Sunday, 26 April 2020
Brief Chronicle, Anthropology of Aku Indigenous Community And The Ihube-Uturu Nexus
My dear friend, Chiemeka Nnamdi,
Brief Chronicle, Anthropology of Aku Indigenous Community And The Ihube-Uturu Nexus
I chuckled after reading your preposterous insinuation that "Aku is the wealth of Ihube" and that is why you folks refer to Aku Community as Aku-Ihube. I must confess that I struggled to hold my peace and let this old-hat affront slide but chose to disabuse your mind and enlighten folks out there who hitherto subscribed to the hogwash your ilks bandy about. I opted to respond because posterity will not forgive me if I fail to challenge and neutralize the tyranny of the single story that you guys seem to have entrenched over the years. As is always the case, it is the honcho who won a battle that tells his dramatized exploits, narratives against his opponent. Ndị Igbo si na Arụsị nyewe oké nsogbu, agwa ya osisi eji pịa ya (when a deity sets out to misbehave, he will be reminded of the wood used in carving it).
I implore you and your folks not to take this conversation personal or be emotional about it but let us see it as an opportunity to deepen intellectual discourse and a journey to discover one’s roots. It is necessary that we make the conversation clean; no insults! Of course, you and I know that nobody or group have a monopoly on such tendencies.
Please mull over the following historical cum anthropological posers and fork out cogent answers:
1. Ever come across the phrase – Ihuwe or Ihuo as some of you call it? Is there a difference between Ihuwe/Ihuo and Ihube? Are they one of the same, possibly one originated from the other?
2. If they are one of the same, at what point did Ihuwe morph into or was anglicized Ihube, by who and why?
3. If you are still scrambling to reconcile yourself with the aforesaid posers, I elect to give you a clue... Are you familiar with the saying, "Ihuwe hukidere mba'' which uninformed Ihube folks tritely and anachronistically boast about? To help you, a loose translation of this saying suffices: someone bestowed to a neighbourhood who became tyrannical, browbeats other village-groups' (paraphrasing late Prof. Adiele Afigbo of blessed memory). Kindly refer to late Professor Adiele Afigbo’s 1981 Ahiajoku lecture presentation titled: ‘’The Age of Innocence: The Igbo and their Neighbours in pre-Colonial Times’’.
4. Does it not beggar belief that a mortal or a town that was bestowed (e huwere ehiwe in Igbo parlance) now claim to have sired the person that made him?
5. Are you aware of any affiliation (if any) between Ihuwe and an Uturu community called *Onuaku* and a phylogenetic relation between Aku and the same Onuaku? Explains why Aku and Onuaku folks of yore are admonished not to shed the blood of or hurt one another. Oral history and anthropological evidence suffice that Aku and Onuaku folks were admonished not to inter-marry yesteryears because of the averred affinity, filial relationship between the two brothers (communities). Apparently, Christianity and so-called civilization have bastardized this unwritten ethos. If you do your research and connect the dots, it will dawn on you that Aku is plausibly aboriginal; tenably predates and played a role in bestowing Ihuwe, in accord with Onuaku (Uturu) of course. Do your digging, if you fail, I will avail you the inside information.
6. Are you also aware of a community in Isuochi called Umuaku which Aku people reportedly share some kindredship with? Is Ihuwe the ‘founding father’ of Umuaku in Isuochi? There are also towns in Nsukka, Enugu State and Aguata (Anambra state), called Aku. In the same vein, are you also insinuating that these towns are the "wealth" of Ihuwe?
7. Are you in the know of a certain deity in Uturu called Ihuku and a wooden Ikoro (gong) reportedly buried at Eke-Ukwu Ihuwe in the 19th century and the symbolism of the annual Ikoro ritual then which can only be performed by the aboriginal owners of the land? Ask why Ihuwe was/is unfit to perform this once symbolic, requisite ritual.
8. Do you agree with me that many of the people who now populate, claim to be from Ihuwe are recent "settlers" (some of Aro extraction etc.), including renowned academics, prominent politicians, business moguls et al whose ancestry we know till date? This is thanks to Ihuwe’s confluence-like placement and interspersed with ancient trading routes. Contrasted with suburban Aku sandwiched in-between communities, this trading/access road advantage contributed to the expansion, progress of Ihuwe Town.
