A Comparative Study of Igbos and Israel in Print
A Comparative Study of Igbos and Israel in Print
THE widespread notion that the Igbo of the South Eastern Nigeria are direct descendants of the Jews has been a subject of debate.
While many ascribe it to the fact that there is a connection between the Igbo and Judaism based on a critical study of their linguistic, archeological, genetic and cultural ties, some others disagree saying that it is not so as they attribute the Jewish identification among the Igbo as a result of Christianity brought by missionaries, since most Igbo people are Christians.
But what is the true story, though many writers have written on this subject matter, but the book, The Igbos And Isreal; An Inter- Cultural Study of the largest Jewish Diaspora written by Abuja based Igbo author, lawyer and activist, Remy Ilona is unique in that it is a concerted move to answer the question based on a research carried out about it. Written with the background that a significant part of the origin of their custom emanated from the ancient Isrealities and that Jewish identification has been part of the Igbo experience, the author who is one of the few Igbo authors with profound knowledge of the Hebrew Bible and its later Jewish commentaries carried out a comparative research, studying what others have written earlier on the subject and interviewing some of the eldest priests and others at Nri, and other Igbo locations.
It is his findings that formed the bulk of the 284 pages book divided into 20 chapters. A study of the book shows that The Igbos And Isreal; An Inter- Cultural Study of the largest Jewish Diaspora is an inter cultural study of the systematic comparism of Igbo culture to the Hebrew and Isrealites. One special attribute of the book is the author’s ability to document and interprete some of the cultures of Igbo people, some of them which are outdated.
Chapter 1, takes a critical look at Life circle events which focusses on Igbo rituals associated with the birth of children, Initiation rites and Marriage and how it is linked to the Jewish culture.
Chapter 2, highlights the Comparative study of the ideas underlying Omenana and Judaism. Here, the author explains the meaning of Omenana and its importance to the early period unlike now when modernisation has eroded some of them. He also looked at Igbo perception of God (Chukwu) where he gave evidences that indeed proved that it is similar to the Isrealites perception of the Deity.
In Chapter 3, the author highlights the rituals associated with dying and death in the topic Onwu na Akwamaozu, the various ways Igbo handle the issue and how it was practiced by the Jews. Feasts and festivals Issues like feasts and festivals, New yam festival( Iri ji), Passover and Unleavened bread(Oriri Achicah), Sukkot (Ima Ntu), Eke Ukwu/Nkwo oru(Sabbath) and others were treated in Chapter 4. Though some of them are no longer practiced in all Igbo land, there are some areas where they are observed.
Chapter 5, examines some socio religious customs while chapter 6 takes a critical look at Abomination and purification(Aru na Ikpu aru) as it is done in Igbo land and its similarity to that of the Isrealites. The concept of sacrifices and offerings(Ichu Aja) as practiced in Igbo land is treated in chapter 7.
Here the different types of sacrifices in Igbo land especially those similar to the Jews are addressed. Chapters 8 and 9 looked at Classes among the Igbo and the socio-Religious personalities and authorities in Igbo land.
While chapter 10 to 15 takes a comparative survey of the duties,. How do the Igbo people handle cases of crime and other offences, irresponsible and unnatural sexual behaviours, land matters, ritual cleanliness and Dietary matters in relation to that of the Isrealites were also treated.
In Chapters 16 to 19, the author bares his findings in similarities between Igbo and Semitic manners of dress,Joining the Igbo and Jewish people and leaving them and the Igbo society in general. Finally, he concludes with what he termed Thought- provoking Phenomena, where he narrated some Igbo folk-lores, Igbo and Isrealite farming practices and family trees.
The book can be described as a masterful job with a scholarly attention to detail. It serves two important purpose, first it documents the cultural practices of Igbo people many which are already going into extinction and secondly it beautifully narrates the Judiac rituals, beliefs and concepts as they are practiced in the Igbo culture of Nigeria.
THE ORIGIN OF IGBO
If you're doubting this write-up about BIAFRA: go and do your research because I have done mine own too. BIAFRANS: THIS IS OUR ORIGIN = DNA. THE ORIGIN OF IGBO LAND PLS KNOW YOUR ORIGIN AND DONT BE A FOOL. They documented some of our history in your bible but you don't know. IGBOS BIBLICAL GENEALOGY.
Let's begin according to Genesis 29 verse 30: JACOB had twelve (12) sons namely:
The 7th son was GAD. and according to Genesis 46 vs16. GAD had seven (7) sons namely:
Sometime in Middle East, famine struck and Jacob moved with his family and about 70 other relations to Egypt. But before then Joseph (which was 11th son of Jacob) had already been sold to Egypt by his brothers, where he was made Governor General under a King Pharaoh.
As time goes on when the Pharaoh that knows Joseph died, they started suffering persecutions from the hand of Egyptians but ERI the 5th son of GAD foresaw the danger, persecution, and wickedness coming and he decided to leave in time with his two younger brothers, ARODI & ARELI with one of his half brothers.
