I am shocked that the Igbos are not speaking up at the apparent siege laid on their land by uniformed person of different categories. They range from Army, Navy, Police, Civil Defence, Customs, FRSC, etc. My journey had taken me by road from Isele-Mkpitime, where I had gone to pay tribute to a Nigerian icon, Chief (Dr) P.K.C. Isagba, the Odogwu of Isele-Mkpitime. He was one of the first Nigerians to believe in my ability as a young fledgling lawyer.
I had been handling his cases whilst at Chief Gani Fawehinmi’s Chambers. When I left as Deputy Head to set up my practice in January 1986, Chief Isagba personally went to Chief Gani Fawehinmi, to allow him move his files to me, to continue handling his cases; a request the amiable and selfless Gani granted immediately. So, Chief Isagba became my first major client as a tottering practising lawyer, trying to find my groggy feet. He became my bossom friend and elder brother.
My journey from Isele-Mkpitime, through Asaba, to Port-Harcourt, told me clearly that the entire Igbo land is locked down in a physical, psychological and mental siege, reminiscent of a civil war time.
When the Civil War ended January 15, 1970, the then military ruler, General “Jack” Yakubu Gowon, who became Head of State, at 31 and a bachelor, proclaimed the three Rs: “Reconciliation, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation”, which heralded his policy of “No Victor, No Vanquished.”
This was after the unfortunate failure of the 4th-5th January, 1967, of the “Aburi Accord”, that would have prevented the bloody war in which over 2 million civilians and 100, 000 military combatants were killed. Or, was it an historical mistake that these people who had already manufactured “Ogbunigwe” (series of weapons, that included detonation mines, IED, and rocket propelled missiles), with which they prosecuted the Nigeria – Biafra war between 1967 and 1970, were prevented from leaving Nigeria? Perhaps, we would today have had a Japan, Singapore or South Korea lying side by side a sprawling “giant of Africa” on clay legs.
These policies were meant to quickly heal the gaping wounds of the gruesome blood-letting, forget the horrors and evils of the fratricidal war and quickly reintegrate the Igbos into the society.
But, have these hardworking, gregarious “Jews” of Nigeria been reconciled, rehabilitated and reintegrated into the mainstream of the Nigerian society? I doubt it. Simple proof: show me any Igbo man in today’s all powerful cabal kitchen cabinet of PMB’s Government.
My journey from Isele-Mkpitime, Delta State, through Asaba, Onitsha, Oba, Oraifite, Okija, Ihiala, Mgbidi, Awomama, Owerri, Aba to Port-Harcourt, was a strangulating reminder that the Igbo, inspite of their unquantifiable contributions to the commerce, industry and innovations that drive the non-oil sector of the Nigerian economy and give it oxygen, are nearly a conquered people. The check-points along the above stretch of road are nauseating and asphyxiating, as the security agencies, including para-military ones out-do each other to harass, torment, search, intimidate and extort money from travelers.
Earlier journeys by road (I travel a lot on professional duties), had shown me the same siege through countless roadblocks: Enugu, through the Ugwogo Nike-Opi-Nsukka Road; Amansea in Awka-Ugwuoba Oji River; Nnewi, Alor, Ekwulobia, Amesi, Ugar, Umuchu; Okigwe, Awgu and Ituku Ozalla, Umuahia and Isiala-Ngwa, on Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway. On the Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene highway, you have exasperating road blocks at Michael Okpara University junction; Isingwu-Nkweogwu junction of the Isuikwuato-Uzuakoli-Ajayi-Igbere road; and the 14 Brigade Army barracks junction at the Ohafia-Arochukwu highway.
As you are crossing one check point, a mere look ahead of you, of less than half a kilometer, will reveal another barricade. It is all so frustrating. There is no war, or security breach. South East is not North East where Boko Haram still calls the shots (forget about Government’s pet words of “we have degraded Boko Haram”; Boko Haram is still very potent, controlling large areas, killing and maiming people on a daily basis. Their representative said that much at the 2nd May, 2017, Re-Union meeting of the 2014 National Conference delegates at Daar Communications Centre, Abuja, where I delivered the keynote address).
Yet, in this Boko Haram-ravaged region, you would not find this armada of security, treating the entire geo-political zone made up of five states (the least in Nigeria; some others have seven states), like a conquered territory.
It is only the recent suit by my good friend, Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, (six of us founded the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) – the first human rights body in Nigeria-on 15th October, 1987), over “marginalisation of the South East region”, that has perhaps brought to the front burner, these disturbing tons of injustice. That is why no one can ignore Nnamdi Kanu and his IPOB, Ralph Uwazurike’s MASSOB, etc, agitating for self –determination, a right sanctioned and recognised even by the UNO.
These fully armed and trigger-happy security personnel have never taken steps to protect the Igbo race, against rampaging Fulani Herdsmen that raid their homes, to maim, kill and rape their wives (remember Nimbo in Uzo Uwani LGA in Enugu State). They have never repelled the incessant reign of terror by armed robbers, kidnappers, hired assassins and murderers. No, they are stationed there for three main reasons: (1) check the bid for self determination by the Igbos; (2) extort money from the wealthy and poor Igbo traders who ply these routes; (3) remind the Igbos that the all powerful Federal Government is on ground to silence the people and force them to toe their ruling party line.
Wait a minute; is that why some prominent Igbos, including erstwhile leaders, members of the BOT and two-time Governors for eight years under PDP, have been outdoing each other to decamp to a non-performing and fundamentally flawed party like the APC?
Let me end this piece by recommending to the Ndigbos, the legendary Hubert Ogunde’s immortal words, in his most famous 1964 play, “Yoruba Ronu” (“Yorubas, think”), a stinging satire that got his theatre company banned, which ban was later lifted in 1966, by the new military Governor.
Ndigbos, cheenu echiche (Igbos, think).
(Ozekhome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), is a constitutional lawyer and human rights activist)
Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, on Friday, alleged plot by the Nigerian security agencies to eliminate prominent Igbo personalities.
