IT WAS gathering of Igbo intellectuals from various parts of Igbo land in the commercial city of Onitsha, Anambra State at the launching of a book titled: “History of Igboland, a re-appraisal of the origin of Onicha Ado N’idu”, written by former Delta State Commissioner of Police, Onwa Ikechukwu Ayo Aduba.
Among the Igbo intellectuals who graced the ceremony were the Chairman of the planning committee, Dr. Walter Emerole; Keynote speaker, Prof. U. D. Anyanwu; Book reviewer, Prof. Johncliff Nwadike; Special lecturer, Prof. Chidi Osuagwu, Chairman of the occasion, Dr. Simon Okeke and Commissioner for Information C. Don Adinuba.
Others were the Ogilisi of Igbo land/member, Board of trustees, BoT, All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka; prominent member of Anambra State Vigilante Supervisory Committee, Chief Matthew Uyanna, a retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP and members of Igbo Elders and Stakeholders Forum led by its BoT Chairman, Justice Alpha Ikpeama.
The Chief Launcher, Chief Chuck Nduka-Eze(Isama Ajie of Asaba) who launched the book with N1 million, emphasised that the least Ndigbo want in Nigeria today is a president of Igbo extraction in the forth-coming 2023 presidential election, adding that it should not be negotiable at all.
“Nigeria puts Igbos down and that is why Nigeria is down. Until Igbos are recognised and given their proper place in the country, the country may remain without focus”, said Nduka-Eze.
In a keynote address, Prof. UD Anyanwu said: “on the origin of Onicha/Igbos, obviously and understandably, the issue of Igbo origins generally or the Onicha had been controversial in the works of scholars, politicians and other stakeholders.
“The theme includes Onitsha tradition and the Onicha Ado n’Idu origins, the land, people and antiquity of Igbo kingship institution as well as the `Oru and Osu’ caste system, and the lamentable unacceptable place of the Igbo in Nigeria.
Prof. Johncliff Nwadike in reviewing the book with the name Igboland In History And The Socio-Political Implications of Onicha Ado N’Idu Up to 2014, written by Aduba in 2021, published by Arise and Shine Publishers has seven chapters and 191 pages.
“He contributed to the controversies surrounding Igbo origins and migration, the economic acts of Igbo people, agriculture, pottery, ironworks,” stressing that all these have made Igbo and the world a mysterious affair.
The highpoint of the work was a graphic presentation of Onicha, one of the biggest communityies in Southeast Nigeria, divided into two, Inland Town — Enu Onicha, Waterside and Fegge where the non-indigenes reside.
“Onicha was well developed before the Europeans came, which was stressed from the old Benin Empire.”
The author, Retired CP Aduba in his remarks said: “It is indeed exhilarating to finally publish this book after grueling and painstaking research, in a bid to ensure that the final product represents an unbiased, robust, detailed and lucid account.
“Without an iota of doubt, I am fully aware that this book may be taken out of context, misinterpreted or misunderstood from its original intent and purposes; let me make it unequivocally clear that the goal here is not to undermine the reputation or integrity of anyone or group.
“In a nutshell, Igbo people were civilised even in the dim past with a functional economy, active religious life and earliest known technologies in metallurgy.
“In the light thereof, we must wake up and realise that we are stronger together, better together and will achieve more together as ndi Igbo; I am confident that anyone open-minded will see this as book quite informative and educating.
“On the re-appraisal of the historical origins of Onicha Ado n’ Idu, was an uncritical acceptance of Ezechima theory which derives the origin of Onitsha from Benin.
“Articulated in the early European missionary and colonial records, the assumption has been sustained by generations of commentators as if a contrary proposition would amount to blasphemy.
“As a professional historian, I will state unequivocally that clinging to Ezechima tradition after the irrefutable evidence of Igboukwu archaeological excavations does not make any historical sense. Posterity will not forgive the present generation for living a lie over the years; evidently, Onitsha was and will remain a typical Igbo society when all is given and taken history-wise,” he added.
Anambra State Commissioner of Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C Don Adinuba, one of the special guests, in an interview said: “We have for two years been discussing the content and the central base of this book, which I found to be intellectual and courageous”.
The government and the people of the state were happy to identify with books like this, “speaks in the finest and intellectual tradition.
“Anambra State, in particular, is committed to producing intellectual materials, a home of Prof. Kenneth Dike, Chinua Achebe, the first novelist, Chike Obi, Olaudah Equiano, the first African to write a book in 1789, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and host of them.
“Toiling with books committed to the growth of intellectual perspectives is a cardinal principle of this government because it is consists of tourism and culture.
“Ayo is an ambassador of the Nigerian Police with books to his credit, each of the original.
“We recognise Aduba as one of the persons who has made the state most peaceful in Nigeria for eight years. As the Chairman of Anambra Vigilance Group; he has done a great job,” said Adinuba.
Earlier in his opening remark, a former Chairman of Police Service Commission, Chief Simon Okeke, who was chairman of the occasion noted that CP Aduba happened to be one of the outstanding police officers identified by “my special committee in the early period of my tenure as chairman of the commission when we organised a talent-hunt within the force.
“And he was able to rise to the rank of Commissioner of Police before his retirement.
“There is a saying that falsehood is repeatedly told over time and remains unchallenged, it will assume the position of truth and there lies the main reason I believe why Ayo engaged in his crusade to correct centuries of the apparent falsehood of the true history, Origin of Onicha Ado n’Idu.
According to Ezeonwuka,” this book is taking us to realignment and wheel balancing. Let it as a history book be re-introduced in schools and put it up for sales on Amazon, Jumia until every Igbo household gets it.