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Thursday, August 17, 2017

The changing patterns of August meetings in Igbo land

By Emeka Mamah, Vincent Ujumadu, Chidi Nkwopara & Anayo Okoli
~Vanguard Nigeria. Wednesday, August 16, 2017.

August meeting in Minnesota, USA
WOMEN in Igbo states including Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo are holding their yearly August meetings in their various communities to contribute their quota towards developing of their home towns.

Although, this year's meetings are not glamorous as they used to be because of the economic recession, which has brought gloom to most families, the yearly meetings, which began over 20 years ago, have become a yearly ritual as Igbo women living at home and abroad return home as part of their efforts to complement the efforts of the men in providing essential amenities like roads, health centres, electricity and churches among others in their communities.

During such meetings, the women organise bazaars and levy themselves and whatever is generated is usually channelled towards providing amenities in rural areas.

Community involvement in rural development began at the end of the 30 months civil war between Nigeria and Biafra in 1970, when the late Sole Administrator of the Eastern Region, Dr. Ukpabi Asika,urged communities to develop their areas under the aegis of Otu Olu Igbo.

Since then, most Igbo communities have been building schools, health centres and hospitals as well as grading their local roads and handing same over to their various state governments.

However, the involvement of women in the development of their rural communities became popular when churches organised their various women organisations to contribute towards the building of their worship centres in particular and their communities in general as a way of complementing the efforts of the male folk.

Initially, the period of "august returns" was as used an avenue for displaying affluence by most women until the churches decried that only cheap uniforms belonging to Christian mothers are worn during such meetings. It has, however, shifted from an avenue of displaying affluence to a period of brainstorming on how to make their communities better.

At Ogbe, Ahiazu Mbaise Local Council Area of Imo State, the meeting started on a controversial note as the women claimed that a health centre which was built about 17 years ago had been used by some government officials to "retire some expenditures," without their knowledge.

President of Ogbe Women Development Association (Home and Abroad), OWDA, Mrs. Anastasia Anyanwu, said: "Our frame of mind when we opted to build a health centre, about 17 years ago was not for anybody or group to take credit for what they were never a part of." Anyanwu said their priority is and remain "to actively bring in development in the community, including but not limited to, training our children, according to modern demands’ and improving the quality of family life."

Surreptitious taking over

She, however, frowned at the surreptitious taking over of their health centre project by government, claiming that it was "built by the Federal Government in collaboration with Imo State Government."

According to her, what further irked the industrious women was the signpost displayed at the health centre, which portrayed their handiwork as "MDG's 2011 Conditional Grant Scheme, funded from debt relief gains and Imo State Government."

Speaking in an interview with South East Voice at Ogbe, Mrs. Anyanwu said the women purchased a piece of land in 2008, from Umuokawa Ogbe Progressive Club of Nigeria, for their health centre project at a cost of N1.5 million, adding that over N2.5 million was spent by the time the land deal was finally perfected.

Also, the immediate past president of OWDA, Ezinne Scholastica Onuoha, said the project was initiated by her regime.

"We decided at our August Meeting to begin with the primary health centre. We launched the programme and all monies realized was channelled towards the realisation of the project," Onuoha said.

She recalled that one of their sons, who was in government (names withheld), told the women that the Imo State Government was planning to build health centres across the state and would readily take over and complete that of Ogbe community.

"On April 3, 2013, the traditional ruler of the town, Eze Patrick Ihuoma, addressed a handwritten letter to me, demanding the survey plan for our proposed Model Primary Health Centre. He also stated in the letter that it would help in the processing of their application to the MDG Office, for assistance," Onuoha said.

She added, however, that "instead of bringing in his materials, the contractor brought in by Imo State government used our blocks, cement, sand, gravel and other materials on ground and quietly abandoned the project.

"We sunk a water borehole, built the perimeter fence, a hall, did the landscaping, installed a big iron gate, bought chairs, beds, mattresses and connected the health centre to public power supply.

“The Abuja branch of our association bought and donated electricity generating set. So, I can't understand why government should take credit for what they never did."

According to her, there was no discussion between the government and the Ogbe women where any takeover would be deemed to have been effected.

Discussion with government

She said: "We had no discussions with government. We never handed over our project to anybody. We were not refunded the money we spent on the project. This is a democracy and not the military era where things were done by force. Government should please give us N100 million, if they want to own the project."

But, when the MDG office was contacted, a staff who spoke under anonymity, brought out a letter written by Ogbe Community Government Council, CGC, on April 3,2013, and jointly signed by the traditional ruler, the CGC Secretary, Woman Leader, Eze Patrick Ihuoma, Mr. Toby A. Njoku and Mrs. Francisca C. Uchegbu respectively.

This letter gave an undertaking/commitment to Imo MDG to use the parcel of land on survey plan FEA/1772/IM.182/2011, for the purpose of developing a Modern Primary Health Centre for the community. There was, however, nothing to show the leadership of OWDA gave tacit approval for the takeover.

Abia State

In Abia State, this year's August Women’s Meeting kicked off with the theme, "Sustainable Empowerment for Rural Women: Peace to our Mothers." The meeting is being coordinated by the wife of the state governor, Mrs. Nkechi Ikpeazu. Mrs Ikpeazu flagged off the meeting at Okpuala Ngwa in Isiala Ngwa North Council area for the Abia Central Senatorial District.

