History of Nibo

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There was a hunter who doubled as a farmer. He sojourned from Oko town in Aguata, Local Government Area, in Anambra State of Nigeria, with his family, to where we today call Nibo.

The man’s name isn’t known because, children were recognized by their mother, in the past. Therefore, Nebo (which means mother does not burden) the mother of the great children is known and her husband is not.

Nnebo had three sons Ezeike, Ezeakabo and Ezeogu-ine. In the order of their seniority. The three sons bound together when it was time for them to leave their family home. They would first live in a place called Agu-Mgbala. Later they moved to a valley in Obizi, Ezeoye. Whence they again moved to Ozu (in Ezeawulu).

At Ozu, Ezeike and Ezeakabo bound together to oppress Ezeogu-ine. It is hugely suspected that they oppressed their brother to enable their expansion plans. Ezeogu-ine was forced to move towards the South/ West parts of the land. There, he founded Nise. Leaving Ezeike and Ezeakabo behind at Ozu. Later, Ezeike and Ezeakabo would go their separate ways.

Ezeakabo moved further South, retracing their old route until he settled, and founded Akabo in Mbaukwu. Ezeike was now left alone at Ozu. He would name Ozu, Nnebo in memory of his late mother. He then expanded further to Ozu Ezebo. Transmogrification and usage over periods readapted Nnebo to Nibo.

Ezeike would establish his Obu, Obu-Ezeike at Ana-Nibo settling there permanently. After years, the bickering brothers reconciled their differences. They took their Ozo titles, and to demonstrate their love, Ezeogu-ine came to Eke-Nibo (Ezeike’s main market) to celebrate his Ozo title (Afia-Ozo) after his elder brother did the same at his own Eke- market.

Ezeike had four sons who founded the four main quarters of the town whose children founded the 31 villages of the town respectively. The four sons were, Awulu father of Ezeawulu community. Okporukwu an sojourner from Ogoli-Oko, of Delta State, came to Nibo, and was adopted by Ezeike as his second son. Okporukwu only had a female child, called Anum. Having no male child he thereby, and according to the traditions of Nrachi (A tradition that allows a woman to stay and bear her father’s name in Nibo, bearing children to continue her father’s legacy), stayed Anum. Anum gave birth to a boy, Okpalanum. He the father of Umuanum community.

Ezeike also had Ube-Emusi, who gave birth to Urungwu (father of Ifite).

Lastly, Ezeike had Atuma, his last born and father of Ezeoye community. The four sons in turn had children who founded villages.

Nibo as a town in Awka South, Anambra State, Nigeria. Is one made up of four major quarters, and thirty-three villages, as we’ve discussed above.

The term, seniority of quarters, only refers to the traditional steps of Nibo town.

The rotation of the traditional stool among the four villages was not always so. There has been some controversies over which quarter first availed the first Ezeike of contemporary Nibo. Some argue it was Umuanum quarters, while others argue that it was Ezeawulu quarters. The first Ezeike, believed to have been from Ezeawulu quarters was Ezeike Oke Ezekwe from Umuka village. The Ezeike from Umuanum quarter was Ezeike Nnama Orjiakor-Ele, from Umuenechi village. Ezeike Nnama Orjiakor-Eleh presided over Nibo before the coming of the British. He was granted a Royal Warrant in 1896 by Queen Victoria of Britain. She also recognized some other southern paramount rulers, at the same time.

Ezeike Nnama was appointed the President of Awka Customary Court of Appeal in 1898. He served until 1945. He also served as a Judge in the Provincial Court of Appeal for Onitsha Colonial Residency covering the Niger Provinces (what is now known as Anambra and Enugu States). Ezeike Nnama was deputy judge in the Omenukor Court, presided over by the legendary Okoli Ijoma.

Okoli Ijoma ruled over the old Awka province, of over a hundred towns. Ezeike Nnama and Ezekwe were also, at the time, at war. Over who was the rightful ruler of Nibo. After decades of war, peace finally ensued when Ezeike Nnama and Ezekwe decided that Ezeike Nnama’s eldest son, Prince Orji Joshua Nnama and Ezekwe’s eldest daughter, Mgbafor Selina Ezekwe should marry. This resolved the dispute and united both villages. Ezeike Nnama Orjiakor then remained the traditional ruler of Nibo until his demise in 1945.

Upon death, his son Prince Joshua Nnama abdicated the throne to pursue his work as a Christian missionary, serving in Southern Nigeria. His son GCD Nnama was granted the throne. Unfortunately, proper ceremonial rights were not performed for a couple of years, and Nibo was without an official ruler. Then Nibo town decided to vote on how to handle the matter of rulership. The town passed the rule that there would hence, be a rotational system of selecting the Ezeike. They accepted to elect the most senior person to begin the transition process. Ezeike Onwuegbune from Umuanum Village, the most senior, was then crowned in the 1970s. Upon his demise, Ezeike Dr. Michael C. Ngene (JP), from Ifite village, a former school Head Master, ascended the throne. He is currently the Ezeike of Nibo, and Ezeike the fourth. The traditional stool by this pact is scheduled to move to Ezeoye village in formative order.

Nibo town’s union was founded in 1965. It operates from a Civic Centre, located at Eke Nibo.