Kanu alleged that security agencies were plotting to eliminate these Igbo personalities and blame their killing on Eastern Security Network, ESN.
Speaking through the spokesman of IPOB, Emma Powerful, Kanu urged Igbo personalities to be wary of security operatives attached to them.
He assured prominent people of the Southeast that ESN had no intention of killing them.
A statement by Powerful reads: “IPOB ably led by our prophet and liberator Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has uncovered plot by Nigeria security agencies to eliminate prominent men and women, politicians and stakeholders in the whole of Biafraland and blame it on IPOB and the Eastern Security Network, ESN.
“Every politician in Biafraland must be wary of those officers assigned to them as police or army guarding them. ESN, IPOB has no plan to kill our own in Biafraland because we’re going to get Biafra together. It profits us nothing to kill our own despite the treachery by some of them.
“Our people must be careful because Fulani terrorists in Nigeria army and police uniforms are working tirelessly to ensure that Biafra businessmen, women and politicians are killed in order to pitch Biafrans against themselves and ultimately take undue advantage of the confusion to keep us in bondage.
“But we are smarter than all of them put together. IPOB is raising this alarm for the wise to apply wisdom and avoid being victims of this evil plot.
“Nigerian security agencies have instructed their officers attached to the politicians to start gradual elimination of Biafrans who they were assigned to protect. But we will resist this wicked plot.”
He also lamented that IPOB members and ESN operatives are being arrested by the Nigerian security.
“They are arresting and abducting innocent Biafrans suspected to be members of IPOB or operatives of ESN security outfit. They have arrested more than 68 innocent citizens and detained them at the State CID Awka, Anambra State. Unknown gunmen are doing their own attacks but Nigeria DSS has rather decided to blame ESN operatives and IPOB members instead of investigating to unravel the perpetrators.
“The incessant arrest and secret abductions of suspected IPOB members at Izombe, Agwa and other parts of Oguta and Ohaji Egbema cannot stop us from pursuing this freedom.
Just yesterday, they secretly abducted Obinna Nwuzi, the son of the man whose wife Olivia Nwuzi was abducted and detained in an anti-kidnapping station at Owerri Imo State. The boy just returned from Ebonyi State university to see his family but wicked Nigeria security personnel arrested him. His mother has also been detained for over three weeks now.
“We are warning them never to harm these innocent persons because if they do, they will regret their actions very soon,” he added.
The South-East chapter of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, has urged their host communities to be more accommodating even as it described the people of the region as good people.
MACBAN said this on Monday while insisting that its interest in the region was purely economic and nothing more.
The Chairman of MACBAN in the zone, Alhaji Gidado Siddiki, stated this while briefing journalists shortly after a meeting of the joint executive council of the group in Enugu, The Punch reports.
Siddiki said it was imperative to correct the impression that their interests in the region were beyond economic pursuits.
He explained that the suspicion that herdsmen were harbingers of Fulani territorial expansionism had degenerated into unhealthy relationships in most parts of the region.
The chairman said such suspicion had made members of the association increasingly uncomfortable.
He said herders in the region were desirous of striking harmonious relationships with the people of the area to avoid mutual suspicion.
Siddiki stated, “This suspicion is rooted in the speculation that herdsmen are harbingers of Fulani territorial expansionism.
“However, the leadership of MACBAN, under my watch in the South-East, has continued to discuss appreciably well with the individual state governments in the zone.
“I am happy that the dialogue gives us hope for a better understanding between our members and their host communities.”
He said the group would not hesitate to report any of its members found to be involved in criminal activities.
He called on the governments of the South-East states to ensure the protection of the body’s members and cattle, adding that herders in the area would be made to take precautionary measures while plying their trade.
Siddiki said that MACBAN recognised that the challenges the herders were facing in the region were not peculiar to the zone, adding that there were bound to be conflicts between people of diverse cultural orientations.
He, however, said it was time to sort out the differences.
The MACBAN leader stated, “We, hereby, jointly resolve to fully lend our efforts toward fostering an enduring and harmonious relationship with our host communities.
“We urge members of our host communities to be more accommodating too.”
The South East Governors, in conjunction with Ohanaeze Ndigbo, have agreed to set up a driving force for the development of Igbo land known as Alaigbo Stabilization Fund.
“The Fund is intended to develop Igbo land to the status of Catalonia in Spain and Bavaria in Germany,” Chief Emeka Attamah, S. A. Media and Publicity to President General, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, said Tuesday in a statement.
“Towards this objective, a 50-man steering committee made up of experts and professionals in banking, finance and development economics drawn from the diaspora and all the South East states have been set up to draft the basis of Alaigbo Stabilization Fund and its governance protocol,” Ohanaeze said in the statement issued from its headquarters in Enugu.
“The Committee has as its Chairman a renownedR economist and development expert and former Economic Adviser to President Obasanjo, Prof. Osita Ogbu, while Anyim Ude, will serve as its Secretary,” the apex Igbo group said.
It named other members of the Committee as Mac Atasia, Ike Chioke, Patrick Okigbo, Nnanna Anyim Ude, Dr Nick Okoye and Dr Ndy Onukwuesi.
Others are Emeka Onwuka, Dave Nwachukwu, Chief Aloysius Ihezie, Dr Bernard Orbika, Ngozi Odumuko, Jerome Okolo, Emeka Ugwuoju and Reginald Ihebuzor.
Also in the Committee are Ben Nwawudu, Monye Chuka, Dr Sam Amadi, Dr Joe Abah, Ede Solomon, Barrister Nwachukwu, Prof. Ejiofor of WIC and Air Vice Marshall Obierika.
Equally included are Prof. Epiphany Azinge, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, Charles Nwodo, Kalu Onuma, Solomon E. Adimora, Uzodinmma Okpara, Chief Tony Okeke, Okey Nwadinobi, Onyeka Onwenu, Mrs Ann Aligwe, Ebere Onwudiwe, Emma Onyilofor, AIG Dr (Mrs) Grace Okudo, Dr Chukwuma Agu and Prof. Joy Ezeilo.
