After God is Dibia

Igbo Lectures & Poems

By Friends of Emeagwali

http://emeagwali.com/photos/archive/random/photos-october-2005/Philip-Emeagwali-Ladew-Topiary-Gardens-Monkton-Maryland-October-29-2005-958-450.jpg[MSOffice1] 

 

Ichoputaghari Ihe Banyere Umu Igbo Furu Efu

Ozi Nkwado Ndi Igbo nke Ma'zi Chukwurah Filip Emeagwali degara Igbo Cultural Association of Calgary, Canada n'oge emume afo ncheta Igbo

August 23, 2003 na Calgary di na obodo Canada

Ndi b'anyi ndeewo nu O!

Obi bu m so an~uli oge Ma'zi Kene Ufondu kpokurum ka m bia buru onye obia puru iche na emume ncheta Ndi Igbo 2003 na Calgary. Ya mere nji were si ka m'gwa unu okwu nkwado.

Iji kwado emume unu, ana m akpoku nwa Igbo obula ka ochee echichi ma lotakwa ihe iriba ama puru iche Umu Igbo gara mba imilikiti afo gara aga megasiri ikwado oganiru madu.

Ewerem ubochi Icheta Igbo were lota Ma'zi Jubo Jubogha nke ana etu "Ja Ja," onye nke atoro na oru nafo iri na abua ma gbagide mbo we buru Eze Igbo n'Opobo. Ndi ulo ikpe Britain kpurulu Ma'zi Jubogha ga n'ulo ikpe ha ebe ha noro maa ya ikpe na odara iwu site na imebi "nkwa udo okwere" na kwa "igbochi nnukwu uzo azum ahia". Na itaya ahuhu, achupuru Ma'zi Jubogha nobodo ya, buru ya ga n'obodo anakpo Barbados na kwa mba nke St. Vincent, di na West Indies.

Iji kwanyere ya ugwu ruru ya, ndi mba Barbados etinyena akuko maka ndu ya na akuko iro ha, makwa na ukwe.

Ozo, ewerem ubochi Icheta Igbo were kene Ma'zi Olaudah Equiano, nwata ozo dikwa afo iri na abua erepulu n'oru onye nke jiri aka ya dere si: "Abu m Igbo". Ewerem ukpa ekene bunye Ma'zi Equiano onye nke mere ka anyi nwee akuko edere ede banyere odinani na omenani ma kwa emume Ndi Igbo oge gboo. Ekenekwasim Ma'zi Equiano ka osi were mee ka uwa ghota ijo ihe din a igbo oru, soro nua ogu iji kwusi ya, ma dekwa akwukwo banyere ajo agwa di na igba oru.

Abu na esota bu abu nke ejiri were kwaa obere nwa anyi Olaudah furu efu:

"Obu Onye ka anyi na acho? Obu Onye ka anyi na acho?
Ikwuano ka anyi na acho.
Obu iyi ka ochulu? Biko nya nata.
Obu ugbo ka ojelu? Biko nya nata.
Ikwuano ka anyi na acho."

Ma'zi Ikwuano bu ichie, burukwa nna-mmuo. Ndi ogu akwukwo dum, iji bobe ya ndu anwu anwu, nyere ya aha otutu: "Nna akuko banyere ndi ojii."

Ewerem ubochi Ncheta Igbo were kponite mmuo Umu Igbo nwoke, nwanyi na umuaka ndi Georgia's Sea Islands ndi nke miri rigbadoo oge ha siri na ugbo oru manye na miri iji gbanari agbam oru. Akuko ndi anakpo n'oyibo ndi Sea Islands nerota etu "Oru ekwe ekwe Umu Igbo", ndi anya miri juru anya siri buru iga akponyere ha na olu makwa na ukwu, kwa akwa alili, were otu olu were tie nkpu akpata oyi na asi:

"Oshimiri butel'anyi, Oshimiri g'ebu anyi laa"

Omume dike nke Umu Igbo, makwa inupu isi ha nupuru banyere agbam oru madu ewerela onodu anwu-anwu na akuko makwa abu ndi bi na ikpere miri Georgia, ndi anakpo ndi Gullah.

Ka mmuo Umu Igbo furu Efu soro unu n'akuku n'ije unu, gbanyere unu izu okwu, makwa dube unu na ochucho amam ihe na ako n'uche unu.

Ma'zi Ikwuano kowara onwe ya sin a ya bu "obia na obodo oghotaghi" Dika ndi obia na obodo Canada, ajalum unu ike na nnukwu oghere nke a unu weputara maka umu Igbo iji makorita onwe ha.

Ndi ba anyi si na njiko ka, mmadu ka e ji aba.

Igbo Kwenu!

[Chukwurah nwa Emeagwali bu onye onicha. Ma'zi Emmanuel Chinyeaka Okoli de re nka na asusu Igbo. Udo di ri gi, nwannem.]

 


IGBO

By OBU UDEOZO[MSOffice2] , University of Jos, Nigeria.

 

 

the earth

vanished into a pin-hole;

I am soaked with songs...

 

My ancestrys

sharp beauty baptized me

at the forests nipple

 

- a pilgrim of delicious peace.

 

Igbo

space-shuttle and speech

your civilisation flowers

in every face of earth

 

yet your offspring

hide in the toilets

of foreign tongues

 

your offspring

bury your sharp beauty

with the inferiority of mad English.

 

mystic damsel

I shiver

in your tabernacles splendour

 

beyond Bill Gates and microchips,

you fathered supercomputers Emeagwali

- a vapour in the ocean

of your maltreated genius.

 

mysterys powdered face

succumbs to insight

 

we must rescue

our lone baby from oblivions fire

 

we must re-plant

our fingerprint

against the monologue of English,

 

resurrection

awaits those

who drink from our roots

not our suicidal love of foreign gods.

 

 

 

- by Obu Udeozo.[MSOffice3] 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

THE 2001 AHAJK LECTURE

IGBO OR IGBOID:

AS
S NAGBR ND IGBO

LANGUAGE IN IGBO CIVILIZATION



by



Prof. Emmanuel Nwanolue Emenanjo

B.A. (Hons.) English, Ibadan; Post-graduate Diploma Linguistics: (Ibadan)

M.A. (Linguistics) Ibadan; Ph.D
(Linguistics) Ibadan



EKELE



Igbo mma mma n


Ekelee m
Ab
a mma mma n
Ekelee m
Anambara
Mmma mma n

Ekelee m
Delta mma mma n

Ekelee m
Ebonyi mma mma n

Ekelee m
Enuugwu mma mma n

Ekelee m
Imo mma mma n

Ekelee m
Rivas mma mma n

Ekele
e m
Na
jira mma mma n
Ekelee m
Igbo b
Igbo mma mma n
Ekelee m un

Kwezuon


OKWU MMALITE
I meela, Chineke, I meela
I meela, Chineke, I meela o
Imeela, Chineke, Imeela
Onyeaweanyi nara (ekele) I meela
(otito)
(onyinye)

CHAKPII w
ọọọ
CH
AKPII wọọọ
CHAKPII w
ọọọ



Nk
ta nyara kp Ns gw n'ha

ha ogwū mara kk A nagh epio y epi

ke ba na mkp
z gw na mkp

Dinta buru egb An
gw n'ha

Isi akwu daa nl Nwany
ara ya elu

Ag
ba n'ha Mgbada achri ume n'aka

Mmiri
riri nwa aw nagh egwū ya gw





Ah
ajk agbaala afo iri abo na abo. mtala umu iri na isii, na ederede iri na isii. Ozugbo ha, n'ass Bekee. Na nd ochie dike nd a, na nd diji nd a, na nd k okwu na ot ilolo nd a, dbegh nke bula n'ime ha nwere di nsogbu m onwe m nwere n'ass m ga-eji akppta echemeche m ma b kwupta mbunoobi m Ihe kpatara nke a b na na 'Citation on The Ahajk Lectures' ekwuru ya n'akpugh mmiri n'on na:

Each lecturer is to choose his or her Language
of delivery bearing in mind that the audience understands both Igbo and English.

mnne m na mnna m, unu anla ya n. bu ihe a ka Igolo. Gius Nkemjika Anka, Ode Nguru, na nd komiti ya cheptara ma kwuo n'afo 1o7o mgbe ha naewube Ahajk. Ndi niile maara ihe e jiri mara m na ihe mere m jiri br ihe m b, maara na an m na nsogbu. Ezigbo nsogbu o. N'ezie, adi m ka onye chi ya na ogo ya ror ol, n'nd a m hr onwe m n'ass m ga-eji. Chi m n'ebe a b ass Igbo; go m abr ass Bekee. N'ezie, na-ad m ka na fd - ikekwe - ott nd bara Ahajk n'afo a, bara ih etu nwoke ga-esi anabata aka mgba ass cheere ya. Ma a kpr ya Ahajk ma b Ufiejku o, ma b Njk ma b Njkji, ma b Ajamaaja, - ha niile b otu ihe ma brkwa okwu kp Igbo. Ahajk b mmemme. bkwa evueme nd Igbo. Ott nd bara mmemme a, n'ebe a, n'afo a, b nd Igbo. Nga a anyi guzr ugbuaaka a b ala Owere Nchi Ise, n'ala Igbo. Ebe ihe nd a niile dizi etu a, b gini gbochiri anyi iji ass Igbo gawa n'ihu? Nga olee ka mba bla si akpata nk ha ji esi ihe? Ked ebe mba bula si enweta mmiri ha na-an? b na mba nd z? Olee ebe e si agbata mmiri e ji esi g? Eche m na b mmiri g gba(p)tara ka e ji esi ya? ELo m na b ife di n'ubi ka wa ji esili ubi nni?

CHAKPII w
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CHAKPII w
ọọọ
CHAKPII w
ọọọ

Ladies and Gentlemen, the point I have tried to make is that no Ah
ajk lecturer before me has had my dilemma in the choice of the language for preparing and delivering his lecture. All before me who have trodden this road had no problem with their language of delivery. Not necessarily because of what they had to talk about but necessariiy because of their training. Luckily, in the extant and pristine citation crafted by those who thought of and through Ahajku, it was explicitly stated that each lecturer is free to choose his or her 'language of delivery' because the audience understands both Igbo and English. Simple, children like statements are rarely childish. Are choices really ever free? Aren't they hemmed in by the imperatives of context-time, space, dramatis personae? Again, who says the typical Ahajku audience 'understands' both Igbo and English? And when we talk of both Igbo and English, are we talking about conjunction, disjunction or co-ordination? Are we talking of a monolingual presentation through and through in either Igbo or English or of the bilingual presentation in both Igbo and English, in one text, or of the same text presented simultaneously in Igbo, and in English all bound together as a book in the Aboyedean sense? We know that bilingualism has as many types as it has varieties. Ladies and Gentlemen, I will stoutly resist the temptation of being drawn from ikpta taba to iba n 'ime aha.



Nd
nwe m, we all have our own different proverbs and anecdotes for why it is the mad man uses so many words. That is really stream-of-consciousness at work. I have mentioned the Igbo, Ode Nguru, Ambassador Gaius Nkemjika Anka, master bureaucrat 'and administrator, International diplomat, Poet, Scholar, Linguist, Thinker, Traditionalist and a Knight in the Anglican Communion, Master Facilitator and Strategist in Igbo Lore. Have you ever heard of The Readings on the Igbo Verb, The Dictionary of Igbo Place Names and the still-born Standard Igbo Dictionary (Project) scuttled by the ndorondoro between persons, offices and location? Division of Culture in the Ministry of Information and Culture and The Imo State Council for Arts and Culture? What of the A? The Journal of Igbo Arts and Culture? How many of us are aware that the design, popularization and the wearing, of Igbo traditional dress by nd l oyibo is one of the projects in Anka's multi-coloured calabash of practised and practical Igbo wisdom? The Mbari pavilion down there which now houses the Imo State Council for Arts and Culture. And the Ikenga status, two different versions of them once stood like resplendent ijele at strategic road junctions here in Owerri, to remind those who knew, and to teach those who did not know, that the metaphor of Ikenga is the driving force for success in Igbo life and endeavours. Until, during the Zubairu era of collective forgetfulness and anti-Igboness some heaven-bound dreamers appeared, claiming to see into tomorrow and claiming to be able to make the blind, walk. They came and saw those Ikenga status. And they said God said they were not good. And since then we have ceased to see them. Ashnze Ikenga, those heaven-bound seers never made it to Damascus! Chiifu G.M.K. Anoka. He is now dead.



CHAKPII w
ọọọ

CHAKPII w
ọọọ

CHAKPII w
ọọọ



Gwa m gwa m gwa m, ...

Gwan
m.(ihe) ...

mara, marala, marala ...



O bef
r be onye?

Nri
na-adigh,

Onye n
gagh eri?

gw onye b la aghagh ikw

Ihe nyir
dike?

Ihe a g
r aha,

O
di ka aha a gr ya?

Ozuru
wa nille?

E zuru ezu gaa

E zugh
ezu laa?



Maaz
Chiifu, Dkta Frederick Chiedozie gbal has paid his own debt. Whatever anyone likes, let him say about gbal. Nobody can take away from him the fact that between 1944 - 1992, he literally facilitated the empowerment of the Igbo language for functional literacy, numeracy, creative literature and in the collection, transcription and description of Igbo orature. F.C. gbal, he is also now dead. So, too, another Frederick, Professor Doctor Nnabuenyi Ogonna, the authority on Mmanw, in particular, and Igbo dramatic arts in general. The diegwu of the Lagos School of Igbo Studies. Maazi Tony Uchenna Ubesie proved to the international world of literary creativity that the Igbo language, can contribute its own to all genres of fiction, faction and radio-television productions. Mr Chairman, I am not aware that any or all of this ouartet-facilitators, masters, practitioners and analysts of Igbo language, literature and culture have ever had any mention at an Ahajk. With your revered permission Mr. Chairman, I pray that this highly esteemed and respected audience rise on their legs, and remove their hats, caps and headgears - in their names and in their honour, n'ugwu unu niile. May their great and large Igbo souls rest, nwa jụụụ, in the bossom of Chineke, Olisaburuuw, ptaobie! May they become ndichie nala Igbo niile. And saints of the Most High.





Ise

Ise

Ise
ise



Amaala, mma mma n
Ekeleen

Mma mma n
Ekeleen



Okwu m chighaa! Back to my language of discourse. It will be Igbo and English in complementary distribution and in line with the principle of complementary dualism which pervades Igbo thinking, Igbo mode of thought and the grammar of structures in the Igbo language. Igbo and English. Not Engligbo, for that would be Igbo oxide, Igbo carbon monoxide! Nor Igbo and English with code-mixing. Or with code-switching. Those are not allowed or tolerated in 'native like' or symmetrical micro-bilingualism. That will be our language of discourse. I would really have preferred it through and through in Igbo as I did in the first in the series of the Odenigbo Lectures: Olumefula. But do all of us here; really, understand Modem Spoken Igbo with all its complex internal dynamics and the evolving protean language for talking about Igbo IN Igbo; otherwise called Igbo metalanguage? We all are familiar with the
kabilu of the sick mart who went to the traditional doctor for treatment. After he had reeled off his mind, the doctor asked him to put himself at ease, comfortably. While trying to do so, a huge fart was heard. And the doctor asked him what the matter was. The patient replied, well, 'you can hear and see things for yourself. That is one of my ailments.' You all can now see with me, why it has taken Ahajku so long to recognize the other side of the Igbo identity and reality - the Igbo Language! Is it because we were waiting for the young to grow, in s milieu where age is something? Or is it because what concerns us most, must be treated last?





MB gaba Ajambne


MB gaba Ajambne

MB gaa gaa Ajambne





ALA IGBO





Inu m, na ak
k m na okwu m enupụụnọọ faa faa gidigwom wee nukwas ofu nnukwute ala, otu obosara ala. bgh ala gala, ala nja Oboni.



Agad
aaga ala a di, site n'ala nd Nska n'Ugwu ruo na nke nd Ikwere na Ahoada, na Ndida; ma sitewe n'Ehugbo n'wwa Anyanw ruo n'ala Ndosimili, kani na ka, nOdida Anyanw. Ala Igbo di mb dr tupu nd Potokori eruo Ose Najira n'afo 1472. tr Berlin. tr Najira ka Najira na siri dr ugbu a. d adi tupu a lo agha Bafra. di adi tupu e kerisiwe ala Najira na Steeti na Steeti olemaole ha di ugbu a, ma olemaole ha ga-ab echi. A chọọ Najira echi ma a hgh ya, ala Igbo ka ga-adikwa. A gagh ach ya ach ma l.



E mee elu mee ala, mbo t
r eze. Ma masr nd di ka Bala Usman na nd dka ya. Ndi a b nd ka n n'af 2001 na-eso onye di ka Hugh Trever Roper na-ako ka siri mas ha, ka Najira siri malite ma b ka Najira kwesr d. Iji tupa okwu m n. E kwesr ikwus ya ike na ala Igbo kwupr iche n'ala mba nd z soro mepta Najira ka any siri mara ya ugbuluaka a! N'ugwu ala Igbo, Nd Nska ka ma oke ala ha na nd Igala, na nd Idoma. Etu ah ka di nd Abankeleke (Izii) na nd Idoma na nd Tiv na nd Mbembe. Wee ruo echi, nd Ehugbo na nd Archukwu maara oke ala ha na nd agbataobi ha nd a - nd Mbembe, nd Yako, na nd Ibibi. Nd Ngwa na nd kwa maara nke oma oke ala ha na nd Mmom. Nd a niile bicha n'wwa Anyanw. Na Ndda (Najira) nd Ikwere na nd mnne ha, ma oke ala ha na nd jo na nd Ogoni na nd Andoni. Nd Ekpeye na nd Ahoada masr oke ha na nd zon na nd Ogba. N'Odida Anyanw, Ndosimili na Ndi kwani na nd ka, ka mara oke ha na nd. Urhobo na nd Isoko na nd Okpe. Ala Igbo, teela ya. teela ya na nd egede nwere ya. Ala Igbo b kptrụọkp ala. N'Ugwuele, n'Ehugbo, na Nska na n'Igboukwu e gwputala tt ihe okpu kabon - 14 na-egosi na peka mpe, nd mmadu ebiwela n'ala Igbo site n'afo 100,000 tupu a mo Jesu wee ruo afo 5,000 tupu a mo Jesu. bu ezi okwu na nd kaa na mmta ka kaa-as ngongo n'ikwekorta ma nd (mmad) ah bi n'ala Igbo, n'oge ah, nke ka nke, n'Ugwuele - ma ha b nd Igbo ma b ee. Ma otu ihe di n'enwegh mgbagha b ebe Ugwele di taa. b n'ala Igbo. Mana ka m jkwaa o, mmad ole na nd n ugbu a, na-ege m nti ma ihe nd a m na-art aka maka Ugwele n'akkoala nd Igbo? Ihe a abgh akuko mbe na ajambene. Ihe a b kptrọọkp okwu nwere njirimara ya.



N'ezie
br na b nd mba nd z nwere Ugwuele n'akkoala ha, ha ga-egi ikr na gele na ngwa nd di ugbu a, e ji ezisa ozi na redio n televishn, na opike na ederede dgas iche na-ekwu maka ya, na-ako maka ya, na-ama njakr, na na-agba oke ogbondu na egbe on maka ya. Ma na-agwa nd mmad, nd mba z n'wa niile: ba leren, ba hrn, ban kilibenu. A ga-ewu oke l kp e ji la edo chọọ mma, ka ga-ab oge onye - na nd - chr, na ka onye ah-na nd ah siri chọọ, ha ba, a s ha:



Kilibenu

Kilib
en

Kiliben
o

Kiliben


Ihe kara mere n'ekobe

Kiliben


Kiliben


Kiliben
o

Kiliben


Ihe nd
kp mere n'akk





CHAKPII w
ọọọ

CHAKPII w
ọọọ

CHAKPII w
ọọọ





K
m nke

m nke z

K
s na ma nke a

m ke z





nbela maka Thurstan S na Mak Angulu nwejegw na Frank Anzie na Lawal. kwegh Lawal na nd ogbo ya na di dka ya ghta ma b chemie na oze di n'kptorọọkp ngwongwo na ngwoloko nd ah e gwuptara na Nri tr nke oma, oze nke ah e gwuptara nIfe na n'ala Idu - n'usoro e jiri meputa ya. Azi gbakwaa, otoro gbakwaa nd kwuru na nd dere na nd hr ihe a! Tufiakwa! Kabon-14 aruola ala! Gini ka ns na-ach n'agba? Nwata (ya b nd Igbo) na-ebu nna ya z amta kpara? Nwata na-egosi nna ya oke ala! Ma masr Lawal, ma masgh ya, nd maara maka ola dgas iche iche, na-ekwu ma na-akowa na oze nke e'gwuptara na Nri b ezigbote oze e jiri kpa, tiin na leedi gwọọ. Mana oze nke e gwuptara n'Ife na Benin abchagh ezigbo ya. N'ezie, ha bu braas eji kpa na zinki gwọọ.



Ka Ma
k Angulu nwejegw na Lawal nsr na-eme ndrndr a, na-agba egbe on na egbe ederede a mmad ole nogbak a, mara maka ya, gr maka ya nr maka ya? bgh atmat z n'Igbo oxide! Ezechitaoke, Olisabuluwa na Chi Okike kenyere anyi Ugwuele, na Nri na Nska na Ehugbo n'ala Igbo na kptrụọkp ihe kp, n'akko anyi. Ozkwa, ihe gbasara anyi agbasagh anyi. Olee uru Ugwuele baara anyi n'oge ugbu a, nwa taa? Ka bu Ehugbo ma b Nri Oreri, Aguleri na Nsuka? Ugbu a, uwa niile na-ekwu maka w.w.w. ma b: sayensi @niile.yahoo.com.

Mana nd
Igbo, ha b yahoo! Lee ihe J.C. Obienyem dere maka 'Akwa Ala Igbo Na-Ebe'





A z
r un n'is ha

Ma un n
r na-l m anya cha

m m, ole ihe m mere unu?

Amamihe un na-any
os

Un jiri ha tere ni
z of

Mgb unu hap
r m n'ida ajo ha

Nd
m, ole ihe mere unu?



J.C. Obienyem Akpa Uche 1975:66-7





CHAKPII w
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CHAKPII w
ọọọ

CHAKPII w
ọọọ





Ihe niile any
nwere n'wa

nye nyr ny
ha

Chi nyere any
o



Chi nye
re any o



Mba niile Igbo nwere n'
wa

As
s niile e nwere n'wa a

Olu niile e nwere n'Igbo





AS
S IGBO: OLUMBA NA IGBO IZUGBE





O wee b
l ma okwu. Ogbu a, inu m, na okwu m na akko m enukwasala ass Igbo. Ass Igbo na olumba nd dgasi na ya adrla adr asrla asr, n'oge kp, tupu Bekee na ka aba n'Ala Igbo. Site n'Ugwu wee ruo na Ndda n'Ala Igbo, site n'wwa Anyanw wee ruo n'Odida Anyanw n'Ala Igbo, mba bla nwere olu ha na-as e jiri mara ha. Anyi ekwuola ya na Ala Igbo b obosara ala gbanyere kw na steeti isii, d ka Najira sri dr ugbu a.



