Uhuehi People Ancestral Origin And Their Fight For Independence In Igbo Land
Uhuehi people are ancenstrals from the genealogy of Nri and can be traced to descend from the Hebrews from the time of the feast of Passover from Egypt.
Some of the Levites drifted down to Sudan from where some went to Chad close to North Eastern part of Nigeria.They carried the gift of offerings for people “ikpu alu”. From Levi, the name Nri emanated and the name Ibos came from Hebrews by accident or by design.
PEACE SACRIFICE BY NRI PEOPLE
The people, most especially Mazi Ikwuka and his group, were still being worried and disturbed by bad dreams and evil spirit. To be free from such worries and disturbances, Ikwuka invited Nri people from Namkpu to come and make sacrifices to appease the gods.
When the Nri people from Namkpu came, they demanded what Ikwuka and his men could not afford to pay. They were sent back. But after sometimes, the Nri people were invited again. This time they were promised to be shown a large parcel of land where they could settle after the peace and reconciliation sacrifices.
Nri people accepted the promises and offered the sacrifices. Ikwuka and his group erected a deity “Omelenyi”. The Nri people were shown the parcel of land on the North Eastern part of the area, starting from Anafesi.
Ezenwabachili Onyenwe’s lands and the immediate environment. The Nri people started to settle on the area. The area was called Uhuehi (the sloppy section wherehe Nri people settled).
The area was later called Uhuehi for ease of pronunciation. The origin of Uhuehi is undoubtably Namkpu, based on available information to the author.
The Main Uhuehi People
The Uhuehi people after a while came to associate with Ikwuka and the Ezechukwu groups. They were welcomed because the population was very small and there was need for neighbours. The virgin land/area was very vast and could accommodate many people.
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The vast area where Ikwuka and the Ezechukwu groups settled as hunters and farmers, was given a name, “Agu-olu-Ezechukwu” because Ezechukwu was the head of the hunting group that killed the elephant. The vast area became recognized as such because it had got no name before.
Uhuehi Settlement In Aguluezechukwu
Settlement became a bit permanent around the spot where the elephant fell and died. Mazi Ikwuka’s group lived on the north western section of the spot and Ezechukwu’s group on the Eastern section. The spot where the elephant died was cleared after sharing the meat.
It became a shrine with small premises where the community offered sacrifices to their god of victory. The spot “Omelenyi” was also used as a mini-market and the market was given the name “Nwaoye”, meaning that the “Oye” market in Uga has gotten a son in “Agu-Olu-Ezechukwu”.
The community went there to exchange few commodities and food items. It functioned in the evenings, once in four days, because there was no other market. The community offered sacrifices to the shrine of victory “Omelenyi”. Because of the death of the elephant there, settlement in the area became secure and a bit permanent.
More About The History Of Uhuehi People
As time went on, Uhuehi people sought for permission to establish market, but they were not allowed to do so.
Instead they were asked to carve an idol to stand for the big stream “Otalu”. In the bush at “Ugwu-ajilija”, Uhuehi people installed a deity and gave the bush the name “Ofia Otalu”, meaning bush belonging to Otalu; which is the name it bears up till this day.
Power Associated with the Uhuehi gods
Much power was associated with “Otalu” stream because the flow of the stream is very fast and destructive. The priests of “Otalu” deity were Uhuehi people.
The “Otalu” idol was highly regarded and respected. It was believed that if any person committed any offence against “Otalu”, it would kill the person and would even consume by fire anything that belonged to the person.
Thieves who were involved in yam theft if chased down to the area of Otalu were assumed to have gone and to be back no more. Some animals especially short-boe, “ikputu, and “mbe” which were dedicated to “Otalu” were highly respected in the whole town.
Those animals were not killed in the town. They are harmless, and perhaps it might be that those animals were used for making medicine for wars in the past, and with such medicines, it was believed that the town won battles. Christianity had not come then. It was believed that “Otalu” used fire as a tool for revenge.
The Aguluezechukwu people in those days organized befitting burial ceremony for “Ikputu”, or “Eke” if found dead in their houses.
The Ikputu or Eke would be buried with cloth, beautiful and a gun decorations shot fired.on the body. It The carved “Otalu” idol had used to be a centre of attraction when it was carried to “Nkwo” market square on “Onwa-nkwo” yearly festival.
The canopy formed by clusters of trees served as market stalls or shades in “Nkwo market”, up to about 1944 or there about. It was after a tree fell on one Nkwo market day and killed a woman, that trees were cleared at Nkwo market square by order, from Aguata Native Authority.
For many years Aguluezechukwu was ruled by Ezechukwu and Nwabananso descendants until the local administration fell into the hands of Ezeanyim Dim and Ezenwosu Okpalaokeoma. Both divided the whole area into two (1) Ezi group (2) Ifite group.
The Defeat Of The Uhuehi People
Uhuehi people were associating and co-operating with Nwabananso and Ezechukwu groups because of the land given to them as a reward for the peace sacrifice they offered.
At a stage Uhuehi people started to challenge the authority of Ezechukwu. The challenge resulted to fighting between the two groups. Ezechukwu and Nwabananso groups overpowered the Uhuehi people in their first battle.
Uhuehi people re-organized and went to Namkpu and brought more men to come and join them fight Ezechukwu and Nwabananso groups. The re-enforcemed team camped at the north eastern side between Oko and Ezechukwu land which was at the western side of Uhuehi.
From there, the re-enforced team joined the fight. The re-enforcement team was totally exterminated by Ezechukwu and Nwabananso groups and the area was given the name “Mbakwu” because “Mbakwu” is another name for Namkpu.
The Nemesis of the after-defeat
After the defeat of Uhuehi people, Ezechukwu groups started to victimize Uhuehi people and started also to move further down to live with them on their lands.
Uhuehi people out of fear, did not want them but instead went and invited medicine men (dibia) from Namkpu “Mbaukwu” to come and make medicine to prevent Ezechukwu group from coming to live at Uhuehi land and to put to a stop any further harassments from either Ezechukwu or Nwabananso groups.
The medicine was also made to prevent Ezechukwu group from building houses and living on lands belonging to Uhuehi people.
This was to avoid further victimization. Attempts to penetrate into the land, brought evil on the persons who made such attempts then. In view of that, Nwabananso and Ezechukwu groups and their early descendants desisted from building houses on Uhuehi land because of the anticipated repercussions.
Ezechukwu and Nwabananso groups felt unsafe to build houses on the land because of fear instilled in their minds by the medicine. This might continue in the minds of the present generation until the medicine is reversed.
Uhuehi people took it that after that, they would be granted an autonomous community but it was not done. They still lived, and continued to live with Aguluezechukwu and shared things in common. Other family groups’ like-Umudim, Umuokpalanaku and Umudimudu own lands in Uhuehi side by side.
Uhuehi lands started from Ezenwabachili Onyenwe border and extended to Obuofia border. The remaining lands reached Ndiowuu border in Orumba Local Government Area, but it is irregular in shape. Obuofia and Ndiokolo people live on part of the land.
After the medicine was made, oil palm head was plunged in the opposite way, “Igbo akwu Igbohu” to stamp the deed. Other things like kolanuts, wine, yams and animals might have been included in making the medicine.
The groups that would be directly affected by the charms/medicine were Nwabananso and Ezechukwu sons and their lineage. It could be assumed that the effect of the medicine might have been palliated by the changes of the time.