The rest are are Ambassador Alex Nwofe, Ben Ezenta, Ebere Enemchukwu, Max Osita Okonkwo, Dr Mrs Grace Uwazuike, Dr Ken C. Nwekpa and Dr Ferdinand Agu.
Commenting on the Stabilization Fund, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, said that it would involve all Igbo sons and daughters at home and the Diaspora, adding that any contribution by anybody would be an investment from which he will be receiving dividends
Chief Nwodo, according to the statement, “said that the Fund would drive investment in the South East such that every Igbo investor or entrepreneur would want to take advantage of the incentives it would provide.”
He said that members of the Committee “were carefully chosen based on their individual learning, competence and exposure”.
South-East governors have said they are ready to engage in dialogue with the Indigenous People of Biafra to resolve their differences.
IPOB had threatened to attack South-East governors and other Igbo leaders outside the country after beating former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, in Germany for allegedly working their interest.
The Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum, Chief David Umahi, told our correspondent on Thursday that they never proscribed IPOB, but rather they banned their activities in the region.
The Ebonyi State governor, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Emma Uzo, asked IPOB to convene a meeting and invite the governors for discussions.
He said, “IPOB are our children. They are our brothers and sisters. They fight for their fight on the pages of newspapers and social media, and it does not help. The best thing is for all of us to sit down and talk. The governors are ready to speak with them.
“They should have a way of coming home or convene a meeting and the governors will attend anywhere they want. Let us sit down and discuss it. And they should know that the governors did not proscribed them, they lack constitutional powers to proscribed them. They only banned their activities in the region where they have jurisdiction.”
IPOB on Wednesday through Aloy Ejimakor, counsel for Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB, wrote to the governors, giving conditions for peace to reign.
The group in the letter, titled ‘Operation Python Dance: An Open Letter To South-East Governors’, demanded “immediate and unconditional de-proscription of IPOB and delisting it as a terrorist organisation. A truth and reconciliation commission on the Python Dance lethal military operations of September 2017.”
The separatist group added, “A public apology for the extrajudicial killing of IPOB members and desecration of the palace of an Igbo traditional ruler at Afaraukwu, Abia State. A genuine dialogue with IPOB on its referendum demand for the restoration of Biafra and discontinuance of the ongoing prosecution of IPOB members and forbearance of any future arrests and prosecutions.”
But the governors said the group were channelling their demands to the wrong people.
Umahi said, “Why can’t they channel their grievances straight to the Federal Government? So, that demand is dead on arrival. It is not the governors that will apologise to them but rather they should apologise to the governors and Ndigbo.”
On whether they will lift the ban on IPOB activities in the zone, Umahi said the issue would be discussed at the meeting (convened by IPOB).
Subscribe to The Republican News. Advertise with us. Call us for press release, enquiries. Email: RepublicanNewsNetwork1@gmail.com, phone: +32497220468, +23481819650279, +32466100102.
The former deputy Senate president, Dr Ike Ekweremadu gave a stern warning to Igbo elite leaders to take a cue from what happened to him in Nuremberg Germany or they may not live to tell their story like he did.
He warned them to stop disrespecting the youths and begin to deliver on good governance or else the season of retribution is underway.
Below are his words of warning cum confession.
“Top Igbo leaders should be very careful, more stones awaiting us, there’s a pain, there’s anger, and there’s the collective rage in the heart of youths in the Land.
Nigerians are empty of options and are seeking avenues for a purge; for catharsis. The season of retribution maybe upon us soon or later than we’ve imagined.
The physical abuse I had yesterday by some young able men cannot be overemphasized in Nuremberg, Germany, though condemnable, betokens the onset of nemesis that will consume us if care is not taken.
Whilst I was being lobotomized and assaulted, my abusers could be heard saying: “What have you done? People are dying. I managed to escaped yesterday, tomorrow maybe the turn of top Igbo leaders, they should be very careful, they might not be as lucky as I am.!”
Ekweremmadu speaks intensively and warns top igbo leaders of the danger of looking down on the youths in the land.
Subscribe to The Republican News. Advertise with us. Call us for press release, enquiries. Email: RepublicanNewsNetwork1@gmail.com, phone: +32497220468, +23481819650279, +32466100102.
Historically, it is uncalled for a Bini Chief or custodian of any sort to have a male child and give a non-Bini name to such child. So, it is unplausible to a Bini Chief to give his own male child an Igbo name. It was very clear from the onset of history that there is no way Eze Chima would be of Bini ancestry but pure blooded Igbo Chief with a Bini migration history behind him.
Eze Chima was a powerful native doctor and spiritual Igbo man, who left Benin Kingdom to return to Igbo land where he came from after a bitter fight between him and Oba of Benin and Oba’s brother Gbunwala and the rest was history as he was forced to leave Benin Kingdom and return to where he came from, Igboland.
“Chima: The Aro Native Doctor
Eze Chima was an Aro native doctor. In pursuance of the role of the Aros in the Atlantic Slave Trade quoted…from Michael Crowder’s story of Nigeria, Chima left Arochukwu to Benin to set up as an agent of the Aro Long Juju, for the usual purpose of collecting slaves from Benin.
Whenever, in the olden days, a native doctor travelled to a place, he by custom would, on arrival, report himself to the local chief or to the head of the society of native doctors of the land. He is either the guest of the head chief of the clan or puts up with head of the local society of native doctors. Accordingly, when Chima arrived Benin he reported himself to the Oba of Benin who accepted him as his guest. In time Chima settled down and set up practice as a native doctor and agent of Aro Oracle. He impressed the Oba of Benin so much with his magical art that he became very influential over the Oba. In consequence, the Oba installed Chima a chief in the palace of Benin. Thus the plain blunt and ordinary native doctor who left Arochukwu to establish an agency of the Long Juju, earned a chieftaincy title and became Chief Chima or Eze Chima.