They travelled through Ethiopia, Sudan and down towards West Africa through river Nile and landed at a place known as AGULERI today through Omambala River in Anambra state, around 1305 BC. (I) ERI established and lived close to the Omambala river. He was wealthy and wise like his great grand father (Abiama) Abraham.
That is why Anambra state has the highest number of rich people in Africa.
ERI; had five (5) sons:
(1) AGULU; as the first son stayed back and established in the place known as Agulu-ERI (Agulu son of ERI) in Anambra state.
(2) ATTA; moved to upward North and established a place known as "IGALA Kingdom " and that is why their overall KING is known as "Atta of IGALA" in Kogi state
(3) OBA; left and founded a place known as Oba Kingdom in Anambra state.
(4) HEBREW; which have been changed to mean Hibo or Ibo. He was very powerful spiritual man and that is why people from this area are always very spiritual. He left and founded Igbo-Etiti, Igbo-Adagbe, Igbo- Eze (within Nsukka and parts of Anambra).
(5) MENRI left and founded a place known as ""AgukwuNRI". NRI Kingdom.
(II). ARODI moved to a place known as "ARO- CHUKWU". Very industrious and good at arts and crafts. (e.g: Aba Ngwa people of Aba).
ARODI gave birth to:
(6) Aro-Ikot Ekpene (Akwa Ibom )
(7) Aro- Echie (Rivers state)
During slave trade Aro spread all over the world. America, Cuba, Brazil and "ARO-festival" is always been celebrated in CUBA.
(III). ARELI was a man with a lot of Wisdom. The native tongue of his descendants is today known as "Central Igbo". And people from this Area have the highest number of graduates and professors in Igbo land.
ARELI gave birth to:
(3) Diobu (River state)
(7) Elele (Mba Ise)
(9) Mba Ano, etc...
ERI half brothers moved and founded IJAW nationality and some parts of Edo State and many other parts of Niger Delta.
EVIDENCES and SIMILARITIES:
Now to verify some of the things I have said above. (1) If you get to Aguleri there is a particular house known as OBI GAD (house of GAD).
Remember GAD was the 7th son of Jacob (Gen 29:30) and GAD had five (5) sons of which the last three (3) who were ERI, ARODI and ARELI and some of their half-brothers left Egypt to West Africa).
The OBI GAD was the resting or relaxing place for ERI and his brothers and they named it OBI GAD in order to honour their father (GAD, the 7th son of Israel).
This OBI GAD was the first house built in Igboland. This is the reason why every Igbo man always build a place called OBI/OBU in his house in honour of his father and mainly for relaxation and in the olden days, there is always a familyshrine or little oracle, and why they worship Oracle then was because they left EGYPT before GOD gave 10 commandments to Moses for the Israelites, of which one of the 10 commandments is against idol worship. (even though modern day Igbos now build OBI as outside BAR without any Shrine, while some Christians don't build OBI anymore because of their beliefs).
It can also be Called ERI TEMPLE. The Obi GAD also serve as a Consulting place for some royal fathers from other community that have Direct root to ERI.
(2) At the Burial place of ERI, there is a TRINITY TREE standing on the grave site. These are three Trees but are strongly United and connected by Single Tap Root.
(3) "ADA" means first Daughter in Israel (Gen 4 vs 19- 20) and it means the same thing in Igbo language.
(4) Before an Igbo man makes a contribution in a public gathering, he will shout "Igbo kwenu " and the people will respond "Yah" and "Yah" is short form of " Yahweh. Yahweh is the name of Jewish GOD.
(5) STAR OF DAVID AND some bronze medals Encrypted with Hebrew Codes were found in many part of the Igbo land.
(6) Israelis (Jews) manufactures 80% the world weapons and 70% of USA weapons. Just like Igbos manufactured 80% of all the weapons used during Biafran. Which no other African nation has done.
Igbos were only defeated during the war due to Hunger policy.
By now, we would have been manufacturing war weapons for Africans, and no country will have to go outside Africa to purchase weapons to fight Insurgency, if not for the bad policy of Nigeria.
Igbos are the most highly technologically inclined people in the whole of Africa. You will also notice that Igbos always handle the post of science and technology and industry in most Nigeria ministerial post.
The first West African billionaire is from Nnewi: Chief Sir Louis Ojukwu. The black Indigenous Vehicle Manufacturers eg: INNOSON MOTORS AND COSHARIS MOTORS,
Indigenous MOBILE PHONE AND COMPUTER MANUFACTURERS eg:
(A) SLOK MOBILE (Orji Uzo kalu)..
(B) ZINOX COMPUTERS (Leo Stan Ekeh).
(C) SLOT MOBILE (NNAMDI EZEIGBO)
(D) Father of internet and founder of the fastest computer in the world (PHILIP EMEAGWALI) etc.
