The Igbo Creation Myth
Creation myths are stories that represent a culture’s understanding of how they might have come to existence.
Sometimes creation myths are based on documented fact. Other times they can be based cultural legends handed over time that might be unadulterated, or may have been modified over time via oral traditionisms. The Igbo creation myths are no different.
According to several historical accounts the Igbo or Ndi Gbo, were the First Race to inhabit the earth (not the first humans but the first race). A race can be described as a community of clans that have similar biological/cultural identity.
Some research about this has been done by the late great Prof. Catherine Acholonu in her books. She states in one of her books that:
“ The Igbo civilization in Nigeria is one that synthesized over the years from the original Negro hunter-gatherer autochthons (otherwise called Homo Erectus) scattered over various parts of the continent of Africa prior to and beyond 500,000 years ago from where they spread across the globe in the first phases of the ‘Out of Africa’ migrations.
“In West Africa these hunter gatherers were called Igbo by the earliest migrants who met them in situ on arrival in the Niger-Benue confluence area. In other parts of Africa they went by various names such as Bushmen, San or Shan, Twa and Pygmies.
“It was these little people, known in Southern Africa as San or Shan, in China as Shan (creators of the Shan Dynasty of God-men) and in Igbo land as Eshi/Nshi or Nwa Nshi, who until recently were still seen in southeastern Nigeria nurturing the cultural life-wire of the Igbo, that had birthed the original Igbo forest culture hundreds of millennia before the North-South migrations that were later to bring about the relatively new Pan-Igbo identity anchored around the Nri hegemony.” (Acholonu-Olumba, 2009, p. 2)
Now, there is wide disagreement as to the title of Acholonu’s work. But there is more agreement that the Igbos are a very ancient peoples.
First To Discover Wealth
Also, the Igbos have been described by historians as the first discover and harness the principles of wealth making.
Great non-Igbos such as the Ooni of Ife, HRM Oba Enitan Ogunwusi-one of the two highest rulers of the neighboring Yoruba nation-have acknowledged this.
Speaking on the Igbo, the revered Ooni said; “Truth be told, the race that first discovered prosperity and wealth and they really nurtured it are the Igbo race. The Igbos first discovered it through their ancestral background, the linage of Obatala [priest-kings within the Ife empire. They function like the Nri priest-kings in Igboland.]
They discovered the lineage of prosperity and wealth in terms of the divinity world. And that is the reason why today, the Igbo race have very good expertise when it comes to commerce. They are very distinct. There is no place you would go in the world that you would not find an Igbo man.
“And the same goes with the Jews. There is this mistake the world makes that the Igbos came from the Jews. No! It is the other way round. Truth be told, the first human race that existed was the Ibos before the Jews and we were all living together at the center of tropical rain forest before they started moving towards the Eastern part of the world where they started settling.
So the race of the Jews and the Igbos are very similar but the Igbos are way older than the Jews”. They are both commercially driven. They are both enterprising in nature. [Both groups] are driven by wealth [creation]. Because that is their ancestral belief.
Igbo Excellence In Enterprise
An acknowledgment of the widely-held opinion that the Igbos are a very enterprising people can be seen in the recent assertion of Ted Talker, Robert Neuwirth that the Igbo apprenticeship system is the biggest business incubator in the world in this video.
Nigeria’s Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who himself is of Yoruba stock, has noted the Igbo excellence in creating wealth. He recently stated that; ‘“The Igbo apprenticeship system has been cited as the biggest business incubator in the world. And the Southeast is the birthplace of Nollywood; our [multi billion dollar] film industry which has achieved global renown on the strength of the creativity and imagination of young Nigerians.”
Bia Fara Philosophy
For thousands of years, the aboriginal Igbo inhabited many areas in Southern Nigeria. The Igbo community kept expanding peacefuly. This was due to their Bia fara (come and join us) philosophy. The Bia Fara Way welcomed anyone who wanted to join the Igbo and adopt their progressive culture.
Historians have only scratched the surface of Igbo aboriginal culture. Fortunately, historians are taking steps to remedy that situation. But the Igbo success was the success of welcoming new comers. Thus today, the Igbos are not a group of people with one identifiable ancestor. Rather, they are a group of people who share one culture – the Igbo culture.
Eri And Nubian Chiefs Start Heebo Community
Eri Ben-Gad was the founder of the present epoch of Igbo civilization. He was Hebrew, son of Gad, grandson of Jacob, great grandson of Isaac, and great great grandson of Abraham.
He was a man of ideas. To implement his ideas on democracy and enterprise (Equianoism) he and his household left the Chineroth area, Cannan, which was known for bronze works, and settled among the Nubians of like-mind in the Sacarra area [in today’s Egypt-Sudan].
There, he and some Nubian chieftains founded a democratic, Judeo-Nubian community. In order to maintain some ancient links with his original Hebrew (Jewish) people, he called the new community, the Heebos. Eri Ben Gad organized the community based on his idea that power belongs to the people, and should be exercised by the people [democracy]. He and this community longed to settle permanently among people of like-minds who valued enterprise and democracy.
He was able to spread his philosophy of achievement-Equianoism-among his people, and encourage them to spread it all over the world. Soon, people who faced persecution began to join the Heebos. The freedom of speech and action in the community attracted them. Before long, local powers began to feel uneasy about this new fledgling community, and tensions arose.
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