Biography of Chike Obi

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In 1997, through pure brainwork and without the use of modern computer, the globally-acclaimed Nigerian mathematician and academic, Chike Obi, who has died aged 87, solved the mystery of a 361- year old mathematical puzzle known as Fermat’s Last Theorem.
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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Igbo traditional religion and Christianity

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Chinua Achebe (1958:123-125) gave us the first Igbo description of the impact of that encounter between Igbo traditional religion and Christianity when Obierika said:

How do you think we can fight when our own brothers have turned against us. White man is very clever. He came quietly and peacefully with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.

The above words articulate the sentiments expressed by an Igbo elder after realizing how the new religion (Christianity) had gone in terms of winning converts and dividing the members of the clan. And it is true that henceforth things were never the same for the Igbo.

The question that comes to mind is whether the Igbo did misunderstand him? If the missionary had not posed as quiet and peaceable, could the Igbo have been less tolerant with him? How exactly did the missionary manage to win some Igbo over into Christianity? In Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Nneka wasted no time in joining the Christian when she became pregnant because she has been losing her children through ogbanje. The outcasts in Mbanta flocked the church. Christianity offered freedom from evil spirits and oppression. There was the case of Nwoye who was shocked because twins were thrown away into the forest to die and about Ikemefuna who was killed for sacrifice by his father Okonkwo. We remember how Ndi Igbo gave out the shrines of their various gods to Christian missionaries who cleared those sites, erected churches and nothing happened to them contrary to the expectations from the people, their gods and shrines. The Igbo are not sufficiently stupid to hang on to those failed shrines and gods, even if they had not completely imbibed Christianity. The gods were dead and the people became convinced that the white man’s God was very powerful. There were those who failed at this time to become part of this dynamic process and they lost out. The priestess of Agbala in Umuofia spitefully called the christians the excrement of the clan and the ‘new faith’ was a mad dog that had come eat it up (Achebe, 1958:101). Thus when the colonials and missionaries wanted the chiefs and the chief priests to surrender their children for education, these principal Igbo chiefs who were custodians of true Igbo history refused for fear of being treacherously enslaved. Rather less privileged people like the ‘osu’ caste, outcasts and personal servants regarded as ‘worthless and empty’ men as described by Achebe were given to the Europeans for education. When this class of people became educated they had no enthusiasm to engage in the collation and preservation of Igbo history in view of their past shameful family background. This negative motivation or social resentment even led many of these educated elites to join in the colonialist propaganda that the Igbo had no common history (Nwosu; 1983:6). Thus christianity and Igbo are weighted for what they are worth and a choice is made accordingly.

Therefore the advent of Christianity in Igbo land had meant the introduction of a christian world view. Admittedly, Christianity made tremendous achievements. They abolished slave trade and slavery, human sacrifices and twin killing, introduced education, built hospitals and charity homes. They destroyed some level of superstition, increased human knowledge that brought about improved human welfare. Igbo traditional religion was incapable of achieving this because it was static as well as looking downwards. Through education and christian religion it was possible for the Igbo to re-shape their faith and world view. Nevertheless syncretistic practices among many Igbo christian show that Igbo traditional religion is still alive. But this encounter with Christianity means it will ever be the same again.

The early missionaries saw themselves as social and religious reformers. However, while they tried in their own way to achieve their mission goal, which was the conversion of Africans into Christianity, their approach and attitude did not produce a wholesome result. They thought by condemning African religious beliefs and practices, social and political means of control. That they would produce ‘a new man’ born in a new faith; but this ‘newman’ produced became a split personality – who could neither totally return to the old nor firmly be rooted in the new. This was made worse by the fact that most of the missionaries were not only ignorant of the Igbo people but also lacked adequate knowledge of the content of the christian message. For instance, one of the listeners in Achebe’s This Fall Apart asked the missionary thus:

If we leave our gods and follow your god, who will protect us from the anger of our neglected gods and ancestors? In response, the missionary nastily said angrily: Your gods are not alive and cannot do you any harm. They are pieces of wood and stone.

The impatience and unwillingness of the white missionary to educate the traditional Igbo on WHO JESUS IS and WHAT HE CAN DO for them in relation to their gods marked the beginning of a false start in communicating the christian message to the Igbo. It was a brand of christianity, which did not affect all facets of Igbo life. It was that failure which gave rise to ambivalent christianity in Igboland whereby most Igbo christians resort to their local deities, ancestors, medicine men, divination, sacrifices and use of charms or amulets to seek for solution and protection in their crises moments. Nevertheless the Christian message has continued to challenge Igbo man and his environment.

It is important that we be reminded that the various ethnic groups in the world have their traditional religions as an answer to the reality of their existence. The Philistines, the Babylonians, the Greeks and the Romans, all indulged in idolatrous worship. The Arabs used to worship many spirits (Jinns). Stonehenge in southern England is a living evidence of Druidism, which was the heathen worship of the early inhabitants of the United Kingdom. Human sacrifice was a part of Druid worship and was only abolished in the Roman period, (Kato, 1985:33).

Whatever rationalization we may try to make, the worship of God in traditional Africa and the primitive nations of the world is idolatrous. Idolatry is worshipping God in pictures, and this was thought to be normal, not sin, since in their view, God is always represented in visual symbols, and so there must always be pictures, idols and statues in their shrines or places of worship. True worship must be spiritual, not material and idolatrous. Pictures designed to encapsulate divinity necessarily diminish God’s honour, and transcendence and sovereignty. It is impossible to capture God’s power and majesty in a visual image and all attempts to do so deteriorate into magic, superstition and idolatry. Images in worship destroy the human spirits; distort God’s spiritual identity and they promote the lie of idolatry. The depravity evident in African traditional religion is evident among all peoples of the earth (Psalm 14:2-3). Traditional Igbo ancestor turned away from ‘Chukwu’ and set up his gods, with Ala as the arch-divinity. The Igbo myth of origin as shown by Nri myth reveals how Nri sacrificed his first son and first daughter. We don’t know why Nri could not be patient to be fed by ‘Chukwu’ as he fed his father Eri and his people. As with Adam the Igbo man’s ancestry to search for answers (about his welfare) away from God broke the link between him and ‘Chukwu.’

