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History of Eziawa

History of Eziawa

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The few historical facts about Eziawa are based on legends. These legendary facts in some cases do not agree. No attempt in the past was made to document these facts but if there has been, they have not been made public.

This little piece of work of mind will serve as a mirror through which we can see the few known facts about Eziawa and the much to be known / explored. This is to be the task of future scholars / historians.

Origin:

Eziawa is begotten by Awa. Awa begot their children: Urualla, Akama na Ubaha, Akapara. The legend has it that Akama na Ubaha means that (Aka m na Uba m ha) in another development it is said that Akpara and Okabia are brothers. They were begotten by Akwukwo Uma but due to troubles from Akpara he was asked to move a part and he settled at the present site. Another legend has it that Akama was begotten by Ugbele while Ubaha was begotten by Okpoko. One can't reconcile this fact thatAkama and Ubaha are one indivisible unity called Akam na Ubam ha. The characteristics of Akama and Ubaha don't seem to suggest indivisibility. Urualla which was earlier said that she is one of the sons of Awa, is said to have come from Urualla Ezeagu. According to this source it said that they were hunters who missed their way and were captured by the inhabitants.

But be it as it may, it has been established confirmed and accepted that Awa was the first settler and that this Awa has three sons whether begotten captured or adopted. Both Awa and his immediate descendants have based all their sharing of assets and liabilities on there three recognized issues - that from the three main villages in Eziawa. These villages are made up of kindred.

(i) Urualla: Popularly known as Ebeteghete is made up of (a)(Umuanwu) Umuizuegbule. (b) Umudurungwo, (c) muezearo (d) Okwua maudara (e) Uhualla Urualla (f) Ikpo (g) Umueze / Abor (h) Umuorji

(ii) Akama: Popularly known as Di Ugbele na Ojukwu is made up of (a) Umulome, (b) Umueze, (c) Umuogbafa (d) Umuoformanne (e) Umudim Okorie (f) Umuonyeso

(iii) Ubaha - Popularly known as Isiorji na Okpoko is made up of (a) munnabuike (b) Umunwaetome (c) Umume (d) Umudara (e) Umu Okekeke (f) Umuokarafor (g) Ihudim

(iv) Amakpara - Popularly known as Umukaebile is made up of (a) Ezieke (b) Owerre (c) Aro (d) Ezeala (e) Ezike (f) Ekpe.


Umuerigh Mgbada:

Eziawa in general is popularly known as Umuerighi mgbada. There are about three different stories connected with this practice. One has it that the meat of Mgbada (antelope) caused the early man sickness and there's why he asked his children to abstain from eating that meat. Another has it that a live Mgbada was used in concoction and left to roam about and that the native doctor urged the citizens not to eat Mgbada in order to be free from their enemies. A third story had it that an orphan caught a live Mgbada and some people of his age, out of envy, intimidated him saying that it is abominable to eat the meat of Mgbada. The boy left the animal but later these same people pursued, caught and ate the animal. This resulted in their death. Since then nobody has tried to eat the meat of Mgbada. The three stories have one thing in common that the meat of Mgbada is harmful to the eater. Whether the practice is superstitious or not and whether the meat is harmful or not I am of the opinion that Eziawa should regard such abstinence as a special cultural identity for which they are known among the comity of nations.

Location:

Eziawa is bounded in the east by Umuhu, in the north east by Assah Ubirielem, in the north by Ihitenansa, in the west by Orsu Ihiteukwa and in the South by Awoldemili. It occupies an area of about 9 square miles with a population of about 10 thousand people.

Characteristics:

The people of Eziawa are hard working and peace loving. They are their brothers' keeper. Whenever a brother or any other Eziawa man is attacked by a stranger, the other citizens will run to his rescue, their personal differences at home not withstanding. They will put these differences behind them in order to ward off a common enemy. The citizens live simple and decent lives. They are naturally endowed with physical prowess. This natural gift helped them to maintain their territorial integrity the population of their surrounding neighbours not withstanding. They are never quick to provoke anybody but if you provoke them you will bear the brunt of your action such names as Ogbuokwachie, Ogbamgbo, Ogbunugwu, Ogbunuzor and Ogbukwago to testify their prowess for they ruthlessly deal with their aggressors.

This was a tune when might was right. Our pre fathers used this weapon to their advantage but the reigning power now is education. It is said that the pen is mightier than the sword. We must aspire and try to gain this modern weapon with which to fight the modern war. One educationist produced in a community is more than twenty ordinary people who only live to eat.

Arts I Crafts:

There is no special art work or craft for which Eziawa is known. However mention can be made here of Osunka who specialised in earning especially on doors and windows but this skill was neither developed further nor transferred to his descendants. Okafor Emeka only specialized in making images of idols. This art also died with him.

The present economic situation in the country has forced some of our women to take to basket making on commercial level.

Agriculture:

Most of the inhabitants of Eziawa are farmers. They practice subsistence farming. No one farms on a commercial level. They raise crops and rear animals for subsistence. They are hardworking, people only that their land is not production and they have not enough land space to farm. There's why most of their take to trading and collection and processing of palm products.