Having found his feet firm in Benin, Eze Chima sent for his brother Ekensu and other relatives from Arochukwu, and also set up an Aro settlement in Benin similar to those Aros folks had set up within the description of Michael Crowder, in other areas throughout former Eastern Nigeria. With the march of time, Chima’s practice in Benin expanded down to Niger Delta. Among the Urhobos and Itshekiris also the fame of the Aro Oracle spread and clients from those areas trooped to him to consult the Oracle. The greatest index of Chima’s influence on culture in Benin Kingdom is found in the fact that Benin people adopted the Igbo days of the week – Eke, Orie, Afo and Nkwo – on which Chima made one sacrifice or the other or observed his abstinences and spiritual disciplines, as names also of Benin week days. And till today the Binis have, as the Igbo, Eke, Orie, Afo, Nkwo – as names of their week days.
According to Mr Wellington Igunbor a Benin historian, who on the mother side, belongs to one of Benin’s traditional Chieftaincy families (Chief Gaius Obaseki’s family – Gaius Obaseki who was the Iyase or Prime Minister of Benin in 1947) – the settlement of Eze Chima in Old Benin was established in the area through which Siliku Street runs in the present-day Benin city. As Eze Chima’s influence increased so did population of his settlement expand. So influential was Eze Chima and so completely absorbed in the society was he and his clan that there was hardly a thing he and his people could not do on the basis of equality with Benin indigenes.
How And Why Eze Chima Left Benin:
At the time Eze Chima lived in Benin, the mother of Oba of Benin was Asije. The Oba’s brother who also was the Oba’s War Lord was called Gbunwala. One day, Asije the mother of both the Oba and Gbunwala, the Benin War Lord went into a farm belonging to Eze Chima’s people and collected firewood. Eze Chima’s people then caught Asije the Oba’s mother, and beat her thoroughly for taking wood from their farm without permission. Back home, Asije reported to her children – the Oba of Benin and Gbunwala, the Benin War Lord, her bitter experience with Eze Chima’s people. Red with anger, Gbunwala, the Oba’s brother and War Lord, took some of his soldiers, went to Chima’s settlement, set upon Chima’s people – beat them thoroughly and killed some of them.
From that day, Gbunwala began to harass Eze Chima and his people. In the circumstance, Eze Chima decided to quit Benin with his people and return to the East where he came to rejoin his Igbo kith and kin – or, in the alternative to find new settlements for himself and his people in places far and safe beyond the reach of Oba of Benin.
This history was told in Igbo Primer popularly known as “Azu Ndu”, approved by Government Education Department for infant classes of primary schools in the Igbo Provinces of then Eastern Nigeria, now Biafra, since the beginning of the 20th century.
On their way out of Benin, some of the Eze Chima’s people settled at Agbo (Agbor), 44 miles away from Benin City which they considered far, and out of reach, molestations and influence of the Oba of Benin and his brother, Gbunwala. Others went beyond this distance and settled at Isele-Uku, Onicha-Olona, Onicha-Ugbo and Obio. When they reached the West bank of the Niger, some took a canoe and paddled down the River to Abo and settled. Led by Oreze, the eldest son of Eze Chima, the rest of Eze Chima clan crossed the River Niger to the eastern bank and settled among Oze people – the original inhabitants of what is today the big and prosperous commercial and education centre in Biafra – Onicha (Onitsha). On page 73 of his story of Nigeria, Mr Michael Crowder believed that the return migration of Onicha (Onitsha) people – this is of Umu Eze Chima clans – from Benin took place in the 17th century.
Benin-Igbo Exchange of Culture:
Having lived for some years in Benin as one of the Chiefs of the palace of the Oba of Benin, Eze Chima, the Aro agent of the Aro Oracle in Benin and his people had learnt Benin Chieftaincy institutions and titles and so adapted the Benin system to the administrative structures and customs of the place where they settled among other West Niger Igbo and in Onicha (Onitsha) on the east bank. But as Eze Chima took away from Benin a copy of their chieftaincy institutions, so did he deposit in Benin, and the Binis adopted it, Igbo weekdays – Eke, Orie, Afo, Nkwo – which are vital in the determination of appropriate days for abstinences, spiritual religious cultures of the Igbo and Bini too. In other words, the West Niger Igbo borrowed from Benin in chieftaincy, certian aspect of some traditions, just as the Binis borrowed from the Igbo in some religious traditions—through the agency of Eze Chima.” End of quote!
(Reference is: Pgs 171-174 of THE IGBO AND THEIR NEIGHBOURS by Professor Adiele Eberechukwu Afigbo. Published in 1987).
Subscribe to The Republican News. Advertise with us. Call us for press release, enquiries. Email: RepublicanNewsNetwork1@gmail.com, phone: +32466100102, +2348189650279, +32497220468
The Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra has described state governors in the South-East as cowards for failing to defend the Igbo when leaders of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria offered to raise a vigilante outfit to protect the region.
MASSOB explained that while the governors and leaders in the South-West were suggesting ways to tackle the menace of herdsmen within their states, governors in Igboland could not reject the suggestion.
Director of Information of MASSOB, Sunday Okereafor, who spoke to SUNDAY PUNCH in a telephone interview, said the Igbo should know that the attitude of their governors was an indication that they had no leader.
He said, “We say no to the plan to make Igboland part of Fulaniland. If there is any problem in the South-East, the governors indicted will pay the price; it is going to be a heavy price. We are ready for them.’’
Also, the Pan Niger Delta Forum also condemned the call by the cattle breeders association.
PANDEF warned the Federal Government not to heed the demand of the group, saying the government should stop treating the group with “obnoxious impunity.”
In a statement on Saturday signed by PANDEF’s National Secretary, Dr Alfred Mulade, it stated that the call was misplaced, promising to stand with other socio-cultural bodies, including the Ohaneze Ndigbo and Afenifere, to ensure failure of such plan.
PANDEF asked the group to rather form a vigilante group to tackle insurgency in the troubled North-East.
