Miss Chidinma Okeke crowned Miss Anambra 2015,Thank you all,who voted for Her

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Queen Chidinma Okeke, representing Orumba North, has been crowned the winner of the Miss Anambra 2015 pageant, organised by Anambra Broadcasting Service and the State government.
The beauty queen was crowned at the grande finale of the pageant, held at Marble Arch Hotels, Awka.
Correspondents Ejike Abana and Bright Nnachi, report, that In what may be best described as a night of glamour and display of beauty and brains, the top twenty one finalists took to the challenge floor as they fought to meet stringent requirements as set by the judges.

The girls made their first judging appearance in traditional attire, and their second judging appearance in casual outfit.
The third judging appearance was made in evening dresses, where top ten girls were chosen by the judges.
The end of a question and answer session saw the elimination of five girls, with Miss Njikoka, Orumba North, Ayamelum, Anaocha and Ihiala making the top five list.
Speaking, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Anambra Broadcasting Service, Mr Uche Nworah expressed appreciation that the pageant, which has the objective to use the platform to empower women, while also celebrating the elegance, beauty and grace of the Anambra woman, finally became successful, noting that the pageant in its second season, ranks as one of the biggest state pageants in Nigeria.

Mr Nworah thanked the co sponsors of the pageant for making the day fruitful and eventful, including the State government among others.

Speaking shortly after the event, Miss Nigeria 2003/2004 and creative director of the Miss Anambra Pageant, Miss Nwando Okwuosa, in expression of happiness at the success of the event, advised the current Miss Anambra queen to make the best of the opportunity, be a good role model to people, especially the younger ones.

Earlier in a farewell speech, the erstwhile Miss Independence Anambra 2014 and the current Miss ECOWAS 2015, Queen Chizoba Ejike, stressed that the office of a beauty queen is not for women of easy virtues, urging the queen to use her office to reach out to the voiceless and less privileged.

Miss Anambra 2015, Queen Chidinma Okeke in excitement appreciated the ABS boss and other people that helped get her where she is, saying that the vision of introducing light into the lives of young women, through organising the pageant which wouldn’t have been possible without the successes recorded by Governor Willie Obiano is a big plus.
Miss Okeke, who is from Ogboji in Orumba South, Local Government and a 200 level Medical Laboratory student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University,promised to infuse her best to humanity, contribute immensely to the promotion of the organizers of the event, the ABS, and to propagate the rich cultural heritage of Anambra state and Nigeria.
She also pledged to be good example, role model to other Nigerian girls and a good ambassador of the state, assuring of full commitment, diligence and hard work.
The event also featured the presentation of awards to Miss Awka North, as the most photogenic contestant, Best Dinner Gown to Anyamelum, Best Model to Anambra East, Miss Amity to Ihiala, Best Traditional Costume to Ekwusigo, Most Intelligent to Dunukofia and People’s Choice Award to Onitsha South Local Government Area.
Miss Anambra will represent Nigeria in Miss Intercontinental in Germany, come December.
The event attracted top government functionaries, including Commissioners, LGA Chairmen, Commissioner of Police, Mr Hassan Karma, a veteran Hollywood actor, Chief Pete Edochie, among others.
Comedy, music performances from notable artists such as Slow Dogg, Obiwon, Djinee, Twocantalk, Mc Parrot Mouth, dance performances by the girls, crowning of Miss Anambra 2015, among others formed the high points of the event.
Queen Chidinma Okeke was later presented with the Keys of a brand new KIA RIO car, by Dana motors ltd, a cheque of one million naira, wardrobe allowance, flight business class ticket by Air Peace ltd to travel anywhere in Nigeria for one year, among others.

Where did Igbo originate from?BY VINCENT UJUMADU

THERE is a  debate over the origin of  Igbo. Two Anambra communities – Nri in Anaocha local government area and Aguleri in Anambra East local government area claim the  Igbo originated from their areas.

It was Eze Obidiegwu Onyesoh, the traditional ruler of Nri, who started the argument when he said  his community  is the origin of Igbo. Shortly after,  Aguleri debunked it, saying Onyeso ought to know the truth because he had to visit Aguleri before his coronation in 1988 to receive blessing as Igbo custom demanded of him. According to Aguleri people, Aguleri is the first son of Eri who migrated from Egypt.

Igbo-menBut Onyesoh would not accept that as he insisted that his community is the first home of the Igbo  before they migrated to other areas and even beyond the shores of eastern Nigeria.
His words: The origin of Nri is Egypt about two centuries ago and the father of Nri was called Gad. Gad was the son of Jacob while Jacob was the son of Isaac and Isaac was the son of Abraham. The family tree of Nri was traced from the origin of Abraham who was the favourite child of God.

A man called Eri, the progenitor of Ndigbo, lived in Egypt and was the special adviser on religious matters to the 5th dynasty of Pharaohs of Egypt.

It was in those days in Egypt that Eri determined who was going to be the next Pharaoh. And by their law, there was a deity called Emem and anything to happen during the time, the man called Eri, in his capacity as the religion adviser to the Pharaoh of Egypt, was responsible.

Now Eri needed people to help him and he recruited devotees. These devotees were all appointed by him but he had to do something to really found their own loyalty. In their movement towards southern side, they arrived another confluence. This confluence was the tributary of River Niger and Benue known as Ezu na Omambala.

The last son of Eri, Agulu remained by the sea side because he was a fisherman. The first child Eri remained in his father’s house until he had a vision and was called to serve God in their own way. Nri was an incarnate to his grandfather, Eri.

So Nri was the reincarnate of Eri, and the functions which their grandfather performed came back to him. While his siblings all left to their respective farming positions, he remained in his father’s compound. The Ofo   Ndigbo resides at Nri because the process is from one Eze-Nri to another. There is a handover known as Ofo and Alo  and to become Eze-Nri without original Ofo and Alo,  you are not Eze Nri. The Ofo and Alo have been existing for the past 1,009 years.

When I finish and gone as the Eze Nri, the Ofo and Alo   will be handed to the next Eze-Nri.
Today, about 180 communities could trace their origin from Nri and the civilization of Nri spread around. He founded the Ozo title just like his father did; he spoke about anything that has to do with fairness and justice. Everywhere he founded was on behalf of his grandfather and they called themselves, Igbo.

He added: Aguleri, the last born of Eri, remained at the very close of the water front. Aguleri cannot claim that Nri came from Aguleri. Nri came from a place called Eriaka and, for now, Eriaka has gone defunct because the main man left Eriaka.

Eze Nri, Onyesoh said, doesn  t go to Aguleri to be crowned or be purified, adding that Eze Nri, as part of the tradition, after crowning him and other things perfected, must go to where there is water divided into two. He continued: We don  t have any other water divided into two as  found in Lokoja, the confluence between River Niger and River Benue. The place is too far for us and the closest one to us is the tributary river of Niger and Benue known as Ezu and Omambala. They have two rivers there, now it is at that river where the covenant must be taken. That covenant is what we know as ‘Udu-Eze’.

Any person telling you that Eze-Nri must go to Aguleri for any other thing is lying. Apart from the distance, one could also go to converging place between Niger and Benue to performance the rite instead of going to Aguleri. So, all manner of propaganda you now hear are all tissues of lies.

Nri has no similar culture with Aguleri. Since the beginning of Aguleri, it has no traditional institution.
If Nri and Aguleri have much in common, Aguleri would be producing their own traditional ruler just as Nri does. For the past 110 years, it has been only Idigo dynasty that occupies the kingship.

‘Historical distortion’

But Aguleri people described Igwe Onyesoh  s story as a historical distortion and a travesty of Igbo history.  They appointed nine persons from the area who chronicled their community  s version of Igbo origin. Those who carried the assignment are Ralph Igwah, Eddy Okoye, Osita Chinwuba, Jerome Nnechi, Paul Nnamah, Raph Chikwenze, Emma Ikem, George Ejimofor and Charles Chieze.

