Anyameluhor:the making of inalu;birth of eze

Anyameluhor:the Making of Inalu;birth of Eze

I don’t think there is any place in igbo land that is as learned as Asaba.they took full advantage of their early contact with the europeans. However,this is mainly because they are a proud race and often looks down on their neigbours. This article is written mainly from oral accounts from which Asaba tradition is taken.and also from the few books written by researchers. It is written in constant coperation with Asaba elders and people.many hours of conversation,trips to the place and intensive research and interviews have gone into it’s thing is clear,this is not a work of fiction,not some flight of fancy cooked up by anybody.that is why you find most often in it where reference of today is given to authenticate some events of the past. Every Asaba person is familiar with this tale after the story of Nnebisi[the founder of Asaba],of the reign of a powerfull Eze Inalu of umuagu quarters. long before he was born,Asaba and all igbo west for a time,was formally under the Idu[Benin] kingdon and it’s rulers went to idu to get the insignia of office.2they thus practice the contitutional village monarchy,which was derived from Idu,from which most of their titles came.3 The town was divided into»ogbes»[quarters or clans].which are further -divided into extended families.these families are further sub-divided into severalsmaller groups.each family group has it’s own lineage head that governs it.these family units are known as «Umunna» and the lineage head is the «Okpara».these umunnas are children of the same father but not the same Mother.4 The «Opkara is the overall head of the lineage.he is the oldest male member in the living generation of the family.5 he holds the «ofor»,a staff symbolizing the authority of the ancestors,since he is seen as the intermediary between the dead ancestors and the living. There is also a system of personal titles which any freeborn can aged between 50-60 are oturuaza,which is the Asaba parliament.we have the oloto,military chiefs like odogwu and iyase.we also have ogbu[killer]taken by warriors and hunters. Rich ,influential and powerfull men take the title of obi[king] in Asaba.6 this title has very important political and ritual is the highest title in Asaba and involves vigourous rituals and sacrifices. Furthermore,they are isolated in a forest,resulting in one month of sufering and can not see an obi eating.they eat in seclusive rooms.this is a strong tradition which this writer witnessed before the death of obi okolo anyameluhor. These are somehow individual titles as such Asaba never had a king that was made one. In those days,they decided to have one.there arose a son of Agu[Agu is the warrior grandson of Nnebisi.his Father gave him all the lands oustside Asaba to live.this will ensure that he protects them from external attacks].it came to be that when he was a boy,he divined to know if he will prosper.the dibia[medicine man]brought out a cowrie and placed it on top of a mirror and said,»if Inalu will prosper,let this cowrie dance,if not let it not dance.»the cowrie started dancing.7so it was that inalu knew his fate. He prospered in everything that he did.he was very handsome and strong,powerful in the ways of his fathers. It came to pass that when Asaba people decided to have a king,four men became rivals for supremacy in the political life,onyebuchi of umuezei,obi inalu of Umuagu quarters,afadia of umuonaje and obi Nnenmor of umuagu.8 Asaba people decided that he who could go to idu[benin] and get the insignia of office will be the king.this was a very hard task as 1.seeing an oba is like seeing a god,2.the paths are difficult and could not be passed by one man alone.3,one have to tame the forest evils. All these and more not withstanding,inalu set off to idu. It was during his absence that his rival,Afadia made himself king.9 it happened like this,Asaba people usually hold their meetings in ‘ogbe afia market’.if it rains,they retire to afadia’s compound where he entertains them.afadia and his group belongs to the olinzeles.these are a group of wealthy men. Taking advantage of the reaction to his kind gestures,afadia made himself afadia was the asagba of the olinzeles.the title entailed one who has so much was a personal does not mean the king of Asaba. After several weeks in the forest,inalu got to idu.on meeting the oba,he was successful at the various tests the oba subjected him to.he impressed the oba so much that the later praised him[obajamma]10 He returned to asaba and was crowned king.the people hailed him «igwe» meanig ‘heaven’. He was a very powerful man.he weilded so much power and influence in Asaba that he was feared like the oba. there was no king in Asaba like him before or after. After obi inalu’s reign,the kingdom was divided into several places leading to the ‘reign of the multiple ezes’.the people decided that any one who could preside over the meeting of obis will be confered the title of asagba..11 Obi Nenmor of umuagu fell within this category.they made him asagba officially in 1778.thus he became the first asagba of asaba.12 2E.isichei,historical change in an igbo polity;Asaba to 1885[journal of african history,1969].433 3victoria oluomachukwu ibewuike,African woman and religous change;a study of the western igbos of nigeria,55 4victoria .O.ibewuike,African woman and religous change;a study of the western igbos of nigeria,56. 5victoria.O. ibewuike,african woman and religous change;a study of the western people of Nigeria,56. 6

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