Igbo Spirituality

The traditional philosophy and religious beliefs of the Nri like that of other Igbo peoples, are interwoven and centered on five interdependent major concepts which are as follows: Chukwu, Alusi, Uwa, and Ike Mmadu….

Chukwu is the Great Creator of all things. The Great Creator has four major aspects which are manifestations of his existence. First, Chukwu is Anyanwu, in the symbolic meaning of the sun. Nri believe that as the sun's light is everywhere so is the presence of Chukwu manifested everywhere; as the sun is all powerful so is Chukwu all powerful and as the sun is the light that reveals things so is Chukwu the source of knowledge. Secondly, Chukwu is Agbala, manifested in the fertility of the earth and the beings that inhabit it. Thirdly, Chukwu is Chi, manifested in the power and ability of living things to procreate themselves from generation to generation. Fourthly, Chukwu is Okike, manifested in the
creation of everything visible and the invisible. Chukwu as Okike creates the laws that govern the visible and the invisible. These laws are neither good or bad. They are simple laws that enable things to work. Both good and evil are the products of the invisible beings and forces, the Alusi."

By Maazi M. A. Onwuejeogwu (Prof.)
“The spirituality of the Igbo is not founded upon man but for man: he does not make attempts to equate God to man. No man, we believe, is so good that he should be deified, considered God, or even worshiped as a special son or prophet of God. Consequently, you cannot find a human in Igbo spirituality who is the prototype of Jesus Christ, Buddha, or Bahai. All these were humans whose character ranked highest in their respective and contemporary communities. Igbo has produced men and women of similar noble lives, but they were never deified, because a real God is invisible and superhuman.
If it is necessary to give a name to the Igbo spiritual systemso that it may be more clearly understood by those who like definitions, the word is OMENANA. It is a system which holds that man's activities are limitable by what is good for all. The name comes from the word  ana, which, as I told earlier in connection with the functions of the village leader called amana, means the earth, the soil, the land, and also custom, tradition, law, constitution. Doing things in conformity with the constitution of the land or the good of all is called Omenana.
For us, religion and law are unalterably interdependent. Religion establishes the social reason for the ideal, while law or government regulates how the ideal can be attained."

My Africa
By Maazi Mbonu Ojike

"Man is MMA NDU - the crown of creation, the beauty of life, and the glory of creation. Conceiving man in this highly romanticized way, the lgbo granted him the greatest possible right to autonomous existence. Hence the Igbo concept of the self is ONWE, a contraction of two words "ONYE NWE”" The (own) possessor "OWN LORDSHIP". The lgbo sees a given human being as "ONWE YA" a lord unto himself. To lose freedom to the proper lgbo is, therefore, a logical equivalent of death. And he would prefer the death option, under situations of un-freedom, as history shows. To understand the Igbo or the lgbo worldview is to empathize with these ideas. When the lgbo say that the kolanut cannot speak other than lgbo language he means that some of these fundamental concepts are not easy to translate to other languages.

To the lgbo FREEDOM IS LIFE .
To be enslaved, to be owned by another is to not be. To become a living dead - O di ndu onwu ka mma!
A society in which individuals are granted such far-reaching freedom would be chaotic, pure anarchy, unless there is a counter-balancing force.

This force is TRUTH.
I recently showed in a paper, "Dynamics of Truth Within lgbo Cosmology" that the Igbo conceive of Truth as analogous to ORDER and falsehood as analogous to CHAOS. This conception, which marries the hearts of philosophy and modern science, allowed the lgbo to make an equation between truth and life - EZIOKWU BU NDU! Because truth equals life, which is the supreme value and because man is granted freedom for being the crown-of-creation, the ancient lgbo held the values of I. LIFE, ii. TRUTH, and iii. FREEDOM extremely dear and do not subject them to compromise. Many things the lgbo do and did, historically, derive from the logics of these values and their relationships. The Igbo individual might deviate from them, but he cannot defend his action within an lgbo community or carry lgbo people along…
But the culture would not accept achievements, except through the IKENGA-FRAMEWORK of UPRIGHT ACHIEVEMENT. This reconciles the need for material independence and sanctity of Truth."
World Struggles for a Just World.
By Maazi Chidi G. Osuagwu, PhD.


Biafra War In Chronological Order

 1. December 1964 Federal elections

   2. October 1965 Regional elections

   3. Post-election violence in Western Nigeria (1965/66)

   4. The military takes over the Government: (January 1966)

   5. Anti-Ironsi demonstrations and killing of Igbos in the North (April/May 1966)

   6. Overthrow of Ironsi's regime and death of Ironsi (July 1966)

   7. Gowon seizes power, and in consultation with only Northern officers and politicians, forms government. Killings of Igbo officers continues unabated. (August 1966)

   8. Ojukwu offers to confer with Gowon to end bloodshed and asks for repatriation of troops to their regional origins to lower tension; says offer was refused by Gowon. (August 1966)