Nd
a b: Anịọma (na Delta State) Anambara, Imo, Ebonyi, Enugwu, Aba na Rivers. N'obosara ala di etu a, di nd na-atu anya na bu etu nd Agbo Obi n'ala ka si as, ka nd gba ga-esi na-asu? N'obosara ala di etu a, di nd na-at anya na ebe na ebe onye esila pta ma b ba n'ala Igbo, ozugbo mepere on ya kwuwe ka na onye na onye ya na ya na-ekwu ka, ma b n ketara ya nso, gaantacha ma.ghtachaa ihe ibe ya na-ekwu, ma b na-ako? di ihe so na ibe ha na-eji otu okwu, nd z ana-eji okwu z? N'ass bla ott ndiche ptara ihe na-adi site n'otu mba gaa na mba z na site notu olu gaa na nke z. A ga-ah ndiche n'ebe na n'ihe nd a.



Mkp
rụụda ass, na mkppta nke bla

Mkp
pta daass - ngowire, ndebeolu, dd olu, olu nka, n'ab na n'ukwe

Mkp
rass na mkprkwu

Mkp
kpta mkprsass na mkprokwu

Mkp
nuume, mkpnaakpo, mkpna egbagbere

Nkebiokwu, nkebiah
r, ahrokwu na ndnaya

Nnyemaka ngw
aa, mmejupta ha na mptara ha

Nd
Igbo niile maara nke a, ofma ofma, kpatara ha ji ebee otu akpata on na:



Mba na-achi n'olu, n'olu

Ma ha kwaa
kwara

Ya adaa kwa kwa kwa



Ilu a b
mmanw tiri onwe ya. N'ihi na achgh m ka ego e jiri lo nne m laa kpr, agagh m agbali ikowa ya. Mana n'ihi na nne m azchaala aha nke ya soro igwurube laa mmo, ka m gbala zipta mi ilu a. Ihe na-ekwu b na e gemizie nti na rịịị na tịịị d nolumba gas any were anya ah e ji ah ns osa, na nt ah e ji an ikiri kw esu, any ga-ah ma n ott ndiche, site notu ebe gaa nebe z nolumba nd Igbo. Mana any ba nihe nd ah ass jiri br otu njirimara nd, na omenaala ha, olu na ibe ya b otu, site na nghta na mptara d niminiimi ha, na nkp ndr ha na mptara na nghta ha.



As
s Igbo nwere ott olumba. E nwebegh ike imatacha olumba ole di n'ass Igbo. Otu ihe any maara b na karr steeti ole a na-as Igbo ka ass mb, maka fd ma b niile, na ha. Otu ihe z any maara b na olumba nd a erugh ka komuniti nd nweere onwe ha, na goomenti nd di ugbu a n'Ala Igbo, na-ekewapta aghara aghara. Otu ihe z any maara b na e nwere otu olumba, oge, nd mmad na adimkpa nyeela nd Igbo. b nke a ka a na-akp Igbo Izugbe. Ass di ka Igbo, a na-as n'obosora ala di dika Ala Igbo, ass nwerela abidii ya oke mgbe, ass nwerela ott ederede na ya, ass so ass abo nd z br ass Ala Najira, a na-akzi site n'otaakara wee ruo yunivasiti d ka A1 na A2, ass a na-as na redio na televishon, were ya na-eme ott ihe nd digas iche iche, ass b na nd na-as ya ruru 20m ma peka mpe. Asusu di etu a kwesiri inwe Izugbe abuo - nke osusu na nke odide. Izugbe Oss na Izugbe Odide abgh ebiri. Nke oss tr nke odide. Izugbe ass Igbo malitere kemgbe nd Igbo si na mba digas iche bidoro nwewe mmekorta n'gbako, n'azmaha, n'lo ka, n'ama egwuregwu, n'lo akwkw, n'egemnti na mkprta ka na ejije na ihe nd z a na-eme na redio na televishon. Izugbe Odide malitere kemgbe nd ka Siemesi tinyere anya n 'ass Igbo imepta na ikppta otu olu Igbo ga-ab ozuruigbo niile on. Na mb na mb nd Siemesi wubere Isuama site na mgbali. Schon, na Saro.' Mana ka Schon garuru Abo so Isuama n'enwegbhi onye ghtara ya ka kppta na akamere anagh adi n'ass. Achdikn Denis ewee gbala chopta Yunion Igbo ka br Igbo Izugbe. Nke ah kkwara afo n'ala. Ida Ward ewee haziwe Central Igbo, etu Welmers na Welmers siri hazie Compromise Igbo. Na nd a niile digh nke a nabatara ka br Igbo Izugbe. Ma ka agha Bafra biri, n'afo 1970, Otu Iwelite Ass na Omenaala Igbo bidoziri haziwe Igbo Izugbe nke e jizi ede ederede Igbo ugbu a. Na mkpkta okwu m, kwesr ka any mata na Isuama, Yunion, Central na Compromise Igbo jikr aka mee ka mpupta na nhazi Igbo Izugbe na-aga were were. b naani Igbo Izugbe a nwere kaass Igbo. b nke a b otu oke ndiche di n'etiti olumba nd z e nwere n'ass Igbo na Igbo Izugbe.



S
ọọ nwata n n'ikpele mmili

Kwe m eke Ekene Oma

O ma Oma na
udo

do do obele


O bele Obele nza

Nza Nza at
le

At
le Atle b

O bo Obo n'
gbo

gbo gbo n'am

Am Am
gololo

Osikapa Joloof O n-sonash
kombifu

Os
wayway ya



Ladies and Gentlemen,





THE IGBO OF INNOCENCE

THE ESSENCES IN IGBO CIV
ILIZATION



In the age of innocence the ind
genous, native and original Igbo were simple child-like, hardworking, imbibing from their elders who were steeped in essence, in the lores and mores of Igbo culture and civilization. As the young Igbo grew up they were exposed to and imbibed four crucial 'cults' (but without the pejorative senses of today).



Ikeng the cult of the right hand which symbolizes ind
vidual achievement through hard work (with one's hand);
Iru-cult the cult of the face which s
ytnbolise one's commandng personality and influence;
hu-cult - 'the cult of the body and tongue which symbolise personal charm and persuasive eloquence;
kw n ije - 'the culture of the limbs which symbolise success in adventures.


Essential in his
inculturation programme, the Igbo amika and ntoroobia, were taught to recognize the Alusi or supernatural being forces for what they were. Even though they could have the features of men, the Alusi were neither living human beings (mmadu) nor dead human beings (mmuo). In the age of innocence, the Igbo, whatever was their location in Igboland, shared an identical conception of the Cosmos. To them the universe was divided into four complementary departments:



w, Mmuo, Alusi and Okike. Uwa (-wa break open; split open, be cracked) in the world of the senses is seen in Igwe (the heavens or firmament) and Ala (the earth) Uwa is inhabited by Mmadu (living human beings), Mmuo (dead ancestors who, as nd
ichie, the canonized ones, can re-incarnate, or as Akalaogoli can't re-incarnate, or Ekwensu, mischievious spirits, and Agwu, the maverick ambivalent trickster spirit which through divination, Afa, reveals to human beings the complex nature of the cosmic relationships in the Igbo world. Very close to but distant from Uwa nd Igbo, is Chi Ukwu (Chukwu), the Great Chi (God), Chi Okike = Chinaeke (the Creator), Olisabuuwa (the God that carries the world). In the pristine world of their bucolic innocence, the Igbo revered Chukwu (God), the Great Enigma, Amaamaamasghamas (The-known-and-not-so-known). nnsomateeaka (One-that-is-near-but-still-far). The innocent Igbo venerated Chiokike because:





Ikeechukwuebuka Chukwun
nso

Chukwuebuka Chukwuenwegh
iwe

Chukwunweikeniile Chukwunwendu

Chukwukadib
a Chukwujindu

Chuk
wumanya Chukwumaobimmadniine

Chukwub
ike



In the philosophy of Igbo knowledge



Chukwu kere
Ala na Mmad

Ma
Ala ka mmad



In the age of innocence the rural Igbo had very great respect for Ndu (life) because it comes from God. It is greater than mo
ney or wealth. It cannot be foundered by blacksmith. All things are only useful if they have life.





Osond
agwgike Ndbeze

Chukw
bndo Ndbisi

Chukwunwend
Ndkaego

Chukwujind
Ndkaak

Ekejind
zakpnd

Ifeb
nand Mdkaanwifemgaemed

Ifesin
and Oblnamdndifemgaemed

Ifeakand






In the age of pre-innocence, God allowed Death to be in order to checkmate
Man. There are many versions of the aetiology of death in Igbo cosmology. The race to deliver the message of life and death from God to man by the Dog and the Tortoise exists in Igbo folklore. God had to bring death to the world so that:



Onye lote
nw

O mea nway
ọọ



N'ihi na



nwategwu nwenweiro

nwataka nwamaoke

nwasoanya nwakpaoke

namaoke nwnnso

nweliego nwweteaka

nwelingo nwejegw

nwenweoy nwamaife





In the age of innocence the Igbo respected age and the elders almost to the point of reverence because:



Ife oknye dn ni f


Nwat kw
l t m-af y



A h
, e kwugh n-gbu okny

E kwuo, a ngh n-gbu nwat



In their ranking of professions or attributes, the igbo of innocence ranked brain over brawn:



Kal
a aya g-li t ill

Ya lia dike



Thus the strategic thinker, the philosopher, a bundle of brains is preferred to the
warrior, the military strategist, the man of strength. For, whereas the latter is replaceable and dispensable, the former is not replaceable, and is indspensable. Tied to the virture of thinking and geometric reasoning is the indgenous Igbo ranking of amamihe (absolute wisdom) amamizu (absolute wisdom) over:



k
'smartness, wit as in Nwa Ebule Ako

Uch commonsense (without real wisdom)

k
n uch wisdom

t
brk diplomacy



If the above analysis is correct, what then do these mean?



k
b nd

Uch b
nd

Uch b
afa

Uch b
kp



The autochthonous Igbo of innocence prized material possessions but would not make a fetish of them because material possessions come from God.



Chukwunwe
ba

Chukwuji
ba

Ekji
ba

bsnchi



But if:




Nd
bk

Nwab
k

Mmad
bk

Mad
wụụba



And then:



Nwak
ba

Mmad
kaba



In the light of the above what is?



k
ba k n b

Possessions possessions of assets wealth





Elulu (animal resources)

Ak
mak (forest resources)

Ala (land)

Nd
inyom (wives)

m (children)

Oh (slaves)





In terms of wealth, the Igbo of innocence were concerned more with the creation and acquisition of wealth - than with the spinning of money. The image of the King in Every man which the Ike
nga and the kwu na Ije cults seem to portray, is only partially correct. Adventure and success are not only carried out and achieved in society, they are measured against other people in and the virtues society. Persuasive eloquence, rhetoric and oratory associated with the Uhu-cult are society-determined. So, too, is commandng personality and influence of the Iru-cult, society-driven. The Igbo of innocence was a community dweller and a team worker.



For while he knew that:



1. Onye ya na chi ya kw


O digh ihe ga-eme ya



Or



2. Onye kwe, chi ya ekwe



He also knew and believed that:



1. Mmad
b chi ibe ya

2.
h m ha me h

3.
g b chi ogbenye

4. Ofu onye ad
-ab eb

5. Ofu aka ad
-eke ngwugwu

6. Ofu onye ad
-ebu ozu eny

7. Ofu ony
e adgh mma n'ije

8. Otu mkp
s aka rta mman

Ya eruo nd
z

9. Ihe kw
r

Ihe akw
debe ya

10. Onye maani ya kw


Odudu atagbuo ya

11.
k kba mmad

O gaa kw
de mmad ibe ya

Ka
kọọ ya;

k
ba an ha

O gaa n'ah
osisi

12. Otu onye lie onwe y
a

AKA ya ga-ap
tarr

13. Nwata nwe
kp

Mana n'ezi okenye

Ka
na-akwa

14. Onye fee ez,

Ez eruo ya

15.
h nw tutuu

Tutuu nw
h

16. Aka nri kw
ọọ aka ekpe

AKA ekpe akw
ọọ aka nri



All the above proverbs emphaize the complementry roles of in
dviduals with indviduals - inhuman society. So, too, does the aetiological anecdote about why 'Fowls go in twos - because the thing that kills fowls (hawks) come from above. If one fowl sees the enemy first, it alerts the others. So too do personal names like:





Adimabua Nwagb


Ada
ha Igboango

Nwa
ha Igbonaekwu

Obi
ha Igboakalza





emphasize complementation, reciprocity and group plidarity.



What I have been saying so far suggests complementation rather than polarity, inclusivism rather than
exclusivism, and holism rather than indvidualism. Too much: exists in the political, sociological and cultural literature about the Igbo being an extreme indvidualist, a lone ranger (= I-go-before-others). I would not, however, like my audience to go away with the impression that the Igbo society of innocence and the Igbo people of innocence did not have their fair share of mavericks, madmen and deviants. They had. But they believed these were the exceptions that give vibrancy and relevance to the rules.





O digh
ala na-enwegh ngwere


Some people among the Igoo of innocence did do what they were not expected to do. The ten, universal commandments were broken. There was incest. There was adultery, fornication and abortion. For the Igbo language has w
ords for these. People ate animals, fishes and fruits they were forbidden to eat. People went to other people's farms and removed yams and cocoyams from their farms and barns. But there were sanctions for those caught in the act. There were public confessions, executions, and suicides for those who offended grieviously against ala. For:



gbu mma n-la na mm

Ogbru onye n onye
gb y la
Aj
gh j eri kptr
A r
gh r nw



For those who confessed their transgressions, there was forgivenes
s. For:



Mmehie d
ka-d

Mgbayl
ad-d



The Igbo of innocence lived in and operate within his umunna, at the three levels of partilinage: minimal, major and maximal. He also lived and operated within the Ikwunne or Nnamochie - the matrilinage. At t
he widest level, he operated within a village. Beyound that, he went into an mba - another or foreign land adjacent to his and with which it had all sorts of alliances and relationships. Even in some of the known (Igbo) kingdoms the king, even where there was a primogeniture, was treated as a President-for- as long as he proved himself people-centred, democratic and republican - and his people were satisfied with his reign not rule. For:



h nw ez

z nwe
h



In conclusion, the Igbo of innocence lo
ved and coveted wisdom and applied it to all he thought, said and did. For him Chukwu himself created wisdom and so all true wisdom came from Chukwu. This true wisdom is not just one of intellect, derivable from facts but a passion for truth. The young garnered it from counsel, instruction and observation from the elders and the wise, through informal traditional education whose unwritten texts were the folktales and other narratives the proverbs, anecdotes, tongue twisters, riddles, songs and poems of all descriptions and genres, feasts and festivals. Whether as technical knowledge, or hypostratic knowledge, true knowledge as against spurious wisdom is what kept the Igbo going in their arcadian innocence.



THE BACKGROUND TO EXPERIENCE



Mutual trans umunna, trans ogo, trans mbam, trans mba contacts, with other sub-cultural Igbo groups within Ala Igbo. This was one factor. Mutual trans Igbo culture contacts with their non-Igbo neighbours (
Edo, gala, Isoko,' Urhobo, j, zn, Ogoni, Mbembe, Idoma, Ibibio, Yoroba, Awsa). This was another factor. Then the economic contacts with the Royal Niger Company. Then the colonial intervention from Berlin through 1900, 1911, 1914, 1954 and 1960. From punitive military expeditions to occupation and colonization. And the introduction of the culture of the hustlings and ballot-box democracy. Add to these the missionary enterprise of the orthodox Christian groups from 1857 for the CMS, and 1885 for the RCM, and the laisser faire modern-day freaks and charlatans that have come with the halleuyah Revolution. (Cotton, 1995; Obiora, 1998). Here irrationalism, counter culture, ecstasy, induced conversions, link up with the cutting edge of neuro-science and pseudo-christianity. And the romance with Western Education. Then the Biafran debacle and the post-Biafran military and civilian potitics, .post-Biafran monetary and fiscal policies, and the grammar of pauperizatin and marginalization. The effects of all of the above were seen in varied perspectives and, at various levels of religious, socio-political and economic realities.



THE IGBO OF EXPERIENCE



According to Onwuejeogwu (1987) exprience intergrated the theatre of Igbo civilization into what is today called
Nigeria. Igoland ceased to be .a theatre of civilization. It became a periphery of a larger periphery whose capital is at Lagos and its centre is London. From being simple and child-like theIgbo of experience became rather naive and childish as their shattered psyche grew from tragedy and tragicomedy, to slapstick comedy and farce. Nkem has replaced Nkeany. I-go-before-others has replaced Erima (eriri Omumu Nwa) Group Solidarity (Anyanwu, 1993; Mozia, 1982/87). The punitive military expeditions that imposed Pax Britanica and the Biafran experience, all these made nonsense of egbe cham and traditional charms, gunpowder and machetes. The descration - and deposition of Eze Nri, Eze Aro, Obi Agbo Obi, all before 1911; the demystification of the oracles at Archukwu, Oka, Diobu, mnneha, the introduction of a monetized economy. The birth of Eastern Region and Nigera. The replacement of open consultative and consensual democracy with Westminster type of democracy and the secrecy of the ballot box. The treatment of Christianity as Mammon and the elevation of Jesus into an Industry or a corporation with the features of a LTD. Or a PLC. The incorporation of syncretism into some pseudo-christian assemblies and communions, in their beliefs and worship. The replacement of traditional secret societies with modern Eruo-American brotherhoods and sisterhoods which meet in Lodgies! The romance with Western Education and its devaluation of traditional education. The enthronment of indvidualism and materialism, the enthronment of the English Language not only as The Language of Wider communication, God's own language, with Latin for the Catholics in the post-Sanahan era, and, later, the Official Language of Nigeria. From some twenty-seven traditional monarchies and kingdoms at Abo, Agbo, Isele Ukwu, Nri, bl-Ukwu, smale, ncha Ado, Ugwuta, etc., we now have well over 800 autonomous communities each with its own Eze. And, in Aniomaland, we have, in addition, modem political contraptions designed for and co-existing with a bicameral polity with the Okpara system in places like Asaba, Okpanam and Ibusa, The Asagba of Asaba, The Asagba Okpanam and the Obuuzo of Igbouzo are really not eze but Presidents-for-Life! All these because, as Obienyem has observed in his poem 'Di Any, I Brla Eze'



Ez gb di mfe
nwegh
om:

Aju e ji bu
ez d n ngwr niile

Di n'ime Olu n Igbo

Ebe m nwr kpu mme mme

Jide ija n k akpukp


Ez,
fr ihe z



N'Olu n gb ez na ad n'obi
masr ya;
jdu n-akp
isi l, na-akpr onwe ya

Ebe
bu ego bu igidigi oju eze



jadu chi y
a m any a, majite ego
Ego t
a ah, eze adawaa!

Ma eze na
r, b eze gini?

Eze
ra at na eze nkwōro

E gbue ebi naabo, e zoo otu

Okwu sie ike, nd
uwe ojii na nd dibia erie ego

Bikon
, eze nar, b eze gini?

Nolue Emenanjo (ed.)
tara Nti pp. 63-4.



Put in the most simplistic language the combination of all the agencies and forces of the post-innocence era resulted in the emergence of men without shape, women without ears, shapes without forms, hollow men without backs; for whom all things are not where they are supposed to be, the spirtus mund
was ambivalence, the zeitgeist; snakes swallowing snakes. Ebe niile abr mmad mmad, mana mmad akoo. kw eju ala, mana ije adigh. N'ezie, kk agbasaala okpesi. Nd n n'ala bidoziri dagbuwe nd n n'elu. Akw wee chaa nd ig. kwighikwigh efebezie n'ehihie. Eỳi n'ehihie. Nd eze akara nd ha na-achi. Ya abr mp n'elu, mp n'ala. Enyi mbekwu na Uze ejuza n'ebe niile Nke bzi na n'Abja na n'Ajegunle, e nwezi eze nd Igbo? Nke a, abgh eze akhje! Ka nd eze siri hie nne ka aha (otutu) ha siri na-eyi egwu ma dikwa egwu!



Mmirinaezna
kchi I

Otuonyeanaetu
nuabala I

Oshmrrieonyeorie
gwya I

Od
ịụkonamba I

Gwugwuga I

Od
mnaegbuag I

An
anaagbaegbenaatahwịọhwịọ I

Mmirinaar
ugwu I



Nd
b na kara ha ga-echepta ma rpta ngwa hr, ha alaa defence, ro ngwa ah akprka ma mepta ajasa ya, adgboroja ya, ijebu ya! Nke a emezie ka n'Ala Igbo niile mana karr n'Aba na l diwaza ka Lo Wu, oke obodo aha di na Shenzhen na China. Ebe a ka a na-as na b ya b isi obodo ngwa aha bla adgboroja n'wa niile. N'ezie, a na-asI na, n'aha Aba, ngwa bla nwezuru ezie ya, de main de main, na oyiri ya, y.b. akprka ya, zuru iri. b ihe a soro mee e ji as na chọọ mata Aba i ga-etukwuru ala. I kwr oto i gagh ah ttr rachaa. Onye bla n'Aba, kachas nd aha, tukwuru etukwu na-ede ibe ya ka ro ya akprka, mee ya emegh erne gos ya na nwa Aro di iche, mkpọọl adkwa iche; kuzie ya na aha na-aka mma n'etiti Ar na Mbise.



I will now end my observations and impressions about the Igbo experience with this poem, (a little adapted) from an anonymous hand. It's title:



(THE) NOTHING PEOPLE



They do not lie.

They just neglect to tell the truth.

They do not take,

They simply cannot bring themselves to give.

They do not steal,

They scavenge.

They will not rock the boat,

But did you ever see them pull an oar?

They will not pull you .down,

They'll simply let you pull them up,

And let you pull them down.

They will not hurt you,

They merely will not help you.

They do not hate you,

They merely cannot love you.

They will not burn you,

They'll only fiddle while you burn.

They are the nothing people,

The sins-of-omission folk,

The neither-good-nor-bad,

And, therefore, worse.

The good, at least, keep busy, trying,

And the bad try jut as hard.

Both have that character,

That comes from caring, action and conviction.

The honest sinner with God and Satan.

They know the price of everything,

But do not know the value of anything

They scream about national character.

But, given the chance,

They live and practise family character.

Or sell out their own quota and the character

Or scatter everything, like the fowl

Who says:

Scatter and scatter lest another eat!





CHIAKPII w
ọọọ

CHIAKPII w
ọọọ

CHIAKPII w
ọọọ





Enye m i
kwl inyom inyom inyo! kwl Inyom

Enye m i
kwl inyom inyom inyo! kwl Inyom

Enye m i
kwl inyom inyom inyo! kwl Inyom

Okw
l kpjili inyom inyom inyo! kwl Inyom

A
ss neaf o inyom inyom inyo! kwl Inyom





THE IGBO LANGUAGE OF EXPERIENCE



...n'okwu Igbo

Nd
gboo kpara ka n'ass a

Ha k
r akk ch, daa kwkwkw;

Iwe h p
tr n'okwu zuru ke;

Ha gbr z, gh
ta nwe h n'gb

Ha b
r Mbe n'echche okwu gb

Ha b
r Ndr bkwa nwa kr

Ha zara
kw nka, zaakwa ch agha

A kp
r ha m k okw m k al

N'
n na nghta, ha nr br gb



J. C. Obienyem, 'Mbo m Na-Agba' Akpa Uche p. 69.



The Igbo language of innocence was, as should be expe
cted, a closed circuit phenomenon. Each person spoke his dialect (D1) in his umunna, his ogo, his onumara, his mbam - essentially and unrepentantly, undluted. The smiths who produced the Igbo-Ukwu bronzes must have spoken an undluted Aguukwu-oeri D1. So too the axe makers at the foundries at Ugwuele, an Okigwe D1. And the salt makers of Uburu, and undluted Ehugbo D1. What did the Nri aka nshi speak when they went on their religious njem across those parts of Igboland within the Nri hegemony? At the axe foundries of Ugwuele what language did the master axe makers, their patrons and their clients speak? When the Aro went on their exploits beyond Ibiniukpabi, and, for Ibiniukpabi, how did they communicate along their routes? What language was used by the Ekumeeku Warriors who were drawn from all parts of Aniomaland? At the salt markets in Uburu and the horse markets at Nsukka, how did the buyers and sellers communicate? My haunch (given today's experience) is that Igbo-speaking people who left for other Igbo-speaking mba modified their D1 - or learnt and used the more prestigious D1, for purposes of intra-group communication. Let it be emphazised that inspite of the political independence of the mba, there were many forms of formal and informal contacts and for inter-dependence between various Igbo-speakingpeople before the dawn of experience: trade, marriages, fairs, festivals, feasts, and even wars. These were veritable avenues for mutual exposure to different lects, varieties, jargons, sound systems, syntactic structures, lexical elements and semantic systems in the Igbolanguage.