In their report, they said: We find it difficult to believe that a prominent member of the family of Eri, the progenitor of the Igbo, and of all personages, His Royal Majesty Obidiegwu Onyeso of Nri, is credited with such a grievous falsification of facts on the history of the Igbo.

Igwe Onyeso’s present stance, as reflected in the story, is a shocking contradiction to what he knows and believes to be the correct situation, as he practically and faithfully demonstrated during his visit to Aguleri in 1988, as part of the necessary traditional rites for the traditional ruler of Agukwu-Nri.

For him to be singing a different tune now, even to the point of contesting the headship of Eri clan, and by extension of Ndi Igbo, with Aguleri is, indeed, unfortunate.  The erroneous assertions by Igwe Onyeso have made it necessary to correct that impression and set the records of Igbo history straight, particularly their settlement in Nigeria.

The continued: Eri from Israel was the fifth son of Gad, the seventh son of Jacob (Genesis 46:15-18 and Numbers 26:16:18).  He migrated from Egypt with a group of companions just before the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt many centuries ago. They travelled by water and finally arrived at the confluence of Ezu and Omambala (Anambra) Rivers, located in present-day Aguleri, where, according to oral tradition, it was spiritually or divinely revealed to Eri that the point was to be their final destination and settlement. They moved into the hinterland and settled in the present-day Aguleri. Eri lived and died at Aguleri.

Agulu was the eldest son of Eri, and not Menri, as claimed by Igwe Onyeso. This is supported by oral tradition in Aguleri and in other communities of Eri clan. It is also confirmed by historical accounts by many writers of Igbo history.

As the population at the settlement of Eri at Aguleri increased, and in combination with other factors, the children of Eri and/or their descendants left the settlement and founded various other settlements outside Aguleri, while Agulu, the first son, remained in their father’s home at Aguleri with his descendants. Agulu, fondly called Agulu-Nwa-Eri, appended the name of their father, Eri, to his name and founded Agulu-Eri (Aguleri). Menri left Aguleri and settled at a big forest, where he engaged in hunting and farming, while also performing his spiritual work. He called the settlement Agu-Ukwu (Nri).

When he was getting very old, he told his children to take him back to his ancestral home, as he would not want to die outside his father’s home. Menri was brought back to Aguleri, where he died and was buried. His grave is still marked at Okpu, in Ivite Aguleri, till this day. There is no other grave site of Menri, the founder of Nri, anywhere else in Igbo land, even in Nri itself, except in Aguleri.

It is also a known fact that, by tradition, no Nri man would break the kolanut where an Aguleri man is present, except with his permission. This is in deference to the fact that Agulu (Aguleri) was the elder brother of Menri (Nri). Furthermore, in recognition of the fact that Aguleri is the first son of Eri and the ancestral home of Ndi-Igbo, as well as the custodian of all the spiritual sites and places of Eri kingdom, traditional rulers of Agukwu-Nri, from time past, till date, including the famous late Igwe Tabansi Udene, visited Aguleri for certain traditional rites, without which they would not have become traditional rulers of Nri. These facts amply confirm that Aguleri was the first settlement and the ancestral home of the Igbos, and not Nri, as erroneously claimed by Igwe Onyeso.

In fulfillment of the age-long traditional rites for kingship in Nri, Igwe Obidiegwu Onyeso, as Igwe-elect, visited Aguleri in 1988, accompanied by a delegation from Nri, which included the late prominent lawyer, Chief Ezebilo Umeadi (SAN). Igwe-elect Onyeso and his delegation spent seven days in Aguleri, from 9th February to 15th  February, 1988, visiting sacred places, paying homage and making sacrifices to certain deities/shrines.

It is, indeed, unbelievable that after going through these entire coronation rites, Igwe Onyeso could refer to his visit to Aguleri in 1988 in a very casual and less-than-honest manner. Also, by saying that Aguleri and Nri do not have much in common, Igwe Onyeso knows, from the bottom of his heart, that he was being very economical with the truth. His visit to Aguleri to collect the Ududu-Eze or clay from Agbanabo is not a casual affair. It goes with a lot of ceremonies and tradition.

Besides, Agbanabo, in the oral tradition of Eri clan, including Nri, is not just  any place ‘where two rivers meet’. It has great spiritual significance, because it was at this point that Eri had a divine revelation that they had reached their ordained place of settlement.   Members of Eri clan, including Nri, therefore, have a strong spiritual attachment to Agbanabo. And this has made it an important and mandatory feature in the coronation rites of the people of Nri.   That was why Igwe Onyeso had to go to Agbanabo, at Aguleri, as a matter of traditional obligation, and not merely as any place ‘where two rivers meet’.

The visit of Igwe Obidiegwu Onyeso, as Igwe-elect, with his people to Aguleri in 1988, including the places he went to, making sacrifices and paying homage to certain deities/shrines, was well captured in a video coverage. The video is available in Aguleri archives for anyone who cares to see and is interested in knowing the truth.

From historical facts, Aguleri, and not Nri, is the first son of Eri and the ancestral home of Ndi-Igbo. We do not know what propelled our brother, Igwe Obidiegwu Onyeso, to engage in virtual apostasy by repudiating the traditional rites he went through at Aguleri, as well as the unwarranted denigration of Aguleri and the sacred and spiritual facts about Eri and his descendants, even to the extent of saying that ‘Aguleri and Nri do not have much in common’. This was after he had stated that Aguleri and Nri were among the direct children of Eri.

We are, indeed, at a loss  to understand our brother any more. We hope it is not a case of ‘he who the gods want to destroy, they first make mad’. The spiritual and traditional bond between Aguleri and Nri cannot easily be wished away, just as we are reminded of the fate of some Igwes of Nri in the past, who failed to visit Aguleri to consummate the traditional rites for kingship in Nri. Perhaps, what happened to them is instructive and should be a guide to all it may concern!Igbo-men

I’ll Show LOOTERS Pepper – Angry Buhari Talks Tough From India

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President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday gave rea­son his administration is bent on recovering stolen funds. According to him, he expected the ongoing re­coveries and prosecutions to serve as a deterrent to others who nurse the ambition of seeking public office solely for illegal personal gain.

Buhari also warned im­porters of fake drugs, foods to stop forthwith.

The President spoke in New Delhi, where he is at­tending third Indian-African Summit with focus on cli­mate change and terrorism. Buhari said his government was committed to curb­ing corruption, plugging all loopholes in public sector accounting in order to de­ploy available resources for the good of all Nigerians.

Addressing the Nigerian community in India, Bu­hari said recovery of loots and prosecution of suspects who have been indicted for corruption will also continue to be vigorously pursued.

The President assured that his administration fully recognized the devastating consequences of the ille­gal diversion of public re­sources meant for national development into private bank accounts, and was do­ing everything to stop such diversions.

“The anti-corruption cam­paign will be on-going for many years. We are com­mitted to the enthronement of good governance that plugs the loopholes in public sector accounting, and the use of scarce resources for public good.

“We are determined to demonstrate exemplary leadership that will make our citizens change their ways in a manner that lays a solid foundation for recon­struction and development.

“I am confident that our approach to fighting cor­ruption through value re-orientation, improved inter­nal processes and systems and the rule of law, as well as enhancing the capacity of the various anti-corruption agencies and institutions will prove more enduring in addressing this evil.

“In the meantime, we will continue to prosecute those who have been indicted for corrupt practices and en­sure that stolen funds are recovered, to serve as deter­rence to others who nurse the ambition of seeking pub­lic office solely for illegal personal gain,” the President said.

Meanwhile, the President has told Nigerian industrial­ists and investors that his ad­ministration’s economic pol­icies may hurt in the interim, but they will be beneficial in the long run. But he warned that the government will no longer tolerate imporation of substandard goods, foods and fake medicines.

