Origin Of Various Igbo Clans - part 3

Igbo Etiti

One of the engaging topics in the book is the gallant attempt made by contributors to trace the origin of the various communities in Igbo-Etiti: Ikolo, Onyohor and Ukehe trace their origin from communities in present Udi area. Onyohor and Ikolo are said to be descended from Ugwunye and therefore blood relations of Affa, Egede and Nike, while Ukehe is one of the seven children of Ojebe Ogene (Ebe, Abor, Ukana, Awhum, Okpatu, Umulumgbe and Ukehe). Udueme claims Igalla paternity while Aku and Ekwegbe claim to be a mixed race of Igbo and Igalla.  A majority of Aku are said to be of Nshi (Nri in Awka) origin while some Ohemje people are said to be of Igalla.  In the case of Ekwegbe, part came from Akpugo, Ikem, Agulu (Awka) and Igalla. It is instructive that the black-smiting village in Ekwegbe answers Agulu (Eguru) while all black smiths are called Umu Eguru (Agulu).  Diogbe and Umunko claim to come from Eha-Amufu and Ikem (Isi-Uzo) respectively.  Ohodo claims to be blood relations of Obimo and Ogbodu Abba while parts of Ozala claim to come from Nkitiba Udueme. Ochima claims to be the father of all Igbo people so that Ochima is the central locus of dispersal of all Igbos.  Very interesting! Belief and acceptance of blood relationships among communities can be exploited fruitfully for political, social and economic ends. The very influential Nwodo family of Ukehe exploited the Ojebe Ogene identity to win overwhelming votes in the area during the governorship elections of 1990.
The relationship between Aku and Ekwegbe needs to be further explored.  It is claimed that Ekwegbe formed part of the Igalla descendants of Aku from where they moved to their present position through Umunna.  In fact there is a special relationship between Aku and Ekwegbe in which it is believed that all people who die in Aku pass through a special road in Ekwegbe on their way to the land of the spirits. While Ekwegbe people use the road, no Aku person has ever walked on the road.  By listening to the conversation and instructions from such dead people using the road, Ekwegbe people are able to inform and warn Aku people to observe or desist from certain behaviours or songs.  Twice in the life of the writer, Ekwegbe had sent word to Aku to stop certain popular songs and dances.  Within a few days of the recept of the news, the songs and dances were discontinued throughout the length and breadth of Aku
The Odo masquerade cult is a dominant cultural feature of Igbo Etiti area. With regard to the origin of the Odo, there is a puzzling unanimity.  All the contributors on this topic claim that Odo appeared first to a woman with a male child on her back.  If so, why are women not eligible for initiation into the cult? Another question is why the ten Odo towns represented in the book point to a woman as the first to see the Odo on its first apparition? It is worth investigating whether other Odo towns outside Igbo Etiti such as Neke, Ikem, Eha-Amufu and Ojebe Ogene Zone have the same story of origin of the cult.


The ancestors of the Ohafia people must have had a beginning somewhere. Obviously, they must also have had some connection with other groups that are not identified as Ohafia people. Since, Ohafia is Igbo, it goes without saying that Ohafia has a common origin with other Igbo Ethnic groups. In their quest to finding a permanent home of abode, they sojourned through many lands, namely Benin Empire, Ndoni, Ibeku, Bende etc. A prominent happening at their Ndoni home (Ndoni is in present Rivers State) was the demise of their ancestral leader, Akpo Uku. This bequeathed the responsibility of leading the Ohafia people to his son Atita Akpo Uku. From Ndoni the journey continued to Isieke Ibeku.
At Isieke Ibeku, some Ohafia persons soon resorted to acts of mischief. Deprived of the influence of their dead leader, minor disagreement with their Ibeku and Leru neighbours easily got out of hand. The laying of sharpened knives across footpaths for offensive rather than defensive reason became very rampant. The ringleader in this overture was a man called ‘Ukoha". Both the Leru and the Ibeku people were getting uncomfortable living with their Ohafia neighbours because of this mischievous propensities. During this period, there was fighting between sections of Umuahia ad Ossa
Ibeku people. He Ossa people sought refuge with the Ohafia people of Umuajiji in Isieke Ibeku. An attack was been planed against the Ohafia people by the Ibeku people. The son-in-law of Ukoha (the trouble-maker) who was present at the meeting of the Ibeku people revealed the conspiracy to Ukoha. Ukoha took immediate action, alerting the Ohafia people about the planned attack against them. Although the Ohafia people beefed up security, an ominous event occurred that ended their stay in Ibeku.