(7) We carry home our dead ones just like the Israelites
(Gen 49 vs 29-50). (Just like the Israelites, we were led or ruled by Elders and Priest.
There was no King in Israel until Samuel appointed Saul as the King of Israel and that was why Israelites were led by Prophet Moses and so many other Prophets.
CONCLUSION: Isreali Ambassador (Noah Katz) Confirmed that Igbos are Jews. (Check Daily Sun Newspapers 28th March 2004). Therefore, Igbo are the Engine Block and Japan of Africa, no wonder an Author with international reputation,
"Emefiena Ezennia" said that "In Biafra Africa Died". We are good people, we love our neighbours, we accommodate anybody. We can live everywhere and develop anywhere. It is in our blood to develop.
We need Igbos to develop Nigeria, Africa and even the world as a whole; we are God's people, a chosen generation!
Nigeria should stop the marginalization of the Igbos and the Biafrans or let them have their freedom. For the Igbos we should know who we are, dream and think bigger, for you are the son of the most high God, the God of Abraham (Abiama) believe in yourself and work harder as it is in your blood, every Igbo parents should endeavour to teach their children Igbo language and culture all the time! Mba nile nwere ihe ha jiri di ebube only Biafra will save Afaerika (Africa) only Biafra is our last hope this is the gospel of Saint Iyierioba thanks be to God udo diri unu.
They Lived Before Adam: Pre-Historic Origns of the Igbo
THEY LIVED BEFORE ADAM:
PRE-HISTORIC ORIGINS OF THE IGBO
''Post by Nile Valley research specialist/scholar''Dhwty .
"We found evidence that in pre-historic times, Igbo people were known as people of light and Sons of God (Opara/Okwara). They were worshipped by other clans of humans. They were the first kings and god-men known to human beings in general. Appollo, whose name was pronounced as Okpara, was the first example. The Pharaoh of Egypt actually took their title from Okpara Ihe (Son of Light). There are available records from 2000 BC showing that Pharoahs sent expeditions to West Africa to import Eshi (dwarfs), whom they valued as divine beings who bestowed blessings on Egypt."
THEY LIVED BEFORE ADAM: PRE-HISTORIC ORIGINS OF THE IGBO - THE NEVER-BEEN-RULED – AUTHOR’S PREFACE
THEY LIVED BEFORE ADAM: PRE-HISTORIC ORIGINS OF THE IGBO - THE NEVER-BEEN-RULED – AUTHOR’S PREFACE
BY CATHERINE ACHOLONU
With contributions by Eddy Olumba and Ajay Prabhakar
FIRST PRESENTED IN PART AT THE 6TH ANNUAL IGBO STUDIES CONFERENCE, HOWARD UNIVERSITY, WASHINGTON D.C., APRIL 4TH-5TH, 2008.
The writing of this book came about by accident. I did not intend to do any specific research on the Igbo phenomenon because somehow or the other, it didn’t quite look to me that there was anything that had not yet been written about the Igbo people of Nigeria by its Historians. After all, I thought, I am not a history scholar. I am first and foremost a student of Literature and Literary Studies, a linguist, a literary critic and a self trained philosopher as well as, but most importantly, an incurably inquisitive researcher on the general subject of life and especially on the phenomenon of Black African Life and Culture. What I found out about the Igbo, therefore, came wholly by accident. In 1990 I had embarked upon a major research about the Black African identity. It was a search for the contributions of ancient Black Africans to world civilizations – in other words, to the development of the human species. That search led me to discover in 2001 after more than 11 years of searching, (again by accident) a library of ancient stone inscriptions made by the common ancestors of what I chose to refer to as the Niger-Benue sub-family of Nigerian tribes, which include the Igbo. These stone inscriptions are located in Ikom, Cross River State, Nigeria. That discovery buoyed up my research interest and created for me an unprecedented access-window into the lost civilizations of ancient Nigeria (known in prehistoric African maps as Median Biafra), the founders/creators of that specific concept known as Black African culture, the creators of the Nok culture of the Niger-Benue confluence and of the later Bantu phenomenon that colonized 90% of Black Africa. The ancient name of a large part of the country now known as Nigeria was originally known as ‘Biafra’. This word Bi-afra is the origin of the word Africa, which esoteric records say, is derived from the word Afra – the name of the god-man who founded the continent. By its name, Bi-afra proves to have been the spiritual/cultural capital or home-base of this god-man Afra. In fact in Igbo language the word ‘Bi-Afra’ (Be-Afra/Obi-Afra) translates as ‘The Home Place of Afra’! This would confirm ancient Nigeria as the spiritual/cultural capital of Africa. This is in consonance with recent research findings by linguists and ethnographers that the Niger-Benue region of Nigeria is the original source of the Bantu migrations across all of sub-Saharan Africa. The Bantu were the ministers of the cultural phenomenon known as ‘Black African culture’ and they were Nigerians in origin, from the same Niger-Benue, otherwise called, Nok region.