He has therefore, assured that despite the fall in oil prices, his government re­mains fully committed to maintaining macro-econom­ic stability and improving investor confidence in Ni­geria.

He stated this at an in­teractive session with chief executives of Indian compa­nies with interests in Nigeria in New Delhi yesterday.

President Buhari ex­pressed confidence that with its abundance of human and material resources, the Ni­gerian economy does not have to suffer unduly from low oil prices, despite its se­vere impact on government revenues.

“What is required of us, to which we are strongly com­mitted, is the implementa­tion of tight expenditure controls, effective fiscal and monetary policies, including the husbandry of scarce re­sources which our introduc­tion of the Single Treasury Account has began to ad­dress,” he said.

Do you Know Prince Abyssinia Akweke Nwafor Orizu

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Prince Abyssinia Akweke Nwafor Orizu (1915–1999). was a Nigerian of Igbo origin and Nigeria’s second Senate President from November 16, 1960 to January 15, 1966, during the Nigerian First Republic. Orizu was also Acting President of Nigeria from late 1965 until the military coup of January 1966. He was a member of the Nnewi Royal family. His nephew Igwe Kenneth Onyeneke Orizu III is the current Igwe (King) of Nnewi Kingdom. Nwafor Orizu College of Education in Nsugbe, Anambra State is named after him.

Background

Orizu was born in 1915 into the royal house of Nnewi, Anambra State in southeast Nigeria, a son of Eze Ugbonyamba, Igwe Orizu I. He went to the United States in 1939, earning a degree in government at Ohio State University and earning an M.A. at Columbia University. He was an advocate of the “horizontal”, broad system of American education as opposed to the narrow “perpendicular” British system, and earned the nickname “Orizontal”, a play on his name and a reference to his constant discussion of the theme. As discussed in his 1944 book Without Bitterness, he was a passionate advocate of introducing the American system to Nigeria. He established The American Council on African Education (ACAE), which obtained numerous tuition scholarships from American sources for the benefit of African students.

Around 1949, Orizu bought the Enitona High School and Enitona printing press from a supporter for only £500, which he borrowed. Another supporter sold him a luxury bus on an installment plan. He established a newspaper known as The West Africa Examiner and became the managing Director, while M.C.K. Ajuluchukwu was the editor. He went to Enugu to console the striking miners after the shooting of 21 miners on November 18, 1949. Possibly in reaction to a fiery speech that he made there, the British colonial authorities sentenced him to seven years in jail for allegedly misappropriating the funds of the ACAE. But later Roy Wilkins, chairman of ACAE in the USA, wrote a letter to Nnamdi Azikiwe (“Zik”) exonerating Dr Nwafor Orizu of any financial impropriety.

Political career

Military coup

The President of Nigeria, Nnamdi Azikiwe left the country in late 1965 first for Europe, then on a cruise to the Caribbean. Under the law, Orizu became Acting President during his absence and had all the powers of the President.

A coup was launched on 16 January 1966 by a group of disaffected young military officers led by Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu. The army quickly suppressed the revolt but assumed power when it was evident that key politicians had been eliminated, including Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Premier of Northern Region Sir Ahmadu Bello and Premier of the Western Region, Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola. Orizu made a nationwide broadcast, after he had brief Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe on the phone the decision of the cabinet, announcing the cabinet’s “voluntary” decision to transfer power to the armed forces. Major General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi then made his own broadcast, accepting the “invitation”. On January 17, Major General Ironsi established the Supreme Military Council in Lagos and effectively suspended the constitution.

Later career

After the coup, Orizu faded from the political scene but remained active in education. Before the civil war he had set up a high school, the Nigerian Secondary School, in Nnewi. He remained its proprietor until the state government took over all the schools after the defeat of Biafra. After that he continued as a teacher and an educator, publishing several books.[3] Also, between 1974 and 1975, the government of the defunct East Central State, led by Dr. Ukpabi Asika, appointed him the Chairman of the State’s Teachers’ Service Commission in Enugu.

Bibliography

Sir Nwafor Orizu (1944). Without bitterness: western nations in post-war Africa. Creative Age Press.

Sir Nwafor Orizu (1983). Insight into Nigeria: the Shehu Shagari era. Evans Brothers (Nigeria Publishers). ISBN 978-167-384-2.

Sir Nwafor Orizu (1986). Man’s unconquerable mind: Volume 1 of Orizu Poems. Jos University Press. ISBN 978-166-043-0.

Sir Nwafor Orizu (1990). Africa speaks!. Horizontal Publishers. ISBN 978-2791-03-2.

Sir Nwafor Orizu (1994). Liberty or chains–Africa must be: an authobiography [sic.] of Akweke Abyssinia Nwafor Orizu. Horizontal Publishers. ISBN 978-2094-00-5.

Sir Nwafor Orizu (1999). The voice of freedom: selected pre and post independence speeches and addresses for African independence, 1940-1984. Horizontal Publishers. ISBN 978-2952-83-4.

History of NRI KINGDOM, Anambra State

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Nri is an ancient Igbo city-state in Anambra State Nigeria. The Kingdom of Nri was a center of learning, religion, and commerce in pre-colonial West Africa. Historians have compared the significance of Nri, at its peak, to the religious cities of Rome or Mecca: it was the seat of a powerful and imperial state that influenced much of the territories inhabited by the Igbo of Awka and Onitsha to the east; the Efik, the Ibibio, and the Ijaw to the South; Nsukka and southernIgala to the north; and Asaba, and the Anioma to the west. The rulers of Nri did not use military conquest, but used religious authority and control of commercial routes as tactics in the spread of their city-state. Politically, Nri is known to be the most ancient origins of the Eze kingship in Igbo societies. But Nri and its rulers were also known for their occult religious Juju, an institution that instilled both awe and fear in those who made pilgrimages to the shrine.

Commercially, Nri was against slave holding. During the colonial period, Nri and the regions under its political, religious, or commercial control became international markets for palm oil. In the heart of Nri influence was the Igbo Ukwu bronze castings.

ORIGIN

NRI KINGDOM is the oldest Kingdom in Nigeria. It was founded around 900AD by the progenitor, Eri, the son of Gad. According to biblicalaccounts, Jacob had Leah as his wife who begot four sons for him. When Leah noticed she had passed child-bearing age, she gave her maid – servant, Zilpah to Jacob to wife, and through Zilpah he had a son named Gad. Gad then bigot Eri, who later formed a clan known as Erites vide Genesis Chapter 30 verse 9; 46 verse 16 and Numbers chapter 26 verses 15-19. Eri was therefore amongst the twelve tribes of Israel via Gad.

During their stay in Egypt Eri became the high priest and spiritual adviser to Pharaoh Teti, the fifth dynastic king of Egypt around 2400 BC.

During the Exodus, which marked the beginning of the mass movement of the tribes of Israel, the tribe of Eri was amongst the tribe that left Egypt following the injunction from God to the Israelites (see Deuteronomy chapter 28 verses 58 – 68). Some of these tribes founded settlements in the southern part of Sudan, where they established the “Nok” culture, which is similar to that of other (sun Cult) culture, like Nri, Fiji, Samoa, and Jukun in the Northern part of Nigeria and elsewhere. But others who could not remain in the Southern Sudan traveled further South, some branched off to Jukun, in Northern part of Nigeria, others continued and arrived at the confluence of Rivers Niger and Anambara known as “Ezu-na-Ọmambala” and settled there while some veered off to the Island of Fiji in the South Pacific Ocean. An intelligence report notes that the Fijians have the same sun culture with the people of Nri.