With experience came greater mobility within ahd beyond Igboland, as the Igbo and their land now had greater contacts with other peoples, other cultures and other languages. The nascent Spoken Standard Igbo began to grow and grow in its lexical inventory, especially, in the names of plants, animals, geographical features and phenomena alien to Igbo culture. Words like osikapa, otanjele, jak
, dawa, akamu, alakwuba, agidi akpoto, elele, munchi from Ugwu Awusa, rooshi, ichafo, abada, panya, from European Languages via the Coast; oloma, agboro, wayo, ashawo, jedijedi from yorubaland; Iduu, iyase, Agwuele, from Edoland; banga, bonga, ogogoro, agogo from the Niger Delta, mmom, abas afaniko, Ibibi from Ibibio-Efikland. Just as new words were coming in and being domesticated to the realities and imperatives of the Igbo sound and lexical systems, so too, new tales, proverbs, and anecdotes were being welcomed and added to the repertoire of Igbo folkore, poems and songs. Collectors of unwritten Ibo literature are used to choruses, non-ideophonic words, phrases and sentences which they often treat as either 'archaisms', 'nonsense words or 'obscurities'. These so-called archaisms and nonsense words may well be from languages which are either siblings of the igbo language or 'live' languages spoken by non-Igbo neighbours of the igbo or others who have come in contact with the Igbo. As for the 'obscurities', those references which may now look opaque may well be references to phenomena in cultures and literatures which are neighbours to th igbo. Among the Anioma, for example, references to Ala Iduu are copuous. And characters like Giant Alakwukwu, an Agwuala (i.e. Giant), Gbanwula Asigie, Ogiso and Ezechime, feature robustly in their folklore and oral histories. These and many more features of the language contacts between Igbo and the languages of their neighbours are begging for urgent studies.





IGU AKWUKWO NA IGU EGO





Onye
bla chr iga n'ihu, nd bla chr iga n'ihu, ezi na l bla, mnna bla, ebe bla, ogo bla, uhe bla, mba bla, obdo bla, n'ezie, agbr bla chr iga n'ihu ga-ebu z gwọọ gw mmad tupu ya agwọọ gw ego. Maka na mmad b mma di na nd na n'elu wa a. Leekwa aha nd a nd Igbo na-aza:





Mmad
bak Mmadbuko

Mmad
wụụba Mmadnaecheibeya

Mmad
kaego Madmerewajiasoso

Mmad
bchiibeya Ihekanammad

Mmad
bike Mmadkaife





gw gw mmad aptagh iga na diba. b iga akwkw gaa nweta mmta na mmba si n'akwkw. b ima akwkw wetara ka mmad ghara iko mmad ibe ya ma b mba ya. b ko mmad kpatara mmad ga-eji eju, a ka na-ach mmad. Iga akwkw b isi dkp nti n'etiti nd na na mmepe obodo na agbr. b ezie na:



Akw
kw n-t t

n-ra ah na mmta

M onye nwere ntasi ob

O ga-amuta akwukwo



ga ezi akwkw na-eweta mmta na mmata. Nd a na-eweta amanihe na amamizu. ga akwkw na-enye mmad or aka na aka or. ga akwkw na-ach ma na-egbochi



Amagh
nka ass
Amagh
ege nt
Amagh
echebara ihe echiche d omimi
Amagh
ag ederede na akwkw nd dgas iche iche
Amagh
aghta ma b akota eserese na diagram, na tebulu, na fgo nd d iche iche
Amagh
at ihe na is ihe


ga akwkw na-akzi nka nd d che iche



Nka
gg na odide ihe
Nka e ji agh
ta ma b. akota eserese na diagram, tebulu, na fgo gas
Nka ot
t na oss ihe
Nka nz
lite amamonwe
Nka maka op
pa ihe gas
Nka mpiako na nhazi
Nka nzulite aka or
na or aka
Nka maka mkpata na
ndok k
Nka maka mmata aka
r na r aka
Nka maka m
mihe


ga akwkw na-enye mmad ike na ikike karr akar n'ih nd a:



(a) mmata na mm
ta maka



chpta na idok esinaaka
Nyocha esinaakonauche
Oz
z gg isi
Iji aka na ako onye ch
wa ihe nd z dịịr mmad mkpa


(b) nka d
gas iche iche maka:



gg isi na ntrch.e
Nchep
ta na nhazi ir
Mkpebi esina
ggisi
Iji ako na nka tinye n'echemeche
Ikwu na ibe imeko ihe na ibiko on



(gb) Mmaraonwe y.b. mmad
imara onwe ya site nij ma ichptas oziza ajj nd a:



Onye/g
n ka m b?
Olee ihe nd
m nwere ike imeli?
Aga m ejiko aka m n
r duu n'agbagh mbo bla n'ihi na onye kwe, chi onye ah ekwetakwala?


(c) ngwa nd
na-ezipta na mmad adrla ezigbo niikere maka ibi nke oma nwa nke ubu a:



Or
aka na aka or ptara he e jiri mara onye
Mkpata ak
na-abawanye ma na-amwanye, kwa daa, kwa izu, kwa onwa, kwa afo
Nkwere nonwe onye nime ihe
bla


(d) mmad
ih onwe ya nzo zri ezi na nemume kwr oto. Nke a ga-enyere mmad aka ikwus ike na:



O b
m di ihe a. bgh onye z. Eji m anya m ah zo ma werekwa nt nke m na-an ihe
Aga m emeli ihe a nelegh
onye z anya, najgh onye z nke a na-eme
gb d iche, ibe d iche
Otu nne na-am
man bgh otu chi na-eke
Onye kwe, chi ya ekwe
Mmad
ibu onwe ya nelegh anya naz
Mmad
itinye onwe ya niile, ndu ya niile, ike ya niile, echichle ye niile, nhe bla na-eme najgh ihe (ojoo) ga-esi na ya pta


ga akwkw b oke ihe. na akziri mmad nka nd a b kachas ibe ha:



(i) nka ntoala,



Maka
gg na odide
nụọgg na nmba
Iji akara, ma eserese na f
go dgas iche mee ihe
Ot
t na osisi gbasara aka na uhe: volum, aro, ago, njem


(ii) nka maka obibi ndu gbasara nz
lite onwe



Op
pa ihe
Mkpezi na nhazi
Mwughari ihe - iji nke a rie/mee nke a




(iii) nka enwemakaol
maka



Mm
ta akaol na olu aka
Nzulite aka ol
na olu aka
Nz
lite akpamak
Mm
wanye na ntowanye
Nka om
m ihe


(iv) nka maka am
mihe ebigh ebi, agw agw



N'ez
ie, ig akwkw abgh nnan maka inweta asambodo e ji ach l oyibo ma b e ji agwanye akwkw. b maka iz mmad, ah mmad dum, obodo niile na agbr niile ka mmepe na ganiihu wee jupta n'echiche na n'echemeche nd mmad na mba ha.



O b
maka z anu ah mmad na nke ime mmo ya. b maka z anya onye ka na-aru ma b rkara ol dịịr ya. Ka mmad wee nwee ike leruo ihe anya iji h nsi osa na iji mara anya nke e lere ele na nke a rr ar. b maka z echiche nd mmadu ka ha wee mata na tutuu nwe h, mana h nwekwa tutuu; na ofe na-at ka kwr ma n'agbagh mkpr ka kwr abgh ofe kwr. ga akwukw na-az imi mmad ka nwee ike iminyere imi na mmiri chpta ebe nd mmo si abata n'elu wa. g akwkw na-az ire mmad ka d ire, nti mmad ka wee nwe ike mata myiri na ndiche d n'etiti egbe na egbe. br na iga akwkw bchasr ihe nd a niile any kwuputarala, b gini b mbunuuche nd a na as na:



Un na-gu akw
kw,

Anyi na-gu egō,

Fa ncha b
ife gg.



Onye
na-as na ig akwkw na ig ego bu otu ihe na-agwa wa niile na magh ass Igbo ma ncha. Isi ngwaa a b g d ng akwkw na ig on (ego) abgh otu n'toass Igbo, na na nghta ha. Akwkw enwegh on ma nmba: A nagh ag ya ka e si agu ego nwere on na nmba. Ka s na ma nke a, I mazigo nke z ah? Ya b, onye s na g akwkw na g ego b otu, ihe na-agwa uwa niile b na b iti, iti bolibo, okpe, mumu, ewu Nupe! na-agwa uwa niile na magh na amagh akwkw, amagh ag na amagh ede, b ora, ora ogbugbu kariri AIDs d ire. na-agwa wa niile na magh ag na amagh ede b njo, njo kachasr njo niile - njo ogbugbu. na-agwa uwa niile na jiri aka ya chp onwe ya n'gbo. Ya askwala na zo erukwagh ya. chpla onwe ye n'or bekee na ihe nd soro ya. chola onwe ya n'agmakwkw di elu. chola onwe ya n'iso nd isi n'otu ndrndr bla. Ndrndr ughu a, n'ebe bla, aghọọla an enyi. Otu onye enwegh ike ibuli ya. Ndrndr abgh aha, nke ji abr azmaha. bu okwe e ji birikambiri, onye daara ibe ya, onye daara ibe ya. b ako, uche na ntbrko ka e ji egwu ya. bgh gbata gbata. bgh a nrsa nime ogwu ma b ahh a na-ach ikwo ya. b ha ogwu juptara. A na-ar kw aba ya. bgh okwu e ji njakri akpa. b akpaalaokwu ka e ji eso ya b akpa okwu. bgh an e ji akpt mma egbu. Obgh g a na-etu on aba. b g e ji akpa uche aba. b ijele nwegasrr ijere nzo ya, na nahuya niile. Onye na-aggh akwkw achola onwe ya niga nlo ezemeezu tpta aro onya ga-eji ala, nala anyi. Nezie, jirila aka ya kpaara onwe ya oke nihe bla, nebe bla, ngbak bla notu bla. meela onwe ya ihe akaje nezi na o ya, netiti mnna ya, nlo ka, nga na naga bla. Otu na otu bla n na ya, ga na-agbara nd ma akwkw bobo, na-agbabara ha oso aha, na-agbara nd z aplko! Ked ka udi onye d etu a ga-esi ebizi nelu wa nke ugbu a? E-mail, Internet, Komputa, Ifo! Bekee aruola ala!



Ebe nd
z na-ekwu maka yunion European Union, Africa Union ka na-ekwe maka tnms komuniti. Nebe nd z nwa ugbu a nnukwute kompn ole na ole na-ejikoz aka abr otu agadaga kompn, ka na-ekwu maka kompn nke ya na m ya nwoke naan. he wa ugbuluaka a, abkwagh nwa Ar iche, mkpọọla iche, nwa hh/isoma ichie; amaala iche, nwaofo iche. b aka weta, aka weta, on eju. b a gbakọọ nwa mmiri n, gbaa ff. b ihe kwr, ott ihe nd z akwnyere ya. b ony aghala nwanne ya. gwebike. Onye naan ya kwzi ugbu a, odudu emee ya ott ihe! Onye na-agagh akwkw agagh aghta iz a, ugbu a. Onye na-amagh akwkw nwere ike nwee otu agadaga lo, ma dgh zo e s aga ya. Nime on ol bla d nlo ya, e nwere televshn (na Akwkw Ns) Mana dgh nkwakwu bla nlo ah niile. Noge ugbu a, olee eve onye, na nd d etu a, ji az aga? kpaakerieri. Mmirnaezonakch. Ibe ya jiri ugbo elu na-aga njem, were moto abal ebe ga-an nobere oche! were br ka br ilulu.





IGBO OR IGBO
ID



Mba na-ach
nolu n'olu

Ma na-as
nolu nolu

Mana ha kwaa
kwara

O daa kwa kwa kwa

O daa n'olu olu



Time was when it was fashionable to be Igbo. It was then a mark of achievement to know and speak Igbo, with pride and gusto especially among th
e neighbours of the Igbo. Northcote Thomas recorded in 1914 that during those times it was nothing strange beyond the Nsukka frontier to find a knowledge of Igbo extendng fully one days match into Igara country but no correspondng knowledge of Igara on the Ibo side of the frontier. The Ovie of Abraka paid tribute and received recognition from the Obi of Abo. Igbo ritualists, smiths and traders from the Igbo heartland were not strangers in Isokoland, Ogoniland and Ijoland. Just as Igala, Nupe and Idoma traders were common sights in Ohambele in Ndokiland. On the southern flank at least in the Niger Delta, at that time, and up to fairly recently, it was fashionable and a mark of achievement to be born of an Igbo mother. For the belief was that:



Onye nne ya na-abugh
onye Igbo

O nagh
aba n'ihe





CHIAKPII CHIAKPII w
ọọọ

CHIAKPII CHIAKPII w
ọọọ





Once upon a time Timer





Once upon a time and it was a very long time ago, the Igbo, the Yoruba the Edo among many others of their present day neighbours
, spoke one very big language. Then some 6000 years ago, so say some historians of language, the Igbo, the Yoruba and the Edo began to speak diffrent languages. And each of the 'new' languages began to develop dialects. But the dialects did not prevent people from understandng themselves. But one thing happened. Those dialects at the culture margins retained, in different respects, the original features of the original Igbo language which historians of language call Proto-Igbo. The Igbo at the centre and periphery of the igbo speech community continued to live and communicate without much difficulty, even though traveling then was severely limited by very many realities. But there were contacts between and among Igbo people who needed to. Trade, trade fairs, politics, marriages, festivals, skirmishes and wars provided veritable avenues for permanent contacts between and among various Igbo people and their neighbours. At that time, the English Language and its syncretic scion, Pidgin were still to be in Igboland. And so transactions between these people must have been in some form of spoken Igbo - the predecessor of our Modern Spoken or Standard Igbo without a Received Pronunciation. It is true that there were written texts here and there in Igboland in different types of scripts - Nsihidi, Uriala, Uri Mmuo and Nwagwu Anieke's. But these were used by 'closed' secret groups and societies for their in-group transactions. And so their influence was very limited. And so the evolving spoken Standard Igbo continued to hold sway especially among the Igbo who had to travel beyond their mba. Even at that, such travelling or travelled igbo must have added diglossia to their Igbo, while for the Igbo at the culture margins bilingualism of the 'native like' type must have been acquired. We are not unmindful of the ambilingualism of the Olukwumi among the Enuani in Aniomaland of Delta state or of E and Ika at Igbanke in Ikaland. Among the Igbo at the culture margins there could have been a sprachbund or language convergence involving the mixture of languages not only in vocabuary but also in the overall structures of Igbo and the languages enjoying convergence with Igbo. It is a pity we have no written records in this area!



And all these came to pass. Then came the Europeans as traders, missionaries and colonial administrators. And Igboland was conouered by force. And sacred Igbo institutions, icons and their language got into a terrible bind. And the English Language was subtlely introduced and imposed through the Education Codes and Ordinances, grants-in-aid to Schools, and the missionary activities of the Catholics, especially during the Sanahan and post-Sanahan eras. The massive bombardment of all these on the Igbo psyche led some of them to the point of believing that 'the native' was a bushman who continued to use his language. The new elite - the Igbo kotuma otue ntu, the interpretes, the cashiers and the non-Igbo colonial administl.ators carried out all their transactions in English, not Igbo. Then came the 'great' Igbo Orthography Question - that big ferocious storm in a tea Cl.lP perpetrated, fuelled and confounded by the CMS and the RCM over the writing of just a few letters of the Igbo Alphabet. So, from 1929 - 1961, no serious creative literahlre was produced in the Igbo Language. Afigbo (1981), and Emenanjo (1974: 1993) among others, have said most of all there is to say about how the Igbo were used by the Igbo to underdevelop their language.



Then came the Nigeria-Biafra War. And the Igbo were again conouered by force. And this came with a new type of linguistic dilemma - the displacement of glossotomy or languag unity, with glossogamy or language splitting. On the eve of the Biafran adventure, the Igbo had a high profile in
Nigeria and so it was fashionable to be Igbo. At the end of the adventure, the Igbo had no profile in Nigeria. And so it was not fashionable to be Igbo.



One of our weak points as a people is that we do not know how to manage crises, adversity failure or misfortune. As an either... or people not a both...and people we cannot understand, let alone reconcile why, in Chinese, the symbol for crises and adversity is the same for challenge, prosperity, success, growth and development. As something likeu, a NothIng People when we charter a society association or group in the interest or service of our people we seem to make it our own, not allowing for new or other synergies and conglomerate action. Why is it that we have so many societies today' fighting' for Nd
Igbo'? Where is Otu Iwelite Asusu na Omenaala Igbo - The Society For Promoting Igbo Language and Culture? Why was Igbo Language Association never allowed to stand?



Okwu m chighaa. With the Fallen House of Biafra, many Igbo-speaking peoples and groups started to say that they are no longer Igbo. This has resulted in new myths of origin in certain communities. If it is not
Benin or some other empire, it must be Oriental. Clearly, all these people have got their anthropology, history, and historiography all wrong. Igbo personal names did not sound well. And so, Ngozi had to be changed to Blessing, Ihuoma to Fineface and Anuri to Happiness, to sound better. Their Igbo place names did not look or sit well in their new states and environment. And so some affixes had to be excavated from the archeology of protor-Igbo for synchronic use. All these irked Obienyem so much that he said so, very despondently but picturesquely, in his poem:



Ihe
kwa Ekwe N-Ekwu



Unu gbaa akwa mmri gafere any
m
gbasagh
m

Ma
b kwr gb gaa onwa

Ma
b wuo l el

Nke
la ed gbru eg

Mgbe un eleghghr
Ass na menl un anya

Ihe un n-eme agbasagh
m



Unu gaa Rosh
m b gaa Amerik
Un mara s
ụọ French ma b dee Jaman

Ma
b gaa ka na London ma b na Rome

Un mara s
m m b mara anya aha

Mgbe as
s un n-dachigha z

Ihe un n-eme agbsagh
m



J.C. Obienyem in Akpa Uche pp. 64-5.



Add that in the spelling practices, the Onwu Orthography and the conventions in use for Igbo since 1961 had to be re-written in all sorts of wa
ys to de-Igbonize them. An agu can discredit its agutude. But it cannot disown it. Or wish it away. It cannot. Never ever!



THE IGBO LANGUAGE AND HUMAN COMMUNICATION



There is nothing new in the observation that there is a one-to-one relationship between language and culture, especially, among a people for who there has not been any language shift and language death. Nor is there any originality in the view that not everything in the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis was headed in the wrong direction. In spite of all that have happened to the Igbo people and their culture, their language has shown a great deal of resilience and vitality, moreso in the spoken medium. The ire-cult survives in the njakili phenomenon which has become a veritable source for word-smithery in the Igbo language. This is found especially among the agbero, mechanics, petty traders, members of the underworld, popular musicians, itinerant magicians, acrobats and vendors of all sorts of mechand
se including Christianity, pimps and prostitutes, and their fellow travellers. There now exist hundreds if not thousands of words, structures, proverbs, anecdotes, wellerisms, as well as slang, argots, and colloquialisms in the Igbo lexicon. It will not be out-of-place to hypothesize that all these may constitute a subculture language of its own, completely closed to outsiders. This language is full of Igbo words with new 'underground' meanings, Engligbo and X-Igbo, where X is any language in contact with Igbo.



If a new 'underground' language for which Igbo is the substratum currently co-exists with Igbo, this is simply because languag is essentially a medium for intra-group human communication in response to the many variables of its dynamic environments and needs. The Igbo language has always been a link and bridge between and among the people rather than a gulf or a gully. Over the 6000 years of its existence, the dialects of Igbo were always media for mutual understand
ng through mutual intelligibility. How?



(i) Human communication, in the same lang
uage, but, in different dialects, is only possible among those who share genetically the same linguistic community and so 'feel they belong to the same language and believe they speak alike in all respects' (Martinet: 1967).



(ii) Igboland constitutes one culure area and, by the same token, one linguistic community: The Igbo linguistic communiiy is a very large one in terms of territory, terrains and population. A large culture area, of necessity, has sub-culture areas. In many respects, dialects are the linguistic equivalents of subcultures.



(iii) When people belong to the same culture area, speak the same language but use different dialects, they are more concerned with understand
ng what is said rather than the way it is said. At their relaxed moments, they make fun of and laugh at the idiosyncracies of the different ways they all say the same thing. With time, these idiosyncratic ways begin to disappear and we have the emergence of a spoken standard. 'What disappears when the speakers of different dialects of the same language meet and speak, each speaking his own dialect are for th'e mot part those peculiarities which people first - or always notice - in others and are inclined to make fun of (Jespersen: 1946).'



(iv) Human language is essentially a cultural construct. It is a sociofact, a mentifact and a artifact fashioned by man for intra-group communication. It is a behaviour that is learned and used by all who believe they belong together in the same culture area.



(v) In spite of present-day differences in the surface structures of different Igbo dialects, they share lots of common things in their underlying structures, from sounds to meanings. Emenanjo' s (1981) comparative study of auxiliaries in the grammar of Igbo reveals that there are correspondences between the various dialectal elements used to express negation, tense and aspect across Igbo dialects. These elements include auxiliaries, tones and tonal patterns which are extraordinarily stable and systematic. Anagbogu's (1991) study of nominalization, Uwalaka's (1983) study of verbal-nominal combinations, Nwachukwu's (1975) study of noun phrase sentential complementation or Igwe's (1974) study of afiixes in the grammar of Igbo, all these reveal unity in basic structures but diversity in dialectal forms for which regular correspondences are available across the dialects. Armstrong's (1967) Comparative Word Lists of Five Igbo Dialects reveals 'one striking unifying factor which is obvious from these lists. There is an extraordinary stability of tone through the whole range of dialects studied. Igbos who speak or understand other dialects than their own are relying to a very great extent on tone. Tones are one of the principal means to mutual intelligibility of dialects.' Tones are also basic if not precond
tions for the mutual 'modification' or 'accommodation' of dialectal forms, when 'unsophisticated, rural', 'traveled' and 'intelligent' Igbo people meet and have to communicate in Igbo. These were the first-hand field experiences and findngs of foreigners like Westermann (1929), Ward (1935; 1941) and Green (1936) concerning how and why the Igbo handle the issue of one language, many dialects. But the significant thing about their findng for us now is this - they all predate the application of lexicostalistics to the study of the Igbo language. They all predate the introduction of glossogamy into Igbo studies. They all were carried out at a time when the Igbo had not become a problem to Nigeria or to themselves. Williamson's study of Ika and Ukwuani and of the Lower Niger Group of Languages where carried out or had their gestation period during the Nigerian civil war. And most, if not all her informants were Igbo students marooned on the Nigerian side of the Nigeria - Biafra war. This whole attempt at creating and reproducing new languages out of Igbo could be called Igbomosaic, following the same phenomenon that has been called Euromosaic in European linguistics.



