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Monday, July 11, 2016

100 years of Nanna of Itsekiri's 'Living History'

Written by Egufe Yafugborhi
~Vanguard, Nigeria. Sunday, July 10, 2016.

Chief Nanna Olomu
Of all his contemporary traditional rulers, particularly around the Niger Delta, that fought intruder British imperialists, got tried and exiled in his time, Chief Nanna Olomu was the only one who returned home to re-establish his throne and pre-eminence before he died.
All others died in captivity." This was one of the measures of the exceptional greatness of the legendary Itsekiri ruler, highlighted by Wilson Onime, Curator at the Nanna Living History Museum, Koko, Warri North Local Government Area, Delta State while taking visitors through the museum last Sunday in celebration of the 100th year of Nanna's death.

The Nanna Living History Museum, the nucleus of the celebration of Nanna's centenary remembrance, was, until the Federal Government accorded it that status, the palace the venerated colonial era traditional ruler of the Itsekiri people built, lived, died and was buried upon gaining freedom from captivity of the British imperialists who deported him to Accra, Ghana. The palace was declared by Federal Government as a National Antiquity in 1979 before the upgrade into the Nanna Living History Museum, dedicated by Gen. Sani Abacha in 1996 for the preservation of Nanna's legacy as an outstation of National Commission for Museums and Monuments.

Nanna, born in 1840 and enthroned by the colonial overlords as Gofena (Governor) of Benin River (1885-1894), faced many trials in conflict with colonialists from the Nanna (Ebrohimi) War in 1894 through his trial and detention in Calabar (1894-1895) to his deportation to Accra, Ghana (1896) before his return to Nigeria in 1906 and death in Koko, Delta State: July 3, 1916.
The centenary celebrations, inspired by Pa J.O.S Ayomike, foremost Itsekiri historian and husband to a granddaughter of Nanna, Utsaghan, began with a visit by Ayomike and associates, including Edward Ekpoko, Secretary, Itsekiri Leaders of Thought and Chairman, Warri Study Group, to the home of Chief Victor Nanna, eldest grandson of Nana who now leads his famed grandfather's descendants and also holds the larger capacity as Olare-Ajao (Communal Head) of Koko, Nanna's final settlement and present day headquarter of Warri North council.

Activities then shifted to the Nanna Living History Museum where each visitor had the privilege of conjuring a personal sense of the historically documented majesty of Nanna with tour the home he lived. On display aside his tomb were the remainder of Nanna's treasures -his private boat, regalia, swords, jars and dishes set on his private dining, lamps, decanters, silver rays, spectacles, pendants, clocks, and water filters as well as pictures of his siblings, extended family as well as those of his contemporaries, particularly King Jaja of Opobo, Oba Ovonranmwen and his British friends among the imperialists who sacked him fall from Ebrohimi, his first throne where he was assumed Gofena (Governor) of Benin River. Inside the Nanna museum were also a treasured rifle and a cannon, a fraction of the arsenal he employed in the failed resistance of the imperialists invasion.


A candle light session was held at Nanna's tomb where Onime, the museum's Curator, pledged commitment of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments to sustained preservation of the Itsekiri sage's legacy. Ayomike led the observance of a moment of silence in his honour and a requiem service at the museum's hall and dance entertainment by Itsekiri cultural groups followed simultaneously.

In a statement Onime read to Nana descendants, signed by its Director General, Yusuf Usman, the commission praised Ayomike as a friend and "a strong pillar"of the Nana Living History Museum while identifying with the Nanna family on the centenary of his death.
Ayomike, in a recount of some of the memories that defined Nanna's greatness, said, "Nana was buried with a giant diamond ring and lay in death on a regal catafalque fabricated by his own children who learnt the sophistry of carpentry and other vocations while studying in Ghana where their father was deported. In Accra he became a Christian, but Ralph Moor, Actg Governor and Consul General who placed a £500 reward for his arrest, tried and pronounced life sentence on him and seized his entire wealth, went back to Britain, got lunatic and took his own life."

He also shared fellow historians' thought on the greatness of Nanna in his reprinted work, 'Nanna, British Imperialism At Work', where he quoted Michael Crowder as saying, "The importance of Nanna at this stage of Nigerian history was considerable. Like Jaja, he stands out as one of the few who were able to offer serious resistance to the encroaching British and as Cook has pointed out, this led to the British practice of removing native chiefs who opposed British penetration rather than seeking their cooperation." Prof. Obaro Ikime, who Ayomike acknowledges as foremost authority on Nanna history, added his own assessment: "Far from derogating from his importance and reputation, the humiliation and exile he suffered have served to further enhance his prestige in the eyes of his countrymen and to win for him a worthy place in the history of the country." Tributes also came from Prof. Aborime (Abuja), Prof. Johnson Ekpere, Joseph Ayomike and Prof. Ogbemi Omatete.
No apathy -Eyengho 
• Foremost historian, Pa J.O.S Ayomike (l) and Chief Victor Nanna,
eldest grandson of Nanna Olomu and Olare-Aja of Koko.

Film and stage play maker, Alex Eyengho, who is passionate about projecting the Itsekiri culture through his works, would rather stick his neck out to any length to debunk the notion of Itsekiri apathy to the greatness of Nanna. He said, "There is no apathy. Nanna is a great African hero. No right thinking Itsekiri would hear about the celebration of Nana and won't want to be part of it. As an activist and arts practitioner, who has also done certain things about Nanna, I think the Nanna family narrowed this celebration as if it was a family affair.

"They did not reach out to the larger Itsekiri and Nigeria at large. Making it a Nanna descendants' affair was where they got it wrong. Everything I have heard about this centenary event were on the pages on newspapers. One would have expected the family to set up an all embracing committee of resource persons of diverse callings bringing their experiences to the table for an earthshaking celebration.
"This Nanna was a great hero. He was before Oba Ovoranmwen. He was the first to resist the British imperialists and was fought and overpowered before Ovoranmwen. I would have expected that at this point of his history, we would have staged a play to reenact how big Nanna was, as I have done for Itsekiri on such auspicious occasions. I put the blame squarely on the Nanna family who don't seem organized themselves. If there is any apathy, they created it."

Barring the sentiments over an apathetic Itsekiri to the greatness of Nanna, not all his folks loved him in his time and history has it that the hate within escalated the imperialists resolve to bring his empire down with fingers pointed to Nanna's rival and extended relative, Chief Dore Numa, who became the leading Itsekiri figure at the capture of Nanna.
J.O.E Sagay in 'The Warri Kingdom' on the trials of Nanna, pointed out: "Since no other Itsekiri chief came to give evidence against Nanna, it can be assumed that only Dore and Dudu, inspite of their claims to the contrary, were behind the Bristish action. And no peace came to Itsekiri land after the removal of Nanna."

Love or hate him, "the great man today lies buried in the bosom of his palace in Koko. Nanna died and a chapter of Itsekiri history closed. A fulfilled life it was, but one pierced and riddled with a dagger of hate -hate that has been dissolved by seeming irrelevance caused by time", Ayomike moved on the great Nanna of Itsekiri.

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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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