When Eri arrived at the confluence of “Ezu-na-Ọmambala” he had two wives, namely Nneamakụ and Oboli, Nneamakụ begot five children, namely (a) Nrifikwuanịm-Menri being the first son (b) Agụlụ (c) Ogbodudu (d) Onogu and (e) Iguedo the only daughter. Oboli begot Ọnọja, the only son who founded the Ịgala Kingdom in Kogi State. Meanwhile, Nri-Ifikwuanịm begot Agụkwu Nri, Enugwu-Ukwu, Enugwu-Agidi, Nọfịa, and Amọbia, while his brother Ogbodudu who later became Nrinaoke N’Ogbodudu had founded the Diodo Dynasty, while his brother Ezikannebo founded Akamkpịsị and Amanuke. Onogu Begot Ịgbariam, while Iguedo, the only daughter, begot Ogbunike, Ọkuzu, Nando, Ụmụleri, and Nteje, Known today as Ụmụ-Iguedo clan, while the former are better known as Ụmụ-Nri clan. According to Nri Oral tradition recently substantiated by archaeological findings of Ọraeri/Igbo-Ukwu objects, the unification of Agukwu, Diodo, and Akamkpịsị was enacted constitutionally during the beginning of reign of Nribụife (AD 1159 – 1252) who was the first Eze Nri to observe the Ịgụ-Arọ Festival as a pan – Igbo affair in 1160AD (Prof. M.A. Ọnwụejeọgwu 2003).

Nri-Ifikwuanịm took after his progenitor Eri, and became a high priest among his people. He left Agụleri in search of a better living place, according to Mr. M.D.W. Jeffreys report, and settled at present Nri site. He started performing what Eri did at Egypt, cleansing of abominations, giving titles such as prestigious Ọzọ title, to his people, proclaiming the New Year (Ịgụ-Arọ) etc.

ỊGỤ-ARỌ: Ịgụ-Arọ is an annual festival of the Nri people. It is during this festival that Eze Nri proclaims the New Year to all the Igbo communities under his jurisdiction, and he then announces the Nri calendar to the people. The Nri calendar is made up of thirteen (13) Lunar months namely:

(1) Ọnwa Mbụ (1st moon) starts from 3rd week in February each year.

(2) Ọnwa Abụa (2nd moon) March to April, (clearing and farming).

(3) Ọnwa Ife Eke (3rd moon) April to May (Ụganị or hunger period)

(4) Ọnwa Ana (4th moon) May to June (planting seed yams).

(5) Ọnwa Agwụ (5th moon) Ịgọchi and mmanwụ (Adult Masquerades) June-July.

(6) Ọnwa Ifejiọkụ (6th moon) Yam Ritual (Ifejiọkụ) July –August.

(7) Ọnwa Alọm Chi (7th moon) Yam Harvest (For Alụsị only) comes up August to early September.

(8 Ọnwa Ilo Mmụọ (8th moon) Ọnwa Asatọ festival (September ending).

(9) Ọnwa Ana (9th moon) Ana Ritual comes up in October.

(10) Ọnwa Okike (10th moon) Okike ritual takes place in early November.

(11) Ọnwa Ajana (11th moon) Okike ritual takes place in November ending.

(12) Ọnwa Ede Ajana (12th moon) comes up in ending of November to early December.

(13) Ọnwa Ụzọ Alụsị (13th moon) offering to Alụsị (early January to early February).

The Nri were great innovators in rituals, diplomacy, economy, administration, and management of a segmented and decentralized people. The Lunar system of calculating the year with a system of adjustment was known to the Nri priests of Alụsị Arọ and the knowledge of the movement of the heavenly bodies were employed in calculation the lunar year, according to Northcote Thomas (M.A. Frai) a British Government Anthropologist who served in Ọka District in the early 20th century, in 1910 he reported he got names from the following heavenly bodies at Nri-Pleiades, Orion and Great Bear. Therefore Nri elders had clear knowledge of these stars and others which helped them in calculating the intervals between each Lunar period and finding their directions during their sojourn from one Igbo Village to another in both the semi – forest and the forest zones.

During the Ịgụ-Arọ Festival, Eze Nri proclaims the New Year; he also distributes seed yams to the Igbo People and asked them to go home and farm. He tells the people that after his Ịgụ-Arọ, approximately within four days but certainly not more than three native weeks (Izu Anọ) “you will have the first rainfall, so after this rainfall you can go ahead to cultivate your crop”.

Eze – Nri introduced the cowrie currency (Ego ayo), and a sophisticated system of using cowrie as a medium of exchange and valuation was developed in the Igbo cultural area. The system of calculation and the table of conversion used in the Nri area in the late Nineteenth century were as follows:

1 Mkpụlụ Ego = 1 Cowrie

6 Mkpụlụ Ego = 6 Cowries = 1 isi ego

10 Isi Ego = 60 Cowries = 1 Ukwu

20 Ukwu = 1,200 Cowries = 1 Afịa

20 Afịa = 2,400 cowries = 1 Akpa ego or ili Afịa

10 Akpa (bags) = 240,000 cowries = Nnu Afịa.

Fowls and bags were valued in Ukwu, goats and sheep in Afịa, cows, slaves and land in ili Afịa. Bride wealth was negotiated in nnu, never to exceed four Nnu Afịa. Iron bars and rods, copper bars and rods and manilas were valued in terms of cowries. In order to facilitate carrying them around for transaction, cowries were strung together in rows of sixes and sewn permanently on mats in bundles of 6, 1,200, 24,000, and 240, 000. The mats were rolled, loose ones were tied in bags of 24,000 called akpa.

Prof. M. Angulu Onwuejeogwu equally reported the conversion of cowries to British currencies this way. At the beginning of the 19th century, the British introduced the pound, shillings and pence #, s. d. currency system. This new system was resisted in various ways. First a dual currency system was developed, traditional goods were sold in cowries and European goods in British currency. Later cowries could buy British currency and British currency could buy cowries. By a system of haggling, the exchange rate varied and was determined by several factors. As more European goods began to penetrate without replacement, the British currency backed by law, became dominant. In 1925, the following rate of exchange was still operating in many rural markets.

10 cowries = 1/2d (Half Penny)

20 cowries = 1d (One Penny)

60 cowries = 3d (Three Pence)

120 cowries = 6d (Six Pence)

240 cowries = 1/- (one shilling)

1200 cowries = 5/-(Five Shillings)

1400 cowries = ₤1 (one pound)

24,000 cowries = ₤5 (Five Pounds)

120,000 cowries = ₤25 (Twenty five pounds)

Having introduced trading and currency which was the cowrie system, and having worked out the rate of exchange to accommodate the British traders and their currency system, Eze Nri introduced a sort of local system for people with extra money to keep on this Prof. M. Angulu Onwuejeogwu 1981 writes:

In Nri, a rudimentary local banking system developed, during the slave trade period, men with strong buildings began to keep the cowries of other people in return for commission. Such men became very rich and were able to give a capital loan to persons who wished to begin a trading venture. No fixed rate of interest was paid, one had to haggle over the interest called Ọmụlụnwa on the principal, isi ego.

Stock Exchange was introduced for the first time in Nri, for instance stock exchange was associated with Ọzọ title. In this system, a person who had belonged to one of the alliance groups called Ogwe Mmuo. The candidate for the title will purchase a total of Nine (9) shares known as “Ọfọ Itenanị”. The shares are known as “Ọfọ” the stall of immortality. The Ọzọ titled man will get his entitlements depending on the number of Ọfọ Ọzọ he has. An Ọzọ man with nine Ọfọ Ọzọ will be entitled to nine shares whenever a new person took the title and made payment. One could sell his Ọfọ, except three, within his Ọzọ group at a loss or profit, whenever he is in need of money. He could use his Ọfọ as security for a loan, the person giving the loan will take the shares allocated to the Ọfọ whenever payments of share were made until the capital and interest were paid back by the owner of the Ọfọ. If a man dies his male children will inherit the total Ọfọ Ọzọ and the allocated shares. Shares of Ọfọ Ọzọ lapses two years after the man’s death, it is known as ovunisi. The family of the dead Ọzọ man will continue to take all shares accruing from the Ọfọ Ọzọ left. The son could use one of the Ọfọ Ọzọ in taking his own Ọzọ title. If he did this he would continue to take shares accruing from his own Ọfọ and those inherited. If he has brothers, the Ọfọ Ọzọ of their father would be shared according to the law of inheritance in Nri. (Northcote W. Thomas, M.A, F.R.A.I) 1913.