(vi) Human language is essential to human communication. But human communication involves much more than speech sounds arranged in a structured systems of words, phrases and meanings. It is a complex and intangible phenomenon that is linked to and associated with many variables which unclude physical well being, one's definition and identification of self and group, socia1 needs, the nature of direct and ind
ret experiences within and beyond self and group. It involves dialogue and is thus bidirectional, context-sensitive, culture-driven, simultancous, relatively unstructured, with an interdependence of participants requiring explicit and immediate feedback. Human communications only meaningful in communication contexts in which all the interlocutors who may be two, many or a mass, may be in private or in public. It may be intra-cultural or extra-cultural. So crucial and critical is human communication to the definition of man-in-society that the normal literate person is believed to spend some 70% of his working hours daily communicating. And so central is human: communication to human understandng and intra-, and extra group cohesion that words alone are not and cannot be the only carriers of meaning, in a speech act. This is what is called 'The Container Fallacy' (Haney: 1986). Human communication through speech is conveyed by verbal and none-verbal cues. Non-verbal cues include spatial, temporal, visual and body movements. It is estimated that well over 700,000 possible signs can be transmitted via body movements in the form of eye movements, facial expressions, body mannerisms that accompany speech acts, dresses and costumes, hand gestures, voice cues: volume, loudness, timbre, pitch - among other features of paralanguage. Verbal and non-verbal communication are mutually complementary and mutually reinforce, replace or even contradict each other and one another. Whereas non-verbal cues are known to convey messages that are prmarily relational or emotional, the verbal ones convey messages that are lexical - and lingual. For relational., emotional and lexical communication to effectively take place, the participants must belong to the same speech community, speak the same language, dialects notwithstandng, enjoy robust and warm relationships which filter all the interference and noise which are associated with mistrust, anger or confusion; the impenetrable barriers to mutual understandng, desired feedback, misconception, distortion, improved relationships and action. When all these condtions are met, the input will produce the desired output, and the receiver's meaning will be equal to the sender's meaning. When all these condtions are met it is then, and only then, that real communication takes place. In terms of verbal communication per se, of the four crucial language skills that make up the total communication time, 53% is expended on Listening, 16% on Speaking, 17% on Reading and 14% on Writing. In other words, 69% of 70% of communicating time is expended on the Audion - Oral skills. Listening: effective listening, attentive listening, active listening, is what makes human communication possible moreso for interlocutors involved in intra-cultural communication through dialects. Listening, strategic listening, listening with the 'third ear', listening 'between the lines', empathic listening - these are the condtio sine qua non for intra-group communcation. It is these types of listening that sensitize the participants to the unspoken messages embedded in the non-verbal cues. Listining, and especially discriminatory listening, enables interlocutors to selectively attend to, hear, understand and remember sounds and symbols. Through listening, interlocutors are able to discriminate properly between and among different speech sounds, words, structures, dialectal forms and deconstruct them for the meanings desired. Through hearing interlocutors are able to successfully filter noises from real speech. Through understandng they are able to audit, interpret, re-interpret what they hear and assign meanings to these. In the speech acts of human communication, as in life, empathy and empathic listening enthrone a willing suspension of disbelief and the absence of effective understandng. They establish relationships rather than break them. They keep wide open ALL the channels from speaker to hearer and vice versa. They block the tendency, out of mistrust, fear and prejudice to unduly criticize, summarize, conclude, agree or disagree with the speaker. They block deliberative listening which tends toward minimum understandng of speaker's comments from the speaker's point of view. With empathy and empathic listening, the speakers - hearers are more concerned with understandng what is said rather thah how it is said. Thus, they ignore internal and external distractions. Empathy and empathic listening are very careful and focused. Their thrust is a stubborn willingness not to judge, evaluate, or criticize but rather to be an accepting, permissive and understandng listener. They help interlocutors to mutually get into their inner frames of reference rather than, indvidually, listening and respondng from their different non-mutual frames of reference. From the foregoing, therefore, it is clear that in the pragmatics paralinguistics and ethnography of human communication, many more things are as involved as, if not more relevant than words, the building blocks of language, the concerns of descriptive linguistics and the basic items of which are considered in lexicostatistics. When, therefore, Ika, Ikwere, zi, Ekpeye Ukwuani or Ahoada people say they do not hear or understand Igbo, it is either:



(i)
They have become serious victims of the virus of glossogamy, a post-Biafran epidemic in parts of Igboland; or

(ii) They have refused to use and exploit the potentials inherent and genetic in intra-Igbo communication;

(iii) They are completely devoid of, and lacking the LAD - devices and the audio-oral skills in Igbo; or

(iv) They have forgotten that as a component of ethnicity and group awareness, human language can be used to give or hide information as well as to communicate and exclude; or

(v) They are being plainly and fashionably dishonest playing to the gallery of those who are slavishly interested in the phenomenon of Igbomosaic; or

(vi) They have refused to heed the find
ngs in the Container Theory or the warnings of honest historians or archeologist of language, and of psychologists and sociologists of human communication, that words alone without empathic listening are meaningless in intra-group communication within the same speech community. Some more words about glottochronology and its handmaid, lexicostatistics, for creating so many 'new' languages out of the Igbo language Hicks and Gwynne (1996) and Renfrew (1987), among very many others, have drawn attention to the many flaws in glottochronology - and lexicostatistics as techniques for historical linguistics and dialectology. In the words of Renfrew (1987: 117) 'Glottochronology in its single assumption is just too good to be true. Onwuejeogwu (1975) has drawn attention to some fundamental problems in the application of lexicostatistics in the study of Igbo. And this critique not only forced Williamson to look again at the technique but also to change the nomenclature and classification of Igbo from the Izi Ekpey Group of Related languages or language cluster to the Lower Niger Languages which are essentially all dialects of Igbo. The title of Paul and Inge Meier and John Bendor-Samuel's 1973 book Grammar of Izi: An Igbo Language is mischievious, patronizing and misleading for imposing Euro-American post-Biafran prejudices on Igbo, and mixing politics with academics in general, and linguistics, in particlar. How about a title like this for a book on English linguistics: A Grammar of Cockney: An English Language?



IGBO LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE



Language is primarily spoken. It's survival in the spoken medium is the mark of a people robustly loyal to their language. But its survival in robust creative literature and other literary classics is the mark of a true civilization. For, it is the texts in all the genres of literature, and other ancillary and cognate areas, like phiosophy, literary critisism and stylistics that valorize and perpetuate a language and its civilization. Even if the language eventually dies! Not the linguistic studies or grammars in or about the language. In the use of the Igbo language for creative literary purposes, orature appears to have done better than written literature. With Igbo orature, the genres have been largely identified and established, their structures or forms have also been identified. Hefty collections of some
these have been made and studied. While the minor genres have been reduced to writing (even if amateurishly) - the folktales, proverbs, songs, poems, anecdotes, tongue twister, conundrums; the more mature genrs, - the epics, the sagas and the extended prose narratives are only now beginning to have serious mention in the collections and critiques of the Azuonyes, the Okpehwos, the Ugonnas and the Uzochukwus, among others. It is unfortunate that the rich corpora of tales, epics and sagas which where being collected from the Aguleri areas of Anambra State and studied by the Nsukka School of Igbo Studies under the assiduous professional leadership of the Azuonyes and the Udechukwus, have suffered some serious setbacks with the 'brain drain' that has taken away the duo. For example, from some of the corpora collected and studied under their guidance, it has been established that there are tales which take one long (big) Igbo week i.e. eight days, to tell. I have in my corpora an egwu une, partly narrative and partly sung to the accompainment of the une, a string instrument, a folktale collected from Ibusa. I have transcribed this in some fifty pages of A.4 paper, typed. There is not much problem collecting orature by the professionals. But there is with its transcription. Two problems, among others, stand out. What is the nature of the 'line' in Igbo poesy? For the scholars in the Lagos School of Igbo Studies, 'something' appears to have been extablished. But this 'something' was not quite acceptable to the late Prof. Donatus Nwoga who was battling with this problem at the time that he left. The second problem - the dialect into which the text should be rendered. I believe it should be in the dialects of the performers. Attempts to reduce texts to the sound system and orthography of a Central or Standard variety of Igbo does irreparable damage to the spontaneity vibrancy, unioueness, and authenticity of these texts. Texts collected in any lect or variety of Igbo should be faithfully reproduced in writing, in the lect or variety of the performers with their entire local colour, phonological and structural idiosyncrasies, in full and intact. To do anything different, as the scholars of the Lagos School are doing and teaching their students, does not appear to me to be doing sufficient justice to these works of great creativity.



But why has creativity in written Igbo not fared so well? The Orthography controversy? The Dialect issue? The linguistic and literary 'immaturity' of the practitioners? The neglect of publishers and the formal school system: The absence of receptive and willing audience? The abandonment of literature in Igbo by the 'mature' Igbo creative writers for Literature in English? The genres of Igbo written literature? The shape or structure of the serious, well-crafted prose narrative: cylindrical, curvilinear or linear? Then, the language of creative Igbo literature? Emenyonu's Rise of the Igbo Novel is good schlarship in mellifulous prose for which Emenyonu is known. That book is now a classic. But is it conceived, executed, titled and headed in the right direction? Some scholars brought up in the Euro-American and Anglo-Saxon traditions of literature see everything right and exellent about the contents and argumentation in the book, and tend to trivialize the reactions of scholars of African literature in African languages, to the praxis and crisis of identity thrown up by the text.



Ladies, and Gentlemen, what really is creative literature? It is, simply put, the use of language to create domes of pleasure. It is the use of language through displacement and the exploitation of deviation in its multifarious forms, to provide entertainment, provide food for thought and thought for food for the readers wherever they might find themselves - Ala Bingo Otu Ebe, Ala Iduu, Erewhon, Utopia, Umuofia, Wonderland, Treasure Island etc. Essential to the definition of literature is human language. If written literature is meant to grow from and expand the horizons of the orature of a culture and its people in THE language autochthonous to the culture and its people, shouldn't the written literature of a culture and its people be in THE language ind
genous to the culture and its people? If one of the definitions of poetry is the best words in the best order, or whatever was thought but never so well expressed In a named language should the best words in English crafted'to the best order in English be used to express a poem in Igbo? The essential difference between English Literature and Literature in English lies somewhere between endogamy and autochthony - right there in the bowels of identity.



Now, lastly, - another impression and another problem for Igbo written literatur. Shouldn't great literature flow from the barrels of spontaneity in tranquility? Omen
k, Akpa Uche, Udo Ka Mma are the firsts in their respective genres. And all of them were thrown up by literary competitions. Competitions have time frames. They are prize-driven. They are context-sensitive. They are mechanical. Great written literature takes time to be. It consumes celebral energy. It is not written for a prize or to raise money, like Rasselas. It is not even written by those with formal training in creative writing and literary criticism. Tony Ubesie's works were all written before he went to the university. His Isi Akwu Dara N'Ala and Jụọ Obinna are great prose narratives. Tony Ubesie confided in me that his biro went dry after his exposure to literary aesthetic in the university. The posthumous festschrift we have put together in his honour is seeing its debut at Ahiajku 2001. The Igbo language can do with many more Ubesies in the different genres of creative literature - short stories, novels, plays, poems, faction, etc, etc. Let people write in their dialects if they are not comfortable in or conversant with Standard Igbo. (But why shouldn't they be?) And here I agree with Chinua Achebe. If the works are good and with great potentials they can be re-done in Standard Igbo or translated into English and other Languages by competent hands who should not distort the flavour, the internal logic and dynamics of the works. But will we be ready to read the prose narratives and go to the theatres to watch the plays, and buy the printed texts?



LITERACY AMONG THE IGBO



Literacy in Igbo is very low and I doubt that our people are a theatre-going people. Our people are very selective in expend
ng their money on written texts. Hence church bulletins and denominational newspapers are rarely bought by the faithful. Given my very close association with publishing houses as an editor, a literary agent and assessor, I am aware of hundreds of texts in genres of all sorts IN Igbo.



Some of them are of excellent quality. All these are begging to be published. Publishers, we all know, are into hard-nosed business: not into vanity publishing and philanthropy! Can the Igbo governments of today in all the Igbo states not follow the example of the Literature Bureau of the early colonial governments? And can these governments not help out with Igbo newspapers like the Ogene of old? Abiola is no longer there to give us Udoka. Neither is Ogbalu there to give us Anyanwu. We hope Nzisa, which the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri has established, will succeed and survive like the Odenigbo Lecture Series. What as become of the Imo State Anu - A Journal of Igbo Arts and Culture; the defunct Anambra State Ugo, and the extant Abia State Onwa? All these are veritable outlets for creativity and analyses in Igbo. They all should be revived. For me, these count much more than the Mmanwu Festival of
Enugu State, and the Omenimo and Ugwuabia of Imo and Abia States respectively. I think we have had more than enough of traditional dances and such spectacles. A discussion of language and literacy among the Igbo cannot lose sight of the pervasive (some may say pernicious) presence of and preference for English in Igboland. Igbo ga-ad. Bekee ga-ad. These are realities nobody can or should wish away. Igbo and English laguages are not in competition but in complementation. Igbo is our own. But its use should go beyond phatic communiction and tokenism in public places. English is the one that works! Hence, at World Igbo Days or Congresses whether in the United States of America or in Enugu, the language of most transactions is English, spoken by people in three piece suits or in three-piece babariga or overflowing up-and-down caftans, the Malian style. Yes. We certainly need English Igboland because in Igboland, English occupies an intermediate position between a 'Foreign Language' and a 'Second Language'. On account of this, therefore, just as we are spoiling for 'resource control' in our states, we should also use the concurrent status of education in a democratic federal republic to plan and implement an educational policy that best suits our circumstances. Such a policy should have a robust bilingual education component. A recent World Bank - sponsored project which the National Institute for Nigerian Languages, Aba, has just completed in selected classes in selected primary schools in the Bende LGA of Abia State has thrown up some findngs akin to those from the Ford Foundation sponsored Six Year Primary Project in Yoruba, in parts of Yorubaland. In the whole of Igboland, we need a bilingual education in Igbo and English so that the products will have the necessary language skills to be useful citizens who enjoy reading and writing in Igbo and English. Because, not only are the reading nations the leading nations and the winning nations; those who know how to read and write lead mankind.



NCHIKOTA, NA MKPOKOTA



What we have tried to present you in this year's festival is an okwu, an uka, an ilu, an
kbilu - all these rolled into one. Where is the cohesion? Where are the links? Our interpretation of civilization is not one about large empires and monarchies, military campaign and conquests, big feats and the subjugation of othcrs. No. Civilization for us, is a mental construct populated by ideals, fired by ideas which are the undersoil of Igbo life and cosmos: the four cults that motivate and moderate the Igbo, respect for traditional authority in age and in other institutions including constituted authority; the inscrutability and fear of God, reverence for life and the awe and usefulness of death; wisdom to appreciate that man, nations and civilizations are not great by the virtue of their wealth but by the wealth of their virtues; wisdom to distinguish between appearance and reality, and the ephemeral (Ezemfu the wastrel; z nk, enyi) from the permanent (Ezeji: the achiever; z mmiri; z). We have argued against group illiteracy and the dropout syndrome. We have emphasized that illiteracy is a sin, a mortal sin; a crime, a capital crime. Illiterate people are liabilities. They have no dreams, no theoretical thinking, no strategic planning. They have no focus and lack long term durable ideals. They lack all the skills of language and cannot use language to articulate ideas. They cannot engage in geometric reasoning and can neither be proactive nor synergize. They lack Stevn Cowen's seven attributes of the Effectiveness, and the seven desirable virtues in the Vision 2010 Report needed to steer Nigeria and her plural ethnic nationalities, of which the Igbo are one, into modernity and economic prosperity.



The Igbo of the 21st century must see education for what it is - the summation of all the processes for developing abilities, attitudes and all other forms of positive attributes needed for self and group socialization, realization and the total empowerment; the acquisition of skills of all sorts including the skill of being civilized. Ability to live with problems and paradoxes and find solutions to them. We need language transmission in Igboland. We abhor the issue of lack of inter-generational transmission leading to language shift, and the absence of language loyalty among the Igbo. There are, among the Igbo, population movements, urbanization, mixed marriages, pressures to learn the official language. These should not be seen as liabilities but as challenges to the Igbo language - and the Igbo people.



CHAKPII w
ọọọ

CHAKPII w
ọọọ

CHAKPII w
ọọọ



Igbo and Igboid have been used in this work as metaphors. Igbo is unity with diversity; Igboid, diversity without unity. Word compound
ng, derivational processes and holistic dualism in the language of the civilization point in the direction of one rather than of the other? Ked nke any ch?



THANKS AND APPRECIATION



Permit me now, Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Ladies and Gentleman, to do the first thing last. Thanks and appreciation.
I feel highly elated. My family, friends and associates feel very happy. My discipline feels fully recognized, for all the honour done to all of us for being the first Ahiajku lecturer in the new millenium. We thank, most profusely, all those who have made this possible.

Igbo b
Igbo mma mma n
Alawala m, n

Amaala, mma mma n

Alawala m, n

Igbo b
Igbo mma mma n
Alawala m, n

Na
jira kwezuon
Alaala m
Na
jira alaala m n
Kwezuon






E. Nolue Emenanjo

National Institute for Nigerian Langu
ages, Aba

 

 


 

 

OPERATION KPOCHAPU

By OBU UDEOZO[MSOffice4] , University of Jos, Nigeria.

 

with swords longer than one year

and sharper than acid

horse whips and python clubs

 

they combed the teeth of every rock

 

armpits of mountains

bowels of forests

and surveilled ant-holes across the land

 

for Igbos to roast across the land

 

waves, upon waves, upon waves

trainloads, trailers, and trucks,

in wheelbarrows and body bags;

football fields and market squares

 

their massacre was aflame...

 

Igbos blossomed in graveyards

saturating streets

with blood and bones


 

 

from Kano to Kaura Namoda,

Kafanchan to Fadan Karshi,

from Bornu to Timbuktu

Igbos were cleansed

from rooftops and market squares

 

until the ocean vanished

and the sea surrendered

her last plea of moisture...

 

-and they are not appeased

 

their revenge is aflame...

 

the universe froze

at the ferocity of mankind

darkness ruled the hearts of men

Africas holocaust unmapped....

 

and daylight

vomited blood

and reconstructed graveyards

groaned from saturations afresh

 

in streetsful of dead Igbos

the climate was:

blood and bones

 

but these they labelled flies

void census and statistics

 

for their revenge is aflame...

 

with the pogroms switch

in automatic mode

and the 3-year war on song


 

 

Nweke Udeozo

my father said:

witness historys first

colour blind marriage across the compass;

Communism and the West

in a strange and sudden tango

to pepper Igbos with

one annihilating blow...

 

Agrippa and Pilates

romance

over the blood of Christ

 

and our brothers

arrived in fractions

 

our brothers

arrived as spare parts

 

Gabriel Okoh, Theo Okeke, ...

 

Chief George Mbonu; and Mrs. Adekunle whose knife

is sacred but her teeth craves forbidden meat:

punctiliously signalled Nwandu to the assassins...

 

from Kano to Kaura Namoda,

rooftops to market squares

until the ocean vanished

 

and the dark census awakes:

 


Z ND NA EZIOKWU
Towards an Understanding of Igbo Traditional Religious L
ife and Philosophy

by
Rev. Professor Emmanuel Nlenanya Onwu

1. INTRODUCTION

Ndi Igbo have suffered the double misfortune of being misunderstood and having a bad press. In spite of their stupendous achievements in every area of human endeavour, particularly in science and technology, religion and education, the Igbo nation has been deliberately and systematically marginalized. At the risk of sounding patriotic and accommodating, Ndi Igbo have suffered the loss of their human rights and dignity but have also shown great courage and determination to survive as a people.

The questions arise. What is it that keeps Ndi Igbo going despite all odds? What is it that makes them behave, act, and move the way they do? What is the power behind the Igbo? Why was Igbo religion in conflict with Christianity? Why do the Igbo love the Christian way of life? The answers to these questions are the main focus of this paper.

These answers definitely are rooted in the traditional religious life and philosophy of Ndi Igbo. It has been rightly observed that the Igbo are a highly religious people. Writing about the Igbo in the early 1900, Major A.G. Leonard in his book The Lower Niger and Its Peoples remarked that:

They are in the strict and natural sense of the word a truly and a deeply religious people, of whom it can be said that they eat religiously, drink religiously, bathe religiously, dress religiously and sin religiously. In a few words, the religion of these as I have all along endeavored to point out is their existence and their existence is their religion.



This observation is not only true of the Igbo but also of other Africans. Professor J.S. Mbiti (1969:1) more than fifty years later in the opening sentence of the very first chapter of his book, African Religions and Philosophy has re-echoed similar statement which summarized the traditional religious attitude of Africans when he said:

Africans are notoriously religious, and each people has its own religious system with a set of beliefs and practices. Religion permeates into all the departments of life so fully that it is not easy or possible always to isolate it. A study of these religious systems is therefore, ultimately a study of the people themselves in all complexities of both traditional and modem life. Religion is the strongest element in traditional background, and exerts probably the greatest influence upon the thinking and living of the people concerned.

Similarly, after observing how religion thoroughly permeated the life of every Igbo, Bishop Shanahan was cited by John P. Jordan (1971:115) as having come to the conclusion that:

The average native (Igbo), was admirably suited by environment and training, for an explanation of life in terms of the spirit; rather than of the flesh. He was no materialist. Indeed nothing was farther from his mind than a materialist philosophy of existence. It made no appeal to him.

In the context of this paper, Igbo religion and philosophy are perceived as two sides of the same coin which Leonard, Shanaham and Mbiti acknowledged. In order to understand and arrive at the meaning of Igbo religion and philosophy, it is not necessary to engage in a definition or analysis of concepts. On this I agree with Kunirum Osia that this is because in Igbo, religious categories are not bound together in a purely ideal order. The categories do not form a system, a bundle of abstractions, as it were. Rather, they define a style of life, and a guide to practical living. Unlike the major world religions, Igbo religion is not codified or formulated into systematic dogmas. It is culturally learned and adopted. It is a tradition. Religion is an intrinsic part of culture. Culture is itself the totality of knowledge and behaviour, ideas and objects that constitute the common heritage of a people in a given society. And as a lifestyle, culture covers every aspect of the society's life in their efforts to relate with their environment, with one another and as well as the ideational elements within the society. Scholars agree that they are layers of culture. Kato (1976:8) had identified the philosophical level of culture as its core. Philosophical not in the sense of abstraction but in the sense of reality -- what is viewed as the real thing that gives answers to life's problem. The philosophical level is the basic thinking or idea of a community. It answers the question as to what gives meaning to life. Close to this hard core of culture is the mythical level, which is made up of the basic beliefs of the people, which gives meaning to life. In a sense, people's culture constitutes their beliefs, customs, ethos, and manners which of course enshrine morality. Whereas, on the one hand, cultural elements can be discerned from the people's religion, the people's religion itself is an intrinsic part of the people's culture in a broader sense. Therefore studying one is by implication studying some of the vital elements of the other. Philosophy is therefore the heart of culture.