It is important to observe that while pagan worship was a part of the religion of the peoples of the world, they could still change to other religions of their choice. Most Arabs accepted Islam and became Muslims. The British no longer claimed Druidism as their religion, but Christianity. It was the white missionaries who brought the church to Igbo land. Why should this not be the case in Igbo land? 

View pictures of Igbo symbols

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Dominant ideas in Igbo religious philosophy -Chp 4

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The relevance of the foregoing Igbo perception of their world to the emotional and psychological levels of the traditional life of the Igbo is of great significance to the argument of this paper. This is because in the daily life of the Igbo, their values and attitudes which they aspire to and exhibit are the direct off-shoot of their dominant religious and philosophical ideas. These ideas include:

RESPECT FOR LIFE (NDU)

Igbo world is principally anthropocentric. It is for this understanding the Igbo say Ndụ bụ isi (life first). Because of the heavy accent which the traditional Igbo place on human life, they go to any length in order to preserve it. As a matter of fact the traditional Igbo attitude to the divinities and ancestors appears on many occasions to be primarily manipulative, as the Igboman moves from shrine to shrine for definite material satisfaction bordering on life, off-spring and health. Igbo traditional prayers {Igọ ọfọ) and sacrifices to the deities are mainly petitionary for the welfare of man. Even when sacrifices are made to malevolent spirits, the only reason for doing so is to ward them off from causing harm. Igbo constantly resort to divination, traditional medicine, magic, the use of protective charms or amulets and initiation into secret cults in order to cope with the uncertainties of life, for protection and progress. Childlessness was considered a threat to life among the Igbo as it hits the very root of that traditional primary value, life.

Thus Igbo traditional religion provides for the people a viable system by which they seek to explain, to predict, and to control all space and time event for the preservation of life. In traditional Igbo society, human life was considered sacred. That it cannot be taken away with impunity. Suicide is considered a most abominable crime against the human society and so any person guilty of suicide is denied formal burial. In most cases when human beings were killed (twin killing and human sacrifice) the traditional Igbo saw such as a fulfillment of convinced religious obligation and for the good of the land. For them, sacrifice was different from killing a fellow human being, for which life must go for life. Nevertheless, the Igbo respect life more than any other ethnic group in Nigeria, because the Igbo respect life, kolanut breaking will always remain for them a celebration of life. Emenanjo (2001) lent emphasis on the great respect the Igbo have for life when he said that in the philosophy of Igbo knowledge the: rural Igbo had very great respect for Ndụ because it comes from God. It is greater than money or wealth. It cannot be foundered by a blacksmith. All things are only useful if they have life.

Let me remind you that it was not a mere coincidence when under the Igbo war commander Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu, Biafra (the Igbo) fought a thirty months gruesome war from 1967 to 1970 to preserve the life of the Igbo people. Let me remind you that it was not mere accident when the great Zik of Africa along with other notable Igbo leaders (Dr. Ojike, Dr. Mbadiwe, Dr. Okpara, Dr. Akanu Ibiam, etc) of blessed memory unanimously agreed that “To Restore the Dignity of Man” was to be the motto of the first indigenous University, the University of Nigeria. That motto represents the finest formulation of the finest Igbo minds, the collective affirmation of Igbo faith in the worth and dignity of man. It remains for the Igbo a vision; a mission and a commitment

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Igbo perception of their world -Chp3

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Read Time:24 Minute, 33 Second

Igbo world-view is significant in understanding the Igbo man and his identity, his vision and his mission in the world.

The Igbo traditional understanding of the world and reality as a whole is religious and holistic. The universe is conceived of a cyclical order as the seasons of the year, the sun, the moon, the stars and natural events in general repeat themselves in an interminable way. Mircea Elide calls this repetitive order in nature as the “myth of eternal return” (1959). This ordered succession symbolized harmony, persistence and dynamism. This order must not be disrupted in the Universe in which the different levels of space as perceived are inhabited.

A critical look at the Igbo world — view would throw light on the rationale for man’s insistence on maintaining the delicate balance or cordial relationship between him and the spirit beings in the spirit world as well as ensure the maximum success of his life on earth

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Who are the igbos?

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The puzzle about Igbo origin has been attributed to lack of interest in Igbo studies either from our own people or from outsiders. This problem was compounded by the fact that some Igbo people did not accept others as being ‘lgbo,’ for instance, Mbieri people did not regard the Onitsha people as ‘Igbo’ (Green, 1964:7; Isichei, 1976:19)

Similarly, some groups in Onitsha who traced their root to Benin kingdom used the expression ‘nwa onye Igbo’ (an Igbo person) in a spiteful manner to refer to other Igbo people (Onunwa, 1990:2). Most scholars are agreed that there was no real sense of pan-lgbo identity in the pre-colonial period, that the village groups felt a strong sense of local patriotism (Isichei, 1976:19; Talbot, 1926:404). The Igbo studies by C. K. Meeks (1937) and M.M. Green (1964) only helped to perpetuate the bad press the Igbo already had as a lawless and ungovernable people.

We do not intend to go into the old speculative arguments about the theories of Igbo origin and expansion. The people we intend to focus on in this work are found in the South-eastern part of Nigeria and are presently comprised of the people of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and parts of Delta, Rivers, Cross River and Akwa-Ibom States. The Igbo have common boundaries with the Igala and Idoma on the north, the Ijaw and the Ogoni on the South, the Yako and the Ibibio on the Eastern boundary and the Bini and Warri on the West. The Igbo geographical area are what scholars call a culture area, rural or urban, manifesting distinctive characteristics or traits. Ọnwụejeọgwụ (1975) in his Article “the Igbo Culture Area” identified six basic traits which include: the linguistic, social, political, economic, ritual, and cultural traits.