The global course I had set for my search led me ever more and more to information indicating that in times beyond memory, the Igbo and their Kwa brethren bestrode the continent of Africa and in time became instrumental to the making of an indigenous Nigerian civilization that had birthed, not only the Black African civilization, but also all known world civilizations. Traces of this phase of Igbo and world history have all but been lost and buried in millennia of dead history, consigned to the period now generally known as Pre-History. Yet traces remain in myths, legends, scriptures and histories of other continents, in the languages that people still speak today all over the world, as well as, and most importantly, on the stone inscriptions of Ikom and the strange engravings and symbols on the bronze and copper monuments of Igbo Ukwu. After our general findings were published under the now famous title The Gram Code of African Adam: Stone Books and Cave Libraries, Reconstructing 450,000 Years of Africa’s Lost Civilizations (2005), I decided to put together, all the accidental but intriguing finds we chanced upon about the Igbo in the course of our research, their origins and identity and their contributions to the world. The shocking truth is that wherever we looked and no matter how far backwards in time we delved, we found traces left by a people who spoke the Igbo language that is still spoken today in Nigeria largely by the people of the South East zone and to a lesser extent by their Kwa neighbours. Thus were we able to confirm Adiele Afigbo’s thesis about a Mega Igbo proto Kwa phenomenon, which the ace historian pronounced but did not amply substantiate to invoke acceptance even among adherents of his school of thought.
Call for Igbo Renaissance:
Today, as the world and the Igbo nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of the publication of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, that eloquent celebration of the indigenous African identity and an equally eloquent description of the process of the dissolution of the African soul-center, we are pleased to present our publication – They Lived Before Adam – as part of the healing and restoration process that the Igbo so desperately need. The breaking of the Igbo soul-center at the Beginning, like the breaking of the kola nut, should not have led, as it did, to the shattering of the chalice of communion. Rather it should now be understood for what it is and what it was meant to be by the Creator of All: the division of the cells of the body of the god-man, so that each cell may be planted and in the fullness of time, yield a plenitude of harvests in the souls of all peoples and nations of the world. Now that seed is ripe, and that plenitude of harvest (Obia-nuju/ Oba-nuju) is ripe for the plucking. It is time to put together through the process of Ntikonu (what in Hebrew Cabbala is known as Tikkun) that which had fallen apart by default. It is time for the resurrection of the dead, for even though The World Was Silent When We (the people of The Yellow Sun) Died, the god spirit that is every individual Igbo Chi (immortal soul) can always rise without prompting. There is a time to die and a time to live again. There is a time for burial of the dead and a time for the Resurrection of the Ever Living Soul of the God-man and the God-woman! This we bequeath to our children, the leaders of tomorrow, the Chimamandas of this world, the Ifunanyas, Nnekas, Chidozies and the Kelechis (the last four are my children, the first is the author of Half of a Yellow Sun) that through our death they may live more vigorously and dream greater dreams than we dared. We bring to them and to the youths of Nigeria and the world the unstoppable personality of the coming Christ, the King of Kings, the Nze-nze!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Arch-Bishop Anthony Obinna of the Catholic Diocese of Owerri, in his inaugural Millennium Odenigbo Lecture (2000) titled Ujunwa: Anuri Uwa Niile, and in a ground-breaking sermon preached in my presence the same year, gave what he considered to be the Igbo basic interpretation of the Christian concept of ‘Jesus Christ’. His conclusion, based on field research, was that the Igbo name that best translates the name ‘Jesus Christ’ as Child of Grace and the Hope of the World is Ujunwa (Obianuju in full) - ‘Plenitude’. I have to confess that ever since listening to that sermon, I have felt a growing burden occasioned by the uncanny coincidence of the fact that even though I live 900 kilometers away from the venue of the sermon, I just happened to be present in church on that very day, and it just so happens that my native Igbo name is Obianuju and my mother calls me Ujunwa! In fact just as I am writing these very lines, my aged mother, who has been in my house convalescing from a long illness is calling out to me, “Ujunwa!” Yet another uncanny coincidence! When the Bishop saw me after the sermon, he gave me an assignment – to translate the Ujunwa Odenigbo Lecture which is written and published in Igbo into English. I must confess that even though I started the assignment immediately, and covered ninety percent of it, I did not complete it. Politics got in the way. I do hope I shall recover the manuscript and complete it.
