NRI KINGDOM AND THE IGBO CIVILIZATION

By Eze Nnanyereugo

Nri kingdom was an ancient kingdom which have lasted for more than one thousand years from around 826AD to 1911AD, it was an Igbo kingdom with it’s capital at Nri town present day Anambra central Igbo land, it has an Eze Nri a priest-king as it’s leader, Nri was a spiritual and political power, it’s influence covered beyond Igbo land [ the present seven Igbo speaking states ], part of Benue, Kogi, even up-to Benin.

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An Eze Nri emerges through divination [ AFA ] after seven years of waiting, the Gods will then choose the candidate for Eze Nri, who will pass through many cleansing rituals before being fully installed as Eze Nri.

  • The candidate must die! When the candidate dies, he will be buried in a shallow grave for three days; his body will be buried, but his head will be left outside the grave. During that period, he will undergo a transformation; pass through a stage, from human being to spirit, after which he will wake up and his body will be adorned with white chalk (Nzu) and he will shine like a star.
  • The candidate will go the Ezu River, which is in Aguleri. At the confluence {Ezu and Omambala}, Divers will go down deep into the sea to scoop clay, which would be used to mould a pot [ Udueze ] and the Eze Nri will drink from it
  • The candidate will visit all communities that are descendants of the Nri Kingdom and then go home triumphantly as a king. Then embark on another visit to Umueri clan, which contains 118 settlements. and they will know that a new Eze Nri has emerged.
  • After then, all the clans will now return the visit to Eze Nri, where the Eze Nri will settle in his Obi (palace) and receive them.

Eze Nri lived secludedly cannot be seen by human, it was an abomination [ Alu ] to see an Eze Nri, he can only be heard, he exercised divine authority, but reaches out to the public through a group of officials called “Ndi Nri” these were ritual specialist identifiable by facial ichi mark, they traveled with ritual staffs of peace, purifying the land of human crimes, performing rituals for bountiful harvest, blessing the lands.

Ndi Nri also settles disputes fostering peace among communities, sales Nri titles e.g “OZO title” to noble men across the communities for those who can afford it.

Ndi Nri  travels through other communities selling odinani and omenani Nri to them, through persuasion, teaching, performing ritual oaths and getting communities to swear allegiance to Eze Nri.   

In Nri they have Odinani and Omenani which is the religion, norms, and culture of the people, these are sets of laws which governs day to day behavior and practice of the people, there are “Taboos” which is the don’ts.

Nri was known as the land of magic and was feared by many nearby kingdoms because of her spiritual  powers, Nri government was structured around Omenani and Odinani {traditional beliefs, norms, customs, myths, values, and taboos.}

Education
The education system was informal. Note. according to Nri traditional settings, the child belongs to the entire community, so as soon as a child can talk the parents, the Umunna {Kinsmen/women} starts teaching the child the norms, customs, and traditions of Nri, inculcating it to him/her, the child usually grows with it, and it forms his/her judgements and attitudes to life as an adult.

Calendar { Igu aro }
In Nri they have a traditional calendar, four days makes a week seven weeks makes a month thirteen months makes a year
the days are namely:
* Eke
* Orie
* Afo
* Nkwo
the months are namely:
* Onwa Mbu
* Onwa Abua
* Onwa Ife Eke
* Onwa Ano
* Onwa Agwu
* Onwa Ifejioku
* Onwa Alom Chi
* Onwa Ilo Mmuo
* Onwa Ana
* Onwa Okike
* Onwa Ajana
* Onwa Ede Ajana
* Onwa Uzo Alusi

Nri kingdom was indeed a very organized kingdom with relevant institutions running the government.

By Eze Nnanyereugo.

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