There are five identifiable sub- culture areas within the Igbo culture area made up of:

(1) Eastern or Cross River Igbo (2) Southern or Owerri Igbo, (3) northern or Onitsha Igbo (4) Western Igbo and (5) North-Eastern Igbo (Forde and Jones, 1950:10) Inspite of the obvious sub cultural differences, the Igbo see themselves as one people and at the same time outsiders see them as a homogeneous entity. They are a unique people. While the Yoruba could find their kins in Burkina Faso and the Hausa could find their kins in Chad and Niger, historians are yet to tell us where- the Igbo could be found other than in the South- eastern part of Nigeria.

In recent times, our scholars have engaged in an exciting and fruitful research into Igbo origin. Their efforts are highly commendable. Professor A.E. Afigbo has ably articulated the scholarly views on Igbo origin in his books Ropes of Sand (1981) and more recent monograph – Igbo Genesis (2000). The weight of scholarly opinion rests mightily on situating Igbo origin within the Negro race generally but particularly in West Africa because of the Kwa language family in which the Yoruba, Edo, Igbo, Igala, Ijo, and Idoma fell. It may sound funny but historians should not snub the Igbo Nri myth which claimed that man’s origin started from Igboland when God created Eri and sent him down. The Nri creation myth says that Chukwu the Igbo high God sent down the Igbo ancestor Eri and his wife Nnamaku somewhere in Aguleri. From these two human beings originated the Umueri and Umunri clans of the Igbo. Though the myth did not assert that the rest of Igbo people originated from Eri, many Igbo scholars have come to believe and treat Nri town as the heart of Igbo nationality. Similar myths of creation are found among the Bini and Yoruba. The importance of the Nri myth is not only historical but also religious. The Igbo acknowledged their divine origin and not that they came into existence by chance. It is a figurative expression that has tremendous historical import. In Time Magazine of July; 22, 2002 pages 50-55 and also the Guardian Newspaper of Thursday, September 19, 2002, we find the recent archeological findings of the earliest ancestor of modern homo sapiens named ‘Toumai’ (hope of life), with the scientific name sahelanthropus tchadensis (Sahel hominid from Chad) dated about 7 million years old in the Lake Chad region. That man first settled in Africa is no longer an archeological statement, but a historical fact. It has also further disproved the theory of Charles Darwin that man originated from the apes.

In fact conventional wisdom ostensibly based on earlier discoveries had placed the origin of man around the Great Rift valley of East Africa, the new Lake Chad findings by Professor Michael Brunet, a paleontologist from the University of Poitiers in France has challenged the current thinking on human origins and also “the migratory patterns of the world. One fact is obvious; the myth of Igbo origin may be taken more serious. This is because the current findings have shifted attention from East Africa to the Lake Chad region which is closer to Nigeria. In the past three decades nobody thought about this, perhaps a little patience may lead to another finding East of the Niger.

Speculations about Igbo ancestry whether it was Eri as in Nri myth Digbo as contained in Nwosu’s Ndi Ichie Akwa Mytholody and Folklore Origins of the Igbo (1983) cannot be historically confirmed. However, both Igbo myth of origin and archeological discoveries show that Igbo history and culture go far back into human history.

 Origin of Igbo Traditional Religion

  View on theories of origin of Religions

As far as we know, all human societies have possessed beliefs and practices which have come to be grouped and known under the name ‘religion.’ Religion is thus a universal phenomenon. Speculation about which religion would be superior has never been of scholarly interest but rather why religion is found at all in all societies.

The quest for the origins of religion has centered on four main views. The first refers to the psychological theories, which cover a variety of postulations, which 1ocate the origin, of religion in primitive people’s concept of ghosts, the soul and even in the deification of natural phenomena. One of the most enduring strands was that the origin of religions is in fetishism – worship of the animate and inanimate things, which the early Portuguese observed in West Africa. Edward Tylor credited as having constructed the first theory of religion assumed that belief in the existence of the soul stemmed from speculation about such states as dreams, trances and death (Ember, 1977, 246-250). Thus in Tylor’s view religion may have arisen out of an intellectual curiosity concerning mental states and other things not fully understood. This is the basis of the religious belief which Tylor called ‘animism.’ It was Herbert Spencer who modified Tylor’s view by giving prominence to belief in ghosts rather than in souls as the source of religion. Spencer moved the idea further by linking the belief in ghosts to the belief in gods which he also equated with the ghost of ancestors (Nwanunobi 1992: 166-169). It was Crawley’s Idea of the Soul that primitive man’s fear was posited as the root of religion.

In sum, all psychological theories agreed that whatever the origin or purpose, whatever the belief or rituals, religion served to reduce anxiety, and uncertainly which are common to all people. Second Sociological theories suggest that religion stems from society’s needs. Emile Durkhein recognized that it is the society not the individual which is the society; not the individual which distinguishes between sacred and profane things. He suggested that a sacred object symbolizes the social fact that society considered something sacred. In other words the sociological theories concentrate on religion as significant to social solidarity and the integration of the relevant society within which the feelings, belief and practices are common.

It was argued that societies from ancient times modeled their cosmology after their own experiences. Aristotle in Politics (1.1.7} tersely stated as follows:

As men imagine gods in human form, so also they suppose their manner of life to be like their own.

Aristotle’s view was extended by later scholars who saw a relationship between political sophistication and the nature of a people’s cosmology (Nwanunobi, 1992:168). Thus Fuste1 de Coulanges argued that ancestor worship as the origin of religion since in ancient societies before the larger forms of political organizations: the family was the basis of co-operation and survival.