What I am trying to say is that writing this book is an act of fulfillment of Destiny for me. In 1990 when I began my tenure as a Visiting Professor/Fulbright Scholar-writer-In-Residence at the Westchester Consortium for International Studies/ Manhattanville College in Upstate New York, I did something strange – I wrote a long prayer-letter to God asking to be guided into the forgotten and lost records of Africa’s contributions to world civilizations so that I can reveal them to the teeming seekers for African’s lost identity. This has been my deepest desire in life. I have never desired riches or a big house and flashy cars. Of course it helps to be relatively comfortable. But that’s as far as it can go for me. Anything more than that would actually scare me. I like my life simple and ordinary. The Gram Code book project and this very book on Igbo origins are my two contributions towards the fulfillment of that personal mission I set out for myself. I have been lucky that God actually answered my prayers, just as HE/SHE/IT does all sincere prayers. Everyone bears their own cross, the loadstone of their existence. My particular loadstone is that I have no “I” to call my own. My personality, my identity is part and parcel of the Collective Consciousness of the peoples among whom I have found myself. I desire nothing, want nothing, I crave for nothing, I accumulate nothing. I have no property. I carry no baggage. I always travel light. This is how I love my life. And I am enjoying it like this. I have something of an Okigbo syndrome also: a life that is ever on fire to pour itself out for the good of the mass, ever seeking for answers to the Black Human condition and ever willing to sacrifice its all that the other may be filled. This, I think is Ujunwa, the fullness that ever seeks to transfer itself ad infinitum. I crave the indulgence of my readers for this digression, for when the heart is filled to over-flowing it must pour itself out or else suffocate under the weight of its unbearable loadstone.
The Christ phenomenon is for me an ever present reality. It is the urge to be the most that human-kind can be as a representative of its creator. As a mother, the Christ phenomenon is an ever present reminder that every child in and out of one’s womb and the womb of other mothers is ‘the deity in waiting’. For me and for the children that have been born through me, this is the only reality we know, and this, we believe, is the lost message of Jesus Christ. In my life two persons have inspired me the most: my late father and my late maternal grand mother. My late father was a god. He was not like anyone else I have known. He was not what you call human. He was different from humans in everyway, save one – he had a body. In every other way he was something I have been trying to describe since he died in 1973. I have not succeeded. So I give up with just these few words: He was like Jesus except that he did not perform the Jesus kind of miracles. His own were more practical: life-changing opportunities he gave to every needy, unprivileged person who crossed his path. But he was fearsome in the powerful personality he exuded, his unbending honesty and straight-forwardness. We didn’t quite have a father because he was father for everyone we knew first and for us last. But it was great knowing this god, for no other word can describe him correctly. Today, thirty four years after his passing, the whole town still mourns, literally. Two months ago, a distant cousin, a twenty-six year old man, who lost his wife during child-birth and, saddled with the new born, did not know where to begin, said to me, “Sister Obianuju, if your father were alive, I would not suffer like this.” I replied, “My brother, you were not even born when my father died.” His name was Lazarus Emejuru Olumba, Nwoke-na-etoro-ibe (The Progress of a Man is for the Good of his Peers) of Orlu, alias OWUS – Orlu Wake Up Shops (his business name). He and I were quite close in terms of our beliefs about the important things of life. I don’t quite meet up though. As for my grandmother, her name was Oyidiya Onyenekwe. She was born in Urualla and married into Umueshi, both in Ideato clan. She was about eighty years old when I came into this world, yet we were best of friends. She taught me many things about Igbo life and culture. I lived with her during the war while I was going to school. That was when I observed her closely. She too carried like a deity – straight and honest to a fault; powerful beyond measure and stubbornly resilient. She used to wield the gun, so her nick-name was “Nwanyi na-agba egbe” (woman that wields the gun). She married four wives in her lifetime… She lived to about 135 years old. These were my models. The reader can then understand what I mean when I say that where I come from we do not know what it means to say “This can’t be done!” or “This is impossible!” Nor do we know the meaning of fear.
I think it is important to state that the world knows who the Igbo really are, only the Igbo themselves do not. Igbo-phobia as demonstrated by the pre- and post-colonial British administration, as illustrated in Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun, is an indication that the colonialists were intimidated by the prospects of rising Igbo self-awareness. I was shocked by how much non-Igbo people know about the peculiarity of Igbo identity and how little Igbo people themselves know about these matters. More annoying is the fact that Yoruba Ifa tradition holds much of the mystery of Igbo identity, yet Igbo scholars have hardly tapped into it. I was surprised to hear from a Yoruba colleague that the Igbo presence in the Moremi myth was denied by an Igbo professor of English Literature at University of Ibadan in the seventies, who insisted that the Igbo mentioned in the myth are not the Igbo of south-eastern Nigeria, as if there is any other group of people going by that name anywhere in the world.
