This term is considered suitable for describing the Igbo pre-colonial political system because it was decentralized and based on village and direct democracy where everyone has the authority to contribute to decision making.
Council of Elders
Each Igbo village was seen as a political unit inhabited by related families who were bounded by common beliefs and origin. Each family head in the village held the ‘Ofo‘ title and they all together formed the council of elders. The council of elders presided over important issues such as the village’s welfare, safety, development and so on.
Among the council of elders, one was recognized as the most senior. He was the Okpara. He could call for and adjourn meetings and could give judgements as well.
The council of elders were believed to be earthly representatives of the Igbo ancestors. They maintained the age-long customs, traditions and laws of the land. These included laws against misbehaviour or immoral acts in which suitable punishment would be meted out to its perpetrators.
Another important institution in the Igbo pre-colonial political system was the age-grade. The age-grade consisted of youngsters of the same age-group. The senior age-group maintained peace and order in the village and also provided security to ward off external attacks, while the junior age-group concentrated on the sanitation of the community and other necessary duties.
The age-grade was also involved in the administration of the village, and as well acted as a check to the council of elders and other administrative bodies.
Ozo Title Holders
Another level in the Igbo pre-colonial political administration was the ‘Ozo’ titleholders. This expensive title was conferred on wealthy and influential men in the community who after getting the title become recognized and could then preside over meetings with the village elders.
Also, the priests were not left out in the administration of the village. Great importance was attached to them for they were believed to be the mouthpiece of the gods e.g. Aro’s long juju. Even the council of elders consulted the priests on matters that were beyond their powers i.e. matters that needed spiritual intervention.
Therefore, different institutions were doggedly involved in administering the Igbo community, and powers were equally shared among them.
In conclusion, the pre-colonial political system in Igboland can be said to be similar to the modern republican system of government in which the people are governed by their consent.
Learn about the Yoruba Pre-colonial Administration and the Hausa Pre-colonial Political System.
If you have questions, kindly use the comment box below. Thanks for reading, highlifextra.com
Teslim Opemipo Omipidan. Pre-colonial Systems in Nigeria. highlifextra.
Abiola Ola; A Textbook of West African History; 3rd edition; Ado-Ekiti; Omolayo Standard Press & Bookshops Co. (Nig.) Ltd.; 1984
Debbie C. C.; Essential Government Textbook for Secondary Schools; 2nd edition; Lagos; Tonad Publishers, 2008
Proverbs are popular sayings that provide nuggets of wisdom. They are simple, brief, and popular sayings or phrases that give advice and effectively embodies a commonplace truth based on practical experience or common sense.
The Igbo people of Eastern Nigeria are known for their witty sayings which they employ in their everyday life. Below, we have provided 50 Igbo proverbs and their meanings in English language for Igbo and non-Igbo speakers.
Igbo Proverbs and their meanings
Igbo Proverb – English Meaning
1. Eze mbe si na ihe ya ji-achiri ihe egwu ya aga njem bu maka ya ezu ndiegwu. – The tortoise said that it always travels with its musical instrument in case it meets other musicians.
2. Gidi gidi bụ ugwu eze. – Unity is strength
3. Chọọ ewu ojii ka chi dị – Make hay while the sun shines
4. Eze mbe si na olu oha di mma, mana oriri oha na-aka ahu. – The tortoise said that many hands at work is enjoyable, but many mouths to feed can be embarrassing.
5. Ihe ehi hụrụ gbalaba oso ka okuku huru na-atụ onu – Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
6. Oge adighi eche mmadu – Time and tide wait for nobody.
7. Si kele onye nti chiri; enu anughi, ala anu. – Salute the deaf; if the heavens don’t hear, the earth will hear.
8. Ebe onye dara ka chi ya kwaturu ya. – Where one falls is where his god pushed him down.
9. Ihe di woro ogori azuala na ahia. – What was secret is revealed in the market place.
10. Ewu nwuru n’oba ji abughi agu gburu ya. – A goat that dies in a barn was never killed by hunger.
11. A ma ka mmiri si were baa n’opi ugboguru? – Who knows how water entered into the stalk of the pumpkin?
12. A chuo aja ma a hughi udele, a mara na ihe mere be ndimmuo. – If the vulture fails to hover at the end of a sacrifice, then you know that something happened in the land of spirits.
13. “Nwunye anyi, nwunye anyi”: ka ndeli bia ka anyi mara onye o bu nwunye ya. – “Our wife, our wife”: come midnight and we will know whose wife she really is.