The third suggestion is the combination of the psychological and sociological approaches. This position argued that religion is a response to strain or deprivation which is caused by events in society. Thus, when the society is stable, its efforts and its energy are employed to maintain its equilibrium. But when the stability is threatened either by internal dissension or by outside force, the society many ‘revitalize’ itself by various means. Perhaps this revita1ization is achieved by a new cult, sect, denomination or religion. Aberle (1971: 528-531) has argued that relative deprivation, whether economic or social, is the cause of the stress which generates new religious movements. Wallace {1966:30) suggested that the threat of societal breakdown forces people to examine new ways to survive. It is the hope they gain from the new ways – not deprivation for people can live for centuries in deprivation-which leads them to revitalize their society.

The last view for the origin of religion which anthropologists and psychologists do not like to mention is that of revelation. Revelation is God’s disclosure of himself to man. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 1:1-2, God has in the last days finally and fully revealed himself to humanity. Christ is the full expression of God’s revelation, better than anything in the Old Testament, and so the author warns his readers to depend on Christ alone. Igbos believe in God’s revelation to their ancient ancestors, including revealing his name as Chukwu. It is with this conviction we now discuss the origin of Igbo traditional religion.

 Igbo Traditional Religion: it’s genesis

 Our Igbo ancestors were philosophers who were inspired by Chiukwu/Chukwu, the Supreme Being. In other words, our Igbo ancestors like other ethnic groups received the revelation of God. Igbo religion is as old as humanity. It is a well-established fact that religion in Africa in general is at the root of African culture. Its is the determining principle of African life. Thus religion is their basic philosophy and philosophy is their religion.

It is for this reason that one comes to the conviction that the Igbo people are born religious. In Igbo world, time and space, objects and persons are made sacred. People born into the Igbo world approximate to the spiritual. Thus people are born with their personal ‘Chi’ or personal god or protective spirit.

The question here is what is the origin of this religious sentiment in the Igbo? In other words what is the origin of Igbo traditional religion? This question has not been a scholarly focus. Many renowned Igbo scholars have written on many aspects of Igbo traditional religion but that question has never attracted their conscious attention.

Professor A. E. Afigbo (1981:9) in his Ropes of Sand first muted the idea of the origin Igbo Traditional religion, and I share his insight on the subject.

The istory of the origin of Igbo traditional religion must be sought within Igbo history of origin. Igbo lived a hazardous wandering life of the hunter and gatherer of wild edible plants. The tradition of Nri disclosed how the Igbo entered a settled 1ife which brought him further development of skills.

The Nri Myth has it that the father of all Nri was Eri. When Eri was sent by Chukwu from the Sky to the earth, he sat on an anti-hill because he saw watery marshy earth. When Eri complained to God Chukwu, sent an Awka blacksmith with his fiery bellow and charcoal to dry the earth. After the assignment, the Awka blacksmith was given ọfọ as a mark of authority for his smithing profession. While Eri lived, Chukwu fed him and his people with azu-igwe! But this special food ceased after the death of Eri. Nri his first son complained to Chukwu for food. Chukwu ordered Nri to sacrifice his first son and daughter and bury them in separate graves. Nri complied with it. Later after three-Igbo-weeks (Izu atọ = 12 days) yam grew from the grave of the son and cocoyam from that of the daughter. When Nri and his people ate these, they slept for the first time; later still Nri killed a male and female slaves burying them separately. Again, after Izu Ato, an oil palm grew from the grave of the male slave, and a bread fruit tree (ukwa) from that of the female-slave (Afigbo, 1981:41-42). With this new food supply, Nri and his people ate and prospered. Chukwu asked him to distribute the new food items to all people but Nri refused because he bought them at the cost of sacrificing his own children and slave. Nri and; Chukwu made an agreement. According to M. D. W. Jeffreys (1956:123) a tradition has it that:

As a reward for distributing food to the other towns Nri would have the right of cleansing every town of an abomination (nso) or breach, of crowning the eze at Aguleri, and of tying the Ngulu (ankle cords) when a man takes the title of ozo. Also he and his successor’s would have the privilege of making the Oguji, or yam medicine, each year for ensuring a plentiful supply of yams in all surrounding towns, or in all towns that subjected themselves to the Eze Nri. For this medicine all the surrounding towns would come in and pay tribute and Umunmdri people then could travel unarmed through the world and no one would attack or harm them.

Another tradition claims that because Nri would not sell yam to his neighbours, he then demanded seven fowls, chalk, a pot and goats, with these he made medicine Ifejiọkụ, the yam spirit, which he gave to the applicants. They took this home with the new crops and sacrificed to it. This tradition has some variation but basic facts still remains (Isichei, 1977:22-23; Thomas, 1913:50).

The discovery of yam cultivation formed not only the economic base of Igbo civilization but it also carried tremendous religious import. It was of such great importance that it was given ritual and symbolic expressions in many areas of Igbo life — (Sacrifice at Nfijoku/ Ifejiọkụ during Yam festival/Iriji). The Nri myth suggested how agriculture and iron technology brought tremendous changes in the life of the Igbo. These changes Afigbo rightly indicated includes (1) the more effective mastery of the land, (2) the growth of population, (3) the elaboration of the archetypal Igbo social institutions (4) the evolution of a cosmological system in which the Earth (Ala, Ani, Ali) then became deified and occupied the central place as the ordainer and guardian of morality, the source of law and customs.

It is significant to note here the emergence of Igbo cosmology from the Nri myth in which Ala {Earth goddess) became the arch-divinity in Igboland. Thus from the myth the Earth (Ala, Ani, Ali) was so important to the Igbo that it became the most vital function of Eze Nri to preside over its worship.

This development accords with the otiose character of Chukwu – the Supreme Being – in Igbo cosmology and the domination of the lgbo world by the Earth goddess. This is not only peculiar to the Igbo; it is a common perception of the Supreme Being as Deus Otiosus in primal religions.

