Nkwerre is one of the many towns that make up Imo State. It is even more importantly, a few of the towns/citizens who played substantially in the history of the Igbo prior and during the white colonizers days. See A History of the Igbo People by Elizabeth Isichei.
Genuinely, we have been generally one happy people. That is to say there was a minimum of rancor between the four Ofo kindred/quarters that make up Nkwerre. They, it appears, had a way of settling their constitutional and political disputes without much rancor- like most Igbo.
Like with all sustainable judicial or administrative systems, what you had and still have in Nkwerre was as simple as it was complicated. Like it is with most Igbo land it is based on ofo na ogu. Perhaps, it is a pity that Igbo scholars have failed to inquire richly into what ofo na ogu is. Wrongly, most Igbo thinkers suppose, Ofo na Ogu is a relic from our forefathers. It is not. Understood properly, ofo na ogu is a living model, perhaps one of the best invented by man to live in harmony, sustainably.
Nothing throws up this error of Igbo and Nkwerre people wanting to live outside the lore of ofo na ogu, than the crisis that has befallen Nkwerre community.
As we write, broken, broken into three pieces. So what is the genesis. Please, we plead that Igbo take out time to read through this. This is because the matter is not peculiar to Nkwerre, it is about going universal among the Igbo nation. The greater detail on the matter may be found in my book, NIGERIA: THE UNREPORTED GENOCIDE AGAINST THE IGBO: THE GENERALS MURTALA MOHAMMED-OLUSEGUN OBASANJO DIKTATS.
Now, what happened is that before the white colonizers came, Nkwerre like most Igbo, was a city state founded as a confederation. For Nkwerre they are the famous ofo quarters/kindred to their confederation. The proof of this is that to be a titled man in Nkwerre, you are processed only through your ofo quarter. However, the founder fathers so instituted things, a title holder of one ofo, is a title holder in all ofos, in all Nkwerre.
For all practical purposes, Nkwerre like most Igbo towns were run in a democratic order before the white man came. The white man, to lower the cost of colonialism, appointed the so called Warrant Chiefs. However, about 1950-1959, the various city states of Ndi Igbo land, for example Akwa Etiti, Awka, Nkwerre appointed replacement Ezes to run things. This is because Warrant Chiefs decayed out of fashion and Igbo had no room for institutionalized hereditary excellences. For the Igbo, the market or better open competition – like taking Nze title, was the best channel to chose greatness. That is the history of people appointed/elected traditional rulers in most of Igbo land.
The key fact, is that it was the various development unions of the Igbo City states that appointed those kings. And it was made abundantly clear that the kings were under the overlordship of their town development unions, which was democratically built and which paid for their upkeep. Then it was not prominent men that were appointed. Of course the most prominent and successful men were in the various towns, trading and working. So they scanned for lowly income workers to ‘’go home’’ and become Ezes. Of course between the 1960 and 1966 the traditional stool was in precipitous decline. For instance, the North and the Southwest canvassed during constitutional conferences, a house of [traditional] chiefs. The Igbo never did. Practically, the traditional chiefs were not needed ‘’here.’’
However, post civil war, and during the dictatorship of Generals Murtala Mohammed/Olusegun Obasanjo, herein termed 2GMOs, a deliberate policy of cultural genocide or ethnocide, was piped into the Igbo society. They passed a cruel and criminal diktat that all Igbo towns must have traditional rulers, by fire by force. And these traditional chiefs were to be paid by government.
So, the newly minted or remade Ezes became free agents, pushing and pulling for power. As expected, according to the ethnocidal purposes of the 2GMOs, Igbo was culturally mongrelized, that is, genocided. In other words, those who are traditional rulers in Igbo land today are paid agents for cultural genocide against their own people. It’s important that it does not matter a fart if they are conscious or cuckooed agents. Ignorance is not a plea before history. That is, if they didn’t know they should have consulted their superiors who know.
In other words, what the 2GMOs diktat purposed as a total destruction of Igbo land from inside. It is similar to what the Spaniards did to wipeout and conquer Spanish America. The Spaniards just weaponized their human diseases. The 2GMOs just weaponized cultural diseases.
The point, is that it is with this background that one may understand what is really going on in Old Nkwerre, now split into three autonomous communities.
Now, the heritage Eze was a victim, perhaps unknowing, of the 2GMOs ethnocidal poison. It is apparent he sought more powers than was technically due to him. He really wanted, it appears to reign like an Emir or an Oba, which is an anathema to Igbo land.
For instance, under his watch constituent villages of the ofo quarters were balkanized, without rhyme or reason. In several instances, it is stated that he swapped the near sacred seniority order of the villages. That is if village A has been the elder of village B, he rearranged seniority according to his own ‘’wisdom.’’ When there were accusations of ‘’deals’’ as to this ‘’anti-ofo na ogu and immoral seniority juggling, persons sympathetic to him explained that some villages applied late. The truth is that these things were just his own ‘’fixes and fixtures.’’
Second in appointing senior chiefs, he appointed it in a skewed order. For instance, of the four quarters two were not represented as high chiefs. This is a desecration of ofo na ogu, of the confederal arrangement upon which Nkwerre sustainable democratic order was founded. The irony is that if he had agreed to run shop under the Nkwerre Aborigines Union, the error of playing by whims and caprices would been avoided and or corrected. But feeling full of the powers of the 2GMOs, he he set up a fire that has burnt and diminished his throne into near nothingness.
Perhaps, 2020 was the year of his nemesis. Two of the parties he had issues with found themselves key anchors of the Senator Hope Uzodinma administration. For the two, it was a set piece and they scored. All the rest is history. There are now three Nkwerre. Perhaps as purposed by the 2GMOs more are coming.
Before we say anything further, let us put it on record that if the 2GMOs ever wanted development and modernity for Nigeria they would have acted otherwise. They should have, using their jackboots dictatorship, abolished the Emirate and Oba systems in their North and Southwest, and the vestiges of it in the East. Modernity is dictated in terms of equality of citizens, not thrones. Thus, the 2GMOs in failing to abolish emirate, obaship etc, betrays their ethnocidal designs against Igbo. The point is that it is their post war, self-detonating socio-nuclear bombs that is blowing Igbo apart. Alas, many of us who are from Nkwerre stayed numbed it won’t get to us. However, I foresaw this future a thousand days and more ago ala: NIGERIA THE UNREPORTED GENOCIDE….
Now, a yet unseen part of this destructive 2GMOs bomb is for Nkwerre and much of Igbo city states to be telling lies against themselves. For instance, one was alarmed to read of Nkwerre and several Igbo city states citizens describing their cities as ancient kingdoms. And it was all in an attempt to legitimized the 2GMOs diktat and prosper the careerists of the cultural genocide of the of Igbo. The Ezes are heading the destructive armadas.
As to these towns being ancient kingdoms, one wonders how far spinelessness and duplicity may go? The irony is that democracy is a higher, a more productive etc. order than monarchism. And then we the fact of ancient kingdom, is a pure historical lie.
Finally, for outsiders, Nkwerre wu college oyoyo o, is a saying popular amongst Nkwerre people. It means Nkwerre, as most societies, is a college, a learning machine. The oyoyo o, however, suggests that there is never an end to the unfathomability of all learning/education. In other words, oyoyo o admonishes that even if you possess the ofo, you must tie it up with ogu, you must operate on ofo na ogu. That is to say, that sustainability and the best of epistemic science is built on ‘’you never know it all.’’ This fact is illustrated by the saying and personal name, common in Nkwerre, Ogu-wu-nka. Ahiazuwa.