14. Nwunye awo si na di atoka uto, ya jiri nuta nke ya kworo ya n’azu. – The female toad said that husband is so sweet that when she got married, she carried her husband permanently on the back.
15. Ugo chara acha adi(ghi) echu echu – A mature eagle feather will ever remain pure.
16. Onyeubiam adi(ghi) aza “Omeokachie.” – An indigent does not take the title of “Omeokachie” (i.e. one who completes whatever he puts his hand to)
17. A tuoro omara, o mara, a tuoro ofeke, o fenye ishi n’ohia. – If you tell a wise one, he understands; tell a dunce, he runs into the bush.
18. Otu onye tuo izu, o gbue ochu – Knowledge is never complete: two heads are better than one.
20. Nwaanyi muta ite ofe mmiri mmiri, di ya amuta ipi utara aka were suru ofe. – If a woman decides to make the soup watery, the husband will learn to dent the Garri before dipping it into the soup.
21. O na-abu a si nwata wuba ahu, o saba afo ya. – Tell a child to wash his body, he washes his stomach.
22. Akwukwo juru n’ohia, ma a baa a choba okazi. – There are various leaves in the bush, but people go in to look for okazi leaves.
23. Agwo emeghi nke o jiri buru agwo, umuaka achiri ya hie nku. – If a snake fails to show its venom, little kids will use it in tying firewood.
24. Ukpala gbabara n’ikpo okuko na-ala ala mmuo. – The grasshopper that runs into the mist of fowls ends up in the land of spirits.
25. Onye a kporo apari, o na-ehi n’amanna ya, abughi apari. – A presumed fool who sleeps in his father’s house is not a fool.
26. Ndi na-eje mposi abali na-ahu ukpana ndi mmuo. – Those who defecate at night see the ghost grasshopper.
27. Nwata bunie nna ya enu, akpaamu ya ayochie ya anya. – If a child lifts his father, his scrotum will blindfold him.
28. Onye hapu onu ya, uguru arachaa ya. – If one fails to lick his lips, the harmattan will do it.
29. Okuko si na ihe ya ji-ele anya n’enu ma ya na añu mmiri bu na ihe na-egbu si n’igwe abia. – The chicken says it looks up when drinking water because what kills it comes from the sky.
30. Ijiji na-enweghi onye ndumodu na-eso ozu ala n’inyi. – A fly that has no counselor follows the corpse to the grave.
31. Ura ga-eju onye nwuru anwu afo. – A dead person shall have all the sleep necessary.
32. Ula towa uto, ekwowe ya ekwowe. – When sleep becomes enjoyable, we snore.
33. O bialu be onye abiagbuna ya, mgbe oga-ala mkpumkpu apukwana ya n’azu. – May one’s visitor not constitute a problem, so that on his departure he will not leave with a hunchback.
34. Nwa ovu na-eto, o di ka o ga-aka nneya. – When the baby wren is growing, it looks like it would be bigger than its mother.
35. Okuko na-arogoro ite onu, chetekwe mma gburu ya. – The chicken frowns at the cooking pot, ignoring the knife that killed it.
36. Ihe ka-nte bata n’onu nte, nte etefu. – When something greater than the pigmy cricket enters its hole, it takes off.
37. Uzu na-amaghi akpu ogene lee egbe anya n’odu. – The blacksmith who does know how to forge a metal gong should look at the tail of a kite.
38. Oke oshimmiri anokataghi rie onye obula nke o na-ahughi ukwu ya anya. – The ocean never swallows a person with whose leg it does not come in contact.
39. Onye buru chi ya uzo, o gbagbue onwe ya n’oso. – He who walks before his godly guardian does the race of his life
40. Okuko nyuo ahu, ana achuwa ya oso. – When the fowl farts, the ground becomes a nuisance.
41. Okwulu anaghi amiri ote ofe. – A master chef is not blessed with a good harvest of okra.
42. Mmiri riri enyi ka mbe huru na-awa ogodo: o ga-efe mmiri a efe ka o ga -awu ya awu? – The tortoise gears up to besides a river that swallowed an elephant: is it going to fly over this river or just jump over?
43. Ohia woro gi nku, sere gi onu – The forest that denies you firewood has massaged your neck.
44. O bia mgbe Alio Ene gburu atu, ya biakwa ma atu zogbuo Alio Ene. – He who calls whenever Elder Ene kills a deer, let him call if the deer kicks the living daylight out of Elder Ene.