   9. Out of safety concerns, Ojukwu refuses to go to Lagos for meeting of the 4 regional military governors but is still hopeful of peace resolution. (August 1966)

  10. Mass exodus of over 300,000 Igbos from the North to the East resulting from flare up of many riots and Igbo killings. (August 1966)

  11. Ojukwu declares official day of mourning and Gowon condemns it.(August 1966)

  12. Gowon issues decree restoring the Federal system and abolishing the unitary Government. (August 1966)

  13. Regional representatives convene a conference to determine grounds for unity. Gowon opens conference with offer of 4 forms of government. (August 1966)

  14. Over 2000 Igbos are massacred in Kano on September 29th, 1966 by a combination of Hausa mobs and troops of the fifth battalion in Kano. Further Igbo exodus

  15. A DC-4 carrying weapons to Eastern Nigeria crashes in Cameroon and Henry A. Wharton, a German-American is arrested.(October 1966)

  16. Gowon suspends the constitutional conference. (November 1966)

  17. Eastern Region faced with resettlement of refugees. (December 1966)

  18. Gowon and 4 military Governors confer in Aburi, Ghana. Optimism expressed about the future. (January 1967)

  19. Nigeria confirms the death of Ironsi; flags fly at half mast. (January 1967)

  20. Easter region accuses federal government of failure to implement the Aburi accord and warns that the country is on the brink of political disintegration. (March 1967)

  21. Ojukwu warns that the East will secede if invaded or blockaded. Both sides mobilize civilians (May 1967)

  22. Awolowo announces that West/Lagos will secede if the East goes. (May 1967)

  23. Political situation deteriorates due to non-implementation of Aburi accord. Ojukwu expresses pessimism at a negotiated settlement. (May 1967)

  24. As impasse continues, Ojukwu seeks mandate from Eastern Assembly to Declare Biafra. (May 1967)

  25. Gowon divides Nigeria into 12 states/Biafra is declared. (May 1967)

  26. Nigeria invades Biafra. (July 1967)

  27. The Mid-west operation and Biafra's military setbacks. Losses of Nsukka and Enugu. The saboteur phenomenon (August 1967)

  28. Wale Soyinka is arrested and detained; Biafra looses the Mid-west. (August 1967)

      28a. Two disastrous attempts by Nigerian troops to take Onitsha from Asaba. (October 1967)

  29. Ojukwu executes three military men and a civilian in Enugu. (October 1967)

  30. Soyinka is a confessed Biafran Agent, says Enahoro. (October 1967)

  31. Gowon accuses Portugal of aiding Biafra. (October 1967)

  32. Biafran plane shot down in Lagos. (October 1967)

  33. Biafra Accused of Hiring Mercenaries. (November 1967)

  34. Mrs. Soyinka Requests Hearing for Her Husband. (November 1967)

  35. Soyinks denies alleged Confession. (November 1967)

  36. OAU Mission Visits Nigeria (November 1967)

  37. Ghanaian Gen. Ankrah named OAU Emissary to Biafra. (November 1967)

  38. Nigeria suddenly, changes Currency Notes. (December 1967)


  39. Nigeria frees two jailed Americans (January 1968)

  40. Gowon Under Pressure to End War. (January 1968)

  41. Nigerian old Bank Notes Arrive in Geneva. (January 1968)

  42. Ojukwu calls for Cease-fire and Negotiations. (January 1968)

  43. manliness Tiger Joins Biafran Army (January 1968)

  44. Gowon sets 3-months deadline to defeat Biafra (January 1968)

  45. United States Affirms Its Support for one Nigeria. (February 1968)

  46. Commonwealth Secretary Arrives in Lagos. (February 1968)

  47. Dr. Martin Luther King cancels Nigerian Trip. (March 1968)

  48. Monsignor Rochcau Reports on Midwest Genocide. (April 1968)

  49. Tanzania Today Becomes the First Country to recognize the Republic of Biafra as a sovereign State. (April 1968)

  50. Ojukwu Takes One Week Retreat. (April 1968)

  51. New York Times Condemns Tanzania for its Recognition of Biafra. (April 1968)

  52. Houphouet-Boigny Praises Tanzania's Recognition of Biafra. (April 1968)

  53. Preliminary talks begin in London for both sides. (May 1968)

  54. Zambia recognizes Biafra. (May 1968)

  55. Peace talks begin in Kampala and fails. (May 1968)

  56. Addis Ababa talks begin and fail.(July 1968)

  57. Political and diplomatic battles over acceptable relief routes to Biafra. Nigeria refuses direct daylight airlift of supplies to Biafra, and Biafra refuses relief passed through Nigeria. (July 1968)

  58. Britain accused Ojukwu of obstructing relief operations and of using famine to gain world sympathy.(July 1968)

  59. Belgium cancels all arms supplies to Nigeria following crash of Belgium airliner carrying arms to Lagos.(July 1968)

  60. Over Gowon's objections, OAU consultative committee invites Ojukwu to Niamey to meet with them by July 18th, 1968 to discuss the crisis.(July 1968)