Religion and philosophy are therefore concerned with the beliefs and practices of the people. T. U. Nwala (1985:26) in his book Igbo Philosophy argues that the best word or concept which expresses Igbo philosophy is Omenala or Omenan
which literally means that which obtains in the land or community and refers to what accords with the customs and traditions of the Igbo people. For Nwala, Igbo philosophy is the philosophy of Omenala, Omenala referring to the spirit, the underlying principal or idea behind a particular custom/act. The inseparability of the two concepts are similarly recognized by Professor N.S.S. lwe when he argued that the African, Traditional Religion is inseparably interwoven with the traditional African society and culture. This is because African traditional religion is essentially a philosophy and a spiritual way of life, which permeates, pervades and animates the traditional social institution, norms and celebrations. Nwala (1985:112-200) also agreed with the inseparability of Igbo religion and philosophy. He rightly noted that generally a people or an individual may have a philosophy but no religion, but no people or individual may have a religion without a philosophy. Religion and philosophy are intimately related both in the belief and practice content. We must note here that every Igbo ritual act - sacrifice, dance, festival, has a philosophy or idea behind it; it is such an idea that motivates such act. Both involve basic belief, a philosophy, an underlying principle, or an idea, which generate actions and behaviours, which influence individual or group. Therefore it is obvious that a discussion of traditional Igbo religion must involve a discussion of Igbo philosophy. The main justifications rest on:

1) That Igbo religion and philosophy are centered on Chukwu, the Supreme God and

2) The fact that the sacred and the secular are held together. In other words, the secular life of the Igbo like all other traditional communities has been inseparable from their religious life. Their cosmology has a deep religious root and their practical life and moral values are interwoven with their religion. The only weakness is that their philosophy has often lacked what Nwala rightly called critical and analytical content"



The point being emphasized is the appropriateness of the expression Igbo religion and philosophy. Religion and philosophy originated from native African soil (Onyewuenyi, 1993) and therefore indigenous to the Igbo as well. Both are about our way of life, concerned with meaning and explanation.



In other words, the burden of our argument is that one of the challenges of Ndi Igbo in the 21st century is religious. Therefore, our intention is to engage .in a hermeneutical exposition of some aspects of Igbo religion and philosophy from the Igbo African point of view. It is here we find the essence of the reality of Igbo scholarship in the traditional Igbo religion.



I am not, however, ignorant of the propaganda mounted by western writers about the sub-humanity of Africans as a people without history, without religion, (Green, 1964:52) denying them any conception of morality (Basden; 1966:34) and lacking in intellectual and technological accomplishments. I am not unaware of how African religions in general, and Igbo religion in particular suffered neglect, misinterpretations and distortions in the hands of missionaries and colonial government and their agents.



Without any intention to criticize any of these previous writers who had done veritable work in the study of African religions, our position is rather to indicate a positive contribution to the on-going quest for a meaningful and contextual interpretation of some aspects of Igbo religion and philosophy from the African point of view. The work will draw attention to the great potential Igbo religion and philosophy hold out for the unity, peace and progress of the people was well as to argue that Igbo religion and philosophy has been the key to Igbo self-understanding, identity and achievement within the Nigerian State. We will emphasise within that context that the religious challenge of the 21st century is for the Igbo to take a leap of faith and be fully restored in their relationship with 'Chukwu' first entered into by Igbo first ancestor and to insist that Christianity and education which act as sources of empowerment remain the only viable option that can equip the Igbo with character and knowledge that can transform us into instruments of change in the 21st century world which is knowledge-based, technology- driven and responsive to environmental concerns. We will begin this study by probing into the origin of the Igbo and their religion.



2. ORIGIN OF IGBO TRADITIONAL RELIGION



2.1. Who are the Igbo?



The puzzle about Igbo origin has been attributed to lack of interest in Igbo studies either from our own people or from outsiders. This problem was compounded by the fact that some Igbo people did not accept others as being lgbo, for instance, Mbieri people did not regard the Onitsha people as Igbo (Green, 1964:7; Isichei, 1976:19)



Similarly, some groups in Onitsha who traced their root to Benin kingdom used the expression 'nwa onye Igbo (an Igbo person) in a spiteful manner to refer to other Igbo people (Onunwa, 1990:2). Most scholars are agreed that there was no real sense of pan-lgbo identity in the pre-colonial period, that the village groups felt a strong sense of local patriotism (Isichei, 1976:19; Talbot, 1926:404). The Igbo studies by C. K. Meeks (1937) and M.M. Green (1964) only helped to perpetuate the bad press the Igbo already had as a lawless and ungovernable people.



We do not intend to go into the old speculative arguments about the theories of Igbo origin and expansion. The people we intend to focus on in this work are found in the South-eastern part of Nigeria and are presently comprised of the people of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and parts of Delta, Rivers, Cross River and Akwa-Ibom States. The Igbo have common boundaries with the Igala and Idoma on the north, the Ijaw and the Ogoni on the South, the Yako and the Ibibio on the Eastern boundary and the Bini and Warri on the West. The Igbo geographical area are what scholars call a culture area, rural or urban, manifesting distinctive characteristics or traits.
nwejegw (1975) in his Article "the Igbo Culture Area" identified six basic traits which include: the linguistic, social, political, economic, ritual, and cultural traits.



There are five identifiable sub- culture areas within the Igbo culture area made up of:



(1) Eastern or Cross River Igbo (2) Southern or Owerri Igbo, (3) northern or Onitsha Igbo (4) Western Igbo and (5) North-Eastern Igbo (Forde and Jones, 1950:10) Inspite of the obvious sub cultural differences, the Igbo see themselves as one people and at the same time outsiders see them as a homogeneous entity. They are a unique people. While the Yoruba could find their kins in Burkina Faso and the Hausa could find their kins in Chad and Niger, historians are yet to tell us where- the Igbo could be found other than in the South- eastern part of Nigeria.



In recent times, our scholars have engaged in an exciting and fruitful research into Igbo origin. Their efforts are highly commendable. Professor A.E. Afigbo has ably articulated the scholarly views on Igbo origin in his books Ropes of Sand (1981) and more recent monograph - Igbo Genesis (2000). The weight of scholarly opinion rests mightily on situating Igbo origin within the Negro race generally but particularly in
West Africa because of the Kwa language family in which the Yoruba, Edo, Igbo, Igala, Ijo, and Idoma fell. It may sound funny but historians should not snub the Igbo Nri myth which claimed that man's origin started from Igboland when God created Eri and sent him down. The Nri creation myth says that Chukwu the Igbo high God sent down the Igbo ancestor Eri and his wife Nnamaku somewhere in Aguleri. From these two human beings originated the Umueri and Umunri clans of the Igbo. Though the myth did not assert that the rest of Igbo people originated from Eri, many Igbo scholars have come to believe and treat Nri town as the heart of Igbo nationality. Similar myths of creation are found among the Bini and Yoruba. The importance of the Nri myth is not only historical but also religious. The Igbo acknowledged their divine origin and not that they came into existence by chance. It is a figurative expression that has tremendous historical import. In Time Magazine of July; 22, 2002 pages 50-55 and also the Guardian Newspaper of Thursday, September 19, 2002, we find the recent archeological findings of the earliest ancestor of modern homo sapiens named 'Toumai (hope of life), with the scientific name sahelanthropus tchadensis (Sahel hominid from Chad) dated about 7 million years old in the Lake Chad region. That man first settled in Africa is no longer an archeological statement, but a historical fact. It has also further disproved the theory of Charles Darwin that man originated from the apes.



In fact conventional wisdom ostensibly based on earlier discoveries had placed the origin of man around the
Great Rift valley of East Africa, the new Lake Chad findings by Professor Michael Brunet, a paleontologist from the University of Poitiers in France has challenged the current thinking on human origins and also "the migratory patterns of the world. One fact is obvious; the myth of Igbo origin may be taken more serious. This is because the current findings have shifted attention from East Africa to the Lake Chad region which is closer to Nigeria. In the past three decades nobody thought about this, perhaps a little patience may lead to another finding East of the Niger.



Speculations about Igbo ancestry whether it was Eri as in Nri myth Digbo as contained in Nwosus Ndi Ichie Akwa Mytholody and Folklore Origins of the Igbo (1983) cannot be historically confirmed. However, both Igbo myth of origin and archeological discoveries show that Igbo history and culture go far back into human history.



2.2. ORIGIN OF IGBO TRADITIONAL RELIGION



2.2.1. VIEWS ON THEORIES OF ORIGINS OF RELIGIONS



As far as we know, all human societies have possessed beliefs and practices which have come to be grouped and known under the name religion. Religion is thus a universal phenomenon. Speculation about which religion would be superior has never been of scholarly interest but rather why religion is found at all in all societies.



The quest for the origins of religion has centered on four main views. The first refers to the psychological theories, which cover a variety of postulations, which 1ocate the origin, of religion in primitive peoples concept of ghosts, the soul and even in the deification of natural phenomena. One of the most enduring strands was that the origin of religions is in fetishism worship of the animate and inanimate things, which the early Portuguese observed in
West Africa. Edward Tylor credited as having constructed the first theory of religion assumed that belief in the existence of the soul stemmed from speculation about such states as dreams, trances and death (Ember, 1977, 246-250). Thus in Tylors view religion may have arisen out of an intellectual curiosity concerning mental states and other things not fully understood. This is the basis of the religious belief which Tylor called 'animism. It was Herbert Spencer who modified Tylors view by giving prominence to belief in ghosts rather than in souls as the source of religion. Spencer moved the idea further by linking the belief in ghosts to the belief in gods which he also equated with the ghost of ancestors (Nwanunobi 1992: 166-169). It was Crawleys Idea of the Soul that primitive mans fear was posited as the root of religion.



In sum, all psychological theories agreed that whatever the origin or purpose, whatever the belief or rituals, religion served to reduce anxiety, and uncertainly which are common to all people. Second Sociological theories suggest that religion stems from society's needs. Emile Durkhein recognized that it is the society not the individual which is the society; not the individual which distinguishes between sacred and profane things. He suggested that a sacred object symbolizes the social fact that society considered something sacred. In other words the sociological theories concentrate on religion as significant to social solidarity and the integration of the relevant society within which the feelings, belief and practices are common.



It was argued that societies from ancient times modeled their cosmology after their own experiences. Aristotle in Politics (1.1.7} tersely stated as follows:



As men imagine gods in human form, so also they suppose their manner of life to be like their own.



Aristotle's view was extended by later scholars who saw a relationship between political sophistication and the nature of a people's cosmology (Nwanunobi, 1992:168). Thus Fuste1 de Coulanges argued that ancestor worship as the origin of religion since in ancient societies before the larger forms of political organizations: the family was the basis of co-operation and survival.



The third suggestion is the combination of the psychological and sociological approaches. This position argued that religion is a response to strain or deprivation which is caused by events in society. Thus, when the society is stable, its efforts and its energy are employed to maintain its equilibrium. But when the stability is threatened either by internal dissension or by outside force, the society many revitalize itself by various means. Perhaps this revita1ization is achieved by a new cult, sect, denomination or religion. Aberle (1971: 528-531) has argued that relative deprivation, whether economic or social, is the cause of the stress which generates new religious movements. Wallace {1966:30) suggested that the threat of societal breakdown forces people to examine new ways to survive. It is the hope they gain from the new ways - not deprivation for people can live for centuries in deprivation-which leads them to revitalize their society.



The last view for the origin of religion which anthropologists and psychologists do not like to mention is that of revelation. Revelation is Gods disclosure of himself to man. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 1:1-2, God has in the last days finally and fully revealed himself to humanity. Christ is the full expression of God's revelation, better than anything in the Old Testament, and so the author warns his readers to depend on Christ alone. Igbos believe in Gods revelation to their ancient ancestors, including revealing his name as Chukwu. It is with this conviction we now discuss the origin of Igbo traditional religion.



2.2.2. IGBO TRADITIONL RELIGION: IT'S GENESIS



Our Igbo ancestors were philosophers who were inspired by Chiukwu/Chukwu, the Supreme Being. In other words, our Igbo ancestors like other ethnic groups received the revelation of God. Igbo religion is as old as humanity. It is a well-established fact that religion in
Africa in general is at the root of African culture. Its is the determining principle of African life. Thus religion is their basic philosophy and philosophy is their religion.



It is for this reason that one comes to the conviction that the Igbo people are born religious. In Igbo world, time and space, objects and persons are made sacred. People born into the Igbo world approximate to the spiritual. Thus people are born with their personal Chi or personal god or protective spirit.



The question here is what is the origin of this religious sentiment in the Igbo? In other words what is the origin of Igbo traditional religion? This question has not been a scholarly focus. Many renowned Igbo scholars have written on many aspects of Igbo traditional religion but that question has never attracted their conscious attention.



Professor A. E. Afigbo (1981:9) in his Ropes of Sand first muted the idea of the origin Igbo Traditional religion, and I share his insight on the subject.



The history of the origin of Igbo traditional religion must be sought within Igbo history of origin. Igbo lived a hazardous wandering life of the hunter and gatherer of wild edible plants. The tradition of Nri disclosed how the Igbo entered a settled 1ife which brought him further development of skills.



The Nri Myth has it that the father of all Nri was Eri. When Eri was sent by Chukwu from the Sky to the earth, he sat on an anti-hill because he saw watery marshy earth. When Eri complained to God Chukwu, sent an Awka blacksmith with his fiery bellow and charcoal to dry the earth. After the assignment, the Awka blacksmith was given
f as a mark of authority for his smithing profession. While Eri lived, Chukwu fed him and his people with azu-igwe! But this special food ceased after the death of Eri. Nri his first son complained to Chukwu for food. Chukwu ordered Nri to sacrifice his first son and daughter and bury them in separate graves. Nri complied with it. Later after three-Igbo-weeks (Izu at = 12 days) yam grew from the grave of the son and cocoyam from that of the daughter. When Nri and his people ate these, they slept for the first time; later still Nri killed a male and female slaves burying them separately. Again, after Izu Ato, an oil palm grew from the grave of the male slave, and a bread fruit tree (ukwa) from that of the female-slave (Afigbo, 1981:41-42). With this new food supply, Nri and his people ate and prospered. Chukwu asked him to distribute the new food items to all people but Nri refused because he bought them at the cost of sacrificing his own children and slave. Nri and; Chukwu made an agreement. According to M. D. W. Jeffreys (1956:123) a tradition has it that:



As a reward for distributing food to the other towns Nri would have the right of cleansing every town of an abomination (nso) or breach, of crowning the eze at Aguleri, and of tying the Ngulu (ankle cords) when a man takes the title of ozo. Also he and his successors would have the privilege of making the Oguji, or yam medicine, each year for ensuring a plentiful supply of yams in all surrounding towns, or in all towns that subjected themselves to the Eze Nri. For this medicine all the surrounding towns would come in and pay tribute and Umunmdri people then could travel unarmed through the world and no one would attack or harm them.



Another tradition claims that because Nri would not sell yam to his neighbours, he then demanded seven fowls, chalk, a pot and goats, with these he made medicine Ifeji
k, the yam spirit, which he gave to the applicants. They took this home with the new crops and sacrificed to it. This tradition has some variation but basic facts still remains (Isichei, 1977:22-23; Thomas, 1913:50).



The discovery of yam cultivation formed not only the economic base of Igbo civilization but it also carried tremendous religious import. It was of such great importance that it was given ritual and symbolic expressions in many areas of Igbo life -- (Sacrifice at Nfijoku/ Ifeji
k during Yam festival/Iriji). The Nri myth suggested how agriculture and iron technology brought tremendous changes in the life of the Igbo. These changes Afigbo rightly indicated includes (1) the more effective mastery of the land, (2) the growth of population, (3) the elaboration of the archetypal Igbo social institutions (4) the evolution of a cosmological system in which the Earth (Ala, Ani, Ali) then became deified and occupied the central place as the ordainer and guardian of morality, the source of law and customs.



It is significant to note here the emergence of Igbo cosmology from the Nri myth in which
Ala {Earth goddess) became the arch-divinity in Igboland. Thus from the myth the Earth (Ala, Ani, Ali) was so important to the Igbo that it became the most vital function of Eze Nri to preside over its worship.



This development accords with the otiose character of Chukwu - the Supreme Being - in Igbo cosmology and the domination of the lgbo world by the Earth goddess. This is not only peculiar to the Igbo; it is a common perception of the Supreme Being as Deus Otiosus in primal religions.



The Nri myth which contains Igbo cosmology also has in it an important dimension of historical truth not yet hitherto recognized, namely, the origin or evolution of Igbo traditional religion (Afigbo, 1981:9). We wish to suggest and maintain based on Nri myth that Igbo traditional religion is going through a three-stage development. The first stage is what we may call the Eri period. This period agrees with Professor Afigbo's periodization in 1983 which he labeled the a-horizon. This first stage is the earliest period of human existence, the probable dynamic age of Chukwu, when God created and dominated the earth, including the Igbo world. The age of pure intuition marked by the over powering awareness of the presence and nearness of Chukwu the creator. The God fed Eri and his people and Eri had intimate contact with Chukwu and worshipped him alone. This was the age of innocence and what existed at period was pure religion. This was because man had not come to need intermediaries between him and his creator. Igbo myths and folklores lend validity to this claim (New; 1985:15-32 Iwuagwu).



'The second stage is the hunting and gathering stage of existence when the Igbo had not fully come to a full appreciation of the value of the land. This I call the Nri period, when with the coming of agriculture and iron technology the Igbo attention shifted from the sky above to the earth below, with Ala, Ani, Ali displacing 'Chukwu' into a supposedly remote inactivity. This is the supposed period in primal societies including Igbo when 'Chukwu' came to be perceived as the Deus Otiosus the withdrawn God, the absentee landlord. This period marked the dominance of the Earth goddess in Igbo traditional life and the origin of Igbo traditional religion. Based on Nri myth, it became the chief function of Eze Nri to preside over the worship, veneration and purification of the Earth through rituals and sacrifices. Professor Afigbo calls this period the b-horizon marked by recession of pure intuition, the fall of man, the withdrawal of the creator and the domination of man's daily existence by a hose of gods and spirits. At this time the Igbo adopted divinities which appear to work in controlling their world.



The dominance of the Earth goddess in Igbo land at this period is well acknowledged. On this Professor Anene (1966:12-13) stated:



Among the Igbo law and custom were believed to have been handed down from the spirit world from time immemorial from ancestor to ancestor. The spirit world comprised a hierarchy of gods: the most important perhaps was the god of the land-the unseen president of the small localized community. No community is complete without the shrine of the god of the land.



The god of the land in context refers to the Earth goddess whose influence is very great in a society whose economy is primarily agricultural. It is at this stage that the Igbo abandoned the worship of Chineke God to the worship of the created things. The acknowledgement of the High God, the Creator, at the same time as he is dealt with as remote or withdrawn forms the major basis of the concept of deus otiosus or deus remotus or deus absconditus which many writers have given attention to at various times (Pettazzoni, 1954:Horton, 1971 85-108)



Apart from the worship of Ala, other divinities arose in several other communities. Some of the prominent ones included Ibinukpabi of Ar
chukwu, Amadiha (or Kamal) also known as the "god of: thunder" whose shrine was at OZUZU (now in Rivers State); the Ogbunworie of Ezumha, Mbano; Igwekaala of Umunha (South-Igbo sub-culture area); Agbala of Awka and ha Mmiri of Oguta to name a few.



The organizers of these cults were diviners, priest, medicine men, traders and other ritual experts as we
ll as men of note in the community who considered their life, political and economic interests threatened. Quite often people go to these divinities to take oath. Their origin in most of those communities is unknown, they do not have documentary history but they were believed to have been brought by their respective ancestors many of whom were unknown to them. Some of them are said to have taken their origin from outside Igbo territory and especially from Igbo neighbours such as Efik, Ibibio Yako and Ekoi. (Onunwa, 1990:11, 21, 31).



Two of the prominent Oracular divinities - Ibinukpabi of Ar
chukwu and Ogbunworie of Ezumuha were destroyed by the British in 1901/02 and 1910 respectively, but their influence still linger. At the moment there are severa1 millions of deities and divinities in Igbo land.



In this second stage, however, it is obvious that something definitely went wrong. It is the stage that Igbo ancestors abandoned the worship of God the Creator to the worship of the created things -
Ala and other divinities. At this point, the created being becomes so powerful that it took the place of 'Chukwu' in Igbo traditional life. Ikeji or Iri ji (yam festival) which Ndi Igbo celebrate with fanfare is part of the ritual that goes with the worship of the yam spirit (Ifejik; Ahiajk). Many rituals and sacrifices accompany this celebration even in our time. Loss of contact with 'chukwu' generated insecurity and fear which necessitated the development of seeking help from powerful deities for protection and for doing evil.



Thus there came a great gap, a lacuna in Igbo spirituality. As the Nri myth would tend to suggest there arose a broken link between chukwu and Igbo ancestors, a broken link that has to be restored.



The development gained impetus in the third stage of development of Igbo traditional religious life. This period Prof.. Afigbo called the c-horizon but which we now refer to as the Ar
Era. The Ar Era is what Professor Afig designated in his Ropes of Sand as the era of Archukwu Ascendancy with its Ibinukpabi Oracle - their famous Long Juju. The era, which we regard as "the most tragic" for the Igbo race because of the evils of slave trade and slavery. A lot has been written about it. It is obvious that Eze Ar one of the highly recognized kingship stools in Igbo land pre-date the existence of Ibinukpabi Oracle. It is an Oracle, which no Ar person would like to discuss. However, it is generally believed to have been imported from a small Ibibio shrine (Isichei, 1976:59). The influence of the oracle in Igbo land was like a harmattan fire. It is believed to have conferred so much prestige and authority on the Ar to such an extent that in 1896 an Ar person proudly announced to a white man at Aba in "broken English" that he was an 'Ar man' and a 'God boy' (Isichei, 1976:59). Scholars agreed that the oracle rested on a deliberate deception. The Ar civilization of the period was extremely idolatrous, materialistic and dehumanizing. The Ar civilization generated trade in which the Igbo were commodities of trade. The slave trade bred a disregard for human life. It is reported that in Nsukka ten human slaves sold for a horse and in Uburu in the 1880's a horse was exchanged for four to six adult human slaves (Isichei, 1978:47). Professor nwejegw indicated that Ibinukpabi supported slave trade, which brought into Igboland depopulation due to instigated wars, family disorganization, ritual cannibalism and human sacrifices (1987:56). Thus Ar at this period combined slave trade and manipulation of the oracle by a highly intelligent group or kinsmen for their religious and economic interests. Thus fear of insecurity, constant wars, headhunting at this period led many Igbo resort to seeking the protection of divinities and deities most of which were imported.



Similarly there emerged highly developed secret societies as a new (p.12) instrument of social control. This is not to say that secret society was absent in Igbo land but it became prominent. The Ar
brought secret societies from Efik-Ibibio areas into Igbo land, such as Ekpe, Okonko, Obong, Akang. The Ar made great use of them and because of their influence cult houses were erected for them at the village centers of several Igbo communities, for effective control of communities. They also made use of nsibidi sign for communication which made the need for initiation quite attractive. Thus it was common to hear that the need to belong to a secret cult would enable one pass through the road (ka ewere ya ga n'uzo). In effect, this period brought about the multiplication of deities or divinities for security.



In sum, according to Igbo myth Igbo religion in its purest form originated as a direct revelation of 'Chukwu, 'Chineke' to the Igbo earliest ancestor. In course of time, the subsequent earliest Igbo ancestors lost touch with the original revelation, and turned their back on 'Chukwu' but focused on the worship of created things -- Ala/An
(the Earth goddess) not as creator but as their sustainer and protector. This leads to the theory of the origin of Igbo traditional religion as a combination of psychological and sociological needs for their protection and survival.



