Where Did The Ikwere Igbo Nation Come From?

Below, we look at theories of origin of the Igbo-speaking Ikwere nation and add our own commentary based on our research. We start with this Wikipedia entry below, which we note contains some generally accepted but widely debated theories of origin:

The Ikwerre are generally considered by a great majority of scholars as a subgroup of the Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria.

Several theories exist over their origin. One is favoured by the Igbo people and another is widely accepted by the Ikwerre people themselves.

According a theory of Ikwerre origin held by some Igbo scholars, they would be descendants from an Igbo migration from Awka and Orlu areas towards the south. Igbo scholars take the Ikwerre as part of the Southern Igbo.

Amadi, an Ikwerre scholar, says that the Igbo origin theory has support even among the Ikwerre themselves, with Ikwerre as descendants of a migration of Arochukwu Igbo, and Okpo Nwagidi being the leader of the Ikwerre tribe.

Before the civil war, there had been dissident voices that claimed that Ikwerre could have migrated from Owerri, Ohaji, Ngwa, and Etche areas of Igboland.

But when Port Harcourt was conquered by Nigeria during the Biafran War and the Igbo people from other parts of Igboland fled the territory, a UN report says that the Ikwerre decided to claim that the Ikwerre were non-Igbo for convenience. The Ikwerre are recognized officially as a separate group in the 1979 Nigerian Constitution.

Theories of origin

Although the Ikwerre people generally do not have a common source of origin, there are theories of Ikwerre origin .

The Benin Theory

This theory had gained acceptance by some Ikwerre. The Benin theory is divided further into the Akalaka and Ochichi legends.

While the Akalaka legend points that Ikwerre descended from Ihuruoha , allegedly the third son of Akalaka, the Ochichi legend argues that Ochichi who migrated from Benin too, was a cofounder of Ikwerre as his descendants are believed to have founded many clans including Elele.

The Akalaka legend originally mentioned the Ogba andEkpeye as the only descendants of Akalaka but the inclusion of Ikwerre has gained ground as of recent time.[citation needed]

The Aro first came into the Ikwerre area through Ozuzu-Etche, settling atIsiokpo, Igwuruta, Omagwa, etc.[16] As expected of pre-literate African societies, the history of the people is wrapped in myth and mystery.

This presupposes that historians may have to resort to oral tradition for the justifiable/credible reconstruction of the people’s history.

From the post-colonial dispensation to the present, professional historians and other personals have attempted to reconstruct the history of the people. For instance, the works of Elechi Amadi, especially The Concubine, The Great Ponds, The Slave (novels) and Isiburu (a verse play) are a literary attempt at reconstructing a semblance of the Ikwerre society in the pre-colonial era.

In the absence of valid historical records, historians accept oral tradition as a primary source of writing African history, the defects associated with this method notwithstanding. The history of the origin of the people is traceable to the waves of migrations from the lower Niger and delta regions.


Igbodefender.com Commentary

The Benin Theory of Ikwere origin is also an Igbo theory, because Eze Chima Obatala, Prince of the Igbo Aborigines Ile Ife and titular Prince of Benin during the pre Oba Ogiso days, sent his trusted lieutenants to settle in Ikwere.

These Lucumi Igbo’s may have met other Igbos from Awka, Orlu, Arochukwu and other areas. They peacefully coexisted in one Ikwere nation of the Igbo speaking Nations.

By OzoIgboNdu1 of Igbo Defender

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