  61. Ojukwu goes to Niamey, meets OAU committee members and Hamani Diori. Meets with Biafran delegation under Eni Njoku before returning home. Gowon had left Niamey before Ojukwu's arrival. (July 1968)

  62. Biafra rejects proposed relief route from Enugu to Awgu to Okigwe saying Biafrans will not eat food that passes through Nigerian hands for fear of poisoning. (July 1968)

  63. Speculations on Ojukwu and Gowon leading their respective delegations to upcoming Addis Ababa talks. Ojukwu, in interview, looks forward to decisive confrontation with Gowon.(July 1968)

  64. Pilots flying arms cargo to Biafra with Henry A. Wharton threatening to revolt unless a fee of $1000 per trip in increase is made. (July 1968)

  65. France announced support of Biafra and calls for settlement of dispute on basis of self determination. (July 1968)

  66. Addis Ababa talk opens with Ojukwu present but not Gowon. Ojukwu delivers two hours and ten minutes address insisting that only sovereignty can guarantee security for Biafrans. Ojukwu leaves talk accompanied by two Gabonese officials whose presence Nigeria had protested. (August 1968)

  67. Activities of Biafra 4th Commando Division under Major R. Steiner and five other white officers. (August 1968)

  68. Noted Swedish pilot, Count Von Rosen flies food and medicine to Biafra through secret route immune from Nigerian anti-aircraft fire. (August 1968)

  69. Biafrans display 98 Nigerian troops that surrendered as a unit. (August 1968)

  70. Nigerian troops push for Aba, cross Imo River but encounter Biafran resistance at Akwete; Ojukwu announced that Nigerian thrust on Aba has been effectively checked, but sources say Ojukwu has moved his headquarters to Umuahia (August 1968).

  71. Gowon orders "final offensive". (August 1968)

  72. Biafra faces imminent collapse in September/October 1968 as Nigerian forces take Aba, Owerri and Okigwe in rapid succession. Umuahia is the only sizeable town in Biafra's hands. (September 1968)

  73. Charles de Gaulle in interview hints at possibility of recognizing Biafra and admits that France has been aiding Biafra. (September 1968)

  74. Nigerian troops threaten Umuahia but Biafrans are defiant.(September 1968)

  75. International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) suspends relief flights to Biafra because Uli Airport is badly damaged by Nigerian bombs and Nigerian forces are rapidly approaching Ohi- Uturu airstrip. (September 1968)

  76. Nigerian forces near Oguta bringing Uli Airport within artillery range. Ojukwu reportedly visits Biafra commanders at Oguta and gives them 24 hours to clear Nigerian forces from within artillery range of Uli airport.(September 1968)

  77. Nigeria announces capture of Owerri and march on Umuahia.

      77a. Zambia's President Kenneth Kaunda announces that Biafra will be allowed to set up government in Exile in Zambia, if defeated.(September 1968)

  78. As Biafra loses Aba, Owerri, and Okigwe in rapid succession, Ojukwu asks China for help to counter what he called "Anglo-American imperialism and Soviet revisionism". (September 1968)

      78a. Otuocha market massacre by Nigerian war planes; over 500 killed. (September 1968)

  79. Canada rules Biafran postage stamps invalid.(October 1968)

  80. International observer team, sent to monitor conduct of Nigerian troops, clashes with Col. Benjamin Adekunle in Port Harcourt. (October 1968)

      80b. Nigeria apologises for Col. Adekunle's behaviour (October 1968)

  81. Biafra dismisses Col. Steiner and his mercenary group in charge of the Biafran 4th Commando Division. Action linked to friction between Steiner division and Biafran regular army units. (November 1968)

  82. Britain alters expectation of Nigerian total military victory over Biafra. Expects that Biafra, even if totally occupied, could prolong the stalemate by guerilla resistance. (December 1968)

  83. Biafran troops re-enter Owerri,, with house to house combat reported. (December 1968)

  84. Gowon declares 2-day Christmas truce starting Dec. 21. Ojukwu agrees to 8-day truce starting Dec. 23. Gowon refuses extension of truce to one week. (December 1968)


  85. De Gaulle urges "recognition of right to self-determination for valiant Biafra" (January 1969)

  86. Mobil Oil Corporation sponsors visit of J.S. Tarka to United States to counter Pro-Biafran sentiments. (January 1969)

  87. In Enugu, the Nigerian Army executes 3 Igbos accused of attempting to assassinate Nigeria's 1st Division Commander. Col. Mohammed Shuwa. (January 1969)

  88. Nigerian Government prepares for another final offensive. Nigerian Government spokesman says Biafra must be defeated by the end of February or growing international support will make Nigerian victory impossible. (February 1969)

  89. About 300 civilians (with eventual toll over 500) are killed by the Nigerian air force at Umuohiagu market. (February 1969)

  90. Ojukwu, in a speech to Biafra's consultative assembly in Umuahia, says that Nigerian Government has began their "last desperate effort", but bars any Biafran surrender. States "land army program" will increase agricultural effort. (February 1969)