The Ọfọ, the staff of immortality, ritual and political authority was converted into a type of security certificate. Nri used the ritual system to achieve economic enhancement via Stock Exchange. This cultural civilization was introduced to Igbo – land before the coming of the British Colonial Administration. Therefore, Nri bequeathed this highly civilized pattern of exchange to Igbo – land.

Eze – Nri introduced the four market days to the Igbo Land, namely Eke, Oye (Orie), Afọ and Nkwọ. In each of the communities where the Eze – Nri establishes these markets, he will keep one of his Alụsị (Deity at that market square, and leave one of his agents to take care of that Alụsị. The inhabitants of that community will pay allegiance to the Eze – Nri through that agent, especially during the Ịgụ – Arọ ceremony of Eze – Nri.

It is on record in Igbo land that Eze – Nri introduced agriculture in Igboland. He introduced yam, cocoyam, and other cash crops in Igbo – land. That is why at every Ịgụ – Arọ ceremony, His Majesty the Eze – Nri will share out seed – yams to the people present, to go and plant. This symbolizes the introduction of yam to the Igbo race.

LIST OF PAST EZE – NRI AND ORDER OF REIGN:

(1) Nri – Ifikuanịm 1043 – 1158

(2) Nri – Namoke (from Diodo) 1090 – 1158

(3) Nri – Buife (From Obeagụ Unified Ọfọ N’alọ Agukwu and Diodo) 1159 – 1259

(4) Nri – Ọmalọ (Uruọji) 1260 – 1299

(5) Nri – Jiọfọ 1 (Agbadana) 1300 – 1390

(6) Nri – Ọmalonyeso (Obeagu) 1391 –1464

(7) Nri – Anyamata (Uruọji) 1465 – 1511

(8) Nri – Fenenu (Agbadana) 1512 – 1582

(9) Nri – Agụ (Obeagu) 1583 – 1676

(10) Nri – Apia and Nri – Alike (both from Uruọji died the same day) 1677 – 1700

(11) Nri – Ezimilo (Agbadana) 1701 – 1723

(12) Nri – Enwenetem (Agbadana) 1724 – 1794

(13) Nri – Enwelana 1 (Obeagu) 1795 – 1886

(14) Nri – Ọbalike (Uruọji) 1889 – 1936

(15) Nri – Jiofọ II Taabansi Udene (Agbadana) 1937 – 1987

(16) Nri – Enwelana II Obidiegwu Onyeso (MFR) (Obeagu) 1988 – Presen

ANAMBRA MEDICAL DOCTOR BUILDS 100 BUNGALOWS FOR WIDOWS!

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A Nigerian medical doctor based in the United States of America, Godwin Maduka, has built no fewer than 100 bungalows for widows and other indigent persons in his Umuchukwu community in Orumba South Local Government Area of the state.

Umuchukwu, a boundary community between Anambra and Abia State, is relatively rural.

An excited native of the community said, “Today, there is no more thatched house in the community. Maduka has replaced every thatched house in the area with three or four-bedroom bungalows.

“About 100 of such buildings are currently in place in the community. They belong to the indigent natives, especially widows.

“All such buildings carry green aluminum roofing sheets for easy identification and beautification of the place.”

Maduka explains his philanthropic gesture, saying, “I embarked on all these to save my people from my ugly experience while growing up. I grew up in a home that when it rained, it rained more inside the house.

“Wealth would be meaningless if it cannot be used to better the lives of the people around you as the custodian.

“The wealthy must provide jobs for the youths; build skills acquisition centres for willing adults, market stalls for men and women, if society must be secure,” he said.

His Personal Assistant, Vincent Otaokpukpu told Southern City News that “Maduaka has opened up Umuchukwu by building schools, hospitals, churches, security posts, industries, police station with modern working tools.”

“He believes that government alone cannot give resounding development due to its meagre resources when compared to the volume of social, economic amenities expected by the people.

“Umuchukwu, one of the most backward and remote communities in the state, was totally denied any meaningful government attention. Nkerehi, as it was then called, was in abysmal destitution.

Otaokpukpu maintained that Maduka’s gesture compelled former governor of the state, Mr. Peter Obi, to construct two roads connecting Umuchukwu with other communities.

“When the foundation visited then governor Obi at the government house in Awka with the pathetic story of the absence of roads in the area, it promised to finance 50 per cent of the road contract, while the state would pay 50 per cent.

He said, “Obi, moved by such an offer, decided to visit the community himself and what he saw overwhelmed him and he took sole responsibility of building the two roads alone.

“The foundation has also built community centre, post office, a state High Court, provided transformers for electricity, primary and secondary schools, civic centre and so on.

Anambra Personality Profile

Name: Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi12046962_1471327903176181_3026606657659361530_n

Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi (born in Aguleri, Anambra State, Nigeria in September 1903 – died in Leicester, England, 24 January 1964) was an Igbo Nigerian ordained a Roman Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Onitsha, Nigeria on 19 December 1937. He worked in the parishes of Nnewi, Dunukofia, Akpu/Ajalli and Aguleri.

He was later a Cistercian Monk at Mount Saint Bernard Monastery in England. After being recommended by Cardinal Francis Arinze, who was inspired by Tansi as a boy (he had been one of Tansi’s students and knew him personally), he was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 22 March 1998, who said, “Blessed Cyprian Michael Tansi is a prime example of the fruits of holiness which have grown and matured in the Church in Nigeria since the Gospel was first preached in this land. He received the gift of faith through the efforts of the missionaries, and taking the Christian way of life as his own he made it truly African and Nigerian.”

His feast day is January 20.

Heritage and Early Life

Before he was born, the British had come to colonize Nigeria. The British [Royal Niger Company] was traded in Aguleri before Michael was born, and buying palm oil from the local people to sell abroad. An incident happened when a local person named Onwurume wanted to take a little palm oil to put on his roasted yam (yam is the staple food of Igbo people, and palm oil to yams is the cultural equivalent of butter to bread) and he decided to puncture a barrel of palm oil to get some. When the hole he made caused the entire barrel to be emptied out, he ran away but was grabbed by employees of the Company and put into custody. When the local people heard about it they gathered together to negotiate with the company agents, but the company called for military reinforcements and arrested the twelve chiefs who came to negotiate, and then afterwards proceeded to attack the neighbouring villages, burning down the homes of the local people, pillaging their property as well as mistakenly destroying a nearby village of a different group that had no relation to the incident.

Michael’s father was Tabansi of Igbezunu, Aguleri. He was one of the people taken hostage by the Royal Niger Company, and later released. Later he named his firstborn son ‘Iwe-egbune’ shortened to Iwene, meaning ‘let malice not kill’; which was the birth-name of Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi. His father was a pagan, but not a polygamist, and he married twice, the second wife after the first one died. Michael was his first born, and he had another son with his first wife. His second wife gave him four boys and one girl.

His parents were poor farmers.

When he was a young child, he became permanently blinded in one of his eyes as a result of a mud-fight with other children.

His father sent Iwene to a Catholic mission school, with the intention of getting his son to receive a better education that would help lead their family out of poverty and would never again be taken advantage of by the westerners. Michael automatically became a Catholic by being enrolled and taught at the school, and he was baptized in 1913 with the Christian name of Michael.

Upon graduating, he became a teacher, and worked as a teacher from 1919-1925.