The statement read in part, “PANDEF stands solidly with its contemporaries, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Afenifere in their similar response as PANDEF’s position on this yet another reckless display of rabid impunity covered by rabid obnoxious immunity.’’ (Punch)
Subscribe to The Republican News. Advertise with us. Call us for press release, enquiries. Email: RepublicanNewsNetwork1@gmail.com, phone: +32466100102, +2348189650279, +3249722046
(Total rejection of the collective insult and cultural violence targeted at Igbo People by the Ooni of Ile-Ife)
By Nze-na-Ozo, Emeka Umeagbalasi, B.Sc., CSS, M.Sc., PCR
Ezinifite, Aguata, Anambra State, Eastern Nigeria: The Igbo Nation is indisputably 2,550yrs older than the Yoruba Nation in Nigeria. This is in terms of age of existence and settlement. It is further an established fact that no other ethnic nationality out of Nigeria’s current 386 ethnic nationalities is the age mate or rival to the Igbo Nation in terms of age of existence or settlement in Nigeria, Nze-na-Ozo, Emeka Umeagbalasi, said today, Sunday, 2nd June 2019, in his ancestral home in Enuama, Ifite-Ezinifite, Aguata LGA of Anambra State in Eastern Nigeria.
Grand Summary: Historical, forensic and verifiable records, available, have shown grandly that the Igbo Nation is 2,550yrs older than the Yoruba Nation; 2,250yrs older than the Hausa Nation; 3,140yrs older than the Fulani Nation; and 550yrs older than the Bini/Agbon (Agbor) Nation. Most of other Ethnic Nationalities, studied have been found to have relatively new ages of existence or settlement in different parts of the country. That is to say that the only Ethnic Nationality in Nigeria closest to the Igbo Nation in terms of age of existence and settlement is the Bini/Agbon or Agbor Nation which is only 550yrs by default or lesser in terms of Igbo’s 3,469yrs of existence and settlement in Nigeria.
The Agbor People in present Delta State were originally of the Ominije People with Bini roots, just as the Arochukwu People in Igbo Land were originally owned by the Ibibios, who lost same during the Aro or Igbo-Ibibio wars of 1600s. In the case of Agbor People, they had lost their ancient Ogele Kingship Dynasty, established since 701BC to Igbo warriors around 1250AD; with the first Igbo King, Ebonka, crowned as the first “Dein of Agbor” in 1260AD. It must be reminded too that the Igbo People had existed for 1,450yrs before the birth of Jesus Christ around 001BC/001AD; and 3, 436yrs after his glorious death around 33AD. The Yoruba Nation, on the other hand, was founded in Nigeria about 1,099yrs after the birth of Jesus Christ and 1,066yrs after his death.
It must also be pointed out that the position of this writer is not hinged on celestial point of view or the notion of a progenitor of an ethnic nationality falling or emerging from sky or heaven; but from terrestrial point of view or earthly settlement by each of the ethnic nationalities; backed by provable historical instruments including historical facts and symbols. That is to say that the writer of this piece; a researcher, human rights activist and proud Igbo, does not believe that “Igbo or Yoruba or Bini or Hausa founder emerged from the sky or heaven”. The provable and factually corroborative findings have clearly shown that every ethnic nationality in Nigeria was founded by a settler or group of settlers in one part of Nigeria or the other.
The Writer’s Identity & His Reasons For Writing: Emeka Umeagbalasi is a Nigerian and proud Igbo; a university trained criminologist, graduate of security studies and holder of master’s degree in Peace Studies & Conflict Resolution. He is also a researcher and detailed investigator. His research on Igbo origin reached its peak during his master’s degree thesis when he worked on: origin of the Igbo People and their traditional methods of peace and conflict resolution; a work thoroughly supervised by internal and external supervisors and remarked at NOUN which later earned him second highest grade (“B”) and a master’s degree with potential doctorate grades. A book on this is in the making.
His work or M.Sc. thesis included the cursory study of history of origins of other key ethnic nationalities in Nigeria (Hausa, Yoruba, Bini/Agbor, Ijaw, Tiv, Jukun, Ibibio, Idoma, Efik, Fulani, Itsekiri, Urhobo, etc) especially how they were founded and settled; using works done by their scholars and other informed sources. Emeka Umeagbalasi, born 1969, is a proud and noble member of the prestigious Nze-na-Ozo Society or red-capped in Igbo Land, specifically in his hometown of Ezinifite, Aguata LGA of Anambra State, Eastern Nigeria. He is of the Class of 2005; and goes by an Ozo title name of Ume-Eziokwu-Welu-Onodu; Asi n’ Oso Anaeme (when truth takes a center stage, falsehood runs amok and vanishes).
This writer is therefore compelled by unhealthy events unfolding in the Igbo Nation and beyond, seen and unseen, cosmically, spiritually and esoterically disclosed to him by benevolent ancestors and forefathers during his routine visit in spirit to their spiritual abodes; to write this benevolent and respectable reply to the Ooni of Ile-Ife and his Yoruba kinsmen and women as well as the silent Igbo scholars and lettered elders as a saying goes that a child automatically becomes the receptor of grey hairs in the absence of an elder.
It is further said immortally that: a child who carefully follows and listens to a wise elder is already qualified to break and eat cola nut and alligator pepper with his ancestors and forefathers; that when a child does the right thing at the right time or independently sets up his homestead, his homestead becomes a popular arena for the meeting of benevolent ancestors and forefathers; that a child with great wisdom is greater than an elder with foolishness; that a wise child does not miss his father’s attendance of a kindred meeting where only the elders are allowed to talk; that a son of a noble or titled man is hardly found guilty when a complex matter is being discussed at a kindred meeting; that he who wants to destroy or rubbish an elder usually takes him to a discussion he does not know its origin; that when teeth gnashing fails to find elders, it becomes the turn of the children to become same overnight; that when a taboo is committed without cleansing and left for long, it becomes a societal norm and reference point; and that when an abomination stays long unchecked, it automatically becomes a tradition.