Thus in their various studies Basden, (1938), Meek, (1943), Forde and Jones, (1962), Ilogu (1973), and other numerous researches conducted on Igbo traditional religion in the department of religion, all agree that the idea of 'Chukwu,' Chineke,' is central to Igbo traditional belief and life. We agree with Nwanunobi (1992) that the overwhelming situation is such that even though there is a belief in the Supreme God in Igbo traditional religion, the brand of belief is characterized as polytheistic. It is a type of polytheism in which the High God, 'Chukwu' presides over the lesser gods often perceived as intermediaries in the cosmic hierarchy. The Earth goddess was the arch-divinity with omenala as its governing moral code which regulates human relationship with the land according to what obtains in the land or community.



Having therefore examined rather briefly the origin of Igbo man and his traditional religion let us then inquire into how the Igbo man perceived his world, his person, his vision and his mission.



3. IGBO PERCEPTION OF THEIR WORLD



Igbo world-view is significant in understanding the Igbo man and his identity, his vision and his mission in the world.



The Igbo traditional understanding of the world and reality as a whole is religious and holistic. The universe is conceived of a cyclical order as the seasons of the year, the sun, the moon, the stars and natural events in general repeat themselves in an interminable way. Mircea Elide calls this repetitive order in nature as the "myth of eternal return" (1959). This ordered succession symbolized harmony, persistence and dynamism. This order must not be disrupted in the Universe in which the different levels of space as perceived are inhabited.



A critical look at the Igbo world -- view would throw light on the rationale for man's insistence on maintaining the delicate balance or cordial relationship between him and the spirit beings in the spirit world as well as ensure the maximum success of his life on earth.



3.1. GOD AND gods IN IGBO



As a matter of fact, Igbo religious philosophy (religion and philosophy) begins with his conception of the Supreme God variously called Chiukwu, Chukwu, Chineke (Obasi di n'elu). The Supreme Being is the primal being.



Though the Igbo traditional religious thought cannot lay any special claim as to a clearer and more comprehensive perception of the nature of the Supreme God than any other group of mankind, yet there are numerous references and attributes which the Igbo use to express their keen awareness of the supreme reality and ultimate explanation of all the things. Philosophically in this regard, the Supreme Being is conceived under two major principles - (1) the principle of creation (Chi-Okike) (Chineke) (2) the principle of Absoluteness (Chi-Ukwu) (Chiukwu).



Both principles are implied in the principles of (i) divinity and (ii) absolute dependence, which are expressed in the conception of "Chi" or personal god (Nwala, 1985:115-116). In creation, Chukwu or Chineke is the creator of all things including man whom he endows with his nature and his destiny. This nature and destiny are referred to as 'uwa' and 'chi' which every person possess. The principle of creation (Okike) (Chineke) shows man's divine origin.



The second principle - the principle of absoluteness means absolute/perfect in power and might in everything. Here he is Chi-Ukwu (the Great God Chukwu), his other names such as Chukwuka (God is supreme), Onyekachukwu (who is greater than God), Ifeany
chukwu (Nothing is beyond God's power) Chukwunweike (In God rests all strength) also express this principle of abso1uteness. On the basis of this principle, the Igbo invoke the ultimate power and protection of the Supreme Being especially when all else has failed them.



Generally Chukwu's power is constantly sought in oral prayers. The principle of absolute dependence earlier referred to shows the source of man's nonexistence and welfare.



This keen awareness of God is also expressed in the Igbo traditional ritual of Igbo
f by the elders. f symbol itself is a clear expression of the concept of the Supreme Being's authority, justice and-truth. The belief in the Supreme Being among the Igbo has been strongly attested to by many other foreign writers like O'Connell, Schon and Crowther, Talbot, Basden, Meek and others.



Thus the concept of the Supreme God as a 'loan god' introduced by the missionaries as a "stranger" in Igbo religious thought (Nwoga, 1984) is definitely unfounded and irrelevant. The Supreme God is seen as the chief guest of honour at every Igbo traditional religious festival or ritual, the ultimate recipient of sacrifices even though there is no elaborate cult for him in Igbo land.



As a matter of fact Archival records showed that early Christian missionaries to Igbo land drew abundantly from Igbo terminologies including the idea and name for the Supreme God, in their preachings and translations (CMS, 1862). Moreover, research works by some Igbo scholars like R.A. Arazu, S.N Ezeanya, E,C. Ilogu , E. Ikenga-Metuh and E.I. Ejizu have also proved that the generalization that 'Chukwu' was not acknowledged in public cults among the Igbo, is also an over-simplification. Public altars and rituals in honour of Chukwu, though not elaborate, did exist in certain traditional Igbo sub-cultural units as Ihembosi, Okija, Ihiala, Aji, Nsukka and Ututu (Akum, 1983), (Ezeanya 1969:39-40).



3.2. DIVINITIES AND DEITIES



However, the stronger belief in and pre-occupation with the divinities and deities, and patron spirits, are manifestly the most striking feature of Igbo traditional religion.



No matter what other writers say, polytheism (which means belief in or worship of many gods) is practised among the traditional Igbo. But it does no imply that all the local deities are of equal importance and power to the people. Although a lot of local variation exist in names, categories and details of belief in and worship of these divinities, a number of them are believed to be major divinities and are widely acknowledged. These include: Anyanwu (the sungod), Igwekaala (the sky god),
Ala (Earth goddess), and Amadiha/Kamalu (the god of thunder and lightning); others include Ahiajk (god of agriculture), Ikenga (god of fortune and industry) and Agwunsi (god of divination and healing). Many other deities which constitute the Igbo pantheon are major deities to individual communities. For instance Ebumiri of Umunumu in Mbano, f Itu in the Mbaise, Idemili in Uga, Aguata, Haba in Agulu, Nnagwurugwu of Isu in Archukwu, and ha Mmiri of Oguta and many, many others.



Of all the divinities
Ala-the Earth goddess is generally worshipped in Igbo land as the arch-divinity and seen as the goddess of fertility and guardian of Igbo morality, a power which controls - divinities and a force which brings fortune and economic prosperity. There are numerous other lesser deities which constitute the dominant feature of Igbo religious cult. Many of these we personifications of natural forces and phenomena while others are man-made for the people's survival and well being. This indicates the extent of the influence of ecology on Igbo religion. In addition, there exists myriads of lesser deities which are good or bad spirits which besiege the Igbo religious horizon. These spiritual entities inhabit physical realities like streams, forests, hills and animals. Some want to reincarnate in those to be born, others make life uncomfortable for the living causing calamities, barrenness, diseases and untimely death. Caught up in the midst of physical insecurity (which could also come from his fellows witches and sorceries) the Igbo resort to divination, sacrifices, traditional medicine and protective charms or amulets in order to cope with the uncertainties of life. They also resort to the ancestral spirits and some of the deities for protection and progress.



The Igbo belief in the ancestors is a clear expression of the people's faith in "after-life" even though perceived in the context of external return to the earth again in reincarnation. And it is believed that one's status in the after-life depends entirely on one's status here on earth since the spirit- world is a mirror of the human world with same topography and similar organization. The motion of judgment which everyone is afraid of is clearly spelt out by the Igbo belief in reincarnation.



Seen from the anthropological perspective, Igbo traditional religion, as evident from the pantheon of spirits and deities acknowledged in worship in various localities, is a religion of structure, inextricably bound up with the total structure of Igbo traditional life. For the Igbo, man's existence, his welfare and destiny are totally caught up the general behaviour of the forces above, under and around him, Igbo believe that the more man can control nature and the force, the more he is able to enjoy protection, longevity, progress, success and peace with God, the divinities and the ancestors. This perception of his world-view and control methods is borne out of the conviction about the constant interaction between the world of the spirit d the world of men. Igbo religion relies heavily on divination in this regard.



3.2.1. Divination: Igbo religion relies on a diviner or divination to provide answers to problems and puzzles of daily life-experiences. Divination therefore becomes the mechanism for connecting observed effects to causes that lie beyond the powers of common sense to comprehend.



In other words, the essence of divination in Igbo religion is the provision for resolving one difficulty or the other that the individual or the community encounters as he attempts to understand the world around him. The diviner (dibiaafa/Igba aja) is thus a busy person among the adherent of the Igbo religion. He is consulted for practically all problems, sicknesses and failure in business or failure to have a male child, boundary disputes, sudden death, etc. After determining the cause of the problem, the diviner then prescribes remedies which more often than not are sacrifices to be made to the ancestors or to the spirits believed to be angry about something. The centrality of Igbo religion is defined by divination. It offers a lot of attraction to many Christians who have not yet committed their lives to Christ. In other words, Divination is therefore a common key that unlocks the door into the interpretation of various aspects of Igbo religion. It plays an important role in the Igbo belief in reincarnation.



3.2.2. Reincarnation: Reincarnation is one of the Igbo beliefs that have persisted in spite of the influence of westernization or christianity. The issue of reincarnation is a problematic one in Igbo thought and life, Damian Opata's Essays on Igbo World View (1998) argues that it is to be understood around two principal Igbo concepts: ilua uwa and Ogbanje. Both involve some kind of re-embodied existence after having lived and died in the world. This is better understood in the Igbo conceptualization of two types of existence uwa mgbede and uwa Ututu. The ogbanje phenomenon is the repetitive coming and going of people especially of children into one's family. It is an undesirable thing in a family. The principle of reincarnation is seen as a positive one because it is believed that only people who have lived well and died well are the only person entitled to reincarnate or re-embody themselves in a beneficent manner. Thus it is common experience through divination to identify who reincarnated a new born baby. This is the work of a diviner. In Igbo a diviner is dibiaafa (ogbaaja), and could be a medicine man or a priest. Some of them undergo special training in the use of herbs, in clairvoyance, divination and reincarnation.



The concept of reincarnation makes meaningful the Igbo belief of life after death. Since the biblical concept of resurrection is not clearly understood by many, in traditional Igbo setting, the concept of reincarnation assures an Igbo that his attempt to lead a good life here on earth, obey the deities and the ancestors are not in vain. Death is not the end of life. There is another life after death and the most practical way to make it meaningful is the belief in reincarnation which includes physical resemblance, character traits, oracular pronouncements all of which point to the fact that the dead are somewhere waiting for their return to the world of time and space. The notion of judgment which people fear is so clearly spelt out by reincarnation belief. This implication of judgment also brings in the moral and ethnical implications of the belief. Thus it becomes obvious that death and reincarnation explain quite a lot about the Igbo realization of a meaningful existence. Within the concept are woven some principles of existence, some deep and lasting motivation for decent living among the Igbo, motivation based on everlasting and transcendent reward. It is the idea of living well among the Igbo that constitutes for them an authentic existence such that it could be said that to have died well is to have lived well.



3.3. MAN IN IGBO THOUGHT



Inspite of the Igbo concept of 'Chukwu', the Igbo world remains homo-eccentric. In other words, although 'Chukwu' is the foundation of Igbo religion and philosophy, yet Igbo world and Igbo philosophy is focused on man.



Igbo philosophy begins with his conception of life (Nd
). Life is the consciousness of 'being' or existing. Man (mma nd) is made up of "life' (Nd), intellect (Uche) and body (ahu). When there is no life in a person he is ozu (corpse). It is the sole function of life to hold body and intellect firmly in their positions and sustains them. As far as life is doing this, man is said to be living a human life and is capable of showing the act of knowledge. Thus the source or origin of human knowledge is life. This life comes from God (chinwend).



For the Igbo like the others life is simply a gift (Nd
b onyinye). Thus according to the Igbo, "life is a gift owned by God and is given to somebody" or "some thing by God only." Hence the Igbo say that "Nd b Onyinye Chukwu" (Life is the gift of God).



To mention God in an epistemological treatise like this is definitely disapproved of by some philosophers. But the Igbo people do not have any apology to render to any of such people because thei
r sense of God is deeply rooted in our Igbo philosophy. For the Igbo, philosophy without God who is the first philosopher is no philosophy. That is why it is unthinkable for the Igbo to have a religion without philosophy. As Fr. J.J.C. Akunne (1995) rightly put it:



For us Igbo philosophy without God is like a house without a roof. To philosophize whether there is God or not and to marshal out argument for or against it is the most absurd thing any lgbo man is expected to do.



A basic question has been asked as to what a human being is for the Igbo in regard to the origin of human knowledge.



Greek philosophers' positions have varied. For instance, the Rationalists concluded that human knowledge originated from reason alone. The Empiricists asserted that human knowledge originated from experience, while the Kantians maintain that some human knowledge originated from reason, and some in experience and others in their necessity. With the fact established that Greek philosophy originated from African philosophy (Onyewuenyi, 1993) tremendous contributions have come from other African thinkers. Using the theory of Nd
akpunyereuchenaah, it is rightly argued that knowledge originated from life. Man has within him the gift of life which carries within itself essentially the gift of knowledge. As a man starts developing in the womb, the intellect and body become the effects of this development, which reaches its high point in man's 'awareness' which is the human knowledge. This is what the concept of Ndakpunyeruchenaah is all about (Akunne, 1995). This life which is enclosed with intellect and body is what we call human being, Mma Nd (the goodness/beauty of life). It is this concept which brings out what a human being is for the Igbo in regard to the origin of human knowledge.



For the Igbo, God is life (Chi b
nd) and God owns life (Chinwend). Since we have life we have a share in God. This lifeness of the life in us makes our morality which has eschatological under-tone meaningful. This is because for the Africans to be is to live, and therefore, one continues to live even after death when he continues to live in another form. This is where the Greek philosophers failed. They fai1ed to recognize the inseparability of the intellect and body. They separated intellect and body respectively and gave them independent existence. For the Igbo, this proves the fact that not only that life continues after death but also that it is the same person when alive in this untranscendental world is responsible for all his/her good and bad action done in this world. In other, words a person starts life in the transcendental world following the occurrence of death, it is the person who is now living on this earthly world that will continue to live the transcendental world with his full identity. His life will be the same life because life is not affected by the action of death. Because life is not affected, it carries the implication of one's action in our mundane world into that of our transcendental world, acquiring a new form of intellect and body. In other words, in Igbo thought and life, man finds ultimate meaning in transcendence even though it is a homo-centric world.



3.4. KOLANUT AS LIFE AFFIRMING PRINCIPLE



Igbo philosophy is life-affirming because it centered on human being. Igbo people usually say Nd
b Isi (Life first). It has been observed that the overall conceptualization of the kolanut among the Igbo is that it is a life affirming principle. Kolanut presentation, ritual, breaking and sharing is significant in Igbo land. The ritual invocation will include Chukwu, ancestors, the clan deities, the spirit forces especially the market days. Finally the invocation would normally end with an affirmation of life:



Ndi ebe any


any
ga ad

any
goro ka any dr

bgh ka any nwụọ

(Our people

we shall live

we have prayed for life

not for death).


This final affirmation of life is significant because one of the first statements surrounding kolanut breaking ritual in Igbo land is:



Onye wetara
ji wetara nd (He who brings kola brings life).



Among the Igbo, everything that is, has a life and to be alive is the aspiration of every living thing.
ji (kolanut) is life because he who brings it brings life in the dual sense (1) that signifies welcome and friendship and (2) that the prayer for good and long life which precede its breaking and eating would be accepted by the ancestors. From the biological point of view, the kolanut is also life affirming. Paul E. Lovejoy (1980:2) listed forty medicinal uses of kolanut, collected at the beginning of the 20th century, and included relief from hunger, fatigue and thirst as important properties along with cures from headaches and sexual impotence. This list is interesting because the medicinal uses noted is all life affirming. Of special importance is the fact that it could be used as cure for sexual importance. For the Igbo, nothing can be more life affirming than this very fact. In other words, kolanut in Igbo world view touches on the principal essence of existence: being alive and sustaining it.

This principle of life affirmation as constituting the essence of the kola is also supported by the Igbo myth surrounding he emergence of the four Igbo market days. It is aid that four enigmatic people once visited a place. They would neither eat nor talk. But by mere coincidence, some one gave them a piece of kolanut to eat. To the surprise of all assembled, the people suddenly were given to speech in which they revealed their names as Orie (Oye), Eke, Nkw
and Af. By this singular act, the kola is said to have gained significance not only as the food of the spirits, but also something that gives life. This is because somebody who can neither talk nor eat anything is as good as dead. It is only something that can give life that worked the wonder of giving back life even to the spirits. This is the basis of the Igbo saying:

Onye wetara
j wetara nd.

Apart from being an affirmation of life, it is also a symbol of continuity, of the entire life process as a continuu
m. Kolanut ritual is always a feature of the Igbo society, in social functions and ceremonies, which has resisted westernization and Christianity.

In addition, numerous researches conducted on ritual practices that have to do with consecration of time, space, animate and inanimate objects have also confirmed this affirmation of the life principle in Igbo cosmology. The ritual practice of itu aka (ritual offering of food to the spirits in general in Agukwu Nri, or itu aka ezi (ritual throwing of food outside for the spirits) as in Ututu, Ar
chukwu, Ezza/Izzi are highly illuminating because they also show the purpose for such a practice. For instance, the research conducted by Anthony Ekwunife, of the department of religion, University of Nigeria shows that in Ovoko, Nsukka; the ritual of itu aka is aimed at giving the spirits their share. In Ngwa, the purpose is thanksgiving offering - an acknowledgement of favours from the spirits. In Archukwu and Ututu, the aim is that of sanctification of food (and it is called igo nri), so that it becomes a vehicle for communion with the spirits. Thus the whole ritual is designed to effect communion with the spirits through the agency of the celebrant and food. The ritual words of itu aka or igo nri shows the dependence of the human life on the transcendent life of the invisible spirit world. The practice as Ekwunife rightly noted is a way of inserting the participants to the source of their spiritual life - the transcendence. The word Isee is a definite symbolic word in the Igbo language and culture. A human being has five fingers, five toes. Among the Igbo the number five has great symbolic significance. If a kola nut is broken and it has five lobes it means good luck to the sharer. It also refers to stability. Thus isee reflect axiomatic values, five definite realization on which the life of every Igbo rests. They are: life, children, wealth, peace and love (Ekwunife, 1990).

3.5. CHI IN IGBO WORLD VIEW

We have seen that inspite of the remarkable awareness of spiritual forces, the Igbo like the other Africans, place man at the center of the universe, yet there is the irony that his destiny is determined by the 'chi' variously interpreted as his 'personal god' or guardian angel. In creation, Chineke, the Supreme Being brings man into being, at the same time endows him his nature and destiny. This nature and destiny are spoken of as 'uwa' and the personal 'chi' which every human being possesses. Thus if any person does something characteristics of him/her, the Igbo say
b etu wa ya d (i.e. it is how his/her nature is}. The idea of 'chi' explains the elements of luck, fortune, destiny or fate unique to an individual. The Igbo say of a lucky man b onye chi ma.

Igbo mythology is replete with examples illustrat
ing the fact that the "

Supreme Being used to be very close to human beings but later withdrew to the sky because a woman used to poke her pestle in the sky while pounding her foofoo late in the night.

This incessant disturbance made God to withdraw. It is this that probably gave rise to the concept of deus otiosus - the withdrawn God, a concept that at God does not enmesh himself in human affairs. It has also been suggested that it could be that it is this withdrawal of God that gave rise to the Igbo expressions:

Mmad
b chukwu a na af anya n'wa

(A human being is the god that is seen in the world).

Mad
b chi ibe ya

(A human being is a god to another person).

Both expressions imply that human beings also can play vital roles it influencing
the destiny of others. This is the point D.I. Nwoga tried to make in his very much misunderstood book, The Supreme God as Stranger in Igbo Religious Thought.

T.U. Nwala (1985:46) tried to summarize the concept of destiny among the Igbo by citing two Igbo Sayings to the effect that Whatever befalls a man is - ihe ya na chi ya kpara (What he settles with his chi) but onye kwe chi ya ekwe, (If a man wills, his peronal 'Chi' wills also) provides him an escape route from the clutches of fatalism. Thus the element of fatalism, where man is left to the mercy of destiny is mitigated by ascribing some will power and initiative to man. One can influence one's 'chi' by brave or good conduct and this knocks the horn out of fatalism in Igbo philosophy.

It is here that we find the traditional Igbo escape from this apparent fatalism through the basic principle of onye kwe chi ya ekwe. The Igbo believe that if a man is at peace with his god and his ancestors his harvest will be good or bad depending on the strength of his arm. What is implied as Nwala rightly indicated is that the efficacy of the human will depend on a sound moral life because that is the only way he can be at peace with his god and his ancestors. 'Chi' is like a personal guide which pilots a man's prospects and determines his fortune.

For the Igbo three principles are operative in the shaping of a person's life. We have already pointed to the principle of onye kwe chi ya ekwe, the other two are: (1) akara aka and (2) lfe si na chi.

Akara aka literally refers to lines inscripted on a person's palm.

Among the Igbo it is believed that what one would be in life is already inscripted on the person's palm. What can hinder the actualization of what is inscripted are incorrect reading and misinterpretation as well as lack of sustained personal effort. The principle of lfe si na chi implies things that are already predetermined from birth for somebody. However in both principles we observe that: (I) what comes to people are predetermined and so no escape and (2) the relationship between chi and personal effort in the total shaping of a person's life and (3) the principle of onye kwe chi ya ekwe is a normative paradigm in the conduct of one's affairs in life. It is a manifestation of optimism and dynamism so evident in the Igbo attempt at self actualization and achievement orientation.



Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart brought out the working of the 'chi' principle in Igbo life. Unoka had gone to the oracle to find out why he still had poor harvest inspite of the prescribed sacrifices he offered to the gods, and he was also in good standing with his 'chi'. The oracles confirmed that Unoka was in good standing with his 'chi' but insisted that he should go home and work harder because mere offering of sacrifice would not make him reap bounteous harvests. Thus having a good 'chi' must be accompanied by being industrious. On the other hand, it is said of Okonkw
that he is an example of one who said 'yes' to his 'chi' but his 'chi' refused to give assent to his affirmation. The explanation is that no one can go beyond his 'chi.'

As a matter of fact the Igbo does not give up or get discouraged. The principles of akara aka, lfe si na chi and onye kwe chi ya ekwe serve as ideology of consolation, encouragement, and determination. In Achebe's Things Fall Apart, Okonkw
contributed to his own fate. He was consumed by his personal ambition. He failed to understand the basic Igbo philosophy of complementary dualities and consequent accommodationists principle inherent in that philosophy. This suggests that saying 'yes' must be understood within the framework of the dominant world view of the people. The Igbo hardly ever resign to fate, they hardly give up in a struggle which they set their minds on. This is supported by their wisdom sayings:

Ot
egwu mgbagbu adgh eje g

(If you are afraid of death you won't go to war).

di ochi anag
akws r enu akw maka na dara n'enu ya

(A palm wine tapper does not stop tapping because he fell from a palm wine tree).

e
be k nyr achsa wa

(Surrender comes only after one had tried all one could).

This is also why the traditional Igbo consult diviners and move from one sacrifice to one deity to the other in the hope that some how they would succeed. A world-view as
this makes a people rugged and does not encourage the doctrine of fatalism. The Igbo like other Africans pays high premium on life and would therefore go to any length to preserve it.



The Igbo world is principally a world of interacting realities the spiritual and the physical, each impinging on the other. It is both the world of spiritual beings and the world of man and other animate and inanimate beings. But man's existence, his welfare, and destiny are totally caught up with the general behaviour of forces above, around, and underneath him. And while deploying the power of his reason, and utilizing his mental and physical skills to better his lot, man expends as much energy and ingenuity in trying to sustain the delicate balance between the various orders of his world view in order to ensure the continued welfare of his life and that of his family. This in brief outline is the Igbo cosmology whose ideas and ideals infuse meaning and coherence into the entire gamut of Igbo religious life and philosophy. We now focus on the dominant religious and philosophical ideas derivable from this Igbo world view to understand how they have served as key to Igbo self understanding and identity.