Seminarian

At that time there were very little acceptance of black people becoming priests in Nigeria. The Bishop was Irish, and most of the clergy were from Europe. Bishop Shanahan saw the native Igbo, even after conversion, as still being steeped in pagan culture, and that it was going to be very hard to get them to become proper priests. Igbo could become priests, but they were subject to very hard regulations and could be denied continuance in their study very easily by the priests who taught them who often were very careful to make sure only the best people would become priests.

Michael attended seminary from 1925-1937. His family was appalled at his entrance to the seminary, because they wanted him to go into business or something that would take them out of poverty, which was what his father had always planned. His family was poor and they desperately needed his help, but he felt that God, the same God he had learned about in the mission school his parents had sent him to as a child as a means of getting material benefits for the family, wanted him to continue in the seminary rather than do something else.

Parish Priest

At that time in Nigeria, almost all priests were foreign missionaries and very few Africans were ordained to the priesthood. The foreign missionaries would often not be willing to live in the same poverty or bad conditions of life that the native-born Nigerians were, and as a result if an area wanted a parish priest at that time, the local people had to get their money together and be able to supply enough money so that the priest could live well. This included building a church and the priest’s house (which rather than adobe or mud, could potentially be brick or concrete, with two stories and a zinc roof), buying a car for the priest’s use, good food including wine, roasted chickens, tea, coffee, sausages, peas, Irish potatoes, foreign imported foods, etc. The people who had to supply the money for the priest to get these things were often subsistence farmers, who themselves lacked basic healthcare, education or were malnourished.

The church required all members to regularly submit money to the ANC or Annual Missionary Collection, and parishioners who did not contribute could potentially be denied the sacraments, a Catholic funeral, etc. When black priests became more common they also often followed the example of the lifestyle of the foreign missionaries and did likewise. Monks and nuns also had much more comfortable lifestyles than the norm that the poor peasant majority was used to; which was seen as a great detraction from the entire purpose of someone becoming a monk or nun, wherein they were supposed to reject the goods of the world to follow God. And people began looking at the priesthood, or a life as a monk or nun as a way of escaping poverty and living a nicer life.

When Michael became a parish priest, he refused to live in this fashion. He lived a very austere life in comparison to the other priests around him. He refused to live in a nice home, and he would build his own home using adobe, mud brick or other traditional materials. He would put rocks on his bed to make it uncomfortable. He would eat even poorer food than what the local people ate, surviving on tiny portions of yams that he sometimes purposely had burnt or improperly cooked. He sometimes had a motorbike provided to him, but he often preferred to use a bicycle or even just to walk, even though the distances were huge. He would walk even in tropical rainstorms.

His lifestyle shocked and amazed the Nigerian Catholics, who were not accustomed to this kind of priest. And he became extremely popular and loved among the four parishes that he served in. He organized the community to help the poor and needy, and he personally would help people to build their own homes or perform other projects. He never insisted that poor people pay the ANC, although for richer people he insisted. He was very good at building homes, and taught people new building techniques with adobe or mud brick that were copied and used by the whole community. He was remembered as always being very kind.

He was very hard against vice in the midst of his flock. For example, towards the issue of pre-marital sex, he would not allow men to see their brides before they got married, and he would organize the community to place the bride to be in a special home wherein she would be looked after until she got married, and if the groom attempted to go there without Fr. Tansi’s permission, he could be beaten. He also had a women’s group organized who would enforce disciplines on their own members, such that if one of their members had an abortion they would burn her uniform in a ceremony and expel her. He was also a very strict disciplinarian against students who failed to work hard at the parish school, and he would even hide near the school waiting for the bell to ring and then when he saw students coming late he would come out of his hiding place and beat them for coming late to school.

He also stood up against oppression of women within the traditional culture and advised women to fight back against those who would rape them or mistreat them. On one occasion, a female parishioner was attacked by a group of pagan males, and she fought back against them, and Fr Michael, who was nearby, came on his bicycle and joined with her and fought them until they fled. He then encouraged her to bring the assailants to court and she did, and won the case against them, forcing them each to pay her four pounds; this case was a milestone in the establishment of women’s rights in Nigeria.

He also was very militantly opposed to some aspects of the traditional pagan culture in Nigeria, including especially the masquerades. Whenever pagans would organized these masked processions, Father Michael would go out to oppose them and stand in their way. In a masquerade there was one person wearing a mask, whom was said to not really be a human being, but actually a spirit, and Fr Michael once went to one of these people and read a definition of a spirit as one that did not possess a body or physical substance, and he then punched the masked man in the head, saying that since he was a spirit, he must not have felt that. His hostility to them and their traditional culture may have been intensified due to the fact that Nigerian pagans had murdered his own mother after claiming she was a witch who had caused mischief.

He gave the community many advice and teachings about the right way to live in a practical fashion. For example, there were many mango trees that would stand around the local area, and it was common during the proper season when the trees were filled with fruit, for people to go to the trees and throw rocks at them to knock down the fruit, and in the process they would always knock down far more than they were going to eat, or they knocked down the unripe fruit with the ripened fruit; and as a result the tree would lay bare even before the season was over. Michael considered this wasteful, and told the community to pluck each mango individually so that nothing was wasted and that they would not lack mangos to eat later.

He worked in four very large parishes which were Nnewi, Dunukofia, Akpu/Ajlli and Aguleri (his own home town).

He was also remembered as being a perfectionist in everything, always wanting all things to be done in the most perfect of ways, which sometimes placed a burden on those who were under him that they resented.

Trappist Monk

While serving in his last parish, in his own hometown of Aguleri from 1949-1950, Michael began to become attracted to the religious life and was asking about becoming a monk. At that time there were no monasteries established in Nigeria, and the bishop was interested in the idea of sending some candidates to a monastery in Europe who would become monks in Europe and later would return to Nigeria to start up the first Nigerian monastery. Michael and others were selected for this project.

1950 was a jubilee year in the church, and Michael was first sent to Rome to make the pilgrimage to the four major basilicas. He was then sent to Mount St. Bernard in England, to join the Trappist monks there. He arrived on June 8, 1950

At the monastery he joined the novitiate and took his vows, later becoming a full monk, taking the name Cyprian after the Roman martyr. No one at the monastery had any idea of how he had constructed such great parishes in Nigeria and all his accomplishments, and he never told them. He did not try in any way to stand out among the other monks, and to them he seemed like just a normal monk, and many of them did not think that he was a saint or special person.

Despite fears of being treated with racial prejudice, he did not suffer much from the monks, with the exception perhaps of one South African monk who unconsciously seemed to always find something wrong in his work.

His novice master was very hard on him and all the other new monks, which caused a lot of stress for him. He was also a strict perfectionist and sensitive to criticism, and his novice master could always find things that were wrong with what he had done. This caused a lot of suffering for him; it was during this experience that he began to think that he had made some mistakes in Nigeria with the hard discipline and expectations he had placed on people under him.

He was found to not be very intelligent or educated. When the monks were listening to a reading of Julius Caesar’s invasion of England, when the boats could not continue, Michael asked ‘but why didn’t they turn on the motors?’ He also couldn’t memorize the psalms which the monks sang every morning at 2am after getting out of bed, and he would make them up as he sang.

The cold weather, which he had not been accustomed to in tropical Nigeria, was also very hard for him.

He never went back to Nigeria again, and when the prospect came to send him back, he said that he wanted to die in Mount St Bernard. He did not have much attention on Nigeria’ independence movement, and his only known recorded statement on it was a negative one. His health deteriorated, but he accepted death with no complaint. Before he died he went to Leicester Royal Infirmary, and when he was examined the doctor came out of the examination and spoke with monastery priest Fr James saying “Can you help me please, Father? This man must be in terrific pain, but he will only admit that he has ‘a little pain.'”. He died the same day as a result of Arteriosclerosis and rupture and a coronary aneurism. The date of his death was January 20, 1964.

His body was buried at the monastery in England, where it remains today.