The Nri myth which contains Igbo cosmology also has in it an important dimension of historical truth not yet hitherto recognized, namely, the origin or evolution of Igbo traditional religion (Afigbo, 1981:9). We wish to suggest and maintain based on Nri myth that Igbo traditional religion is going through a three-stage development. The first stage is what we may call the Eri period. This period agrees with Professor Afigbo’s periodization in 1983 which he labeled the a-horizon. This first stage is the earliest period of human existence, the probable dynamic age of Chukwu, when God created and dominated the earth, including the Igbo world. The age of pure intuition marked by the over powering awareness of the presence and nearness of Chukwu the creator. The God fed Eri and his people and Eri had intimate contact with Chukwu and worshipped him alone. This was the age of innocence and what existed at period was pure religion. This was because man had not come to need intermediaries between him and his creator. Igbo myths and folklores lend validity to this claim (New; 1985:15-32 Iwuagwu).

‘The second stage is the hunting and gathering stage of existence when the Igbo had not fully come to a full appreciation of the value of the land. This I call the Nri period, when with the coming of agriculture and iron technology the Igbo attention shifted from the sky above to the earth below, with Ala, Ani, Ali displacing ‘Chukwu’ into a supposedly remote inactivity. This is the supposed period in primal societies including Igbo when ‘Chukwu’ came to be perceived as the Deus Otiosus the withdrawn God, the absentee landlord. This period marked the dominance of the Earth goddess in Igbo traditional life and the origin of Igbo traditional religion. Based on Nri myth, it became the chief function of Eze Nri to preside over the worship, veneration and purification of the Earth through rituals and sacrifices. Professor Afigbo calls this period the b-horizon marked by recession of pure intuition, the fall of man, the withdrawal of the creator and the domination of man’s daily existence by a hose of gods and spirits. At this time the Igbo adopted divinities which appear to work in controlling their world.

The dominance of the Earth goddess in Igbo land at this period is well acknowledged. On this Professor Anene (1966:12-13) stated:

Among the Igbo law and custom were believed to have been handed down from the spirit world from time immemorial from ancestor to ancestor. The spirit world comprised a hierarchy of gods: the most important perhaps was the god of the land-the unseen president of the small localized community. No community is complete without the shrine of the god of the land.

The god of the land in context refers to the Earth goddess whose influence is very great in a society whose economy is primarily agricultural. It is at this stage that the Igbo abandoned the worship of Chineke God to the worship of the created things. The acknowledgement of the High God, the Creator, at the same time as he is dealt with as remote or withdrawn forms the major basis of the concept of deus otiosus or deus remotus or deus absconditus which many writers have given attention to at various times (Pettazzoni, 1954:Horton, 1971 85-108)

Apart from the worship of Ala, other divinities arose in several other communities. Some of the prominent ones included Ibinukpabi of Arọchukwu, Amadiọha (or Kamalụ) also known as the “god of: thunder” whose shrine was at OZUZU (now in Rivers State); the Ogbunworie of Ezumọha, Mbano; Igwekaala of Umunọha (South-Igbo sub-culture area); Agbala of Awka and Ọha Mmiri of Oguta to name a few.

The organizers of these cults were diviners, priest, medicine men, traders and other ritual experts as well as men of note in the community who considered their life, political and economic interests threatened. Quite often people go to these divinities to take oath. Their origin in most of those communities is unknown, they do not have documentary history but they were believed to have been brought by their respective ancestors many of whom were unknown to them. Some of them are said to have taken their origin from outside Igbo territory and especially from Igbo neighbours such as Efik, Ibibio Yako and Ekoi. (Onunwa, 1990:11, 21, 31).

Two of the prominent Oracular divinities – Ibinukpabi of Arọchukwu and Ogbunworie of Ezumuọha were destroyed by the British in 1901/02 and 1910 respectively, but their influence still linger. At the moment there are severa1 millions of deities and divinities in Igbo land.

In this second stage, however, it is obvious that something definitely went wrong. It is the stage that Igbo ancestors abandoned the worship of God the Creator to the worship of the created things – Ala and other divinities. At this point, the created being becomes so powerful that it took the place of ‘Chukwu’ in Igbo traditional life. Ikeji or Iri ji (yam festival) which Ndi Igbo celebrate with fanfare is part of the ritual that goes with the worship of the yam spirit (Ifejiọkụ; Ahiajọkụ). Many rituals and sacrifices accompany this celebration even in our time. Loss of contact with ‘chukwu’ generated insecurity and fear which necessitated the development of seeking help from powerful deities for protection and for doing evil.

Thus there came a great gap, a lacuna in Igbo spirituality. As the Nri myth would tend to suggest there arose a broken link between chukwu and Igbo ancestors, a broken link that has to be restored.

The development gained impetus in the third stage of development of Igbo traditional religious life. This period Prof.. Afigbo called the c-horizon but which we now refer to as the Arọ Era. The Arọ Era is what Professor Afig designated in his Ropes of Sand as the era of Arọchukwu Ascendancy with its Ibinukpabi Oracle – their famous Long Juju. The era, which we regard as “the most tragic” for the Igbo race because of the evils of slave trade and slavery. A lot has been written about it. It is obvious that Eze Arọ one of the highly recognized kingship stools in Igbo land pre-date the existence of Ibinukpabi Oracle. It is an Oracle, which no Arọ person would like to discuss. However, it is generally believed to have been imported from a small Ibibio shrine (Isichei, 1976:59). The influence of the oracle in Igbo land was like a harmattan fire. It is believed to have conferred so much prestige and authority on the Arọ to such an extent that in 1896 an Arọ person proudly announced to a white man at Aba in “broken English” that he was an ‘Arọ man’ and a ‘God boy’ (Isichei, 1976:59). Scholars agreed that the oracle rested on a deliberate deception. The Arọ civilization of the period was extremely idolatrous, materialistic and dehumanizing. The Arọ civilization generated trade in which the Igbo were commodities of trade. The slave trade bred a disregard for human life. It is reported that in Nsukka ten human slaves sold for a horse and in Uburu in the 1880’s a horse was exchanged for four to six adult human slaves (Isichei, 1978:47). Professor Ọnwụejeọgwụ indicated that Ibinukpabi supported slave trade, which brought into Igboland depopulation due to instigated wars, family disorganization, ritual cannibalism and human sacrifices (1987:56). Thus Arọ at this period combined slave trade and manipulation of the oracle by a highly intelligent group or kinsmen for their religious and economic interests. Thus fear of insecurity, constant wars, headhunting at this period led many Igbo resort to seeking the protection of divinities and deities most of which were imported.