In fact this present book was motivated by a strange occurrence – a strange visit in 2008 by an African American woman, an avid researcher who travels all over Africa seeking answers to the unknown, who against all my promptings refused to have her name mentioned in this book, but who insisted that I should write this book detailing the fact that the Igbo were the earliest humans to inhabit the planet. She had seen my work The Gram Code on the Internet and came to Nigeria to look for me – “to drink from the mouth of the master” as she called it. In the end it was I who drank form her mouth instead. We held several sessions of late night discussions about Africa’s Prehistoric past, comparing notes on each other’s findings and on work so far done in the field. She was convinced that the Igbo are direct descendants of the oldest sojourners on the planet, the ‘Sons of the Earth’, the autochthons, the so called Bushmen who have been here longer than every one else and who taught the rest of the world every thing they know. She referred me to a number of other African American researchers who have touched on this phenomenon, but who do not have the opportunity I have to bring up materials from the homeland to support their theses. In fact we actually argued about this because the idea sounded too far-fetched to me! Imagine that! She told me the Igbo were here before the north-south Hamite migrants, the Kwa, came into the land and that Yoruba mythology, Benin mythology and others confirm this. I remembered several issues I has encountered in my research that pointed in this direction, including the fact that when I visited the Yoruba Center in Havana, Cuba I saw among the Yoruba pantheon of gods at the center, the statue of a god named Obatala whose inscription/explanation said: “Father of the Igbo nation, Master of all divinities, Creator of man in various forms, Gentle Lord of the Pure White”! This was a great puzzle to me – that the Father of the Igbo nation was revered not just as a great god among the Yoruba, but that he was seen as the master and head of all known Yoruba divinities and as THE CREATOR OF MAN??? This was the explanation I got from the head of the center who also informed me that the center was set up under the guidance and approval of Prof. Wande Abimbola, well known authority on Ifa.
The question of Igbo identity:
The question of Igbo identity has always been a subject of great interest among the African Diaspora. At the Eze Nri palace in Anambra State (plates 59a, c, d), I was shown evidence that all Oba kings of Benin originally received their mantle of office from the Eze Nri, and that the ‘Oba’ title was the highest chieftaincy title reserved for members of the Executive Council of the Eze Nri. I had also heard it eloquently argued that the Idu and Oduduwa titles originated from a pre-historic period dominated by the Igbo. Another shocker is the Edo/Benin oral tradition published under the title, Great Benin 1, by oral historian Osaren Omoregie, which insists that the Deluge was occasioned by the anger of God in connection with circumstances surrounding the birth of the first ancestor of the Igbo Nation. Imagine that! These were enough to tell me that the Igbo were there before the beginning of everything, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, THAT THEIR ROOTS ARE TO BE SOUGHT AMONG THE GODS THEMSELVES. The opinions expressed by the African American woman was just the final push that I needed - another witness, for as the Igbo say, agwo otu onye huru wu eke (one person’s witness is not trustworthy). I prayed her to allow me give her due acknowledgement for inspiring me, but she said no “for security reasons”. I do hope that when she reads this book she will change her mind and allow me to give her due credit in subsequent editions.
She herself had successfully traced her roots to the royal family in Benin Republic and had even gone through a ritual reunification process with the Benin Royal family, so she had no personal interest in the Igbo issue except as part and parcel of reconstructing what she called “the authentic history of Black Africa”. Another pointer to the general belief among the African Diaspora that Igbo people are autochthons is the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade story of an entire ship-load of Igbo people who drowned themselves off the coast of South-Carolina rather than submit to slavery, captured in a movie called Daughters of the Dust – an allusion to the Igbo stock as sons of the earth. The Igbo people themselves frequently use the terms ‘ab-origin’ and ‘son of the soil’ to indicate that they are autochthons.
To my mind the most intriguing aspect of this work is the way we have followed through the journey of words through time. We have followed words from the present time backwards through millennia to the very first time they were pronounced by individualized man, talking man, thinking man – a man who was called Adam - the first man who fell from divine grace: Adaa m! In the absence of recognizable written records left behind by our Black African remotest ancestors, we have chosen to follow the journey of spoken records through time, and these spoken records have produced a mine of information that we believe are more trust-worthy than written records which are usually subjective and doctored. The study of written records belong to the domain of History while the study of spoken records belong to the domain of Linguistics, an area where I happen to have had some training during my student years at the University of Dusseldorf, Germany, which I have continued to practice and research in as a scholar of African Literary Studies. This exposure has come in very handy in the study of the monoliths of Ikom, Cross River State, Nigeria, published under the title The Gram Code of African Adam as well as in this present work.