The litany of adages above is in direct reference to recent insult of the highest order and obvious cultural violence targeted and directed at the Igbo Nation by the 45yrs old Ooni of Ile-Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, born 1974 and crowned in 2015 as the 51st Ooni of Ile-Ife in old Western Nigeria. They are also directed to Igbo scholars and lettered elders who seemed to have gone into silence as elders, watching a mother goat to deliver while in rope.
The relatively young and inexperienced Ooni had on 22ndApril 2019 in his palace at Ile-Ife, Osun State, fallaciously and provocatively claimed that “Yoruba Land is the root of the Igbo People (i.e. where Igbo People were founded by the Yoruba before migrating East of the Niger) and that the Yoruba People and the Igbo People are blood brothers”. The Ooni also claimed falsely: “we still have the House of Igbo right in this palace till date. We call it Ile-Igbo up till now. Our ancestors are buried and transfigured there. That is where kola nut was first discovered and nurtured”.
The relatively young and inexperienced Ooni uttered the provocative and insulting words while playing host to one Mr. Solomon Ogbonna; maybe or maybe not, an Nze ama oke ani; and other non Igbo persons. Mr. Solomon Ogbonna was singled out on account of his being “the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Lagos State”. He was reported to have been in the company of a delegation of “African Farmers & Cultural Organization” that went on courtesy at the Ooni’s Palace. How the issue of Igbo origin took a center stage in a purely non Igbo farmers’ affair is still highly suspicious; suggesting strongly that the event was deliberately arranged to spite the Igbo Nation, using falsehood, misrepresentation of facts or historical accounts and unfriendly media campaigns.
Having waited in vain for long for Igbo scholars and lettered elders to reply and tutor the relatively young and inexperienced Ooni as well as calling him to order to further desist from ignorantly encroaching on Igbo matters especially as they concern the Igbo history of origin and settlement in Nigeria or any part thereof, this writer; foreseeing the consequences of leaving unanswered and un-replied such provocation, gross misrepresentation of historical facts and imposition of phantom tribal superiority through the age-long cultural violence against the Igbo Nation; has decided to do the needful as a proud Igbo.
This is more so when in the words of Les Brown, it is always better to speak out and clear a doubt than to remain silent and thought to be a fool or defeated. The Ooni of Ile-Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi may be relatively young and inexperienced, but he occupies a stool, regarded as the most supreme, sacred and historically authoritative in Yoruba Land and beyond; meaning that his false and provocative utterances must not be allowed to go without replies. The Ooni, by this special this piece, is hereby called to order and lectured on the following sacred and incontrovertible facts provided below.
Igbo People As Oldest Settlers In Nigeria: These findings are verifiably derived from historically and scientifically grounded accounts of origin variously written by scholarly natives of the affected Ethnic Nationalities and the corroborative findings from other scholars, jointly and forensically analyzed by this writer. From records supplied by various scholars who traced the Igbo roots to Aguleri and Umunri, the Igbo People through Eri and his companions, had existed from about 1,450BC (Before Common Era) or 3,469yrs from 1,450BC to 2019AD; making the Ethnic Nationality or Nation-State the oldest settlers in Nigeria.
Bini/Agbon (Agbor) People As Second Oldest Settlers: The second oldest settlers in Nigeria are the people of Bini/Agbon Ethnic Nationality. Although the kingship in Bini was much younger than its age of existence, having been established pre-imperially in 1180AD or in the era of Anno Domini (AD) or Common Era (CE), yet the kingship in Agbon, now Agbor Kingdom was dated back to around 701BC. The Agbon People had its “Ogele Dynasty” established around 701BC, lasting till 1250 to 1260AD when it was conquered, abolished and replaced by some returning Igbo warriors. The Ogele Kingship Dynasty had its last Ogele or king in the person of Ogele XIV Okwakpor, dethroned by Igbo warriors in 1260AD.
The Stools Of Ooni Of Ile-Ife & Dein Of Agbor As The 13th AD Age Mates: As at the time the first Ooni of Ile-Ife was installed around AD 1200s, per Ooni Oranmiyan, with Yoruba Nation founded by Oduduwa around 1100AD; the Ogele Kingship Dynasty of old Agbor Kingdom had existed for 1,900yrs; meaning that the Ogele Dynasty of old Agbor was 1,900yrs older than the stool of the Ooni of Ile-Ife. The Dein Igbo Kingship of Agbor, established by some returning Igbo warriors was established in 1260AD, almost during the same decades the stool of Ooni of Ile-Ife was established; with the latter producing 51 Oonis in Yoruba Land till date. The Ooni stool remains the oldest kingship dynasty in Yoruba Land till date, but one of the youngest in Nigeria particularly older than the stools of the Shehu of Bornu, inherited from the Kanem-Bornu Empire established in 1380AD and the Fulani Emirate Kingship (Sultanate of Sokoto), established in 1804.
The stool of Oba of Lagos was established in 1630AD, with its palace constructed in 1705AD by the Portuguese, who named present Lagos after group of lakes. Lagos or “Eko” was originally founded by the Benin Empire as a military camp used for its imperial wars with other neighboring old empires. The word, “EKO” is originally Bini word, meaning “war camp”. It was also used for trade purposes and diplomatic exchanges between Benin Empire and Europeans. The Bini Empire was established in 1440AD and lasted till 1897AD, with first European-Portuguese-Benin contacts or diplomatic exchanges taken place in 1472AD. The pre-imperial Benin Kingdom was established in 1180AD.