  91. United States New York Senator, Goodell et al, arrive in Biafra. (February 1969)

  92. U.S. Congressional delegation headed by Representative Diggs of Michigan arrive Biafra. (February 1969)

  93. Nigerian government reject peace formula proposed by Dr. Azikiwe (February 1969)

  94. Ojukwu expresses hope that De Gaulle, in his forthcoming meeting with Richard Nixon will convince Nixon to press for cease-fire in the war. Ojukwu in interview, discusses three ways in which the war may end. (February 1969)

  95. Nigerian warplane kills over 250 civilians in Ozu-abam market. (February 1969)

  96. The United States, the Red Cross and others protest Nigerian's bombing of civilian population in Biafra. (March 1969)

  97. British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson arrives Nigeria for state visit 29/3/69. Wilson invites Ojukwu to meet with him outside Biafra. Warns Gowon that bombing of Biafran civilians is eroding the remnant of British support for the war(March 1969)

  98. Ojukwu rejects Wilson's invitation; calls invitation "political propaganda exercise". (April 1969)

  99. Nigerian troops open another offensive, after six months. (April 1969)

 100. Several push-and-shove action between Nigerian and Biafran forces between Uzuakoli and Umuahia. (April 1969)

 101. OAU Committee opens another meeting to try and end the war. (April 1969)

 102. Medical camps for care of Biafran children are established in the Ivory Coast run by doctors of New York's Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and Ivory Coast Red Cross. (April 1969)

 103. Biafra recaptures Owerri using its 14th Division under Col. Ogbugo Kalu. (April 1969)

      103a. Col. Ogbugo Kalu and Biafran Information Commissioner, Ifegwu Eke, address 6 foreign jounalists in Owerri to counter Nigerian denial of its recapture (April 1969)

 104. Ojukwu is promoted to Major General and given new mandate to continue the war. (May 13, 1969)

 105. Colonels Adekunle and Haruna, commanders of Nigeria's 3rd and 2nd Divisions respectively are relived from their posts. (May 1969)

 106. Pius Okigbo, Biafra's rep. to the U.S. urges U.S. to recognize Biafra. (May 1969)

 107. ICRC (Red Cross) Director, Dr. August Lindt and aides are detained for 16 hours by Nigeria with no charges. (May 1969)

 108. Youth, B. Mayrock, of Old. Westbury, New York, sets himself on fire and dies in protest against Genocide in Biafra. (May 1969)

 109. Biafra marks 2nd anniversary of nationhood. Ojukwu, in address, says Biafran forces are ready to meet expected Nigerian offensive. ( May 1969)

 110. Biafran forces raid Kwale, across the Niger, killing 11 oil technicians (10 Italians and 1 Jordanian). Biafra captures 17 other oil workers (14 Italian and 3 W. Germans.) Biafra sentences them to death. (June 1969)

 111. Pope writes letter to Ojukwu regarding lives of Oilmen captures in the Mid-West. (June 1969)

 112. Wale Soyinka is reported seriously ill in Kaduna Prison, where he is incarcerated without trial. (June 1969)

      112b Nigeria shoots down a Swedish Red Cross Plane.(June 1969)

 113. Biafra frees captured Oilmen.(June 1969)

 114. Nixon urges end of impasse on relief shipments. (June 1969)

 115. US Senator, Strum Thurmond, urges Nixon to rush relief food to Biafra with or without Nigerian permission. (July 1969)

 116. Pope visits Uganda and attempts to mediate peace between Nigeria and Biafra. (August 1969)

 117. Zik withdraws support for succession and urges Biafra to abandon war. (August 1969)

 118. Gabonese President, Albert Bongo, reports that Gowon requested him to arrange meeting between him and Ojukwu; Nigeria denies making such a move. (September 1969)

 119. Wole Soyinka is freed. (October 1969)

 120. Canadian Prime Minister accuses Biafran authorities of being interested in receiving arms, not food and medical supplies. (November 1969)

 121. Nigerian forces open offensives on both Northern and Southern borders of Biafra, ending a seven month lull. (December 1969)

 122. Biafran delegates arrive at Addis Ababa for new peace talks but Nigerian delegates were absent. (December 1969)

 123. Ojukwu, in Christmas speech says that Biafra is faced with the toughest military test of the war. (December 1969)


 124. As war entered 30th month, Nigerian troops report they've cut Biafra into three parts. (January 3)

 125. Massive Nigerian troops link up and pressure cause refugees to stream into Owerri as Biafra nears collapse. (January 4th)

 126. Ojukwu announces over Radio Biafra that he is flying out of Biafra to explore possibilities for peace. (January 11th)

 127. Nigerian forces reportedly recaptures Owerri and are moving on Uli Airport. Pandemonium and fright as millions of Biafran refugees clog roads in chaotic flight from advancing Nigerian troops and artillery fire. (January 11)

 128. Biafra appears near collapse as Nigeria confirms recapture of Owerri, and Uli airport is virtually destroyed by artillery fire. (January 11)

