Further references:

No comments:


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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