Social Life:

Eziawa people are sociable. They organise wrestling contests, masquerade, Dances. They exchange visits with their friends and relatives but ore characteristic about them is that nothing interests them for too long. There's why most of their dances don't last. Hardly can you see an Eziawa man overstaying in your house. He will drink with you, chat with you but when he wants to go there will be no need persuading him to stay. Go he must go.

Festivals:

Annual festivals in the years begin with Ito ede: This festival is kicked off by the following people - Obidike, Obegoro, Ozokudu Egonokwu and Udeagwunobi. Four days later the 2nd batch will perform their own. These second batches are the holders of Ozo ulo while the holders of Ozo oha will form the third batch in the next four days. The last batch will be non titled men - Efeke ka Nze. From the date of thus last batch, the next festival will be in the next 24 days (Izzu asaa) that festival is Agwunsi Three days later will be Ime Chi na agu while ite otite will be on the following day.

Immediately following otite ihe following day will be Ite nsi festival/- So called because of un-refined language. This festival was observed for two basic reasons:

(a) Farm work is full of thorns, sufferings and toils. After all these, a day is set aside for rejoicing and to thank the gods that led them through.

(b) The early men regard "Ahiajoku" as poison and before they could take it they would appease the gods to neutralise the poison in the crops and also the poison that might have been planted in their farms by enemies. That gives it the name Iteiu Nsi (Act of neutralizing the effects of poison) After this festival everybody is free to harvest and eat his crops; but some still abstain from eating new yam till later thus:

(i) Umuagwunsi - five native weeks from Itensi festival
(ii) Umu-Urasi - seven native weeks from Itensi festival
(iii) Osuele - nine native weeks from Itensi festival
(iv) Priest of Ogwugwu the next day following that of Osuele
After ten native weeks from the date of Osuele's eating of new yam comes the next festival called Ito ji

Ime Urasi festival Comes three native weeks after Jto ji.

There are other annual festivals observed by separate villages:
(a) Uhuala Uruala - lme Ikeji
(b) Umuanwu Okwuamandara - lme Ekure
(c) Ubaha - lme Edemili

Asara is an occasional festival in honour of the gods of the town. One sees it once in one's life time. It is a sumptuous festival. The one given to Urasi Eke is done by Eziawa as a whole. A pre-information of about a year or more is given for the preparation of this festival. People will be allowed to rear animals that will be slaughtered during the festival.

Ahiautu - is performed by matured girls. It is also an occasional festival but it is more frequent than the Asara festival. Before this festival, the girls concerned will have a period of fattening for about six months or more. During those months they will never perform any manual labour rather they will be given a special maid who will minister to them and do odd jobs for them. Special nourishing foods will be given to them.

Shrines:

(a) Ogwugwu Amakpara - worshipped by Amakpara alone
(b) OgwugwuAla - worshiped by Uruala alone
(c) OgwugwuAkama - worshiped by Akama alone
(d) Edemiri - worshiped by Ubaha alone
(e) Urasi Eke - worshiped by= in general
Why do Eziawa people abstain from work on Afor

Day:

One legend has it that the titled men used to try cases on Afor days. And when they were away non titled people continued working in their farms. In order not to gain advantage over the titled men by the non titled men, the titled men made a bye law forbidding work on Afor day. It was not done in honour of any idol. Another legend has it that Afor is a holy day for Eziawa. It is a day set aside for the god of the farm. Eziawa does not work on Afor day nor go to battle on Afor day. The truth can be found in between the two legends.

Education:

Eziawa embraced modern or formal Education when other surrounding communities did. They have not been able to produce enough educationists because of their usual characteristic of embracing a noble objective with enthusiasms only to drop it in a few days. It is pertinent to point out here that it was our illiterate leaders that built schools and in nineteen forties they introduced compulsory free primary education. If their effort was steeped up and continued, we should have produced educationists of various disciplines. We built secondary school when other communities were building theirs; but the attitude of some of our people seems to suggest that we have forgotten the enthusiasm with which we embraced the project. We have also forgotten the huge among of money that was used erecting the structures in the site. Why can't we love and cherish what we have? It is a very big curse if we can't resolve to love and cherish what we have. Education is a long term project. You must work in years before you will realize the fruits of your labour.

Conclusion:

Fellow citizens, I wish to use this opportunity to thank the organisers of this forum. It has been an opportunity for the first time to orientate our youths towards desirable social goals which will enable them to think better, plan better and perform better. I wish also to thank in a special way HRH Eze Sir Dr. J. U, Nzegwu whose invitation I can hardly decline, for inviting me to speak to you on this subject. I hope this little piece of work will not be subjected to much criticism rather it will serve as a spring board for future detailed / expository work by subsequent writers or historians. It may serve as a crude work which will be subjected to refining, correction modernization and enlargement.

I wish also to thank all who have participated in this programme and I hope the time you spent in this programme is not wasted.



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