 129. Biafra capitulates, ending a 30-month war that cost an estimated two million lives on both sides. (January 11)

 130. General Effiong, in radio broadcast, orders Biafran troops to lay down their arms and says he is sending representatives to meet with the Nigerian field commanders to negotiate armistice. ( January 13)

 131. Gowon, in broadcast, rejects all relief aid from countries or groups that aided Biafra. (January 14)

 132. Nigerian Red Cross claims sole responsibility for distribution of relief. (January 15)

 133. Last Missionaries to Leave Biafra Describe the Beginning of the End. (January 15)

 134. Biafrans Scramble to get on the Last Plane. (January 15)

 135. Gowon Re-instates Biafran Civil Servants and Prohibits the Word "Biafra". (January 15)

 136. Effiong makes formal surrender statement/declaration in a ceremony in Lagos. (January 16)

 137. Ojukwu appeals to the world to help save Biafrans in a statement released for him in Geneva by Markpress. (January 16)

 138. Last observers to leave Biafra describe the beginning of the end. (January 16)

 139. Nigeria Expels 4 Journalists for Visiting the East without Permission. (January 17)

 140. General Effiong reassures the Nigerian Government that the Biafran forces hiding in the bushes will not wage guerilla war. (January 18)

 141. Portugal offers asylum to all Biafran refugees and says it will maintain its facilities at Sao Tome for relief operation. (January 19)

 142. Nigeria thanks USSR; Ambassador George T. Kurubo says Soviet aid to Nigeria was the most important factor in the defeat of Biafra. (January 21)

 143. Nigeria drops safe conduct passes to remote areas to persuade Biafran troops and civilians to come out from hiding places. (January 21)

 144. Obasanjo Detains 80 Journalists in Port Harcourt. (January 21)

 145. Gowon, After Stalling, Increases Money for Relief Distribution; First News Conference since End of the War. (January 22)

 146. Gabon Offers Asylum to Biafran Exiles. (January 22)

 147. Nigeria Grappling with Troop Brutality and Indiscipline. (January 23)

 148. Unabated Food Shortage in Biafra. (January 23)

 149. British Team Deplores Indiscipline among Nigerian Troops. (January 24)

 150. Ojukwu is given asylum in the Ivory Coast. Ivory Coast Government says he will refrain from all political activities. (January 24)

      150b. Reports of indiscipline, plundering and looting among Nigeria's 3rd Marine Commando troops. (January 24)

 151. Nigerian Government refuses to use Uli Airport for relief, saying it is a symbol of rebellion. (January 26)

 152. U.N. Envoy Calls Biafran Relief Distribution Insufficient. (January 26)

 153. Facing Criticism, Nigerian red Cross says It's Expanding Relief Operations. (January 27)

 154. Nigeria Arrests Two C.B.S. Newsmen. (January 27)

 155. Gowon says there will be no Nuremburg-type trials for rebel leaders and he reiterates General amnesty. (January 30)

 156. New York Times columnist, A. Lewis describes chaotic conditions in Biafra. (February 1)

 157. Nigeria Establishes Board of Inquiry for Biafran Officers. (February 6)

 158. ICRC ends relief operations, citing Nigeria's obstructionist tendencies. (February 7)

 159. Nigeria Bans Arms Possession in 3 Eastern States. (February 13)

 160. U Thant defends his policies during and immediately after the war. (February 18)

 161. Igbos are beginning to return to their jobs in the North, West, and Lagos. (February 22)

 162. Gowon Urged to Abate Anti-Missionary Hostility. (March 7)

 163. Ojukwu to Face High Treason Charges. (March 14)

 164. Nigeria's National Rehabilitation commission takes over relief distribution from the Nigerian Red Cross. (March 15)

 165. Nigerian Chief Army of Staff, Brigadier H.U. Katsina says Ojukwu will be tried or high treason if he returns. (March 15)

 166. Maj. Gen. Effiong Under Arrest. (May )

 167. Flat payment of 20 pounds to all Igbos for their Biafran and pre-war Nigerian money deposited in Nigerian Banks, regardless of amount. (June 5)

 168. Nigeria to Dismiss Pro-Biafran Employees. (August 15)

 169. Nigeria Reconciles with Biafra's Friends. (September 1)

 170. Nigeria reconciles with Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Gabon and Zambia. (September 2)

 171. Gowon defers civilian rule to 1976. States census and new constitution are prerequisites to civilian administration. (October 2)

 172. 5000 Biafran children evacuated during the war return to Lagos. (October 11)

The Biafra War - The most horrible and cruelest part of Ndigbo history, (video 1-8)