The annual gathering has offered the women opportunity to discuss issues affecting the women, especially on how to tackle and defend their rights against some obnoxious practices such as the ill treatment usually meted to widows, concerning inheritance and circumcision, among others. Addressing the women in the various zones, Abia State governor's wife, Mrs. Nkechi Ikpeazu, stressed the need to “educate, empower and keep our women healthy so that they can contribute effectively in keeping their family and community solvent."

Mrs Ikpeazu said that "when women are empowered in a sustainable way that allows them to replicate their successes in any particular field, profession or enterprise, they are better equipped to pull themselves out of the poverty trop and assist other dependants to become economically stable."

She also spoke to the women about sickle cell anaemia and cervical cancer, advising that since sickle cell has no cure, mothers should educate their children on the dangers of marrying people with incompatible genotypes, as well as the need for genotype tests before marriages are consummated.

The governor's wife lamented the prevalence of cervical cancer which she said "is gradually increasing as societal changes occur," and urged the women to go for regular tests to ensure they are free from the disease. Healthcare personnel were mobilized to give health talks to the women in a bid to improve their family members' style of living. Financial experts were also invited to speak to the women on how to secure loans to boost their businesses.


The format for the annual August meetings of women of various communities in Igbo land has been changing over the years. There was a time the annual get together was organized along church denominational lines, with women attending in their various churches.

The organizational structure was such that after attending the meeting at the church level, the women returned to their immediate villages where both the Anglicans and Catholics later attended joint meetings, primarily to plan for projects needed in their communities for which funds were raised.

That is why it is common to find gigantic halls in the various churches executed by women organizations, with monies provided by their husbands and well-wishers. Some communities had also used proceeds from August meetings to provide basic amenities, such as water, market stalls and electricity in their areas and catered for widows among them.

In those days, however, women, especially those living in urban cities, used the August assemblies to intimidate their counterparts in the villages through their expensive wearing outfits. It got to a stage in the competition among the women as the issue became who was more expensive than the other. This made some of the not-well-to-do women to begin to feel inferior and, therefore, began to absent themselves from the August meetings.

The pressure on what to wear by the women during the August meetings was later transferred to their husbands who had to cough out huge amounts of money to satisfy their wives who insisted on outshining other women at August meetings. The competition among the women degenerated to a level where, in order to meet up their August meetings requirements, some of them became promiscuous when their husbands could no longer meet their demands. It was common in those days for women to concentrate on finding money for what they would wear during August meetings, than how to cater for their children.

Economic recession

Worried by the development, the church authorities decided that the women should be attending the August meetings in church uniform so as to discourage extravagance among them. Though this decision considerably reduced the competition, some unrepentant women still chose to wear very expensive jewelleries to the meetings, to look different.

The present economic recession is also taking its toll on the annual August meetings as the attendance dropped considerably in many communities this year. For instance, many communities cancelled physical attendance this year, even though they still contributed their levies to continue with ongoing projects. In one of those communities, the women took into consideration the economic hardship and decided that the August meetings should not hold, but the contributions should reach the appropriate quarters for project execution.

But one community that organized a well-attended August meeting this year is Adazi Nnukwu in Anaocha local government area. At the ceremony held weekend, the women organized a beauty competition which was used for fund-raising and all the women selected had to bring their families and friends to support them. At the end of the exercise, a very substantial amount was raised for community projects.

Involvement of Governor's wives: In the past few years, the wives of governors in Anambra State had been setting out a day to the kick off the August meeting in the state after which the various communities would fix dates for their own meetings. The government involvement in the exercise started when former Governor Peter Obi was in power as his wife made it a point of duty to attend August meeting in all the 177 communities in the state.

The wife of the incumbent governor, Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano also continued with the format. Last week, Mrs. Obiano flagged off this year's August meeting in August, thus paving the way for the various communities to organize their own meetings.


Mrs. Ugwuanyi seeks improved birth registration in rural areas: The wife of Enugu State governor, Mrs. Monica Ugwuanyi, has enjoined women in the state, especially in rural communities, to always register the births of their children and wards for an improved population data and to enable the relevant authorities carry out reliable economic planning.

Speaking during the Enugu State Women Conference/August Meeting organized by the Ministry of Gender Affairs and Social Development in collaboration with her pet project, Ugo Touch of Life Foundation at Queen's School, Enugu, Mrs. Ugwuanyi said that U-TOLF would undertake advocacy visits across the state in partnership with the National Population Commission to promote the registration of all children born in the rural areas.

She also advised women to register for the ongoing National Identity Card, pointing out that lack of the card and birth certificates may be stumbling blocks to procuring important services. "As the world is going global, it is necessary and wise for women to adapt themselves to current innovation," she noted at the event with the theme, "The Power of a Praying Woman and the need for Birth Registration."

The Enugu State first lady was also at the grand finale of the August arm of the Women’s Prayer Network where she called for prayers from women for continuous peace in the state and the country at large. She explained further at the event held at Okpara Square, Enugu, that much transformation has been recorded by the Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi administration, adding that prayer is necessary for success in every venture.

"Be constant in your prayers against all odds because God reward those that diligently seek him," she added.

The highlight of the event was the presentation of hairdryers, power generators and sewing machines by Mrs. Ugwuanyi to over 60 women and youths from the state's 17 local government areas who had earlier received training in various skills.

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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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