Hausa People As Third Oldest Settlers: The third oldest Ethnic Nationality in Nigeria is the Hausa Nation, established around 800AD or 1,219yrs today. The Hausa Nation, by the accounts of Hausa scholars was founded by a Baghdadi (Iraq) Prince, named Bayajidda, calculated to be around 800AD; which was about two centuries before the ancient Kano was founded by one of his grandsons, named Bagauda who later became its first king or Sarkin Kano in 999AD. According to the Kano Chronicle, the ancient Kingdom of Kano recorded a total of 38 Sarkin Kano or Kings of Kano between 999AD and 1743AD before the invasion of the Fulani Islamic Jihadists led by Usman dan Fodio at the beginning of the 19thCentury AD or early 1800s. Prince Bayajidda originally founded Daura (the oldest of the seven original Hausa States which is now in Katsina State). The kingship in Hausa Land, formerly Sarkin Kingship Dynasty, was violently replaced with Fulani Emirate Councils, with the exception of Borno, which had established Kanem-Bornu Empire as far back as 1380AD; over 420yrs before the Fulani Jihadist Revolution in most parts of Northern Nigeria.
Yoruba People As Fourth Oldest Settlers: The Yoruba Nation is likely the fourth oldest settlers in Nigeria having recorded to have been founded by Oduduwa; a migrant, in about 1100AD. He later sent his last son, Oranmiyan (Oranmiyan Omoluabi Odede) to Benin in about 1170AD as the first interim Oba of Benin and was later succeeded by Oba Eweka 1 in 1180AD signaling the establishment of Pre-Imperial Benin Kingdom, which lasted from 1180AD to 1440AD, replaced by Benin Empire (1440-1897AD).. Oduduwa, the founder of Yoruba Nation was believed to have lived around 1100AD upwards while one of his sons, Oranmiyan, the first Ooni, was said to have lived between 1200AD and 1300AD.
Eze Nri & Eze Ora Stools Of Nri And Aguleri As Evidence Of Igbo Seniority In Nigeria: From the historical accounts of Aguleri, backed by facts and symbols, concerning the lifetimes of Eri and his first generation children (i.e. Agulu, Menri, Onoja-Nwa-Oboli (founder of Igala), etc), Eri; the Igbo founder was likely to have lived around 1,450BC, making it 3,469yrs today. It was further recorded that one of his first generation children who also founded the present Agulueri; by name Agulu, lived for about 140yrs.
That is to say that Eri, his son, Agulu and grandson-Enugu were likely to have lived for 360yrs in all before the Eri’s great grandson, Anyiamaigbo, the Eze Ora 1 was crowned in 1087BC as the first king of Aguleri. Another son of Eri, by name Menri, the founder of Umunri Clan, had his direct but last son; Nri-Ifikwuanyi or Ifikwuanim who in turn was Eri’s grandson was made the first famous priest-king of Umunri, the progenitor of famous Eze Nri stool in Igbo Land. His crowning was recorded to have taken place around 1230BC (reconstructed by this researcher/writer using the Aguleri’s account) after the death of his father, Menri; thereby signaling the establishment of first or premier priest-kingship in Igbo Land, followed by the Eze Ora Dynasty of Aguleri in 1087BC. It is reminded that BC period was counted in descending order while AD or CE period is counted in ascending order.
That is to say that the Eze Nri throne in now Nri Kingdom, the first priest-kingship stool in Igbo land is 3,249yrs today and 2,430yrs older than the Ooni of Ile-Ife stool in Yoruba Land, likely to have lasted till date only for about 819yrs; having been established around AD 1200s. For the Eze Ora Dynasty of Aguleri, established since 1087BC, it is 3,106yrs today and 2,287yrs older than the Ooni stool in Yoruba Land.
It is on verifiable records that the ancient kingdom of Aguleri has the lists of its kings from 1087BC till date, comprising 34 Eze Oras; with Eze Ora, Anyiamigbo as the first or Eze Ora 1, crowned in 1087BC. There are also decades in the history of Aguleri without records of kings owing to intra and inter communal wars and kingship tussles; and much later, due to Atlantic Slave Trade and colonialism. It must also be stated that linage of kingship and historical facts and symbols including naming, special trees, etc; not celestial junks and its false linkages are the surest and evidential ways to ascertain the age of existence or settlement of a community or an ethnic nationality.
Reconstructing Distorted Account Of Existence Concerning The Throne Of Eze Nri: This writer had found the accounts of Profs Angulu Onwuejiogwu and Elizabeth Isekwei anomalous as it concerned the historical existence of the first Igbo king, the Eze Nri, Priest-King, Nri-Ifiukwuanim, who was erroneously recorded to have started reigning from 1043AD to 1089AD. The accounts also recorded erroneously that “Eri, the founder of Igbo Nation, existed from “948-1041AD”.
It is possible their erroneous accounts were based on what they laid their hands on as at the time they wrote in the mid 1970s and early 1980s. Today, this narrative has historically and verifiably changed with the emerged accounts from Aguleri, supported by provable historical symbols, etc. Biblically speaking, too, this is not out of place, as it was similarly the case with the written lifetime of Jesus Christ whose written lifetime account disappeared when he was 12yrs and reappeared when he was 30yrs (disappeared at 12yrs and reappeared at 29yrs), a loss of 17yrs.This has come to be known as “the unknown years of Jesus Christ”.
While the existence of the revered priest-king of Nri was never in dispute, timing of his era or reigning was fundamentally and historically fallacious. Using Aguleri’s accounts to reconstruct and correct this historical anomaly, the Nri priest-king must have existed and be made the premier priest-king about 200yrs or more after the death of his father-Menri and grandfather-Eri; or from 1450BC to 1230BC when he was probably crowned. This is more so when Eri and his first generation sons (Agulu, Menri, Onoja-Nwaoboli were never kings; likewise in Yoruba Land where Oduduwa was never recorded as a king, but his last son-Oranmiyan, crowned as first Ooni of Ile-Ife.
Fulani People As Fifth & Newest Settlers In Nigeria: The Fulani People are a group, originally from Futa Toro in Senegal who are pre dominantly pastoralists. Members of the Ethnic Nationality were recorded to have started migrating to different parts of West Africa as early as 14th Century AD. In Nigeria, the Fulani Ethnic Nationality is 229yrs old today having arrived and settled in Northern Nigeria their large numbers in 1790s. That is to say that the Igbo Nation is 3,240yrs older than the Fulani Nation.
