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Ezechima Clan Analysis by Osita Mordi

by InlandTown
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ONICHA

The story agrees with the account of migration from the Benin Empire. In this account, Ezechime is identified as a chief and veteran of the Benin-Igala wars of 1516. The account goes further and it says the Queen Mother, Idia had trampled on Ezechime’s farmland and Chime who had a quick temper assaulted the Oba’s mother.

When the Oba got to hear what happened to his mother, Ezechime decided to leave Benin and left with his family and other sympathizers. In the course of their migration and establishment of temporal camps, they discovered a very fertile land called ANI-AMI. They then decided to settle near this said ANI-AMI. This was how they got to Obior. Onicha was the oldest son, Oligbo the baby of the house and Ukpali was the Ada and the first child. Onicha was a hunter and frequently hunted and was not at home. Thus when Chime died, Oligbo hurriedly performed the mortuary rites (instead of informing his elder brother) and laid claim as successor.

When Onicha came to learn of what happened, Oligbo fled and sought protection from some Nri people who had settled at Ogboli. Onicha himself left Obior and settled near Onicha Ukwu town while farming on the same ANI-AMI farmlands.

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A war soon enveloped the entire area when Benin forces invaded and Onicha, then a very old man fled with his family to the farm (ANI-AMI). One of his sons named Ekwu did not join the family but rather decided to dig a trench around his father’s settlement in present Onicha-Ukwu. This is how the name Onicha-Ugbo came about. It simply means Onicha family that had fled to their farms at Ani-Ami. While Onicha-Ekwu became transformed into Onicha-Ukwu. Onicha Ugbo being senior to Onicha Ukwu has never been in doubt. The Onicha-Ukwu do not actually have an Obi but an Okpalabisi who acts an Obi. Obi in this case refers to a monarch who becomes king by primogeniture and not by being the most senior titleholder.

The sons of Onicha established the villages of Ogbeobi, Ishekpe and Umuolo. Later the abdication of an Obi and succession by his brother led to the founding of Agba village. Agba is somewhat an extension of Ogbeobi and till this day have its own “king” called the Ezeagba. Ogbekenu, which is the largest village in Onicha-Ugbo and had played a lot in the evolution of Onicha-Ugbo community is however not of Ezechime origin. Its sub-villages came from such places like Ibusa, Mbiri, Ukwu-Nzu and Ute-Ogbeje. From Onicha Ugbo, arose the town of Onicha Olona.

This is why Onicha Olona has more or less the same names of villages like the mother town of Onicha Ugbo. Thus are the villages of Agba, Ogbekenu, Ogbeobi, Umuolo, and Ishekpe. There is a sixth village Idumuje founded by a traditional doctor from Idumuje-Unor. In Onicha Olona, the title of Obi has been in dispute for a long time now. There have been dramatic changes in the political organization of the town throughout the years. Based on the same Okpalabisi system (which was the case till the 1980s), the title of Obi was restricted to the villages of Ogbeobi, Agba and Ishekpe

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