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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Nnanna’s 'Non-existent Igbo slaves in Bonny’

Written by Patrick Dele Cole
~Vanguard Nigeria. Tuesday, September 20, 2016. 

I AM somewhat surprised by Mr. Nnanna's rebuttal of my piece on the Origins of Nigerians. I normally expect criticism and even abuse to some of my views but his answer seems unfortunately to be something he wanted to say and was looking for an opportunity to do so.

It is a pity. He claims that there were "non-existent" "Igbo" "Slaves" in Bonny and other Ijaw city states; basing his conclusion on a belief that ethnical classification of "Igbo" and "Ijaw" was some white men's invention and curiously that an artifact from Abiriba was found by Professor Isichie in Bonny.

That many Abiriba have names like Ubani (presumably a corruption of Igbani) and that I confused trade and cultural relationship between the Igbo and Bonny as a relationship of master and slave. Finally that I somehow managed to damage Chief Ekwueme's chances of becoming President because working for my "mentor",

President Olusegun Obasanjo, I, in some inexplicable way, influenced Obasanjo's choice, thus climaxing a deep plan to sow confusion between various ethnic groups. What disturbed me most was that his piece left some idea that I, in cohort with others, hatched a plan to sow ethnic division in Nigerian. For him it is "just playing to the gallery, deployed by people with ulterior and unwholesome mindset to create divisions to get people fighting one another.... celebrating this fallacy". I reply solely to refute the insinuations littered throughout the piece about hidden strategy to deride and divide the Igbo and other Nigerians, thus preventing them from living peaceably with their neighbours.

As to the indictment of Obasanjo being my mentor and somehow making this affect Dr. Alex Ekwueme's chances of being the President, I am beyond surprise that a respected columnist as Mr. Nnanna, without a stirred of evidence could peddle such baseless accusation. What exactly did I do to harm Dr. Alex Ekwueme? Nevertheless, I am flattered that I was so powerful to be able to influence People Democratic Party, PDP, Obasanjo was never my mentor. He was my President and I was his Adviser and friend.

I have been on record celebrating the achievement of the Ibo. My parents spent over 40 years working among the Ibo in Enugu, Abakaliki, Enugu Ngwo, Udi, Aba and Onitsha. There is a Cole Street in Onitsha. I probably speak better Ibo than many Ibo people. My first language is Yoruba, the second Ibo, third Ijaw and fourth Hausa. I do not claim that I speak all equally well, but when both your parents are civil servants posted to all parts of Nigeria, you tend to pick up languages easily.

I grew up on the diet of Omenuko, an Igbo primer. "Okeke tara oseoji, da lala, tie npuku, o ok ko ko." I may be Mr. Nnanna's alligator pepper!! He also may well benefit from the lesson in the proverb, "Gaga nogu, anu kporunku ne ju onu". I am dried meat and would swell up and fill his mouth, such that he might find it difficult to chew or swallow. This is one interpretation: another is the pith of wisdom is brevity; yet another is that it is sometimes wise to be quiet. The Yoruba have a similar idiom about it is impossible to speak with water in your mouth.

Among the Ijaws there were trading ports both for slaves and other merchandise, where there are Ibo and Ibibio admixtures with the people. The Ijaws of Okrika, Bonny, Buguma, Abonnema, Bakana, Nembe, Brass etc. are ascriptive and assimilationist in their culture. As Mr. Nnanna himself admitted, Jaja was himself a slave who "purchased" his freedom, to become the celebrated king Jaja of Opobo, about whom there is plenty of Ijaw pride that one of theirs was so eminent and about whom Professor Minimah has written a quintessential play performed in Port Harcourt, Lagos, London and now going to New York. King Jaja is celebrated as an Ijaw chief and his existence is matter of pride to the Ijaws to whom it is immaterial that he was once a slave.

I said earlier that the culture in these Ijaw city towns was assimilationist: people (Igbo) were welcomed into the household and never referred to as slaves; instead they were "people of the house or the home" ("wari bio apu"). The Kalabaris never referred to the Igbo who were assimilated as slaves. They were members of the household, who have rights as the biological children of the chiefs, and in certain circumstances have more rights than the children of the chief or head of the household.

For example, if the daughters of the chief are fully married according to custom (iya), the offspring of that union has less rights to claim than the child of the person of the household. Among the Kalabaris and other Ijaw people one chief may find his position threatened or untenable. He may take his people - wives, household, servants, slaves, soldiers etc. to another chief for protection; in the native parlance "he has put his head in the hands of the protector chief", who extends his protection over his new client chief and his people. They are not his slaves. In other cases, two chiefs may quarrel and fight. The victor takes steps to wipe out all traces of the defeated chief who is removed as a chief and all his possessions, chattels and wives are distributed.

The Chiefs were war chiefs and needed soldiers to do their fighting. In this quest any able bodied persons able to work was engaged. If he came with female relatives they were absorbed through marriage to produce more children - knowing that wealth was calculated by the number of followers in one's household.

The Don Pedro's have relatives in Umuaka (Imo), the Briggs were closely related to Isiokpo and a dozen other Ibo towns; Chief Michael Broadfield Jack was called Abiriba as a praise name, not in denigration. My uncle, Chief Kio Young Jack was known as Oke Ngbudu; my mother's name is Ezinwanyi. It would be tedious to go on.

Every Kalabari can trace people from his compound to various areas of Ibo land. The Riverine chiefs traded extensively with Igbo, they have large plantations in all parts of Igbo land and special markets and even "colonies" within Igboland, hence the "Kalabari beach" in Oguta, Imo State. My late first wife was from Oba, from the illustrious Ikokwu family. I could not therefore be anti-Ibo. I am on record as advising the Rivers people to seek the help of the Igbo and invite them back in rebuilding Port Harcourt seeing the failure of the people of Rivers to rebuild the once beautiful city of Port Harcourt.

There is no society in the world that did not have slaves and slavery. Among all the European nations, the Chinese, the Indians, Afghans, Slavic Russians, Uzbeks, Kazastans, Persians, the whole of the Middle East, had slaves, etc. So I do not see what is so appalling to say that there were Igbo slaves in Bonny.

Mr. Nnanna should well study the linguistic and ethnographical interactive about Nigeria and shed himself of prejudice about whether white man or black man named "Ijaw" or named "Igbo". I was astonished that he should find the linkage of Igbo and Bonny offensive; although he concedes that some Aro sold slaves to coastal people; so what was the purpose of his article?

Allow me to mourn once again, here as elsewhere the scrapping of history in our schools. Without history we cannot be a nation. Mr. Nnanna is not the only person who objected to some aspect of that piece. I am glad that it produced some interest and I have learnt a great deal from these responses.

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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