Igbo Proverbs

Igbo proverbs, opines one of Igbo prominent sons Chinua Achebe, are the salt with which words are eaten. Igbo proverbs are not only central to the propagation of Igbo culture in all its ramifications they are in fact the foremost factor in formal and familiar speeches and in other forms of popular communication. The almost compulsory use of Igbo idioms (akpaalaokwu), proverbs (ilu) and parables (ukabuilu), has elevated the language to the status of a living art of popular communication.
A good Igbo idiomatic expression, either proverb or parable, is devised to enliven and enchant. The listeners not only smile or laugh and show appreciation they are compelled to think. Rarely do the Igbo bother to explain proverbs, except of course to kids and social nymphets who ask. An adult who asks for the explanation of a proverb is telling his peers that the dowry paid on his mother was a waste! Listeners are expected to figure out proverbs for themselves, draw their own conclusions, and follow the gist of the talk. A mature listener comes out with the message, but interpretations may somewhat vary. The uninitiated could easily get lost in a maze of otherwise familiar clichés knotted with idioms that are designed to impress and or to false-front different agenda.
No one really knows who first used an Igbo idiom, spoke a particular proverb, or applied a parable. Dialectical variations are sometimes attributed to a person, clan, a village, or a people. Only when folks want to venture into the realm of risqué adult talk do they coin proverbs that bother on pornographic expressions. Which is not a problem with Ndiigbo, as long as one knows when and where to use such peculiar proverbs. Since the language is replete with euphemisms and idioms that educate and entertain, a learned person will not use words that cut off minors.
In general, proverbs are coined around some poor animal. In an attempt by our ancestors to be politically correct, many of the proverbs were attributed to anu uno (domestic animals) and anu ofia (wild animals) both big and small, beautiful and ugly, and powerful and meek: agu (leopard), agwo (snake), egbé (kite), ené (antelope), ewu (goat), mbe (tortoise), nchi (grasscutter) nkita (dog) odum (lion), okuko (fowl), osa (squirrel), ugo (eagle) udene (vulture), usu (bat), etc.
It is funny to read about "Nigerian proverbs" in some Western publications. There is absolutely nothing like Nigerian proverbs yet. It must have traveled from some household in a remote clan and ended up in the anything-goes city culture. Besides, the term "Nigeria," as applied to one of the British colonial contraptions in Africa, is yet to mean the nation-state it set out to accomplish in 1900. Until then, centuries of cultural evolution cannot be swept under a blanket of colonial legacy in our neck of the global wood.
Probably to avoid countries, or to further obscure origin, sayings are now classed "African." Take the now worldwide example: "It takes a village to raise a child." When Bob Dole tried to knock it during the 1996 US presidential election, the maxim still came from the Igbo people's saying: "Ora na-azu nwa." The saying does mean that "it takes a village..."; it says "the community raises the child." It is not a request, it is a requirement.
In discussing the nuances of Igbo language, the term "Igbo idioms" primarily is used to describe all the idiosyncrasies of the language. This includes all accepted and acceptable idiomatic phrases, popular patterns of figurative speech, and oblique everyday expressions. As I have explained earlier, idiomatic expressions, proverbs and parables are so ingrained in the Igbo language there is no avoiding them, except one does not want to speak the language, which the Igbo traditionally do not find offensive: They will rather speak yours before you learn a few phrases of theirs. I guess the Igbo realize that their language is not structured in such a way that anyone can learn and use it effectively.
Igbo Language will always remain an art that must be lived to be understood, experienced to be applied, and continuously nurtured to follow the evolution of allusions and aphorisms. Hence, an "Igbo idiom" represents an unfamiliar expression (to the non-native speaker), legends, myths, metaphor, proverbs, parable, simile, etc. that most people will most definitely have to analyze and interpret within the context of the conversation. Igbo idioms are further complicated by the fact that each one must be analyzed within the context in which it was used. Any attempt to apply an idiom used in one context to a supposedly related situation may backfire on the user. Often, you notice the audience shift uncomfortably, scratch their heads, or exhale with a background bass; these say a million words.
An Igbo Idiom is called "akpaalaokwu": the bras with which words are propped up and presented to the titillating ears of eventual consumers. It is a literary lingerie; the proverb, a literary condiment: "nnu e ji-eri okwu," the salt of communication. In translations, therefore, especially into an unrelated language, many Igbo expressions lose something of their meaning. Nonetheless, as our great ancestors enjoined us: anaghi eji mgbagbu ghalu ogu. [You do not flee from a fight for fear that someone might get shot.]
Igbo language belongs to the African Kwa group of languages; English is an Anglo-Saxon, European language. In translating, we encounter leaks in transmission. Therefore, in attempting to transmit these ancestral sayings.
Since Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, other African authors have emerged to write about their societies for a worldwide, English-speaking audience. Idioms and proverbs have crept into English with what may be termed "known translations." Many of them convey the original meaning, but they definitely do not expose all that the sayings are designed to convey to listeners, who reserve the ultimate right to assimilate the saying as deemed necessary and or appropriate.
The Igbo language is a living art of communication; it must not be constrained by a person's peculiarity. No one has a monopoly on the nuances of any language. Words that mean one thing today may evolve tomorrow into a meaning completely different from the original intent.
In communicating these words of wisdom, it is important that we adhere to the rules of modern Igbo linguistics. The liberal use of extended vowels avoids the obscuring of the etymological root of words, especially when concatenated. For example: niine (every, all), omumaatu (example), esereese (drawing), iduuazi (novel), ndeewo (welcome, greetings), deeme (well done), Maazi (Mister), nwaanyi (woman), etc.

