a federation of two autonomous settlements that have different
origins - the Igbuzo settlement
and the Ogboli settlement.
Prince Umejei the
son of King Eze Isu, near Awka, killed his opponent
during a wrestling match. This was an abomination and Prince Umejei
was forced to go into exile instead of hanging. His sister Omoha
accompanied him. Prince Umejei left, carrying on his head a
pot of charms given to him by his father with the instruction
to settle wherever the pot drops.
After crossing the Niger the pot dropped at Ani Ohe.
to Ogboli oral tradition, the mother of the founder of Ogboli
settlement was Obodo, the daughter of Eze Nshi( Nri
),and the father was Ogbe Nnaga of Nshi .
Nshi, Obodo had two sons,the first son(Okpala) was Odaigbo,
his second son was Edini. Odaigbo slept with one of his
father's wives. This was an abomination (ALU ) and the penalty was
death.Eze Nshi commuted the death penalty to exile. When Odaigbo
got ready to go into exile, his mother, father and his brother Edini
decided to go with him.
Nshi gave Odaigbo and
Edini two small pots of charms and ordered
them to carry the pots on their heads and to settle on the spot
where the pots dropped from their heads and touched the ground.After
crossing the Niger and reaching the present Ani Udo Ogboli, the
pot of Edini dropped. Edini settled there and, being the
younger son,his parents decided to live with him.Odaigbo continued
his sojourn until his pot dropped at Ani Ogwashi-Uku (Ogwa-Nshi-Uku).
friendship between the children of Umejei and those of Ogboli
deepened and Ogboli left its former site to live closer to Igbouzo.These two settlements are now regarded as one entity -Ibusa(pronounced
Ibusa people are Igbos
living west of the Niger Basin, six miles west of
in Delta State of Nigeria. The
Traditional occupation is agriculture
based on shifting cultivation. The main crops grown are
and maize. The growing of cassava which was lately introduced around
has taken a dominant place in recent Ibusa agricultural
economy.Traditional religion is still dominant. Although the
Catholics, and the Church Missionary Society have made remarkable
marks on Ibusa.
government of Ibusa is arranged into three main hierarchies:the smallest unit called the government of the Umunna,followed by the government of the Ogbe and the highest,the
government of Ibusa.
minimal patrilineage called the Umunna or Idumu are in
the hands of the oldest man in the umunna called Diokpa-umunna
and the council of elders.The council of elders is made up of the
Ndi Eze,the Ndiichie or Nkpa Alo and grown up Mgba
Nkpisi and the Omu of the unit if any.This governing body is
refer to as the Diokpa-umunna-in-council.
function of this council is to see that;all public affairs of the
unit are properly conducted.The Diokpa of the unit holds the ofo of
political and ritual authority and the decision of the council is
carried out as that which is sanctioned by the Diokpa.
the government of the Ogbe is controlled by the
Diokpa-Ogbe-in-council.The house of the Diokpa-Ogbe is the centre
of the political life of the Ogbe.The Diokpa-Ogbe holds the ofo of the Ogbe, and the decision of his council is
carried out as that which is sanctioned by him.
government of Ibusa is structurally similar to that described above
except that it is larger than that of the umunna or the Ogbe. The
public affairs of Ibusa are in the hands of Diokpa-Ibusa.He is the
oldest man in the town. By
implication,the Diokpa of the town is always a Diokpa of one
of the Ogbes.
Diokpa is not elected or selected. It is not hereditary either.The
criteria for eligibility are:
The father of a Diokpa must be a free Ibusa man.
The candidate must be the oldest man in the town.
The candidate must be mentally active.
The candidate must have lived an upright life, that is, he
must have not committed any offence in the category of abomination.
Diokpa Ibusa always undergo long periods of political
apprenticeship as Diokpa of their umunna and Diokpa of their Ogbe
during which time they are properly schooled in the customs and
practices, and procedures of Ibusa system of government.
Diokpa of Ibusa is the symbol of unity of all Ibusa;
he is also the focus of political activities.He does not rule
alone. He rules with a council which is a cabinet of elders made up
of the ten Diokpa-Ogbe and their nine Oga (speakers); the three
traditional war chiefs – the Odogwu, Uwolo, Iyase:
the Ikwelle; and agreed number of members of Ndi-ichie and
Ndi Eze from each Ogbe.The elders acting with the Diokpa Ibusa is
referred to as Diokpa-Ibusa-in-council.
Diokpa-Ibusa-in-council is the highest political authority in
traditional Ibusa political system.The Diokpa sanctions the
decisions of his council and that of IZU Ibusa with the Ofo.The
decision is regarded as final and sacred until it is either revoked
or re-stated by the Diokpa.
Diokpa-Ibusa-in-council is the only body that has the
constitutional rights to summon IZU IBUSA,which represents a cross
section of the whole of Ibusa.Only IZU IBUSA can proclaim orders,issue decrees,make and review laws,hear appeal cases,interpret
Ibusa's tradition,declare war and make peace.
IZU IBUSA consists of all the members of the
Diokpa-Ibusa-in-council,all the Eze men is Ibusa,all the Ndichie,all the Omu, the head of
the various groupings mentioned above and any man of adult age that
has taken the Nkpisi title.