45. O bulu na i taa m aru n’ike, ma i zeghi nshi; mu taa gi aru n’isi, agaghi m ezere uvulu. – If you bite me on the butt, despite the danger of sinking your teeth into fecal matter, then if I bite you on the head, I will disregard the danger of sinking my teeth into cerebral matter.
46. Okuko mmanya na-egbu ahubegh i mmanwulu ara na-ayi. – A drunken fowl has not met a mad fox.
47. Nwaanyi anaghi-eji na nwunyedi ya kwere ya ekene nke oma kpowa ya ogo. – A woman does not regard her sister-wife as sister-in-law just because she (her husband’s other wife) accepted her greeting gracefully.
48. Onye si na ya anaghi ata anu nkita, ya arakwala mmiri ofe ya. – He who abhors dog meat should not eat dog-meat soup.
49. E lewe ukwu Egbue ewu. – A buxom waist that makes her man (husband) kill a goat for her when he looks at it.
50. Ihere adịghị eme onye ara ka ọ na-eme ụmụ-nna ya. – Relations are concerned mostly with a person’s behaviour.
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Equatorial Guinea, located at the Eastern end of the Gulf of Guinea, West coast of Africa, is the only Spanish speaking country on the continent.
The tribes dwelling in this country include the Bubi, Fang and the Igbo people who are also a dominant ethnic group in Nigeria.
The Igbo people of Bioko, as officially declared by the government of Equatorial Guinea, is the third-largest tribe after Fang and Bubi tribes, and occupies a small area in Bioko. They speak Pidgin English, Fang, Igbo and Bubi indigenous languages, as well as Spanish, the official language of Equatorial Guinea. Nigerians call the country “panya”, a corrupted version of the word “España” (Spain) which is pronounced Espanya.
Their communities are small compared to Bubi and Fang. Majority of them migrated to Bioko from Arochukwu, Abia State, Nigeria.
Igbos of Equatorial Guinea, numbering 33,500, are no longer unreachable. They are part of the Igbo people cluster within the Sub-Saharan African affinity bloc, this group, though a minority of people ranking third-largest in Equatorial Guinea, a country with a total population of 1.2Million people.
Their primary language is Igbo. The primary religion practiced by the Igbo is marginal Christianity, a form of religion with roots in Christianity but not theologically Christian.
BIOKO (Formally Fernando Po)
Formerly known as Fernando Po, Bioko is the largest region in Equatorial Guinea, the inhabitants speak Pidgin English, Spanish foreign language, Fang, Igbo and Bubi indigenous languages.
The original inhabitants of Bioko are a group of people called Bubi, descendants of mainland Bantu tribes who fought and defeated the Fang and pushed them to inland part while they occupy the coastal areas. The Fang is also an ethnic group in Cameroon.
Bioko also is home to descendants of former slaves who were freed in the nineteenth century. Many Bubis have recently immigrated to the continent, and along with other, smaller Bantu-speaking tribes, comprise the remaining 10 per cent of the population in Rio Muni. Minority tribes include the Kombe, Balengue and Bujebas.
Most people in this region speak in their tribal languages, either Fang, Bubi, or Ibo, all of which are in the Bantu family of languages.
Equatorial Guineans identify first with their tribe or ethnic group and secondly with the nation.
The current country was formed during Spanish rule, linking the main island of Bioko with the mainland territory, despite the fact that the two were culturally distinct.
Since the unification of the two, there has been some intermingling and migration, particularly of mainland Fang to Bubi-inhabited Bioko.
The Fang tribe itself is not limited to the Rio Muni area but extends also north into Cameroon and south into Gabon.
Legally, there is no discrimination against ethnic or racial minorities, but in practice, this is not the case. The Bubi have experienced persecution under the post-independence government.
Prior to independence, the group formed a majority on Bioko. However, since 1968, many Fang migrated to the island and a small subclan, the Mongomo, has dominated the government.
There is resentment and violence not only between the Bubi and the Fang but also between the Mongomo and other Fang subgroups.
Independence of Bioko
The Bubi, a warlike tribe, are leading the independence struggle, a proposed country that includes the Igbo minority and Fang, though there is no record of any opposition to the demands for Republic of Bioko by Fang and the Igbo.
As regards the language, Igbo is a recognized official language in Equatorial Guinea and it has been confirmed that the people still speak the Igbo language which has some form of deviation from the modern Igbo spoken in Nigeria.
Some people who have seen them said they say, ‘bia ikaa’ for ‘come here’.