Prof. Catherine Acholonu and his co-authors explained, “The discoveries at Ugwuele show that the ‘out of Africa’ migrations were more or less an ‘out of Igboland’ migration and that Igboland was original home of Homo Erectus and that all of those who migrated out of Africa were Igbo ambassadors.
They stated that in the olden days, the ancestors carved stones as means of communication and also a way to give honour to great men and women who made great achievements in the society, and these stones were named after people, whom they were dedicated to.
Some of these carved stones known as monoliths were discovered in Ikom Local Government Area of Cross River State, Nigeria, about 300 kilometers from Calabar, the state capital and the villagers called them Akwa Nshi, meaning that they were made by Nshi, Stone Age people. ‘Nshi’ in Igbo means dwarf.
Based on archeological discoveries, the researchers also claimed that they have found out that one language was spoken at the beginning of mankind, the same language spoken by Adam and Eve and that the language was indeed none other than Igbo.
“Likewise, the story of Adam and Eve has links with Igbo tradition through remnants of Igbo language found in all words connected to Adam and Eve story. For instance, Hebrew name for Adam as first man was ‘Esh,’ which is also spelt Eesh/Eshi/Ishi. The Bible says that Eve’s name ‘Ish-she or Esh-she’ because she was taken out of the man.
This means that ‘Esh’ and ‘Esh-she’ means in Igbo ‘Taken from the dwarf (as in she-puta-to pull out). She also means in Igbo ‘to become less, ‘to reduce,’ implying that by creation of woman from man, man became weaker or less than he was originally. Adam’s popular name by which he is known throughout the world has a straight meaning-Adaa m ‘I have fallen, I have become less than my original self’ but not so in Ikom language,” they stated.
“Also the name of Adam’s second son, Abel, who was murdered by his elder brother, and who became known as the ‘lamb that was slain’ seems to have been derived from Igbo word, Ebula meaning lamb. (We heard of the blood of Abel being compared with the blood of Jesus ‘the Lamb of God’).
Cain, who killed his brother, was banished and he began to roam the earth and took the name Amakandu (condemned to life of roaming), but as time went on, some of his children got tired of roaming and decided to build settlements for themselves. And accordingly they changed their names to Dunu, meaning ‘settle’ or ‘sit’ in Igbo, revealing that the first generation of humans on earth spoke Igbo. In fact, there is a clan in Anambra State that goes by the name Dunukofia, meaning that to settle is better than to roam.”
It was noted in the book that if “the Bible tells us that God’s first instruction to humankind was written on stone, the Igbos have an oral tradition published under the title “Ndi Ichie Akwa mythology or folklore tradition of Ndigbo by I.N.C. Nwosu, which narrates that God gave a set of 10 laws on stone to his people called Ndiichie Akwa, which were symbolised by 10 fingers etched on stone. This has a similarity to Hebrew story of the laws given to Moses by God.
The story says that after the world was destroyed by the great flood, the children of the great ancestor of Igbo people were instructed by God to return to the center of the earth where he and his lineage will dwell with God in peace and tranquility.
They continued: “We believe that Ikom (and its monoliths) was the destination of the journey of the children of Noah as indicated in the Biblical Genesis and that the people who journeyed to West Africa, were a branch of Ham’s children, possibly Canaan and that the monoliths served as a landmark for the new immigrants.
In the Bible, it is actually reported that Noah instructed his second son, Ham to return to Africa with his children. South Eastern Nigeria (which includes South South) is actually the cartographical (from the map of the world) location of the center of the earth, because all the ancient territory of Biafra was the ‘Median” and ‘Median’ means centre in any map.”
Acholonu and his co-authors noted however that the monoliths were not the only stone writings associated with the Igbo, since in the British Isles, stones have been found bearing Igbo language inscriptions written in form of writing known as Ogam, said to have been written on a stick as well as a stone, giving it the name Ogama, which in Igbo language, might have been Ogu-ama, meaning ‘Stick for External use’ or ‘Writing on sticks for masses’. Ogu is also linked to the Igbo concept of Iji ofo na ogu-a stick that stands for justice and innocence.
They stated that apart from the Igbo based ancient Ogam inscriptions found in British Isles, another proof that Igbo people lived in and colonised the British Isles in pre-historic times is the presence of numerous Igbo words in English language such as doro (draw), Mmanwu (Man); Saa (Say), Ukwe (Choir), Ekpere (prayer), Mfe (fair), Okuko (Cock), Mmiri (Marine), ga (go) among others.
“We found evidence that in pre-historic times, Igbo people were known as people of light and Sons of God (Opara/Okwara). They were worshipped by other clans of humans. They were the first kings and god-men known to human beings in general. Appollo, whose name was pronounced as Okpara, was the first example. The Pharaoh of Egypt actually took their title from Okpara Ihe (Son of Light). There are available records from 2000 BC showing that Pharoahs sent expeditions to West Africa to import Eshi (dwarfs), whom they valued as divine beings who bestowed blessings on Egypt.”
Reviewing the book, They Lived Before Adam, at its public presentation at Michael Okpara Square in Enugu on June 27, 2009, a senior lecturer at the Institute of African Studies, University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), Prof. Nwankwo Nwaezeigwe said that from the title of the book, it is all about tracing the origin of the Igbo people to the remotest past of human existence, a study whose methodology cuts across such disciplines as history, linguistics, applied arts, geology, economics, geography as well as science and technology.
Nwaezeigwe said that he has come to the conclusion given the characteristic embellishing masculinity of the work, that Prof. Catherine Acholonu is an enigmatic mistake of divine creation, one of those rare women who are imbued with every ingredient of manhood except the manhood itself.
“This, one can evidently notice by an internalised driving force in her, a force for adventure, a force to conquer and an ever propelling carriage ready to accept challenges, all embellished with a passion for upholding her, do I say, his Igbo identity, pride of the past and culture. She is not just a pan Igboist, but also a universal proponent of the primacy of Black human kind in the cradle of human existence.
“The book is not merely an emphasis within the broad spectrum of historical studies. Built on a panoply or oral ethno linguistic and archeological studies, and to some appreciable extent, on array of written sources, the work fundamentally represents a paradigm shift from traditional school of thought which often seeks to define Igbo origin in particular and black race in general, in context of non-African root,” Nwaezeigwe said.