This work was presented in part at the 2008 Igbo Studies Association Conference at Howard University, Washington DC, USA. It received very excited reactions from the audience of Igbo and non-Igbo scholars who participated in the conference, many of who signed up for copies. I think I need to mention that in the course of my presentation at the Igbo Studies Association Conference at Howard University, one Dr. Abdul Salau, a northern Nigerian and a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Department of History, Political Science and Philosophy, Delaware State University, USA, presented a paper detailing Igbo linguistic connections with Egypt and specifically stating, to everyone’s surprise, that many ethnic groups in Northern Nigeria have Igbo origins, and that the Kwa/Ka element in such place names as Kaduna, Kwara, etc. have very ancient Mega Igbo links. Someone in the discussion group also mentioned that the cult language used by Igbo initiates of traditional masquerades is understood all over Nigeria by cult members of other ethnic groups. This is an interesting subject of research. I was deeply moved to hear this because I have always had a soul-fascination with the Igbo masquerade, always feeling as if I am the hooded one inside the masquerade. I wept the day Isseke indigenes raised their seven highest masquerades, mmanwu, in a ritual ceremony to herald home their lost son Olaudah Equiano during the First International, Interdisciplinary Conference on Olaudah Equiano International Conference convened at Imo State University, Owerri sponsored by my organization the Catherine Acholonu Research Center for African Cultural Sciences in partnership with the United Nations Forum of and Culture and Imo State University in 2007. I was shaking all over. Something deep within my soul was at one with the spirit of those masquerades. It is inexplicable. This thing must be the spirit of the earth abiding within the soul of every autochthon. My own personal discovery in this regard is that most traditional Nigerian masquerades and cults use the same symbol-language and inscriptions, which I have designated as a form of writing.
Aspects of this work have also been presented under the title “Revisiting the Olaudah Equiano Global Legacy” during a solicited lecture I gave for the 2006 Black History Month Celebration at the Community College of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas, USA. That particular lecture was solicited by the College authorities, in partnership with neighbouring institutions, as a pointed response to Harvard Fellow, Vincent Caretta, who, had been spreading malicious and embarrassing lies regarding Olaudah Equiano’s claim to having been born in Igbo land. I am happy that my response, which has now been published in two leading Journals in USA, has put paid to Caretta’s hatchet job. In fact, I am infinitely grateful for that opportunity offered by the invitation of the office of the Dean of Humanities, Community College of Southern Nevada, because it exposed me to the depth of Igbo-phobia that is prevalent in our world. Caretta used unprintable invectives to qualify the Igbo stock. It made me deeply angry to read his description of my ancestors, myself and my children. No one deserves to be insulted the way Caretta insulted my people, calling them the “lowest and most wretched of all the nations of Africa”, that “the conformation of their face …resembles that of the baboon …” and that “the Eboes are in fact more truly savage than any nation of the Gold Coast.” I just couldn’t let him get away with this. After all I come from a lineage of proud Amazons of the Aba Women fame, where women go to war to defend their husbands and their children. I have therefore included my reply to Caretta’s invectives against the Igbo in the Postscript at the end of this book, but I mention him here because it was his insult that induced me to do more and more research to find out who the Igbo people really are.
I have always said that the story of the Igbo people is a metaphor of the story of the Black man. In every respect, the Igbo experience in Nigeria is a parody of the Black man’s experience in the world. Thus Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, is an appropriate testament and an apt description of the black experience as the true wretched of the earth under the white man’s burden. The ideology of divide and rule, employed by the British administration in Nigeria, in India, in China, etc., did not just divide the tribes among themselves, its most potent power was in dividing the mind of the individual and the consciousness of the tribe. It split a person’s consciousness into separate parts, so that he/she was no longer a unified entity. This is the inner meaning of “Things Fall Apart” - ‘Ife Esekasia/Ihe Aghasasiala’. The damage done by the British colonialists to all those they colonized is unquantifiable. And the Igbo were specifically singled out for demolition because of the fear of the great promise they held. It is little wonder, then, that they derailed in their course. In this book I have delved into the unknown in search of the lost path of the Igbo stock through Pre-history, the course of the Igbo gene before and after the creation of Adam as revealed in ancient records such as the Gnostic Nag Hammadi Scriptures, and The Dead Sea Scrolls both of which were lost for two thousand years and then found in the twentieth century. I have tried to make sense of my findings. But most importantly, I have succeeded in providing my Igbo readers with the material to at last attempt to make sense out of their very existence as a people, to assist me to make sense out of the wealth of information I have exhumed from the buried and forgotten records of mankind, and ultimately, to continue this project in our universities, culture/research centers, seminaries and schools.