Examples given below are few of the popular idiomatic expressions and proverbs. I stress this because many popular proverbs have since acquired the garb of cliché -- overused, common, and too flat for the serious rites of kolanut communion. There are many dialectical differences and various versions of these idiomatic expressions, and they can be changed as a speaker deems appropriate. However, knowing an Igbo idiom is one small step for an Igbo speaker; the main crunch is an appropriate application of the proverb to suit a particular trend of thought or a line of argument. Reciting proverbs is as effective as not using them. One must know at what point to inject a specific saying so as to maximize its effect for the enlightenment and entertainment of a critical but appreciative audience.

Popular Idioms
Agwo noro ibe ya na-enwe odu abuo.
The snake that swallows another will have two tails.

Ihe di be evu di be añu.
What is in the hornet's nest is in the bee's hive.

Nwaanyi mara mma ma nwee ajo omume, a ga-alu ya alu; nwaanyi joro njo ma nwee ezi omume, a ga-alukwa ya alu; nwunye mmadu ka ha ga-abu; ma nwaanyi joro njo nwe ajo omume anaghi ebi be di.
A beautiful woman with bad character is marriageable; an ugly woman with good 
character is also  marriageable -- they will both be wives; but an ugly woman with bad 
character does not live in a husband's house. 
Ike ka e ji-añu ogwu.
It takes some strength to swallow drugs.

Kama mmanya ga-esere ogo na ogo okwu, ya waa n'uzo.
Instead a pot of wine will breed animosity among in-laws, let it break on the way.
Onye riri osisi oji kpaa ya nku ka o nwere ike: anaghi ari enu oke oji kwa daa.
While on top of iroko tree, gather all the firewood you can: it is not every day that one
scales the great iroko.

Anaghi eje akwa onye kwulu udo.
No one attends the funeral of a suicide 
Atulu na-acho ipu mpi jee jua ebune ka ekwo di ya.
A sheep that will grow horns should ask the ram how its neck feels.

Anaghi eji na aguu na-agu noo ukwara.
No one swallows phlegm to appease the pangs of hunger.

Akpara akwu bu akpara-akwu; ibulu ishi akwu bu ohi.
To extract a palm nut is exactly that --to extract a palm nut; to take the entire head 
of palm nut is stealing.  
Ishi kote evu: evu agbaa ya.
If the head that disturbs the hornet's nest: it pays. 
Ekwughiekwu mere onu; anughianu mere nti.
Unspoken, blame the mouth; unheard, blame the ear. 
O'u onye ga-aka nwaanyi ajo mmuo gburu nwa mara maka amuosu.
Who will know better the evils of witchcraft than the woman who lost a child to evil 
Onye vu ozu enyi anaghi eji ukwu akpa mpuzu.
He who carries the carcass of an elephant does not search for crickets with his legs.

Anaghi acho ihe na-akpa onye na-acho ihe?
You don't look for something in the pocket of someone who is looking for something. 
Ura ga-eju onye nwuru anwu afo.
A dead person shall have all the sleep necessary. 
Onye ite abughi onye ahia.
A clay-pot retailer is not really in business. 
Okuko na-aboputa mma na-egbu ya.
The fowl digs out the blade that kills it.

Ukpala gbabara n'ikpo okuko na-ala ala mmuo.
The grasshopper that runs into the mist of fowls ends up in the land of spirits. 
Onye a kporo apari, o na-ehi n'ama nna ya, abughi apari.
A presumed fool who sleeps in his father's house is not a fool.

Ndi na-eje mposi abali na-ahu ukpana ndi mmuo.
Those who defecate at night see the ghost grasshopper. 
Nwata bunie nna ya enu, akpaamu ya ayochie ya anya.
If a child lifts his father, his scrotum will blindfold him.

Onye hapu onu ya, uguru arachaa ya.
If one fails to lick his lips, the harmattan will do it.

Ijiji na-enweghi onye ndumodu na-eso ozu ala n'inyi.
A fly that has no counselor follows the corpse to the grave.

"Nwunye anyi, nwunye anyi": ka ndeli bia ka anyi mara onye o bu nwunye ya.
"Our wife, our wife": come midnight and we will know whose wife she really is. 
Ula towa uto, ekwowe ya ekwowe.
When sleep becomes enjoyable, we snore. 
"Nwa anwuna, nwa anwuna": nwa nwuo ka anyi mara ma chi agaghi efo.
May the child not die, may the child not die": Let it die, and let's see 
if the day will not break.

O bialu be onye abiagbuna ya, mgbe o ga-ala mkpumkpu apukwana ya n'azu.
May one's visitor not constitute a problem, so that on his departure he will 
not leave with a hunchback.

