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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

How Awka lost its fame as blacksmith city

By Vincent Ujumadu
VANGUARD Nigeria. Saturday, February 16, 2019

AWKA, the Anambra State capital, is known as the 
blacksmith city because the town used to excel in manufacturing such items as guns, gongs, pots and metal wares of all kinds. In fact, the traditional ruler of Awka bears the title of Eze Uzu (the blacksmith king) and many title holders in the town attach 'uzu' (blacksmith) after their names.
Obiorah Okafor, Chairman, Awka Blacksmiths Association

But the blacksmiths themselves are bitter. They are bitter because government has neglected them and they therefore look at anyone who comes to make inquiries about their trade with suspicion. Blacksmith used to be somehow exclusive to Awka people, but things have changed as not only Awka people are in it currently.

The environment where they operate is also an eye saw and, as many of them told Saturday Vanguard, they are still in the trade because they could not find an alternative job to do. The place where the blacksmiths occupy in Awka used to be a beehive of activities and customers used to come from many parts of the country and even beyond to buy the short guns that were synonymous with Awka. However, after the Nigeria civil war, production of guns, the most lucrative of all products manufactured by the blacksmiths in Awka, became illegal such that security operatives were often carrying out raids in the area. Out of fear, many of them withdrew and learnt other trades.

Do you know the story of The Awommili Women of Öka?


 Written by Emmanuel Anizọba 

Emma Anizoba
Öka women had a governance organization whose central committee of thirteen was known as Awommili. My free e-book “Who Are the Öka People?” contains a summary of Awommili’s birth, its achievements and its shameless disbandment by a cabal of Ozö men, who cleverly took over governance in Öka. A disturbing question pops up in the mind of the attentive reader:

Since the subversion of Awommili by the Özö men, has Öka moved forward meaningfully in terms of development?

My answer is NO!

In terms of meaningful development, Öka has been in the doldrums ever since the Özö men disbanded the Awommili women’s group and took over governance in Öka.

The conflict between the Awommili women and Özö men was a continuation of the battle initiated by the votaries of patriarchy, with a view to destroying matriarchy. The demise of Öka matriarchy took root with the entrenchment of title-taking, a process that starts with the young-man-making Amanwülü initiation at the base and ends with the Özö title at the apex of the Öka social power triangle.


Currently the Gods are angry, Öka is on the verge of implosion and the Özö men should atone for the accumulated sins of their Society against the Land of Öka by yielding governance power to the youth via republican institutions. We must value truth above authority and age.

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More on the Awommili Women of Öka


For more details on the subject please refer to my e-books “Who Are The Öka People?” and “Nne-Üzü: The Mother of Smithing and Lunar Timekeeping”. We are now able to fathom the source of the power wielded by Ümü-Ada and Ümü-Ökpü of old. A daughter of the clan is called Ada anyï (our daughter). Even in today’s Öka patriarchal society, we may ask:

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

On the Osu Tradition

Written by Emmanuel Anizọba 

To discuss meaningfully we must note that before the arrival of the colonialist and his Christian religion the Igbo venerated their functional Deities or Gods (Alüshï). There was no police, law court or prison. Misunderstandings were settled by the elders or some God of arbitration, justice and retribution. The famous Okija God is just one of these Gods of arbitration, justice and retribution.

Those who propose to use legislation to abolish the Osu tradition thereby show the extent of their ignorance. The Osu system was abolished in 1956 by the then Eastern Nigeria government. So, why has the system persisted? Because no one has accurately explained what the Osu is. The explanation below is an attempt to further clarify the Osu concept, with a view to finding lasting solutions to the Osu dilemma. So, what is the Osu? 

The Osu is a person owned by the local Deity or Alüshï. This ownership may be voluntary or involuntary on the part of the Osu.

Voluntary Osu: Faced by some grave danger, a man could take refuge at the shrine of the Alüshï. He thus puts himself and his descendants into the care of the Alüshï.


Involuntary Osu: One may also hand himself over to the Alüshï by deliberately destroying the Alüshï’s property. A very Christian lady got into trouble by deliberately smashing the Imöka Awka tortoise with her fufu pestle. Her refusal to perform the propitiation rites transformed all the members of her family into Osu Imöka. There is also the case where two people go before the Alüshï to swear as to the veracity of their ownership claims on, say, a piece of land. The terms of the oath may:

(1) Limit the action of the Alüshï to the two people who take the oath. Punishment by the Alüshï affects only the oath taker that lied.

The Non-Issue of Öka (Awka) Origins

Emmanuel Anizọba 
Written by Emmanuel Anizọba 
Culled from my free e-book “Who Are The Öka People?” 

The Igbo orthography adopted for this document is the New Standard Orthography (NSO) which, for ease of writing, replaces the sub-dotted vowels (ị, ọ, ụ) with the umlauted ones (ï, ö, and ü). The tone markings are [H] and [L] for high and low tones.

Some writers have worked hard to find a primordial home for Öka people. One of them, Chief Özö E.P.O. Offodile, in his book “A Pedigree of Awka and Its People” boldly asserts that the Öka are Hebrews, Israelites or Jews. And the only source materials tendered are the Old Testament books of the Christian Bible, which contain a large number of customs that are also practiced by Öka people. Is the similarity of customs a sufficient basis to conclude that Öka people are Hebrews, Israelites or Jews? Evidently no, unless we are afraid of learning through resolute research!

Öka is Öka, Öka vbü Öka. Which other origin of Öka are we looking for? Folks enjoy crab-walking (backwards), hanging out in their heads and moving round in circles. Assuming Israel is found to be the origin of Öka. Then we must also ask for the origin of Israel. And nothing prevents us from asking for the origin of the origin of Israel.  This is a futile infinite regressus.


The Öka say: Onye maal nnïa (nna ya), maal ndü gboo (ndiichie), i.e., He who knows his father knows his ancestors. The expression “he who knows his father” goes beyond the child’s physical recognition of his/her father. It implies the generational transmission of the clan’s history from the father to his children. So, the real issue is: What did the Öka person’s father tell him/her of his/her pedigree?

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Oyibo ka mmadi, Ma na Oka kacha mba! (The Whitemen is creative above all men, But the Oka man comes next to him!) --from an Oka war chant (okili) This is the story of the Oka people, the fathers that begat us. It is the story of the Oka people as they were before the British came into their lives and seized control of their country and their destiny, and later merged their city – state with the great body polity known as Nigeria.
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