A town manager is also elected, who functions in office as the President General. The President General (PG), serves a maximum two terms, of four years tenure. Nibo Town Union has a secretariat manned by a Secretary-General. The town union is the central administration which oversees the collective administration of other branches and unions, be it incorporated or not incorporated. They handle revenue collections, enforcement of rules and infrastructural development. Usually, town unions are organised where ever Nibo people are situated, in any part of the world. These are called branches, headed by a chairman, except for the USA- Canada national branch that has state chairmen and a central president. However the Nibo Union USA president also reports to the central, overseen by the President General.

Nibo, is structured into four Quarters and thirty-three villages. There are practices of customs, religions and traditions, which they do come out with. Some traditional shrines identified in Nibo include, Ana Nibo in Ezeawulu, Ngene Ezeoye, Ngene Eke and Isiogwugwu. Some remarkable cultural and traditional events or ceremonies in Nibo are Ezeike Day Celebration every December 26th, New Yam Festival in October, Onwa Asaa Festival in August, Onwa Asato, Okpukpoeke festivals, and the newly Nibo Carnival featuring school competitions, teachers’ awards, Ada Nbo Pageant and lots more.

Nibo boasts of fantastic and colorfully costumed masquerades, like the Idu, Ijele, Enyi and Ugo etc. Nibo boasts of self-established primary healthcare facilities such as the community hospitals in the quarters. Per education, there are vocational training institutions, private and public secondary schools, as well as, private and public primary and nursery schools. Nibo boasts of community security structure that employs both the outsourced job of policing to the nation’s policing agent, and a vigilante group that provides adequate security to its citizens, in conjunction with the police. markets, a bank, and several businesses including manufacturing companies and a boisterous hospitality industry, all form parts of the chambers of commerce.

The basic sources of water to the communities are pipe-borne, bored-water system. The people are predominantly a civil society, while many more are entrepreneurs and business people. Electricity is supplied by state controlled, irregular power service. Despite the fact that a sub power station is located in Nibo. The late Engr. B. O. C. Ubosi (Onwa 1), had brought the electricity sub-power station to Nibo.

Nnemulu – Obodo women group

This is the women wing of town administration. This is a very strong organ of women that also enforce discipline among the indigenes. The Nnemulu – Obodo Society of Nibo” comprising all women of Nibo was founded in mid-1950s by Selina Mgbafor Nnama (née Ezekwe) signifying the emancipation of Nibo women as they gathered together to build the Nibo Maternity and Health Centre. In the early 1950s, Nibo had no maternity home and there were none in the neighboring towns of Mbaukwu, Nise, Umuawulu and Isiagu. The nearest maternity home was in St Faiths Church Awka about 10 miles away, the next was in Catholic Hospital Adazi about 12 miles and lastly Iyienu Hospital, Ogidi about 20 miles from Nibo. The implication was that most women delivered their babies at home using the expertise of traditional midwives. Those who could afford to deliver their babies in the maternity experienced unbearable transport difficulties as they were mostly carried on head or bicycles due to scarcity of motor vehicles in those days. In the early fifties, there was nothing like motorcycle service or “Okada” as it is commonly known today. A good number of women with breach, facial presentations and other labour complications were not so lucky to make it to these distant maternity homes and hospitals.

Endowed with her indefatigable virtue, Mgbafor was in no way deterred. In an unprecedented rally at Eke Nibo, thousands of women gave her a standing ovation and endorsed her plans that a maternity should be built and that Nibo women will also unilaterally enforce the control of cows and bulls which wander around the town and feeding on agricultural farms, by literally “holding the bulls by the horns” and fining the owners 3 British pounds, an amount which at 1954 prices could buy three modern bicycles and was enough to pay three months’ salary of a grade two teacher. Nibo women elected notable ladies of blessed memories such as the late Nwangbafor Agubalu, a renowned traditional midwife from Ezeawulu, the late Mrs. Okeke from Umuanum, the late Mrs. Pricillia Okafor, a renowned bread baker from Ifite and the late Mrs. Chine from Ezeoye to assist Chief Mrs. Selina Nnama in co-coordinating the activities and programs of Nnemuluobodo Society. The Nibo USA group is currently undergoing a project that involves expanding the Maternity Centre and donations are being accepted.

Festivals

Nibo has various traditional festivals which include Onwa Asa (New Yam festival), Onwa Asato and Nibo Day. Nibo Day is usually presided over by Ezeike-in-council. It is a very important day usually held on 26 December every year. It is usually a day for recognition of prominent sons and friends of the town who contribute to the development of the town.

Northcote Thomas, the British colonial archaeologist and the Re-Entanglements Project

Photographs of Nibo’s ruler, and Warrant Chief in 1911 Nnama, his kinsmen in Umuanum and Nibo (Afo Ngene Shrine, Obunagu and others) from 1911, taken by the British colonial archaeologist have surfaced. The photographs taken by the British colonial anthropologist Northcote Thomas during the second tour of his anthropological survey of Southern Nigeria (1910–11).

The remarkable archives of these anthropological surveys are the subject of a three-year project that Professor Paul Basu (University of London) is running.

The negatives of the photographs are held by the Royal Anthropological Institute and prints are indeed in the collections of the University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. These photographs numbering almost 300, help show Nibo in a never been seen manner, and show of its importance in the British colonial days.

References :

Re-Entanglements Research
Reentanglements Nibo Album