Quotations

“Count no one saved, until he is found in heaven” (Onye afuro na enuigwe, si aguyi na)

“Do not be imitating the whites in everything, strive hard to gain the Kingdom of God. The whites are already in heaven in this world, but you are suffering every want. Are you going to suffer also in the next world: Life on earth could be compared to the journey of a young student who received a slip for a registered parcel, and he had to go to Lagos to claim this parcel. On the way he passed through many beautiful towns, towns with very attractive things in the shops. He started going from one shop to another, stretching his hands to the beautiful things he saw. He stopped so often in these big towns that he almost forgot what he was travelling for. It was after a long time that he ultimately reached Lagos, and when he went to claim the parcel he was told that the parcel had lain in the post for so long without him arriving to claim it that they had finally decided to send it back to the sender.”

“God will give you double for what you give Him”

“If you want to eat vultures, you may as well eat seven of them, so that when people call you “vulture eater” you really deserve the name. If you want to become a Catholic, live as a faithful Catholic, so that when people see you, they know that you are a Catholic. If you are going to be a Christian at all, you might as well live entirely for God.”

“Whether you like it or not, saving your soul is your own business. If you are weak and fall by the wayside, we shall push you aside and tread on you as we march forward to meet God.”

“She is not ‘Onye Bem’ (a common Nigerian expression for wife, meaning ‘in my place) but your wife, your better half, part of your own body. ‘Onye’ means a stranger which your wife is not. You must recognize the worth and position of your wife and treat her as your partner and your equal. Unless you do that, she is not a wife to you but a servant, and that is not what God wants a wife to be to the husband.”

N’ezie Anambra Nwere Mmadu!

Nigeria has internationalized the Biafra Cause

The arrest of the Radio Biafra Director Nnamdi Kanu has continued to draw Nnamdi-Kanu-Africa-Business-World-2-655x360the attention of the world media on the plight of Biafrans and why they have continued to  seek freedom and independence for their people. The action of DSS and the Nigerian government is turning out as a blessing in disguise for the Biafran movement by helping to internationalize their problem. The below report was published by the New York Times and Reuters News services. One can read a quiet and solemn account of the Biafran cause through the story presentation which seems to be narrated from a sympathetic angle to the plight of Biafran story including the fact that 1 million Biafrans died in the civil war largely due to hunger and famine, and the fact that the Biafra seekers are using peaceful means. The article also mentioned that Buhari said his government had jammed radio Biafra which is still broadcasting today. Please read the New York Times article and draw your own conclusions.

New York Times/Reuters Article

WARRI, Nigeria — Nigerian intelligence agents have arrested a broadcaster calling for the peaceful secession of the southeast from Nigeria, according to two Biafra separatist groups whose cause prompted a civil war in the 1960s that killed an estimated 1 million people.

Radio Biafra director Nnamdi Kanu was detained Saturday as he was about to fly to London from Lagos, Nigeria’s biggest city, said the Indigenous People of Biafra and the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra.

It was not immediately possible to get comment from the Department of State Security.

In July, President Muhammadu Buhari’s government said it had jammed Radio Biafra’s signal because it is unlicensed but the station is still able to broadcast, airing grievances of the Igbo people. The Igbos fought a civil war to form an independent nation called Biafra in the late 1960s that killed about 1 million people, mostly Igbos from conflict-induced famine.

Unresolved issues from the war including appropriated property that has not been returned remain sore points. Groups including Radio Biafra continue to claim the tribe is discriminated against and they agitate for independence. Many Igbos who fled into exile have not returned home.

Eleven pro-Biafra activists have been in detention since last year on charges of alleged treason, which is a capital offense in this West African nation.

Nigeria is fighting an Islamic uprising in the northeast that has killed 20,000 people in six years, resurging militancy in the southern oil-rich Niger Delta and the central Middle Belt is plagued by violent confrontations over land and water between mainly Muslim nomadic cattle herders and sedentary farmers who are mostly Traditionalist ,Jews,Christians.etc,

ANAMBRA STATE AND HER TOWNs

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Town of The Day: Awka (Ọka)

Awka (Igbo: Ọka) is the capital of Anambra State, Nigeria with an estimated population of 301,657 As of 2006 Nigerian census. The city is located about 400 miles east of Lagos in the centre of the densely populated Igbo heartland in southeastern Nigeria.

The West-East Federal highway links Lagos, Benin City, Asaba, Onitsha, and Enugu to Awka and several local roads link it to other important towns such as Ekwulobia, Agulu, Enugwu-Ukwu, Abagana and Nnewi.

Strategically, Awka is located midway between two major cities in Northern Igboland, Onitsha and Enugu which has informed its choice as an administrative center for the colonial authorities and today as a base for the Anambra State government.

History

Awka has a certain kind of aura about it, because it was the place of the blacksmiths that created implements which made agriculture possible. — Chinua Achebe

Awka is one of the oldest settlements in Igboland established at the centre of the Nri civilization which produced the earliest documented bronze works in Sub-Saharan Africa around 800 AD and was the cradle of Igbo civilization.

The earliest settlers of Awka were the Ifiteana people which translates into people who sprouted from the earth. They were farmers, hunters, and skilled iron workers who lived on the banks of the Ogwugwu stream in what is now known as Nkwelle ward of Awka.

The deity of the Ifiteana was known as Okika-na-ube or the god pre-eminent with the spear and the Ifiteana were known as Umu-Okanube or “worshippers of Okanube”, which evenutally became shortened to Umu-Oka and eventually Oka and its angicized version “Awka”.

In ancient times, Awka was populated by elephants with a section of the town named Ama-enyi (haunt of elephants) and a pond Iyi-Enyi where the elephants used to gather to drink. The elephants were hunted for their prized ivory tusks (okike) which was kept as a symbol to the god Okanube in every Awka home with hunting medicine stored in the hollow of the tusk.

Over time, the town become famous for metal working of a high level and its blacksmiths were prized throughout the region for making farming implements, Dane guns and ceremonial items such as Oji (staff of mystical power) and Ngwuagilija (staff of Ozo men).

In pre-colonial days Awka also became famous as the home of the Agbala Oracle a deity that was said to be a daughter of the great Long Juju shrine of Arochukwu. The Agbala Oracle (which Chinua Achebe drew on for inspiration in his book Things Fall Apart was consulted to resolve disputes far and wide until it was finally destroyed by colonial authorities in the early part of the 20th century.

Before the inception of British rule, Awka was governed by titled men known as Ozo and Ndichie who were accomplished individuals in the community. They held general meetings or Izu Awka either at the residence of the oldest man (Otochal Awka) or at a place designated by him. He was the Nne Uzu or master blacksmith, whether he knew the trade or not, for the only master known to Awka people was the master craftsman, the Nne Uzu.

In modern times Awka has adapted to the republican system and is currently divided into two local government areas, Awka North and Awka South with local representatives. However, it still preserves traditional systems of governance with the respected Ozo titled men often consulted for village and community issues and a paramount cultural representative, the Eze Uzu who is elected by all Ozo titled men by rotation amongst different villages to represent the city at state functions.

The current Eze Uzu of the city selected since 1999 is Gibson Nwosu one of the first recruits for the Nigerian Air force and a former head of Air Traffic Operations for the Biafra Air Force, the Lusaka International Airport and the Zambian Air Service Training Institute (ZASTI).

Awka should not be confused with Awka-Etiti which is a town in Idemili South local government area that is often mistaken for the main capital.[4] Today, Awka is the capital of Anambra state of Nigeria. Slogan: Sires of Smiths

People

Awka comprises seven Igbo groups sharing common blood lineage divided into two sections. Ifite Section, the senior section, comprises four groups, Ayom-na-Okpala, Nkwelle, Amachalla, and Ifite-Oka followed by Ezinator Section, which consists of three groups, Amikwo, Ezi-Oka and Agulu. Each of these groups has a number of villages. All together, Awka comprises 33 villages.

