Ossie Ezeaku -
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.
In that context, to divorce either the Igala or the
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
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
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
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"
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
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.
The people of Ogbunike reported that as recent as the1940s,
"The Umu-Iguedo (sic) Towns certainly have an
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
While not dismissing the totality of
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
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
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.