4. DOMINANT IDEAS IN IGBO RELIGIOUS PHILOSOPHY

The relevance of the foregoing Igbo perception of their world to the emotional and psychological levels of the traditional life of the Igbo is of great significance to the argument of this paper. This is because in the daily life of the Igbo, their values and attitudes which they aspire to and exhibit are the direct off-shoot of their dominant religious and philosophical ideas. These ideas include:

4.1. RESPECT FOR LIFE (ND
)

Igbo world is principally anthropocentric. It is for this understanding the Igbo say Nd
b isi (life first). Because of the heavy accent which the traditional Igbo place on human life, they go to any length in order to preserve it. As a matter of fact the traditional Igbo attitude to the divinities and ancestors appears on many occasions to be primarily manipulative, as the Igboman moves from shrine to shrine for definite material satisfaction bordering on life, off-spring and health. Igbo traditional prayers {Ig f) and sacrifices to the deities are mainly petitionary for the welfare of man. Even when sacrifices are made to malevolent spirits, the only reason for doing so is to ward them off from causing harm. Igbo constantly resort to divination, traditional medicine, magic, the use of protective charms or amulets and initiation into secret cults in order to cope with the uncertainties of life, for protection and progress. Childlessness was considered a threat to life among the Igbo as it hits the very root of that traditional primary value, life.

Thus Igbo traditional religion provides for the people a viable system by which they seek to explain, to predict, and to control all space and time event for the preservation of life. In traditional Igbo society, human life was considered sacred. That it cannot be taken away with impunity. Suicide is considered a most abominable crime against the human society and so any person guilty of suicide is denied formal burial. In most cases when human beings were killed (twin killing and human sacrifice) the traditional Igbo saw such as a fulfillment of convinced religious obligation and for the good of the land. For them, sacrifice was different from killing a fellow human being, for which life must go for life. Nevertheless, the Igbo respect life more than any other ethnic group in
Nigeria, because the Igbo respect life, kolanut breaking will always remain for them a celebration of life. Emenanjo (2001) lent emphasis on the great respect the Igbo have for life when he said that in the philosophy of Igbo knowledge the:

rural Igbo had very great respect for Nd
because it comes from God. It is greater than money or wealth. It cannot be foundered by a blacksmith. All things are only useful if they have life.

Let me remind you that it was not a mere coincidence when under the Igbo war commander Chief Odumegwu
Ojukwu, Biafra (the Igbo) fought a thirty months gruesome war from 1967 to 1970 to preserve the life of the Igbo people. Let me remind you that it was not mere accident when the great Zik of Africa along with other notable Igbo leaders (Dr. Ojike, Dr. Mbadiwe, Dr. Okpara, Dr. Akanu Ibiam, etc) of blessed memory unanimously agreed that "To Restore the Dignity of Man" was to be the motto of the first indigenous University, the University of Nigeria. That motto represents the finest formulation of the finest Igbo minds, the collective affirmation of Igbo faith in the worth and dignity of man. It remains for the Igbo a vision; a mission and a commitment.

4.2. RESPECT FOR MORALITY

The traditional dominant Igbo orientation to the ultimate is their great respect for morality and so dreaded the consequences in-built in committing any offence against the Supreme Being, the ancestors, local divinities and deities. We have earlier indicated that part of what the traditional Igbo were known for is that they were a very spiritual people. That is the philosophical understanding behind their morals, customs, traditions, beliefs, and myths. The ultimate which a traditional Igbo person cherishes is to live a good and worthy life here on earth, die and receive full and proper burial rites and finally rejoin his ancestors who lived well and died a good death. This could only be achieved within a decent moral order.



This perception of Igbo cosmology meant that the moral order must be maintained so that they can live in peace and have abundant life. The Igbo ancestors constructed a number of socio-cultural controls. The first was to emphasize characters. Character refers to moral uprightness, peace with the gods and peace with human beings. Purity among the Igbo was seen as essential in blocking the anger of the gods or the ruin of evil spirits, this is the implication of onye aka ya di ocha. Hence seasonal festival included purification rites.

They devised elaborate system of moral codes known as omenala or omenani, which regulate the behaviour of the people including their social, economic, and political lives. Omenala is believed to have been handed down from
Ala (the Earth goddess) through Ndi Ichie (the ancestors) and so literally means action in accordance with the stipulation of the land. Omenala in Igboland contain prohibitions which regulate human behaviour, maintain purity and sustain community life. These prohibitions are known as Nso Ala (taboos). They also involve seasonal celebrations like Iri ji/Ahiajoku and Igo Ar. Ndi Igbo explain some aspects of their life- experiences, namely, natural disaster and calamity, as resulting from pollution of the land somewhere along the line by which harmony between man, nature/environment and the spirit would have become broken. Hence the essence of Igbo morality was primarily to keep the harmony, well- being and effective co-existence of members of the 'community' made up of the living, the dead ancestors and children yet unborn.

The implication is that among the Igbo omenala is communal rather than individual. Every Igbo is born into a community where the person shares in the community life, spirit and collective responsibility. Thus the concept of a man as a person who co-exists with others gives rise to the idea of collective responsibility, inter-dependence and humane living which is an important aspect of Igbo social and religious life. As Chieka Ifemesia (1978:70) rightly argued that interdependence is a fundamental principle of Igbo philosophy of life because a tree does not make a forest. The Igbo ideology of interdependence recognizes that unity is strength
ha/Igwe b Ike, it among others promotes discipline, reduces crime, and humanizes relations. Igbo religion recognizes personal/individual salvation, but it exists mainly for the preservation of the collective life (umunna/ikwunne) and of the community (ha). Respect for religious philosophy which inspires them to look up to future with hope and expectation for a good reward here and hereafter.

4.3. TRUTH A
S IGBO PRINCIPLE OF LIFE

Truth is a noble value in all human culture including the Igbo. Though an important religious and philosophical idea, it has received little attention from scholars. Nze C., (1994.4) has rightly suggested two Igbo words descriptive of truth: eziokwu and ezigbo. Eziokwu is used to represent utterances while ezigbo is used ontologically or materially for substance and entity to mean good, true or genuine. Damian Opata (1998:73-80) in addition referred to the Igbo expressions for truth: ihe mere eme meaning 'what really happened.' The Igbo words signifying falsehood or untruth or lie are, okwu asi and asi

In Igbo community onye okwu asi or onye asi are used judgmentally for someone who cannot be trusted, believed or relied upon. Other related Igbo words are used, for instance asiri or onye ogba asiri refer to gossip, rumour mongering or someone who goes about spreading rumours saying what is true or untrue. Such a person is dangerous and that is why Mike Ejeagha's minstrel maintains that asiri brings misunderstanding among friends and causes instability in family. Chidi Osuagwu's study on truth in Igbo land is very illuminating. He points out that the Igbo word for truth is ezi. Ezi means correct, order, positive, proper rectitude, genuine, upright or valid. When ezi is used to qualify okwu which is Igbo word for 'word' or statement then the word eziokwu becomes what is valid, positive, genuine and truthful. Truth is paramount in Igbo life. Ezi is from the root word zi. From this root, Igbo language generates such words like izi, to show, imezi, to rectify, to correct; ikozi, to explain correctly, to teach; igbazi, to strengthen, ihazi, to arrange, to organize idozi, to order, to arrange, idazi, to fall into place, igozi, to bless, iduzi, to lead aright, ikwazi, to mend, to arrange properly; this word-study is significant and it is deliberately done to emphasize that in Igbo 'truth' is order.

In Igbo igha means to scatter. This word links up all chaotic processes as the Igbo see it. Such include aghara, commotion, disorder. Agha means 'war', ighasa, to scatter, to spread out; ghaghagha, chaotically bad and igha, to scatter, spread, to lie; onyeaghara, troublemaker, madman. Thus igha means 'to lie'. To lie in Igbo mind is to cause a thought scattering, a mental disorder. From the above it can be deduced that falsehood is disorder; a disorientation. The traditional Igbo pictured falsehood as simulated disorder, disarray or chaos- generating expression. A liar in Igbo is basically a chaos - generator. Just like eziokwu is okwu dabara adaba, ordered train of thought, falsehood is okwu nadabaghi adaba -- a disordered thought. Thus the Igbo picture of ezi is the ordered, the truth, whereas 'ugha' is falsehood. In an ugha system only guesses can be made, while the order in an ezi system allows for prediction. Truth is synonymous with order hence its predictability. Falsehood is disorder, amplifying unpredictability. For the Igbo, the notion of truth is so central and important that there are a number of ways in which it is characterized. Among the Igbo it is said:

Eziokwu dika ehihie (efifie). Truth is like noonday



This stresses the fact that truth is self-evident and there is nothing anybody can do to destroy it. That is why the Igbo say:

Anagh
eli eziokwu n'ala

Truth cannot be buried in the ground

This asserts the indestructible character of truth. You cannot suppress it even though the Igbo also say:

Eziokwu na'elu ilu

Truth is bitter.

All traditional societies have a
strong moral orientation in their conception of truth. Truth sustains relationships with God, the deities and their fellow men. Truth is paramount in Igbo life and they believe it is what gives life to any society.

Traditional Igbo society is built on truth and the basis of this is trust which is primarily dependent on the ability of the individual members to tell the truth to one another. It is the basis of our faith in God and in people. Truth is the foundation of any Igbo community. The greater the tendency to lie in a society, the greater will be the social disorder which no doubt increases the tendency to lie. Thus I share Osuagwu's insight when he said that:

"A truth - telling society would be a highly ordered society." "A better ordering of society would enhance the tendency of its members to tell the truth."

The Igbo use the
f symbol to designate truth and justice as a principle of life. The Igbo say:

f ka ide ji awa ala

Truth and justice are the content of life

Oji
f anagh at n'ije

The man of truth is never stranded in a journey

In these sayings, the Igbo are emphasizing the centrality of truth in human relationship, organization and morality. This is further made obvious in the Igbo saying:

Ezi okwu b
nd

Truth is lif
e

The philosophy of the Igbo founding fathers of the
University of Nigeria shows that in order to restore the dignity of man and protect life you must seek the truth, teach the truth and preserve the truth.

The commitment to Truth is a fundamental Igbo philosophy without which there would be neither regard nor respect for human life and dignity.

4.4. ACHIEVEMENT - ORIENTED VALUES

It is important to notice that the history of Igbo origin as legend has it, reveals that the word 'Igbo' refers to 'forest-dwellers'. We are aware that at this time the primitive Igbo lived a hazardous wandering life of the hunter-gatherer of wild edible plants. The Nri myth which preserved for us how agriculture came meant that the Igbo became 'farmers' who had to be directly dependent on the land for their livelihood. Definitely these kinds of job descriptions will require among other qualities - strength and intelligence.

The implications that right from the Igbo genesis, the Igbo man was born into a tough world that demanded him to be rugged, courageous, fearless, determined and hardworking to survive. Thus I will agree with D.I. Nwoga (1984:48) who said:

the .most prominent aspect of Igbo concept of man is that of a struggler for survival, a hard and determined person in confrontation with the environment to force out of it a means of sustenance.



Luckily enough, this Igbo nature of hard work had been acknowledged right from the pre-colonial period. It is reported of Igbo slaves in
Haiti that they were

excellent for work in the fields yet difficult to manage. They kept a strong sense of their Igbo identity and gave help, care and instructions to new arrivals from Igbo land. (Isichei, 1976:44; Herskovit, 1931:20-21; Uchendu, 1965:37).

Even in the New World Igbo slaves were outstanding for their hard work and intelligence. Igbo slaves became much more productive than the other slaves, by exhibiting higher degree of intelligence, honesty and craftiness. Nwosu (1983:7) argued that the Igbo slaves showed an uncommly greater degree of brotherly 1ove among themselves, which was lacking also in slaves of other nationalities. This discovery made the American Masters of Igbo slaves to become more productive, and wealthier than their counter-parts in
Cuba and South America, Igbo slaves there became more expensive than others.

Admittedly, this Igbo achievement orientation as an important aspect of Igbo life is one area in which the Igbo have been badly misunderstood and misrepresented.

Many non-Igbo use it and argue that the Igbo are materialistic.

Interestingly enough on this kind of accusation (Jordan, 1971:115) reported that Bishop Shanaham who had worked in Igbo land for years had come to the conclusion that:

The average native was admirably suited by environment and training, for an explanation of life in terms of the spirit, rather than of the flesh. He was no materialist. Indeed nothing was farther from his mind than a materialistic philosophy of existence. It made no appeal to him.



This was several years ago and I wish to categorically state that the Igbo do not cherish money more than the other ethnic groups. In fact, if money has today become an Igbo problem, it is a problem which
Nigeria created for them. So it is a Nigerian problem.

This achievement orientation has been found in their industry, courage, determination and in itinerancy in search of adequate means of livelihood in all nooks and crannies of the world, in all human endeavours. The dynamism of the Igbo is found in their history and in the psychological structure of the Igbo man and his society. In other words, it is a reflection of the Igbo perception of 'self.'

First, the Igbo is afraid of failure in life. He believes that nature has endowed him with the ability to subdue his world and succeed and therefore had to do just that. Definitely the mandate to control the land is a mandate to be successful. This position is well-supported and articulated by Afigbo (1974) when he said:

It is thus quite clear that the Igbo saw failure in his world as a terrible calamity which implied damnation and so did every thing possible to avoid it. It is this fear of failure, this drive to succeed here, and attain the status of Ogaranya (a rich man) which he could carry across to the next world, which helped him to account for the economic drive of the Igbo man, as for the high score and prestige set on hard work, resourcefulness, foresight, and rugged individualism.

Second, the Igbo is not prepared to attribute any failure to his personal 'chi.' Thus the Igbo saying that onye kwe chi ya ekwe locates the Igbo in the context of determination and faith to succeed. It is for this reason he has to get all forces on his side. The achievement orientation finds the Igbo in reverence of Ikenga, the cult of strength, a symbol for personal achievement, heroism and success.


The Igbo people love to be rewarded and recognized after having worked hard. Thus recognition for achievement is well entrenched in Igbo life. For instance, far from despising manual labour, the Igbo esteem the successful farmer. Some parts of Igbo land award them the titles of Eze ji (King of yam), Oko ji (yam planter). There is an Igbo saying:

egbuwa
fa a h ak

When you clear the forest you see wealth.

The Igbo people beli
eve so much in the dignity of labour (work) probably more than any other ethnic groups in Nigeria, and it is for this same reason, the Igbo are also hated. Everywhere in Nigeria you find the Igbo working for his livelihood. It is a new phenomenon seeing an Igbo begging for alms. We know as Oluadah Eouiano wrote centuries ago, that begging was unknown to the Igbo society. The only circumstance that begging was probably accepted was rather than being a thief (Onye arrịọ ka onye oshi mma). Stealing was a terrible crime in traditional Igbo society and its punishment could be death, at times.

Creating wealth is based on hard work and intelligence. It is just recently we started seeing people who do nothing but we find them building estates. It is only recently we find people who do nothing and yet become leaders. In traditional Igbo society, you cant lead without your being an accomplished person, having something doing. We have what is called the British pride, the American pride; we also have from time immemorial what is known as the Igbo pride which some historians refer to as Igbo identity. Precisely, handworker as an important philosophical Igbo idea is centered on Igbo pride. This Igbo pride is that Igbo spirit, that Igboness in every Igbo person, that courage, that determination, that fearlessness, that self-confidence in every Igbo person. He knows that he is not judged by what his father or relations have but rather by what he is able to achieve by himself for his community.

4.5. IGBO REPUBLICANISM

The traditional Igbo had a deep sense of community. The popular sentiment among the Igbo, as found in most other Africans is as J.S. Mbiti (1969:108) puts it:



I am because we are and since we are, therefore I am.

Individual existence and freedom are appreciated, but they are delicately balanced with the underlying philosophy of life-in-community.

This life-in-community is captured by the Igbo concept of Umunna/Umunne/Ikwunne. Part of Igbo problem is using foreign concepts to define Igbo life and thought. Umunna is a spiritual idea embedded in Igbo origin. The concept of democracy (
ha, umunnakwuru) which is contained in the Igbo philosophy of republicanism is deeply rooted in Igbo life and thought as embodied in the Ummuna concept. Before taking any decision, the Igbo have the tradition of gathering together to discuss matters of interest in order to arrive at a consensus and agreement. This is call in Igbo Igba izu (consultation). This is the basis of Igbo republicanism which E.G. Ekwuru (199:134) calls the Consensus philosophy, but referred to as Unanimity by T.U. Nwala (1985:168). Thus modern democracy is not after all foreign to the Igbo because it has its root in Igbo origin and thought. The Igbo life did not start with colonization rather before the advent of the Europeans Igbo already had a philosophy, established structure of government, education and technology.

According to Websters Encyclopedic Dictionary, republic is defined as an affair, interest, a state or nation in which the supreme power is rested in the whole voting community which elects indirectly or directly, representative to exercise the power; a group whose number are regarded as having a certain equality or common aims, pursuits, ect. in other words, republicanism is a system with clear pattern of organization and a mode of behaviour.



Here we find that the republican idea recognizes individual worth and input. People who deliberate and take decisions that arc of common interests, Ndi Igbo live and still live in units of villages, and clans called Umunna. The relationships among them are so close from the family to the clan level including the age grades system. Similar close relationships are found in the Eastern and Western Igbo. Power resided with Umunna or
ha. People to represent each unit are chosen on the basis of age, ability and character. There is consensus, constant consultation covering every aspects of their lives from individual to group levels - including marriage, education, funeral. It is common to hear such expressions like:

Ihe any
kpara akpa

Something discussed/agreed

Igweb
ike/ha b ike

Umunna is strength

Umunnakwe

Umunna agreed

In Igbo republicanism, individuals and groups of individuals up to the clan level aspired to relev
ance, had rights and responsibilities, worked harder to better their lots and welfare and contributed to policies (Nwajiuba, 2001:19-25). Igbo republicanism is hinged on people's rights and founded on forthrightness, hard work, truth, and character.



The democratic spirit in Igbo checks any possible excesses arising from seniority, status and achievement. This is further strengthened by the Igbo principle of equality and equivalence which Prof. Afigbo rightly says is fundamental in Igbo democracy.

Ndi Igbo don't worship people; they don't even have sanctions against rude people. They respect people. In fact, there is great respect to the elders in an Igbo society but they allow people express themselves. Ndi Igbo do not tolerate of acts of rudeness to their elders. Osagie Jacobs's generalization and insults against Ndi Igbo in his (This day, September 17, 2002 page 11) where he claimed that Igbo do not respect the elders, and that they respect money not age is unfortunate. Osagie himself knows that he is dishonest, rude and crude, how because of one person he has the guts to insult a whole race. Igbo people respect their elders, but they resent oppression and authoritarianism. It is reported that during the slave trade period Igbo slaves who were constantly starved by their European masters organized a revolt to resent their starvation. They had to be fed by force. They refused to be treated as sub-humans.

In modern times it could be seen that Nigerian colonial Politics had remained passive until the arrival of the lgbo intellectuals on the scene in the person of Hon. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr. K.O. Mbadiwe, Mr. Mbonu Ojike, Dr. Akanu Ibiam, Dr. Nwafor Orizu, etc. Igbo republicanism does not mean the freedom to insult, maltreat or abuse people because of one's position. It should be noted that the Igbo expressions like:

Igbo-ama-onye-ukwu

I na-enye m nri

Igbo enwe-eze

were not in traditional Igbo thought. They have become Igbo expressions in the mouth of those who harbour envy, hatred and jealousy for others, those who do not appreciate 'excellence,' people influence by the Hebrew saying: "a prophet has no honour in his own community." They served a colonial interest of destabilizing Igbo unity.

I have become personally worried that even our Igbo intellectuals are accepting the expression - Igbo enwe eze - as reflecting traditional Igbo situation. It does not and it is arrant nonsense. It has its origin in the early colonial European writers who spoke about the Igbo in particular as people without any universal conception of God (CI), and without history. We must take note of the fact that Igbo history did not start with the advent of the white man. The man who denied that you had a history could not possibly come to believe you had a 'king or 'chief' which ever title you may prefer.

The truth which historians have agreed on is that all the ethnic groups in
Nigeria, it is only the Igbo that really resisted the white man, not months but several years. Igbo historians have also agreed that the Europeans had a basic dislike for the Igbo whom they found ungovernable and what was worse irreverent in their attitude to members of the 'master race' (Afigbo, 1981:2). Put simply, they hated the Igbo. This is what informed their introduction of the indirect rule in Eastern Nigeria. This colonialist created the warrant chiefs. These chiefs were installed to serve the interest of those who established them (Nwajiuba 2001:25): 1), to assist them hold down the Igbo 2), to serve their economic interest including collection of taxes and settlement of local cases. The colonialists distrusted the original Igbo chiefs. Thus the colonialists used the Indirect rule to remove and destroy the legitimacy of Igbo rulers and them imposed their own subjects who ruled in their stead.

We must not forget the fact that right from time in Igbo history there is what we call 'Igbo pride.' The Igbo saw himself from time as a superior race. King Jaja of Opobo treated the European traders and administrators as his inferiors. They latter feared him and tricked him to go aboard the British warship for friendly discussion but was carried away into exile where he died. Do we not know the implication of the fact that he died in exile, he died with the history of his people in his memory. The Ar
chukwu people and most Igbo royal princes never removed their hats or stood up or prostrated for the British colonialists unlike most other subservient African tribes. Specifically in 1896 at Aba an Aio man refused to remove his hat for a white man (Isichei, 1976:59) (Leonard, 1966:191), because he felt he was superior to the white man. Have we even bothered to ask why up till today 'Eze Nri' is not listed among the first class chiefs in Igbo1and (along with Eze Ar, Oguta, Nnewi and, Obi Of Onitsha). Nri model. Of kingship which controlled many parts of the Igbo land for several centuries was finally liquidated by the British imperialists to exploit the Igbo (slave trade). The truth of the matter in our view is that the Igbo enweEze concept was introduced into the Igbo psychic, and in practice by installing warrant chiefs in order to destabilize the Igbo society and make it impossible for them to retain their 'Igboness,' their uniqueness, their industry, their confidence and their pride/identity as a people.

You will realize that this concept is introduced into our 'Culture,' the very essence of a people. It has succeeded to work like magic in the Igbo nation which presently is the most destabilized and disunited ethnic group in the world. It brought the culture of disrespect and greed as well as that of falsehood thereby destroying every evidence of a well laid down functional leadership pattern prior to the advent of the white man. How else could we explain that our people in government could not be united to promote Igbo cause. We saw what happened in the period of Shagari government. It was a near impossibility for the vice president and the governor to work together to promote Igbo interest. It is what is happening today. Today many of our state governors are in conflict with our people in government at the federal level. Does it happen elsewhere?

Indirect rule is not yet over. Igbo land still remains its testing grounds. This sys em was and is still the basic instrument being employed to destabilize the Igbo race, incapacitate and frustrate any plan of the Igbo people to form a common force where together they can challenge the ills done to them. There is hope. This ray of hope comes from the Ar
chukwu example. The modern Ar understand the- Igbo enwe eze concept as an instrument of destabilization. They are the only community in Abia state that has up till today rejected the creation of autonomous communities. They know that creating many autonomous communities is creating many autonomous troubles and it will destroy their kingship institution and traditions, which is centered on Eze Ar as an institution, and not as a person.