Nwa ovu na-eto, o di ka o ga-aka nne ya.
When the baby wren is growing, it looks like it would be bigger than its mother.

A gbara aka na-azo ana, onye nwe ji a na-ako ji.
If you dispute land ownership empty-handed, the person who has yams will be planting 


The Extend of Igboland

Alaigbo (Igboland) mainly includes 5 states in the south eastern part of Nigeria
which are:
Abia State - God's Own State

               Umuahia Capital

In addition to the capital Umuahia, Abia State is also home to Aba, a major
commercial city which has the highest population in Abia State. Aba is also
well known for the Ariara market, which is reputed to be one of the largest
markets in West Africa.

The people of Abia State are reputed to be entrepreneurial, industrious and
market trading oriented. This is attested to by the fact that Abia State has
numerous factories. 

The main industry in Abia State is farming and agricultural produce includes
oil palm, Cashew, rubber, cocoa, coconut and cassava.

Tourist attractions in Abia State include:

• Azumiri Blue River, Ukwa East
• Long Juju (Ibina Ukpabi), Arochukwu
• Museum of Colonial History, Aba
• National War Museum, Umuahia
• Ngodo and Uhuchukwu caves, Umunneochi
• Obu Nkwa, Asaga Ohafia
• Ojukwu Bunker, Umuahia

Anambra State - Light of the Nation

Bridge over the Niger River to Onitsha
The Capital and the Seat of Government is Awka.
The people of Anambra State are renowned for their resoucefulness and

Anambra State's main industry is agriculture and includes oil palm, maize,
rice, yam, cassava, and fish. The state also produces enamel-ware and has
Cotton Textile Mills at Onitsha.

Tourist attractions include:

• Aguleri Game Reserve
• Agulu Lake in Agulu
• Odinani Museum
• Ogbunike Caves
• Ogba Cave in Ajalli
• Rojeny Tourist Village

Ebonyi State - Salt of the Nation

Okposi Salt Lake

The largest city is the capital Abakaliki.

The major occupation of Ebonyi State indigenes is agriculture.
Crops produced include yam, cassava, plantain, banana, maize,
cocoyam, palm produce, cocoa and rubber. Salt is also a mineral
resource of Ebonyi State which is mined in the Uburu/Okposi
salt lakes of Ohaozara.

Tourist attractions include:
• Umuana Afikpo Golden Natural Lake Sand Beach

Enugu State - Coal City State

View of Enugo Capital

Its capital is Enugu, from which the state - created in 1991 from the old
Anambra State - derives its name.
The main industry of Enugu state is agriculture with yam tubers, palm produce
and rice being their main produce.
The main mineral resource in Enugu State is coal, in addition,
new mineral deposits have recently been discovered and include
limestone, iron ore, crude oil, natural gas and bauxite.

Tourist attractions include:
• Ezeagu Tourist Complex
• Iva Valley Coal Mine
• Mmanwu Festival
• Nike Holiday Resort
• Nkalagu Silicon Sand
• Uzo-Uwani Natural Nature's Wonder

Imo State - Eastern Heartland
View of Owerri 

Its capital and largest city is Owerri.

Agricultural produce in Imo State includes palm produce, cocoa, rubber, yam,
cassava, cocoyam and maize.

Mineral resources in Imo State include crude oil, lead, zinc, white clay,
fine sand, limestone and natural gas.

Tourist attractions in Imo State include:

• Abadaba Lake
• Amadioha Shrine
• Blue Obana Lake
• Edemili Lake
• Ekwe & Ebenator Spring
• Iyi Mgbede Spring
• Iyi Ogidi Spring
• Iyi Okwu Spring
• Lagwa Monkey Colony
• Nekede Zoo
• Oguta Lake Resort
• Okigwe Rolling Hills
• Onicha Mbaise Spring
• The Sources of Urashi River

Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State and a few of the surrounding areas
are claimed as Igboland, too. Not by everybody, though.

Rivers State - Treasure Base of the Nation

View of Port Harcourt


The Atlantic Ocean runs along the southern area of the State. The main ethnic
groups in Rivers State are Ijwa, Ikwere, Etche, Ogoni, and Ogba/Egbema.
Ijaw and Ikwerre are the most spoken languages although pidgin English is
widely used.

Mineral Resources in Rivers State include crude oil and natural gas.
The capital of Rivers State, Port Harcourt, is the nerve centre of the
famous Nigerian oil industry and home to several Oil & gas companies
including the Shell Petroleum Development Company of (Nigeria) Limited, AGIP,
Texaco and Elf.

Rivers State is the second largest economy in the Nigeria after Lagos State.
Rivers State has two major Refineries, two major Seaports, airports, and a
railway link across the State.

Tourist attractions in Rivers State include:

• Ifoko Beach, Ifoko
• Isaac Boro Park, Port Harcourt
• Monument of King Jaja of Opobo Monument
• Okrika Aquatic Stadium Man-made
• Port Harcourt Tourist Beach

Igboland and its people, blessed by God, indeed!