Similarly there emerged highly developed secret societies as a new (p.12) instrument of social control. This is not to say that secret society was absent in Igbo land but it became prominent. The Arọ brought secret societies from Efik-Ibibio areas into Igbo land, such as Ekpe, Okonko, Obong, Akang. The Arọ made great use of them and because of their influence cult houses were erected for them at the village centers of several Igbo communities, for effective control of communities. They also made use of nsibidi sign for communication which made the need for initiation quite attractive. Thus it was common to hear that the need to belong to a secret cult would enable one pass through the road (ka ewere ya ga n’uzo). In effect, this period brought about the multiplication of deities or divinities for security.

In sum, according to Igbo myth Igbo religion in its purest form originated as a direct revelation of ‘Chukwu, ‘Chineke’ to the Igbo earliest ancestor. In course of time, the subsequent earliest Igbo ancestors lost touch with the original revelation, and turned their back on ‘Chukwu’ but focused on the worship of created things — Ala/Anị (the Earth goddess) not as creator but as their sustainer and protector. This leads to the theory of the origin of Igbo traditional religion as a combination of psychological and sociological needs for their protection and survival.

Thus in their various studies Basden, (1938), Meek, (1943), Forde and Jones, (1962), Ilogu (1973), and other numerous researches conducted on Igbo traditional religion in the department of religion, all agree that the idea of ‘Chukwu,’ Chineke,’ is central to Igbo traditional belief and life. We agree with Nwanunobi (1992) that the overwhelming situation is such that even though there is a belief in the Supreme God in Igbo traditional religion, the brand of belief is characterized as polytheistic. It is a type of polytheism in which the High God, ‘Chukwu’ presides over the lesser gods often perceived as intermediaries in the cosmic hierarchy. The Earth goddess was the arch-divinity with omenala as its governing moral code which regulates human relationship with the land according to what obtains in the land or community.

Having therefore examined rather briefly the origin of Igbo man and his traditional religion let us then inquire into how the Igbo man perceived his world, his person, his vision and his mission.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Towards an Understanding of Igbo Traditional Religious Life and Philosophy -Chp 1

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Introduction:
Ndi Igbo have suffered the double misfortune of being misunderstood and having a bad press. In spite of their stupendous achievements in every area of human endeavour, particularly in science and technology, religion and education, the Igbo nation has been deliberately and systematically marginalized. At the risk of sounding patriotic and accommodating, Ndi Igbo have suffered the loss of their human rights and dignity but have also shown great courage and determination to survive as a people.

The questions arise. What is it that keeps Ndi Igbo going despite all odds? What is it that makes them behave, act, and move the way they do? What is the power behind the Igbo? Why was Igbo religion in conflict with Christianity? Why do the Igbo love the Christian way of life? The answers to these questions are the main focus of this paper.

These answers definitely are rooted in the traditional religious life and philosophy of Ndi Igbo. It has been rightly observed that the Igbo are a highly religious people. Writing about the Igbo in the early 1900, Major A.G. Leonard in his book The Lower Niger and Its Peoples remarked that:

They are in the strict and natural sense of the word a truly and a deeply religious people, of whom it can be said that they eat religiously, drink religiously, bathe religiously, dress religiously and sin religiously. In a few words, the religion of these as I have all along endeavored to point out is their existence and their existence is their religion.

This observation is not only true of the Igbo but also of other Africans. Professor J.S. Mbiti (1969:1) more than fifty years later in the opening sentence of the very first chapter of his book, African Religions and Philosophy has re-echoed similar statement which summarized the traditional religious attitude of Africans when he said:

Africans are notoriously religious, and each people has its own religious system with a set of beliefs and practices. Religion permeates into all the departments of life so fully that it is not easy or possible always to isolate it. A study of these religious systems is therefore, ultimately a study of the people themselves in all complexities of both traditional and modem life. Religion is the strongest element in traditional background, and exerts probably the greatest influence upon the thinking and living of the people concerned.

Similarly, after observing how religion thoroughly permeated the life of every Igbo, Bishop Shanahan was cited by John P. Jordan (1971:115) as having come to the conclusion that:

The average native (Igbo), was admirably suited by environment and training, for an explanation of life in terms of the spirit; rather than of the flesh. He was no materialist. Indeed nothing was farther from his mind than a materialist philosophy of existence. It made no appeal to him.