Africa the Hope of the World:
The Dogon possess the full records of the origins and structure of the universe. Their mythology is a detailed Astronomical record of the origin of the Milky Way Galaxy and of the structure and behaviours of the stars in the constellation of Sirius – which is said to be the origin of our solar system. Several Western scientists have studied Dogon Astronomical records and have found them to not only be in conformity with modern Science, but to contain details only recently discovered and others yet to be known to modern Science. This is another reason why Africans should take their ancient heritage more seriously and not wait until Westerners discover our past for us, because when they do, they always take it away to prevent us from discovering the Truth; they take it to their museums for ‘study’ and tap the powers contained in them to enhance their own civilization. If this were not the case, what was the essence of the Western powers borrowing the ancient Tibetan Chintamani Stone to aid them in the creation of the ‘League of Nations’? It was simply to enable then create the necessary rallying force and sustainable spiritual impetus required to keep the League together. True to type, they never would have returned it if the highly celebrated Russian painter and mystic, Nikolas Roerich, had not personally taken it upon himself to secure the stone from the West and personally convey it to Tibet (For more on this, consult the Internet). All said, the monoliths of Ikom and other pre-historic Rock Art of Africa, the Igbo Ukwu Serpent Science Writings and a host of other symbol Writings yet to be taken seriously by Igbo scholars, are the written Scripture of the Hamite/Idu/Old Ife civilization. There is need for an African Renaissance of Learning that will resurrect these lost literatures and scriptures from all over the continent and make them available to our children so that they too shall not be the wasted generation that we have been, because everything that we have so far studied tells us that Africans are meant to be the teachers of the rest of the world, their leaders in true Knowledge and true Wisdom. As I write this, the Western Economic System has crashed like a pack of cards. And when a nation’s economic system collapses, that nation is forced upon its knees. What follows is the Fall of its civilization. It happened to Rome, Greece, Babylon and Egypt. It is happening to USA, Britain, Germany, Russia, Japan, Iceland, etc. African countries are above it because he who is down needs fear no fall. As I write, Western environmentalists are predicting that in less than five years the effects of climate change and global warming which have brought about rising tides of natural disasters in Europe, Asia and the Americas (Africa has been mostly spared from these disasters too), might tip over and bring about floods that can sink large portions of these continents and bring an end to Western civilization! These are all signs of the turning of the tide that has long been foretold; a turning of the tide of civilization that will place Africa on the top of things. Already a son of Africa has become the President of the most powerful nation in the world –the United States of America. The race is still on as I write, and this is the month of October 2008; but I have known without a shred of doubt from the very day I read about him in The Time Magazine in 2006, that Barack Obama is riding on the tide of the fulfillment of the prophesy that Africa shall rule the world in the new millennium! I knew then as know now, and had stated then, that no power in heaven, on earth or under the earth could prevent Obama from being sworn in as President of the United States of America come January 2009, as every one who ran against him, the Clintons in particular, must have painfully realized.
Communion of Healing and Renaissance:
I am proud to be able to provide my people, the Igbo, and through them the rest of the black race with the material, the tools to begin the process of healing, of re-birthing. This is communion wine and bread. This is oji, the life, the love, the union. This is the dawn of Igbo and African Renaissance. As The Gram Code of African Adam was my offering of a handbook of African Renaissance, so is They Lived Before Adam, a handbook of Igbo Renaissance. This is my offering to the healing waters of Igbo consciousness as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Things Fall Apart and launch the Festival of Igbo Civilization under the insignia of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo through the instrumentality of its foot soldiers: Prof. T.U. Nwala (Conference of Democratic Scholars, Monsignor Prof. Theophilus Okere (Whelan Research Academy) and Hon Chris Asoluka (Aka Ikenga) –
For Chinua Achebe
Ide Mmili Ide Mmadu.
nkea bunu oji.
Matanu na Onye Ka mmadu ka chi ya.
Ide Mmadu bu Ide Mmuo.
Ode Akwukwo okpu Africa nyelu uwa
Nkea bu oji… Kakwuolu anyi nka.
Ide mmadu nwa Ide Oto
Oja eji atute mmuo
Une ka une.
Chris, oje na mmuo
Kunie na echi abulugu taata
Na Taata abulugokwa unyaafu
Ka-asuzikwaa ifea na-onu Anambara
Une k’une…umu anambara
Oko akuko ndi Igbo
Umu Nri na Igbo Ukwu, Ogidi, Ide Oto, Ide Mmili…
Olaude, Zik, Enwonwu, Achebe, Okigbo, tinyekwuo Adichie…
For Chris Okigbo:
Chris, the Future you sang about is here
Tomorrow has become today
And today has become yesterday…
This is your Path of Thunder
This is the unsealing of ‘What the Seven Thunders Said’
For now at last, has mother earth unbound you…
This is the secret thing in its heaving…
That last lighted torch of the century,
once threatened with extinction
Now becomes a bonfire
That dream that has lain smouldering for millennia in a cave
Now becomes reality …
A nebula immense and immeasurable asserts itself at last …
And roaring, Thunder announces itself among the clouds …
An Old Star had departed, left us here on the shore
Gazing heavenward for the New Star approaching;
The New Star appears, approaches, announces its name
from a long unbroken lineage of God-men:
NZE NZE, the Lord of Lords!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As our readers progress through this work, they shall have the opportunity of understanding our thesis as it concerns the Nwa-nshi phenomenon, otherwise called the Children of the Earth Goddess – the native Igbo name for the little people/dwarfs who were the first earthlings. Nwa-nshi was the Igbo native name for the Bushmen/autochthons, which became confused with Nwa-Nri – ‘native of Nri’.
Professor Catherine Acholonu.
Nigeria Country Ambassador,
United nations Forum of Arts and Culture.
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