By 1790s, the Fulanis had migrated in large numbers in Northern Nigeria and settled in Gobir (Sokoto), Adamawa in then part of Cameroon, among other areas or cities. They were congregated, aggregated, inspired and led by an Islamic diviner/cleric, Usman dan Fodio (1754-1817), who lived in Gobir (Sokoto). Usman Fodio had quarreled with Hausa Kings (Sarkins), mainly pagans and accused them of “being little more than pagans”; resulting in the mobilization of Hausa commoners and his own Fulani pastoralists (today’s Fulani Herdsmen/Jihadists) and commencement of Jihad or Islamic Holy war.
By the account of King Ben Azubuike (via Elombah Reports, 29thMay 2019), Usman dan Fodio assembled a Fulani army to lead a jihad against the Hausa kingdoms of the north of Nigeria. The forces of Usman dan Fodio slowly took over more and more of the Hausa kingdoms, capturing Gobir in 1808 and executing Yunfa. The war resulted in the creation of the Sokoto Caliphate, headed by Usman dan Fodio, which became one of the largest states in Africa in the 19th century. His success inspired similar jihads in Western Africa. The Hausa had established well organized city states before the advent of the Fulani. These states included Katsina, Daura, Kano Zazzau (Zaria), Biram, Gobir and Borno. Some of these were conquered and re-established by the Fulani. A few other kingdoms such as Katagum, Hadejia and Gombe were founded.
The Fulani led Islamic Holy War had swept most of the Hausa Land, leading to killing, abduction or exiling of Hausa Kings and forceful takeover of their kingdoms and conversion to Islam. The Usman dan Fodio holy war was only repulsed in Northern Nigeria in the Eastern Empire of Kanem-Bornu, an Empire established as far back as 1380AD. The war engulfed Adamawa, Nupe and Ilorin part of the Yoruba Land. The war was crushed in 1903 by the new British colonial authorities. Before then, the holy war had abolished Hausa’s Sarkin Kingship and established the Fulani Islamic Emirate Councils with Fulani Islamic Emirs appointed to rule over the conquered Hausa Lands till date. Usman dan Fodio later installed his son, Muhammed as the Sultan of Sokoto, while his brother, Abdullahi, took charge of Gwandu.
The Shehu Othman dan Fodio’s Jihad also consumed the Ilorin, a Yoruba border town, now referred or considered to be one of the Banza Bakwai, or one of the adulterated Hausa-fulani Kingdoms. At the start of the 19th century, Ilorin was a border town in the northeast of the Oyo Empire, with a mainly Yoruba population but with many Hausa and Fulani immigrants. It was the headquarters of an Oyo General, Afonja, who rebelled against the Empire and helped, bring about its collapse with the assistance of the Fulanis. The rebellion was powered by Nupe and Bornu Moslem slaves. Afonja had been assisted by Salih Janta, also called Shehu Alimi, a leader of the local Fulani. In 1824 Afonja was assassinated and Alimi’s son Abdusalami became Emir. Since then till date, Ilorin had become an emirate of the Sokoto Caliphate.
Written By: Emeka Umeagbalasi
Contacts: Email: email@example.com
Subscribe to The Republican News. Advertise with us. Call us for press release, enquiries. Email: RepublicanNewsNetwork1@gmail.com, phone: +32497220468, +23481819650279, +32466100102.
• We scheduled meeting before election timetable –Nwodo
Magnus Eze, Enugu
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused the Ohanaeze Ndigbo of frustrating the party in the South East, including President Muhammad Buhari’s visit to Anambra and Enugu states today.
They alleged that the fixing of meeting of the Imeobi, the highest decision making organ of the body, today, by the Chief Nnia Nwodo leadership, was a design to diminish the import of the President’s visit.
Deputy Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Chuks Ibegbu said Ndigbo would, at the meeting take a position on which direction they will cast their votes, particularly on the presidential election.
APC National Vice Chairman, South East, Chief Emma Enukwu said the “Ohanaeze is the only socio-cultural group that has taken a position on 2019 election with adoption of a candidate, but power belongs to God.”
Also, a chieftain of the apex Igbo organisation, who belongs to the APC in Enugu State, Prince Richard Ozobu, on Monday, faulted Nwodo for scheduling such an important meeting on the day the President is visiting two states in the region.
Ozobu said: “I’ve been a frontline player in Ohanaeze for many years and Imeobi meeting has never held on a Thursday but Saturdays.
“I can clearly tell you that Nwodo fixed this Imeobi meeting in bad faith. There is no emergency in Igboland to warrant the message he sent across that emergency meeting of Imeobi holds Thursday. This is to show the least, Nwodo’s disdain for President Buhari and he should not hoodwink the entire Igbo nation into his personal calamity.”
But, Ohanaeze, in a swift reaction denied that the Imeobi meeting was scheduled to sabotage the campaign tour of the APC presidential candidate.
Nwodo said in Enugu, yesterday, that the NEC of Ohanaeze Ndigbo had chosen the date without knowing the campaign timetable of the ruling party.
He explained that it was even the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige and the Chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi that called his attention to the clash. He disclosed that Ohanaeze Ndigbo has in deference to Ngige and Umahi, shifted the time for the meeting from 10:00am to 4:00p.m “on the same day at the instance of Dr. Ngige.
The body noted that they were aware of the extra cost implications due to those that would have gone after the meeting, but would now be accommodated in hotels, apparently to give all Igbo sons and daughters scheduled for the meeting opportunity to be there. The statement added that although Ohanaeze Ndigbo is apolitical, it could aggregate the collective interest of Ndigbo for a candidate that answers to their wish and inclination but would not be dragged down to the level of vile politicking.
Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has called on Ndigbo to vote massively for President Buhari in the February 16 poll because of the long term benefits to them.
Addressing a meeting of APC faithful in Enugu, he said: “We want to be on the side of history, we want to be on the side of victory because in years to come, we will look back and we want our children and our grandchildren to say this was the moment when the South East got its act together, united and followed a path of victory and a path of sustainable development for the South East and for Nigeria.” (The Sun)