In the context of this paper, Igbo religion and philosophy are perceived as two sides of the same coin which Leonard, Shanaham and Mbiti acknowledged. In order to understand and arrive at the meaning of Igbo religion and philosophy, it is not necessary to engage in a definition or analysis of concepts. On this I agree with Kunirum Osia that this is because in Igbo, religious categories are not bound together in a purely ideal order. The categories do not form a system, a bundle of abstractions, as it were. Rather, they define a style of life, and a guide to practical living. Unlike the major world religions, Igbo religion is not codified or formulated into systematic dogmas. It is culturally learned and adopted. It is a tradition. Religion is an intrinsic part of culture. Culture is itself the totality of knowledge and behaviour, ideas and objects that constitute the common heritage of a people in a given society. And as a lifestyle, culture covers every aspect of the society’s life in their efforts to relate with their environment, with one another and as well as the ideational elements within the society. Scholars agree that they are layers of culture. Kato (1976:8) had identified the philosophical level of culture as its core. Philosophical not in the sense of abstraction but in the sense of reality — what is viewed as the real thing that gives answers to life’s problem. The philosophical level is the basic thinking or idea of a community. It answers the question as to what gives meaning to life. Close to this hard core of culture is the mythical level, which is made up of the basic beliefs of the people, which gives meaning to life. In a sense, people’s culture constitutes their beliefs, customs, ethos, and manners which of course enshrine morality. Whereas, on the one hand, cultural elements can be discerned from the people’s religion, the people’s religion itself is an intrinsic part of the people’s culture in a broader sense. Therefore studying one is by implication studying some of the vital elements of the other. Philosophy is therefore the heart of culture.

Religion and philosophy are therefore concerned with the beliefs and practices of the people. T. U. Nwala (1985:26) in his book Igbo Philosophy argues that the best word or concept which expresses Igbo philosophy is Omenala or Omenanị which literally means that which obtains in the land or community and refers to what accords with the customs and traditions of the Igbo people. For Nwala, Igbo philosophy is the philosophy of Omenala, Omenala referring to the spirit, the underlying principal or idea behind a particular custom/act. The inseparability of the two concepts are similarly recognized by Professor N.S.S. lwe when he argued that the African, Traditional Religion is inseparably interwoven with the traditional African society and culture. This is because African traditional religion is essentially a philosophy and a spiritual way of life, which permeates, pervades and animates the traditional social institution, norms and celebrations. Nwala (1985:112-200) also agreed with the inseparability of Igbo religion and philosophy. He rightly noted that generally a people or an individual may have a philosophy but no religion, but no people or individual may have a religion without a philosophy. Religion and philosophy are intimately related both in the belief and practice content. We must note here that every Igbo ritual act – sacrifice, dance, festival, has a philosophy or idea behind it; it is such an idea that motivates such act. Both involve basic belief, a philosophy, an underlying principle, or an idea, which generate actions and behaviours, which influence individual or group. Therefore it is obvious that a discussion of traditional Igbo religion must involve a discussion of Igbo philosophy. The main justifications rest on:

1) That Igbo religion and philosophy are centered on Chukwu, the Supreme God and

2) The fact that the sacred and the secular are held together. In other words, the secular life of the Igbo like all other traditional communities has been inseparable from their religious life. Their cosmology has a deep religious root and their practical life and moral values are interwoven with their religion. The only weakness is that their philosophy has often lacked what Nwala rightly called “critical and analytical content”

The point being emphasized is the appropriateness of the expression Igbo religion and philosophy. Religion and philosophy originated from native African soil (Onyewuenyi, 1993) and therefore indigenous to the Igbo as well. Both are about our way of life, concerned with meaning and explanation.

In other words, the burden of our argument is that one of the challenges of Ndi Igbo in the 21st century is religious. Therefore, our intention is to engage .in a hermeneutical exposition of some aspects of Igbo religion and philosophy from the Igbo African point of view. It is here we find the essence of the reality of Igbo scholarship in the traditional Igbo religion.

I am not, however, ignorant of the propaganda mounted by western writers about the sub-humanity of Africans as a people without history, without religion, (Green, 1964:52) denying them any conception of morality (Basden; 1966:34) and lacking in intellectual and technological accomplishments. I am not unaware of how African religions in general, and Igbo religion in particular suffered neglect, misinterpretations and distortions in the hands of missionaries and colonial government and their agents.

Without any intention to criticize any of these previous writers who had done veritable work in the study of African religions, our position is rather to indicate a positive contribution to the on-going quest for a meaningful and contextual interpretation of some aspects of Igbo religion and philosophy from the African point of view. The work will draw attention to the great potential Igbo religion and philosophy hold out for the unity, peace and progress of the people was well as to argue that Igbo religion and philosophy has been the key to Igbo self-understanding, identity and achievement within the Nigerian State. We will emphasise within that context that the religious challenge of the 21st century is for the Igbo to take a leap of faith and be fully restored in their relationship with ‘Chukwu’ first entered into by Igbo first ancestor and to insist that Christianity and education which act as sources of empowerment remain the only viable option that can equip the Igbo with character and knowledge that can transform us into instruments of change in the 21st century world which is knowledge-based, technology- driven and responsive to environmental concerns. We will begin this study by probing into the origin of the Igbo and their religion.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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The Development Of African Theology

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Studies have suggested that in the twenty-first century there may be more Christians in Africa than in any other continent (Barrett 1970). Already there are more Anglicans in church every Sunday in Nigeria than in all of England, the U.S.A. and Canada combined. Continue reading

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Biography of Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe

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Born Benjamin Azikiwe on November 16, 1904, in Zungeru, Nigeria; died 1996; married Flora Ogbenyeanu Ogoegbunam, 1936; children: three sons, one daughter.
Education: Lincoln University, B.A., 1930; University of Pennsylvania, M.A. Attended Howard University and Columbia University;.

Career

Became first Nigerian to study in United States, 1925; served as instructor at Lincoln University, 1931-34; became editor of African Morning Post, Ghana, 1934; founded West African Pilot, Nigeria, 1937; helped found National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC), 1944; served as president of NCNC, 1946-60; became member of Nigerian legislative council, 1947; elected to Eastern Region Assembly of Nigeria, 1953; became premier of the Eastern Region Assembly, 1954; became president of the Nigerian senate, 1959; became governor-general of Nigeria, 1960; served as president of Nigerian republic, 1963~66.