Let me ask you, who is afraid of Igbo unity? The Igbo people say: Igwe b
ike = unity/strength is power. We know even as the Igbo Bible puts it, that divided we fall, but united we stand. Igbo enwe eze concept is strange to Igbo psyche and history of the origin. It should be discarded, forgotten and formal education at reorientation of every Igbo undertaken. A family regarded as the smallest unit in a locality has the 'father' as the head, how much more a village, a clan and a tribe. Let the issue of Igbo enwe eze be laid to rest. We Igbo people are not crabs; we are men and women with great propensity for leadership and followership we do not need to invoke the expression to support our philosophy of republicanism for self-reliance. Nor as a way of checking the excesses of any Igbo leader.

Lastly, Igbo republicanism goes with the consensus philosophy of Igbo-kwenu. Emeka G. Ekwuru (1999:134) has drawn attention to the importance of Igbo-kwenu in his recent book. In Igbo 1and it represents constituting symbol of the gathering of Umunna, which allows for the full deliberative and consultative participation of every adult for decision-making. It not only recognizes the freedom and right of each individual but more importantly it awakens the Igboness in every Igbo person. I agree with Emeka Ekwuru that Igbo-kwenu in the Igbo land underscores a social formula of action, a call to order and unity and collective will vital in all Igbo relationships to fashion its destiny as a people. There was a time when we hear - Igbo kwe - Enyim Mba Enyi - we see with our eyes Igbo solidarity, the clearest expression of Umunna. W need to recover that time and to offer to our country the best that is in us, because we have what it takes to move
Nigeria forward.

4.6. 'CHUKWU': THE ULTIMATE IN IGBO THOUGHT

Igbo scholars agreed that the Igbo world is principally a world of two interacting realities - the material and the spiritual, each impinging on the other. In this world, the material mirrors the spiritual in the different degrees. The Igbo believe in a life thereafter like many other Africans and also that the status achieved now in this life can be carried over to the next world. Thus though homo-centric in practice, yet the Igbo find ultimate meaning in transcendence. In other words, the Igbo see existence as future-oriented. This is the implication of the word 'Nkiruka' - future is greater.

As we indicate, reincarnation is the central Igbo concept which captures this Igbo sense of the future. This is related to the idea of death. Every Igbo believes that death is a necessity. The traditional Igbo believes that when you live well you die well in a good old age. Though Igbo myths, folklore and rituals, they believe that at death they rejoin their ancestors. In other works, their expectation of future is a rejoining of their ancestors whose abode is underneath the earth, the supposedly land of the dead. The world underneath is the abode of the ancestors and evil spirits.
Ala Mmuo. On the other hand, christians look upwards - elu-igwe - the abode of 'Chukwu' and they believe that when they die they go to God in heaven the sky. Chukwu is the foundation of Igbo religious philosophy. Even though the people make sacrifices to the other gods who quite often fail them, Ndi Igbo still believe that Chukwu, Chineke is the last port of call.

I makwa na Chukwu no

Don't you know there is God?

This is a saying referring to people who think they can do anything and that God will not see them or they believe they will go free. Their concept of God in terms of his creative power and absoluteness, the source of man's origin dependence and protection when all others have failed is original in Igbo thought. The irony is why Igbo man inspite of this noble conception preferred to worship the spirit of the earth, and to also look downwards in rejoining the ancestors, instead of looking upwards in returning to his 'Chukwu' his maker. It is important that Igbo myth established the fact that originally Igbo ancestors had acknowledged that God created them and had maintained contact with him, a contact which was broken because they now moved away from God and focused on a created thing (the earth) as their god with elaborate sacrifices and worship.

The coming of christianity into Igbo land in 1841 was rightly perceived as a civilizing mission. It meant the introduction into the relatively stable Igbo traditional religious framework of an alternative view of the world, a rival cosmology and a different way of understand the place of Igbo man in particular in creation. This encounter marked the beginning of the restoration of the broken link and what has been the developmental implication of either looking downwards to rejoining our ancestors or looking upwards to returning to Chukwu on Igbo man and his society.

5. IGBO TRADITIONAL RELIGION AND CHRISTIANITY

Chinua Achebe (1958:123-125) gave us the first Igbo description of the impact of that encounter between Igbo traditional religion and christianity when Obierika said:

How do you think we can fight when our own brothers have turned against us. White man is very clever. He came quietly and peacefully with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.



The above words articulate the sentiments expressed by an Igbo elder after realizing how the new religion (Christianity) had gone in terms of winning converts and dividing the members of the clan. And it is true that henceforth things were never the same for the Igbo.

The question that comes to mind is whether the Igbo did misunderstand him? If the missionary had not posed as quiet and peaceable, could the Igbo have been less tolerant with him? How exactly did the missionary manage to win some Igbo over into christianity? In Achebe's Things Fall Apart, Nneka wasted no time in joining the Christian when she became pregnant because she has been losing her children through ogbanje. The outcasts in Mbanta flocked the church. Christianity offered freedom from evil spirits and oppression. There was the case of Nwoye who was shocked because twins were thrown away into the forest to die and about Ikemefuna who was killed for sacrifice by his father Okonkwo. We remember how Ndi Igbo gave out the shrines of their various gods to Christian missionaries who cleared those sites, erected churches and nothing happened to them contrary to the expectations from the people, their gods and shrines. The Igbo are not sufficiently stupid to hang on to those failed shrines and gods, even if they had not completely imbibed christianity. The gods were dead and the people became convinced that the white man's God was very powerful. There were those who failed at this time to become part of this dynamic process and they lost out. The priestess of Agbala in Umuofia spitefully called the christians the excrement of the clan and the 'new faith' was a mad dog that had come eat it up (Achebe, 1958:101). Thus when the colonials and missionaries wanted the chiefs and the chief priests to surrender their children for education, these principal Igbo chiefs who were custodians of true Igbo history refused for fear of being treacherously enslaved. Rather less privileged people like the 'osu' caste, outcasts and personal servants regarded as 'worthless and empty' men as described by Achebe were given to the Europeans for education. When this class of people became educated they had no enthusiasm to engage in the collation and preservation of Igbo history in view of their past shameful family background. This negative motivation or social resentment even led many of these educated elites to join in the colonialist propaganda that the Igbo had no common history (Nwosu; 1983:6). Thus christianity and Igbo are weighted for what they are worth and a choice is made accordingly.

Therefore the advent of christianity in Igbo land had meant the introduction of a christian world view. Admittedly, christianity made tremendous achievements. They abolished slave trade and slavery, human sacrifices and twin killing, introduced education, built hospitals and charity homes. They destroyed some level of superstition, increased human knowledge that brought about improved human welfare. Igbo traditional religion was incapable of achieving this because it was static as well as looking downwards. Through education and christian religion it was possible for the Igbo to re-shape their faith and world view. Nevertheless syncretistic practices among many Igbo christian show that Igbo traditional religion is still alive. But this encounter with christianity means it will ever be the same again.

The early missionaries saw themselves as social and religious reformers. However, while they tried in their own way to achieve their mission goal, which was the conversion of Africans into christianity, their approach and attitude did not produce a wholesome result. They thought by condemning African religious beliefs and practices, social and political means of control. That they would produce 'a new man' born in a new faith; but this 'newman' produced became a split personality - who could neither totally return to the old nor firmly be rooted in the new. This was made worse by the fact that most of the missionaries were not only ignorant of the Igbo people but also lacked adequate knowledge of the content of the christian message. For instance, one of the listeners in Achebe's This Fall Apart asked the missionary thus:

If we leave our gods and follow your god, who will protect us from the anger of our neglected gods and ancestors? In response, the missionary nastily said angrily: Your gods are not alive and cannot do you any harm. They are pieces of wood and stone.

The impatience and unwillingness of the white missionary to educate the traditional Igbo on WHO JESUS IS and WHAT HE CAN DO for them in relation to their gods marked the beginning of a false start in communicating the christian message to the Igbo. It was a brand of christianity, which did not affect all facets of Igbo life. It was that failure which gave rise to ambivalent christianity in Igboland whereby most Igbo christians resort to their local deities, ancestors, medicine men, divination, sacrifices and use of charms or amulets to seek for solution and protection in their crises moments. Nevertheless the Christian message has continued to challenge Igbo man and his environment.

It is important that we be reminded that the various ethnic groups in the world have their traditional religions as an answer to the reality of their existence. The Philistines, the Babylonians, the Greeks and the Romans, all indulged in idolatrous worship. The Arabs used to worship many spirits (Jinns).
Stonehenge in southern England is a living evidence of Druidism, which was the heathen worship of the early inhabitants of the United Kingdom. Human sacrifice was a part of Druid worship and was only abolished in the Roman period, (Kato, 1985:33).



Whatever rationalization we may try to make, the worship of God in traditional
Africa and the primitive nations of the world is idolatrous. Idolatry is worshipping God in pictures, and this was thought to be normal, not sin, since in their view, God is always represented in visual symbols, and so there must always be pictures, idols and statues in their shrines or places of worship. True worship must be spiritual, not material and idolatrous. Pictures designed to encapsulate divinity necessarily diminish God's honour, and transcendence and sovereignty. It is impossible to capture God's power and majesty in a visual image and all attempts to do so deteriorate into magic, superstition and idolatry. Images in worship destroy the human spirits; distort God's spiritual identity and they promote the lie of idolatry. The depravity evident in African traditional religion is evident among all peoples of the earth (Psalm 14:2-3). Traditional Igbo ancestor turned away from 'Chukwu' and set up his gods, with Ala as the arch-divinity. The Igbo myth of origin as shown by Nri myth reveals how Nri sacrificed his first son and first daughter. We don't know why Nri could not be patient to be fed by 'Chukwu' as he fed his father Eri and his people. As with Adam the Igbo man's ancestry to search for answers (about his welfare) away from God broke the link between him and 'Chukwu.'

It is important to observe that while pagan worship was a part of the religion of the peoples of the world, they could still change to other religions of their choice. Most Arabs accepted Islam and became Muslims. The British no longer claimed Druidism as their religion, but Christianity. It was the white missionaries who brought the church to Igbo land. Why should this not be the case in Igbo land?

5.1. RESTORING THE BROKEN-LINK

The question that is being asked today is that of Igbo traditional religion in relation to Christianity. The question has become more urgent today following the explosion of christianity in
Africa where the population is more than 300 million people.

The great Apostle Paul categorically points to the fact that the worship of the pagan gods is a distortion of God's revelation in nature (Rom.
1:18-23). In Acts 17:16-34 he told the people of Athens that the 'Unknown God' they worship is Jesus Christ. In the book of Hebrews 1:1, Paul disclosed that the God who spoke to our forefathers in various ways had now spoken in the last days by his son Jesus Christ. The incarnation has made all people savable.

The Igbo people are lucky people. Our great grand ancestor 'Eri' in Nri myth knew God - "Chukwu". 'Chukwu' has offered the last and final revelation in Jesus Christ, and he is the only foundation for humanity, there is no other. (1 Corth
3: 11), and every veil which had hitherto covered people is destroyed and taken away by him for us to have freedom (2 Cor3:16-18). We are told in the book of Proverbs 16:25 that:

There is a way that seems right to a man but in the end it leads to death.

In acts 14:8-18 Paul made it clear to the people of Lystra that God had never left himself without a witness and had also in time past let all nations go their own way and then wed them in the words of Samuel the prophet (1 Samuel 12:21) to turn from their useless idols that can do them neither good nor rescue them but to turn to the living God who made heaven, and earth and sea and everything in them. It is Jehovah who alone is both God and Saviour (Isaiah 43:11-13).



The Bible makes it abundantly clear that God himself does not give his glory to another or his praise to idols (Isaiah 42:8) Isaiah 42:17. And whenever people pour libation to other gods, Jehovah's anger is always provoked (Jeremiah
7:19-19). Thus in Exodus 20:3-5, God commanded:

You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven, above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them ---

Nri thought he was right in his worship of the Earth goddess and his sacrifices. He saw the created beings as intermediaries. He became a captive of Satan and lost his freedom. In Igbo traditional religion, the concept of Deus Otiosus is explained by appeal to the lesser gods and the ancestors as intermediaries (middlemen). On this the Bible declared in John 14:6: Jesus answered I am the way, the truth and the life.

No one comes to the father except through me.

Similarly in reacting to the great tendency of elaborate sacrifices in Igbo traditional life, Christ offered himself as sacrifice once for all (Heb. 10:10, 14). Salvation is found only in Jesus (Acts
4:12, John 3:16). Jesus is the only foundation for humanity. The foundation laid by Igbo ancestry in their purest contact with 'Chukwu' has yielded fruit right from the time the first missionary set foot on Igbo soil. Christianity is not a white man's religion. It is the religion of those who have accepted faith in God through Jesus Christ. The Igbo christians have joined the list of noble African church leaders like Origen, Athanacius, Tertullian and Augustine. Recently Reverend Father Tansi is canonized as Saint in the Roman Catholic Church and again Cardinal Arinze is the first black to be elevated to the 4th powerful position in the Roman Catholic hierarchy and by this he can even become a Pope. Great developments can come to Igbo land and Nigeria, if we commit ourselves to Jesus Christ as Lord. Jesus Christ alone is the answer to Igbo spiritual and material needs. According to Acts 17:28, we hear:



For in him we live and Move and have our being.

In him alone we find satisfaction and meaning for our life in this world and hereafter. This kind of choice, faith commitment has tremendous developmental implication for us as a people and as a nation. No one can deny that looking upwards to Chukwu has been more beneficial than looking downwards to our ancestors. They were men who lived and died in their time. Where we are today has been the fruit of Christianity and western education.

The 21st century challenges the Igbo to take a leap of faith and be properly restored in our relationship with God first entered into by Igbo earliest ancestor, A.O. Anya {2002) recently has rightly drawn attention to the demand of the 21st century marked by a transition from a resource-driven economy, society and culture to the new and emerging economy and culture which is knowledge-based, technology driven and responsive to environmental concerns. Igbo Christianity and spirituality must respond to this new demand. Because we must not allow our culture to retard our development as a people, we must let our culture be judged and transformed by the word of God as contained in the Bible. The Bible makes it clear that people perish for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6) this we can avoid by engaging in aggressive education of ourselves and our people. Igbo religion can accelerate economic development of the Igbo nation, and the nation at large. This education can emphasize knowledge and character formation that comes through changing our general orientation in terms of values and attitudes, knowledge that would include acquiring skills and idea that can change the mind. You change man and his environment when you succeed in the mind. Ignorance is one of our destructive hindering forces in our society. With sound knowledge of God, man and society, we will appreciate the danger of superstition, idolatry, caste system and sacrifices to their idols and with good character formation whereby we imbibe christian values, we become major resource for economic and spiritual growth which will minimize corruption, improve human relations and increase our productive capacity for personal growth and social development. This religious demand of the 21st century demands risk, choice and commitment. Risk because once you put your hand on the plough there is no more looking backwards. Choice because it is a matter of life or death. Commitment because it involves vision and mission. The dominant Igbo religious and philosophical ideas require those three dimensions, which constitute Igbo man's identity, vision and mission rooted in our faith in Chukwu who not only creates but sustains and protects. Christianity and education which act as source of empowerment will equip us with character and knowledge that- can transform us into agents of change in our time.

5.2. CONCLUSION

We have argued that our Igbo religion and philosophy is embedded in our world view. We observed among other things that the Igbo had a clear concept of Chukwu from the Igbo genesis but was distorted by idolatrous and polytheistic tendency thereby disrupting the original cordial relationship between the earliest Igbo ancestor and Chukwu. We indicated that the Igbo cosmology is expressed in our respect for human life and dignity, respect for morality, our commitment to truth, our achievement orientation centred on hard work, courage and determination, our deep sense of republicanism with its democratic values which also not only recognizes the uniqueness of the individual but affirms the importance of Umunna/Ikwunne and insist on our faith in Chukwu as the foundation of Igbo life and thought.

We argued that these dominant religious and philosophical ideas constitute the key to Igbo self-understanding and identity as well as providing the Igbo their vision and mission in the world. We call for the restoration of the broken link started with the advent of Christianity into Igbo land and urge all Igbo to be fully united with one another and be restored back to Chukwu their creator through Jesus Christ the one and only Universal Intermediary of humanity which is vital for the full realization of our capacity which is our Igboness in national development which the Igbo enemies would want to destroy for their own advantage. We observed that the religious and philosophical challenge of the 21st century portrays Christianity and education as the only viable option, which act as source of empowerment will equip the Igbo with character and knowledge, which can transform us into instruments of change in our time.

NDI IGBO NDEWO Nu. We are not here to sing the praise of a people, but we see a people who have the capacity to change their world.

Nke a B
z Nd Na Eziokwu

Igbo,
Chukwu Gzie n

ha na Eze mma n

Igbo mma mma n


Naijira mma mma nu

Rev. Professor Emmanuel Nlenanya
nw
Department of Religion
University of Nigeria
Nsukka
4th November 200
2

 

 


CASUALTIES DURING THE 1966 POGROM AND 1967 TO 1970 CIVIL WAR.*

By OBU UDEOZO[MSOffice5] , University of Jos, Nigeria.

 

 

Mr. Brown Agbogu of ATMN Bukuru

Morris Okam

Nwibe Enweani

Samuel Anudu

Mr. C.C. Nwokoye of Akwa

Mr. Nwari of Awka (All of these killed in Jos)

 

 

Mr. Nweke Ufele

Godwin Okeke of Nguru fame

Clement Nwankwo of ACB Nguru

Lawrence Okeke

Eric Okonkwo of Gusau

Iliemene Nweke Mene

 

Louis Nwoyeocha

Reuben Nwandu

Oji Okoye Okwubunne

Emmanuel L. Nkwocha

Nwankwo Okika

Lawrence Ifitezue

 

 

 

 

 


a grim chronicle from EnugwuAgidi, a mere single town,

out of the several hundreds of towns and cities in Igbo Land.

 

Nwamadi Ifitezue

Uyanwune Ifitezue

Ernest Onyejeli

Anthony Ofoedu

Simon Onwuemene

Bernard Okoye Nwune

 

Benson Ogu

Okeke Okwubunne

Nweke Nwine

Okonkwo Nwine (genealogy wiped)

Mgbeke Nwine

Kutanya Okoye Igwikolo

 

Moses Okoye Nkili

Nwafor Okongwu

Nweke Ivenso

Okoye Nmoh

Okonkwo Ego

Ementa llodigwe

 

Okeke Odigili Ama

Ofoedu Ivenso

Okoye Enweana


 

 

Okeke Ibeki

Nwokike Ibeki

Aghaegbune Okoye Akuakor

 

 

Nwafor Anagor

Oranu Okolobu

Nwamadu Idegwu

Hyacinth Ibeki

Nweke Okonkwo Ego

Nwanne Okoye Anagbogu

 

Reginald Okeke

Odii Nwaku

Andrew Anikpe

Okeke Arize

Okoyenta Onuorah

Joseph Ifitezue

 

 

Felix Ifitezue

Nwanebe Ifitezue

Okoye Ifitezue

Mgboye Ifitezue (nee Igboanugo)

Nwokeke Kameme

Mgbafor Enemmor


 

 

Nwamgboye Nwolisekwe

Mankwocha Nwokoye

Okekenta Okoye

Okafor Ndife

Nwankwo Igboanusi

Nwankwo Eligwo

 

 

Okeke Anaduaka

Nweke Chilete

Okeke Akamala

Christopher Okafor

Chidebe Ogadi

Afocha Nwankwo Adunma

 

 

Eric Obunabo

Chukwuma Okafor Akuafor

Onyeibo Ani Modozie

Agwuncha Nwokafor

Nwanmadi Mgbajiaka

Anene Uluekwu

 

Nwanyaegbo Nwankwo

Okafor Patego

Tabansi Anaoji


 

 

 

Mgbekeocha Ogadi

Mgba Nwodu Anaree

Nwije Ilozor

 

 

Mankwocha Udeozo*

Peter Ilozor

Mgbeke Okoye

Eric Anenwe

Nweke Nwego (and his wife)

Anaso Igboanugo

Ojukwu Auta

 

 

Thomas Anenye

Anakpu Okonkwo

Nwufo Mokwuo

Nwaku Nwufo

Patrick Nweke

Cordelia Ilozor

 

Israel Sunday Chinyelu

Ejiofor Chinyelu

Ilojianya Chinyelu

Nwaomunu Chinyelu

Mgbeke Chinyelu

Josiah Nwandu

 

My Paternal Grandmother died 8 October, 1968.

 

 

Sunday Josiah Nwandu

Chukwuma Okonkwo Uchendu

Mgbeke Uchendu

lwuchukwu Okonkwo

Nwandu Okonkwo

Okafor Obuah (and his wife)

 

Okoye Onwurah

Okoloudo Nkeakwa

Nwafor Ifenacho

Okafor Ejinaka

Nkwocha Nwokoye

Nwaku Nkwocha

 

 

Cecilia Nkwocha Nwokoye

Nechi Nkwocha Nwokoye

Mr. Iwotor of the Nigeria Rail Ways, Bauchi.

Mr. Onyali of the General Hospital, Bauchi.

Meniru Ikpeamana

Amechi Okoye

 

 

Peter Nwaneki

Peter Nogeli

Samuel Okoli


 

 

 

Okafor Chilete

Patrick Onuorah

Onuorah Okeke Nwanma

 

Bernard Okeke Nwanma

Christian Nwaneki

Nweke Obiorah

Nathaniel Nmoh

Eduzor Nkwonta

Abalaora Chieme

 

Okoye Menu

Nwobu Egwuekwe

Christopher Egwuekwe

Nwakuabia Obiorah

Akueke Mbonu

Mgboye Isidaenu

 

Chieme Akunkwo

Uchenu Okeke

Nwezele Igboekwe

Mgbeke Anaeme

Okoye Nwanyaka

Ekenma Dozie

 

 

 

Okafor Duaka

Unoaku Morah

Jeremiah Nwankwo

Nwamgboye Egwuekwe

Ekpe Nwaogalanya

Caroline Ikeanyi

 

 

Akuekwu Nwoyeocha

Albert Igboanugo (and his wife)

Okoye Mgbeke

Nwoduijele Nwanisobi

Nwambu Ogadi

Nwude Nwokeke

 

 

Paul Okafor

Onuekwusi Enumele

Nwanna Enemmor

Okoye Enemmor

Nmonwuba Okoye Enemmor

Chigbata Okoye Enemmor


 

 

 

 

Okoye Anawana

Anyaora Uregwu

Daniel Ayeke

Okeke Ofiaeli

Chinwude Okoye Ezeudu

Simeon Ezete

 

 

Anaesolu Ezete

Jonathan Nwankwo

Silvanus Okonkwo

Joseph Omaefi

George Okam

Innocent Omaefi

 

Nwafor Obike

Ekemezie Enunwoke

Innocent Okwubunne

Mgboye Mpuatu

Ojukwu Duaka

 

 

Nwoyegbune Okeke

Mgbogafor Modozie

Ebenezer Omaefi


 

 

Okoye Nwanyakonwu

Okeke Nwanyakonwu

Tabugbo Duaka

 

Chianumba Okeke

Ibeki Obuorah

Obed Oraegbune

Nweke Nga

Onwumelu Nnangwu

Moses Okoye Nmoh

 

 

Patrick Onyekwelu

Solomon Okeke

David Amanambu

Chidume Okonkwo Ego

Eric Obunabo

Onuorah Okeke Egwuekwe

 

Onuorah Amazigwom Enweani