Awka people today as in traditional times are well travelled. In ancient times demand for their skills as blacksmiths had Awka people travelling throughout Nigeria making farming implements, household tools and guns. Each village had clearly defined trade routes. For example, people from Umuogbu village plied their trade in Benin and in the Urhobo and Itsekiri areas, Umubele were stationed in the Igala areas in modern-day Kogi state, Umuike and Umuonaga in present-day Abia and Rivers State, Umuenechi in the Kwale and Isoko area of Delta state, and Umudiana, Okperi, Ugwuogige stationed in Calabar area of today’s Cross Rivers state.

The people of Umudioka and Ezioka wards specialized in carving of wood, and ivory and arts designs including elegantly carved tools, door shutters and door panels, chairs, vessels for presentation of kola nuts, and idols. The ivory carvers produced elegant designs on “odu okike” (ivory trumpet) for ozo titled men and other items as part of the paraphernalia for titled men.

Today, Awka people can be found all across the globe many working as skilled professionals in a wide range of fields. As a result, there is a large Awka diaspora located primarily in the UK and in the USA. There, they have formed social clubs like Awka Union USA and Canada, Awka Town Social Community UK and Ireland and other community associations. These associations have been a way for people to enjoy their culture as well as to engage in community self-help projects.

Group and Villages
Ayom-na-Okpala: Umuayom, Umunnoke, Umuoramma and Umuokpu.

Nkwella: Achallaoji, Umunamoke, Agbana, Umudiaba

Amachalla: Amachalla, Amudo, Umuzocha

Ifite-Oka: Enu-Ifite, Ezinato-Ifite, Agbana-Ifite

Amikwo: Umudiana, Okperi, Igweogige, Isiagu, Obunagu

Ezi-Oka: Omuko, Umueri, Umuogwal, Umuogbunu 1, Umuogbunu 2, Umudioka, Umukwa.

Agulu:Umuogbu, Umubele, Umuanaga, Umuike, Umujagwo, Umuenechi, Umuoruka.

Over the years Awka Town has attracted people from other states in Nigeria and has a significant number of immigrants from northern Nigeria, Delta and Enugu states, Cameroon and Ghana now comprising more than 60% of residents in the town.

Geography

Awka lies below 300 metres above sea in a valley on the plains of the Mamu River. Two ridges or cuestas, both lying in a North-South direction, form the major topographical features of the area. The ridges reach the highest point at Agulu just outside the Capital Territory. About six kilometers east of this, the minor cuesta peaks about 150 metres above sea level at Ifite –Awka.

Awka is sited in a fertile tropical valley but most of the original Rain forest has been lost due to clearing for farming and human settlement. A few examples of the original rain forest remains at places like the Ime Oka shrine. Wooded savannah grassland predominates primarily to the north and east of the city. South of the town on the slopes of the Awka-Orlu Uplands are some examples of soil erosion and gullying.

Markets

Awka like most Nigerian cities is defined by large rudimentary open-air markets where everything from basic food produce to clothes, cosmetics and household items are sold.

The largest market in the town is Eke Awka, named after one of the four market days (see Igbo calendar). Located on a former community burial ground in the center of the city, Eke Awka has grown from a small market serving the needs of residents of the Agulu, Ezi-Oka and Amikwo sections of Awka to functioning as the main retail outlet for the city and neighbouring towns. It houses an estimated 5,000 lock-up shops and stalls all tightly packed into less than 35,000 square meters of space and has become infamous for causing tremendous traffic chaos with a medley of shoppers, buses, wheel barrows all jostling for the limited amount of space available.

The second largest market in Awka is Nkwo Amaenyi located further down on the busy Zik Avenue business district artery. It is far smaller than Eke Awka with less than 100 market stalls in an area estimated at around 3,000 square meters.

Universities

Awka has a large university community which at times comprises around 15% of the population of the town. It hosts two primary universities of higher/tertiary education – Nnamdi Azikiwe University and Paul University.

Nnamdi Azikiwe University is owned and run by the federal government of Nigeria providing undergraduate and postgraduate education to an estimated student population of 36,000 at its over 100 acre main campus located at Ifite, Awka. Nnamdi Azikiwe University ranks among the top 10 universities in Nigeria in research output.

Paul University was founded in 2009 by Bishops of the five ecclesiastical provinces of the Anglican Church East of the Niger as a private university to provide quality undergraduate training in Theology, Natural and Applied Sciences, Social Sciences and Management. The university which is fully residential has an estimated enrollment of around 400 students (expected to reach 3,500) and has replaced St Pauls university College which was founded in 1904 by the Church Missionary Society of the Church of England to train church workers and teachers.

Imo-Oka Festival
The Imo-Oka festival is a week-long festival of masquerades and dances held in May at the beginning of the farming season in honour of a female deity who it is hoped would make the land fertile and yield bountiful crops. The festival starts with Awka people visiting the community of Umuokpu with masquerades and it ends with a visit to the Imo-Oka stream on the final day which is heralded by a heavy rain that falls in the late afternoon.

There are four major events performed during the festival, the ede-mmuo, ogwu oghugha, egwu Opu-Eke and Egwu Imo-Oka. Egwu Opu Eke is a rich cultural dance performed by female worshipers of Imo-Oka shrine which includes priestesses and ordinary women alike decorated in colourful costume dancing in the market square in honour of the deity controlling the shrine.

The Imo-Oka festival showcases a variety of masquerades (mmanwu) from sinister ones which flog spectators to friendly ones which sing or dance. The masquerades are believed to represent the spirits of Awka ancestors coming from the land of the dead for the festival.

In 2001 Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy MBE, a daughter of Awka, exhibited her oil on canvas paintings series of Awka Igbo Masquerades, to great acclaim in the Cork Street Gallery in London, various galleries in New York and Washington and at the Didi Museum in Lagos.

Notable people from Awka

Kenneth Dike, a historian known for his study of pre-colonial Nigerian history, the first Nigerian Vice-Chancellor of the oldest Nigerian University University of Ibadan and the person who set up Nigeria’s National Archives. During the Nigerian civil war (1967–1970) Prof Dike was a roving ambassador for the Biafra cause. He went into exile at the end of the Civil war becoming the first Mellon Professor of African History at Harvard University. He returned to Nigeria to become the founding Vice-Chancellor of what is today the Enugu State University of Science and Technology.

Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy MBE, a London-based visual artist. The first black artist to paint a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II when commissioned to paint the official Golden Jubilee portrait. She was chosen as one of the UK Women of the Year in 2002 and 2003, represented the UK at the Council of Europe and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of East Anglia. During 2006 her work was represented on the national postage stamps of six countries. In 2008 she addressed the Cambridge Union. Chukwuogo-Roy was a regular contributor to the BBC and other current affairs programmes. In 2009 she was made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Dr. Emmanuel Onu Egbogah is an internationally recognized authority in the fields of petroleum policy and strategy, improved/enhanced oil recovery, stimulation procedures and multidisciplinary team approach to field development planning and reservoir management. Former Special Advisor on Petroleum Matters to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and founder and Executive Chairman of Emerald Energy Resources Limited.

Rtd lt col Damian Oyeoka Orogbu, First Telecommunications engineer in the Nigerian Army, life fellow of the International Biographical Center, Cambridge England, Pioneer President General Awka Development Union.

Lieutenant-General Chikadibia Isaac Obiakor, appointed in 2008 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon as Military Advisor on UN Peacekeeping Operations. Previously served as Commander of the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) Artillery Brigade in Liberia in 1996 and 1997, and as ECOMOG Chief Coordinator of the Liberian elections in July 1997.

Chinyelu Onwurah, a British Labour Party politician, who was elected at the 2010 general election as the Member of Parliament for Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central, becoming the first female British MP of African origin.

Late Ozo Barrister Amanke Okafor(Ozo-Awka)lawyer,author,philanthropist
Awka town has produced many professors, Doctors, Lawyers, Administrators etc.