IZU IBUSA, the elders will start a debate and any one can stand up
and talk. After all views are heard, the Diokpa-Ibusa through
his Oga will order the Ndi Nze present to go aside and deliberate
over the issues and bring back a decision. He may order all persons
from a named age-grade upwards, to go out and deliberate. The nature
of the matter will determine the body called upon to deliberate.
This type of deliberation is called Ipu Ume.
Oga in the name of the Diokpa announces the decision to the
public. The decision becomes binding. If the deliberation is heavily
booed,the Diokpa may decide to adjourn the IZU to
another time or he may appoint a new group to go and make another
deliberation in the light of popular opinion.
eldest men are the
holders of Ofo – the staff of
authority and political power.They derive wisdom from
their age and long experience in the art of government and prestige
from the fact that they have taken the Alo title, which is the
minimal indication of success in Ibusa social, economic, ritual
and political life.
has ten villages and they are grouped into three ruling houses
Odogwu :- UMUEZE
,EZUKWU / ACHALLA
Iyase : -
Some important Ibusa
annual festival are owned and celebrated by a group of Ogbes or by
the whole of Ibusa. The Performance of these festivals
annually has an integrative and cohesive influence on the total
Those owned and
celebrated by the whole of Ibusa are the IWAJI(New Yam Festival)
–force festival) - There are Ifejioku Ndi Eze observed by
the Eze title holders.
observed by the Nkpalos and Ifejioku Mgba Nkpisi done by Nkpisi title
men.Wrestling contest is held as part of the festival.
Festival,is observed principally by Ogbeowele and Umu Odafe
The INE Festival
is observed in mid – February to mark the clearing of farmlands.
The Eshishie is peculiar to Ezukwu.
people have a common animal taboo.Ibusa
do not eat Eyi.(Rabbit)
In Ibusa as
a male child grows from childhood to manhood,he takes a series
graded titles.The three most important titles are the Nkpisi,
or Ozo or Nze or Obi.
Note:Eze title is also called
Nze or Ozo or Obi or Ime Mmuo.
Some people call Ozo
men redcap chiefs.Some
refer to them by the greeting of
Igwe.It is also important to note that only
Ibusa men whose fathers are dead have the prerogative to take
the ALO and EZE Titles.
The rigid order
of taking is as follows: Nkpisi,Alo
persons who have taken the title of Nkpisi are members of a group
that operate at the level of the minimal lineages but have social
and political consequences at the Ogbe and town levels.
freeborn Ibusa men are allowed to take this title. It is the
title at the bottom of the hierarchy of titles. It is a title that
gives the individual the right to full Ibusa citizenship and
the right to enjoy the democratic freedom available in the unwritten
constitution of Ibusa. For example, the person can attend
meetings and talk during deliberations. If an Ibusa man
killed him, he was entitled to compensation. He has right to live in
Ibusa except he has committed an abomination whose sanction
is life ostracism. He can be Diokpa of his lineage or Ogbe
or Ibusa if he lives long enough to be the oldest man and if
he satisfies the other constitutional conditions.
ICHIE OR NKPA ALO
man becomes a member of the Ndi-ichie group if he takes the
Alo title mentioned above. Ndi-ichie deals with disciplinary matters
related to all members of their group and those below their group.
They also participate in decision-making process in Izu Ibusa,
that is the traditional Ibusa political forum.
The Eze title is the highest
and it involves the payment of a heavy sum of money and liberal
feasting accorded to members of the Nze association.
Eze is a strong political decision-making group in Ibusa.
In Ibusa political forum, they are called upon to decide major
issues and they play a major role in deciding land cases. They
constitute a major group in the leadership and authority structure
ATO (IBUSA TRIPARTITE DIVISION)
ten Ogbes are divided militarily into three units called Akwukwa
Ato. Three war chiefs called Odogwu, Uwolo, and Iyase
head these units. The groups are named according to their leader’s
name, thus Omeze and Ezukwu are called Out Odogwu, Umu Odafe and
Ogboli and Oge Ogwugwu and Idi-na-Isagba are called Out Uwolo
Umuehea and Ogbe Owele and Umuekea and Umuezeagwu are called Out
term of seniority,Odogwu is the most senior, followed by uwolo.Iyase is the youngest.The war chiefs are autonomous in their units.They are responsible to the
composition and function shall be explained later on.
office of the war chiefs is not hereditary.It rotates within the
component maximal lineages of the Ogbe members and it is got through
nomination and formal election of suitable candidates conducted in a
traditional way.The elected leader undergoes an initiation ceremony
conducted by the Ikwelle.
free Ibusa woman of substance could take the title of omu by
the payment of a large sum of money and by giving a feast to members
of Omu group. Omu are members of the women association called Otu
group has the traditional role of imposing fines on men and women
who violate the traditional codes guiding the sanctity of the
extended family life of Ibusa. They attend IZU Ibusa and
constitute a major pressure group in Ibusa political system.
traditional doctor-diviners are members of this powerful association
called Ndi Dibia. Eze Dibia heads the group.
Dibia form an important organ in the decision-making process and in
the crystallization of public opinion in Ibusa by
manipulating the art of divination.In the past they helped to fix
the dates, for military,ritual precautions ought to be taken.
They also have the knowledge of healing herbs,and sorcery
Source : The
Traditional Political System of Ibusa By M.A. Onwuejeogwu
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