Several accounts exist as to the reason for this exodus. One account said that it was the barking of a dog caught in a trap that frightened an Ohafia woman called Mgbo to raise an alarm. This alarm led to a stampede that evacuated Ohafia people from Isieke Ibeku. Another version of the story was that a string of calabashes (food containers made from the dried skin of gourds) suddenly collapsed making shattering noise. This later version seems to be more correct. This is because the idiomatic tongue twister coined by the fleeing Ohafia made reference to the incident of the collapsed string
of calabashes.


From the foregoing it will be seen that except for the general classification of the Akpor communities as one of the seven major groups in Ikwerreland and the linguistic evidence the people stand out distinct in the present state of our knowledge of lkwerre origins and migrations. For the Obio people. however. without any specific reference to the Benin tradition it is acknowledged that Obio is one of the descendants of Iwhuruoha (Ikwerre). Some traditions mention Ochichi as the great ancestor of the people; others lack the Ochichi element. All, at any rate. regard Obio as the common ancestor of the Evo and Apara communities. Evo being the senior partner and made up of the present day Oro-Evo. Oropotoma and Oroesara. The Apara themselves whose founding father is variously named Apara or Worlu or Ekwubudike include
Rumuigbo. Rumuepirikom. Eneka. Rumuadaolu. Rumuorosi. Rukpokwu.Rumuola. Rumuokwuta. Rebisi and Rumueme.26The traditions suggest that Ikwerre is a nickname given to the Iwhuruoha people by the 1gbo. Except for the OzuzuElele-Obio movement discussed under the Etche theory of Ikwerre origin. the traditions are not specific about the routes of migrations. names of places. incidents on the way and relative
length of stops in the course of migrations of the ancestor of Obio as well as Obio himself. But it is agreed that from Obio's alicestral home a combination of factors including fratricidal dissension. local wars and population pressure led the Evo and Apara to establish and painfully consolidate their present-day settlements. The traditions throw some light on the early history of the people in other ways. Reference is made to neighbouring groups. probably pre-existing communities. known as Rumuopara. Akeleke. Rumuchikwee and Rumuezo
against whom the ancestors fought long wars which ultimately led to the extermination of some of these earlier inhabitants. their absorption into the new settlements and their forceful movements elsewhere across the creeks. This issue calls for further research in spite of the reluctance of the traditional historians to supply detailed information on such an interesting aspect of the peopling of the area. Taken together with the traditions from Ogbakiri and43 Isiokpo. the traditions in the Obio-Akpor area clearly show evidence of internal migrations within Ikwerre in pre-colonial times. The Rumuoro and Rumuokani communities today in Ogbakiri trace their origin to migrations ftom the Obio area. The former were led by Echichimo. an enterprising hunter, from Rumuigbo whose "knowledge of the gun attracted the others to come and live close to him for protection against invaders and wild animals." The latter regard their ancestor as a man by name Okani. also a hunter and friend of Echichimo from Rumuokwuta.27
Internal migrations within the Obio - Akpor axis include the movement of the Rumuolumeni people as a result of internal friction in Rumuoparali to their present abode where fierce wars were fought with the pre-existing people of Rumuokwuta. There is also the case of sections of Eneka people who moved into Ogbogoro thus forming a group in the area which recently fought for recognition as a separate entity vis-a-vis the wider Ogbogoro community. The coming of the Rumueme people from Isiokpo to Apara territory is another landmark in the early history of the Obio area. The traditions agree that their ancestors were invited as allies in the war between Ozuruha, a descendant of Epirikom and kinsman of the Isiokpo, and his uncle, Inenta, one of the sons of Apara. In the ensuing conflict the Rumueme warriors showed remarkable valour and succeeded in saving the Rumuepirikom group from imminent doom. The common enemy was eliminated. And it is said that the remnants of the Inenta-group were scattered and today have been integrated in other communities such as Rumuolumeni (Mgbuakara), Bukuma in Kalabari and Isaka in Okrika.28 Rumueme in recognition of its role in times of war and peace eventually emerged as a distinct community in Apara. This is the background to the claim to autonomy within the group which has become a serious ground for controversy in recent times.It is of historical interest to mention the evidence obtained from Chief John Ogbondah which states that Obio actually had three sons, namely Evo, Apara and Ngwa. Ngwa was forced to leave their father's domain owing to the persistent quarrel and misunderstanding between his half-brothers, Evo and Apara. over the traditional burial of their father and the sharing of the common patrimony. Feeling increasingly insecure he moved northwards and finally settled across the lmo River where
he established. his own entity known in the traditions as Ngwa Owhuhu and Ngwa Gbaka. This suggestion of a close relationship between the lkwerre of Obio and the Ngwa people also invites further investigation.


  1. I thank you for your interest in Igbo history like me,but I wish you come to nairaland and post your history of Igbos where it can be analyzed...Raichutz

  2. perhaps, removing the post-war 'R' prefixes (R for Rivers) would really make for better understanding of those town names.