Brings me to an infamous usurper; the reign of terror of a fugitive from Ihuwe (Akpugo to be specific), named Ikenwaji who settled in Aku and emerged a warrant chief by sleight of hand. He was atrocious, undermined Aku and didn't end well... Geezer forbade Aku people from attending school beyond Standard 3 then because his son died mysteriously at standard six. Explains why Aku folks were relegated educationally during his reign of terror while Ihuwe folks surged on. As a matter of fact, no Aku person attended secondary school between 1900 and 1934 courtesy of this Ihuwe-born warrant chief Ikenwaji.
A place called *Odoachara* in Aku (towards Nneato) was the sub-station of the colonial administration during the early 1900 and was primed to be the administrative Headquarters of the colonialists then but something happened. We understand despotic Ikenwaji employed his horrendous occultic powers in chasing away colonial administrative foothold from Aku because of his personal aggrandizement - he feared the presence of colonialists will whittle down his influence. It is established that cases involving neighbouring communities then were adjudged in a Native Court situated in Aku and Warrant Chiefs appointed in Aku. For instance, the Warrant Chief title which Igwe G.I Osondu inherited was conferred to his grandfather's agent in Aku in about 1910. Tells you how strategic and influential Aku was then.
Of a truth, Aku and Ihuwe were bandied under the same district, similar to sharing an Autonomous community or a colonial administrative district decades ago. Prior to now, Okigwe had the following administrative districts: Otanzu (made up of Amaeze-Ogii, Umuawa-Ogii, and Umualumoke), Otanchara (made up of Alaike-Ogwaku, Alaocha-Ogwaku etc.), Amuro (made up of Aro-Amuro etc.), Umulolo (made up of Agbobu, Amasu, Aro-Umulolo) and Ihuwe (Akpugo, Ogube etc.) and Aku was appended to this district strictly for administrative exigency. That we have Aro-Umulolo and Aro-Amuro doesn’t in anyway suggest that Umulolo or Amuro fathered Aro which is attached to them. We understand that Aro-Umulolo or Arondizuogu (Izuogu na Iheme) in Okigwe LGA is a medley of straggling communities located in a swathe of land obtained through shrewdness, voodoo, aggression by a famous, charismatic slave merchandiser known as - Mazi Izuogu Mgbokpo (originally from Arochukwu) and Chief Iheme (Izuogu's chief servant) in the mid-18th century, from Umualaoma townsfolk, the aboriginal inhabitants. This is a story for another day. Similarly, the hyphen in Isukwuato-Okigwe simply implies that Isukwuato shared a local government/administrative centre with the latter. I elected to cite these illustrations to let you know the intricate relationships between communities amalgamated into an administrative district and to buttress the fact that, that a community was under an administrative district, does not necessary confer progeny or transcendency.
We are not unmindful of the fact that the ‘’Aku-Ihube’’ construct is more of a jibe - *njakiri* borne out of misplaced superiority complex. *njakiri*. It is not surprising that Ihuwe folks also claim to beget or be superior to Ubaha. Another claim which smacks of chesty disposition. I leave it to Ubaha folks to untangle themselves. By the way, is it Ubaha or Ubahu?
Conclusively, I submit that there's no iota of historical or anthropological evidence suggesting Aku was Ihuwe’s ‘’wealth’’ as you ignorantly posited. Do your research, consult a knowledgeable, honest, say a 95 year-old, full-fledged Ihuwe man (not the ubiquitous settlers), gifted with retentive memory, to validate your findings and reconcile you with the relationship between Ihuwe/Uturu/Aku. I am a sucker for superior argument. I pledge to gladly accede if you prove your claim with irrefutable, verifiable, historical and anthropological evidence.
Nwanne, rapu okwu. Anyị ma ndị bụ ndị. Next time, choose a naive audience; tell your tale to the Marines.
© Don Ifeanyichukwu Okereke.
Aku, Okigwe LGA.
Please Note: This essay is a rejoinder to a school mate who ignorantly and condescendingly referred to Aku community as a subject or appendage of Ihuwe. I used Ihube and Ihuwe interchangeably because the former is a corruption of the latter.