Life’s Work

Playing a key role in Nigeria’s emergence as a free nation, Nnamdi Azikiwe served as the first president of Nigeria after it was given independence from Great Britain in 1960. Much of his life was spent working as both a journalist and politician to end British control of Nigeria. Known widely as “Zik of Africa,” Azikiwe was also a mentor to Kwame Nkrumah, who as president of Ghana became head of the first African country to free itself from European rule.

As was written in an obituary in a 1996 issue of Jet, “Known as a vigorous champion of African independence from European colonial rule, Dr. Azikiwe attained the rare status of national hero, admired across the regional and ethnic lines dividing his country.” For much of his life Azikiwe was a staunch defender of his Ibo people, and he helped to end the Biafran civil war that oppressed his tribe in the late 1960s. He was known as a charismatic orator who could sway large crowds with his emphatic delivery, and he frequently traveled to other countries to promote his causes.

Born in northern Nigeria in 1904, Azikiwe was the son of a member of the Ibo tribe who worked for the government. His early schooling was at the English-run Church Missionary Society’s Central School at Onitsha and the Hope Waddel Training Institute at Calabar. After Azikiwe graduated from the Methodist Boys’ High School in Lagos at the top of his class in 1925, his father granted him some funds so that he could travel to the United States and further his education.

Azikiwe’s American studies began at Howard University, where he played soccer and was taught by Ralph Bunche, who later achieved fame as a diplomat. He also studied at Storer College in West Virginia, Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, and Columbia University in New York City while in the United States. After receiving his B.A. degree in 1930 at Lincoln University, Azikiwe stayed on for two years as an instructor and to pursue undergraduate work. He cut his teeth as a journalist during summer jobs as a reporter with the Baltimore Afro-American, Philadelphia Tribune, and the Associated Negro Press in Chicago.

In 1934 he returned to Africa after five years in the United States and made his debut as a journalist there, becoming editor-in-chief of the African Morning Post in Accra, Gold Coast (which later became Ghana). Three years later he started up the West African Pilot in Lagos, Nigeria, then built his newspaper holdings to including four other city newspapers. Azikiwe used his various publications to actively promote nationalist fervor and attack racial prejudice in the African colonies.

Starting in the mid 1940s, Azikiwe pressed his cause for Nigerian autonomy on the political front as well. He played a key role in the founding of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) in 1944, becoming its first secretary general and then its president in 1946. The prominence of the NCNC and the Ibo people grew under Azikiwe’s leadership. He used the NCNC to push for various reforms, including universal adult suffrage, direct elections, control of the civil service by African ministers, and Nigerian control of the territory’s armed forces. Azikiwe became more of a thorn in the side of the status quo in 1947 when he became a member of the legislative council in Nigeria. In this position he strove to improve conditions for his people via changes in the constitution. During a 1947 visit to England, he told the British that big problems would result if Nigeria was not granted freedom in 15 years, according to an article in the New York Herald Tribune.

After a new constitution for Nigeria was drafted in 1951, the interests of the three regions of the country took precedence over the interest of the whole country. Azikiwe maintained a political balancing act during this period in order to maintain his power. By 1952 he had become the first NCNC opposition leader in the Western House of Assembly, then he was elected to the eastern region assembly in 1953. In the summer of that year, he traveled to London with a Nigerian delegation and demanded that Nigeria become self- governing within three years. Disputes arose over Britain’s demand to separate Lagos, which was Nigeria’s capital and chief port, from the western region. Further discussions were held among the various parties in Lagos in early 1954, at which time it was agreed that a more conclusive conference on Nigeria’s future would be conducted in 1956.

Building his power in the Eastern Region, Azikiwe became its premier in 1954 after a new constitution was put into effect. He instituted a new education program in his region, and had a major role in Nigeria becoming the leading exporter of students for study abroad in Africa. In 1954 Azikiwe visited Europe, England, the United States, and Canada with members of the Eastern region economic commission in order to promote investment for developments in textile, vegetable oil refineries, steel, and chemicals.

Azikiwe had extensive business interests that brought him a significant income during the 1950s. He was assailed with allegations of corruption from other leaders in the mid 1950s, accused of having withdrawn $5.6 million in government funds and depositing it in a bank of which he was a shareholder to prevent the bank’s collapse, according to a 1956 article in Time magazine. Despite being found guilty of improper conduct by a British tribunal in 1957, Azikiwe was still reelected as premier when he dissolved his legislature under pressure and called for a new election in 1956. “When, five years before independence, Azikiwe was exposed as having used his political position to further his financial interests through the African Continental Bank, he still retained the support the Ibo in the Eastern Region; for they believed that he was working for them and so entitled to become wealthy,” noted John Hatch in Africa Emergent.

Azikiwe’s political stance at this time clearly favored his Ibo tribe and the Ibibio-speaking peoples of the Eastern region. After Obafemi Awolowo, an enemy of Azikiwe, formed the Action Group in the West, Azikiwe aligned himself with Abubakar Tafaw Balewa, who had gained control of the Northern People’s Congress. Since the Northern Region was most populous and had a political stance more acceptable to the withdrawing British, Balewa began to lead a new national regime in 1957. Azikiwe’s alliance with Balewa helped him be named president of the senate in 1959, then governor-general.

When Nigeria’s first independent government was established by a coalition of northern and eastern political parties in 1960, Azikiwe was named president and Balewa became prime minister. While new elections in 1964 kept Azikiwe in office, political instability led to agitation throughout the country. In January of 1966, a military coup d’etat ousted Azikiwe from power. After Biafra tried to secede from Nigeria in 1967 and created a civil war in the country, Azikiwe backed his fellow Ibo and traveled widely in other African nations to seek recognition of Biafra as an independent nation. Then he incurred the wrath of his former supporters in 1969 when he began backing the federal government in the war. In the years following the war, Azikiwe became a key opponent of the ruling party. Following the creation of a new constitution in Nigeria in 1978 that ended a 12-year ban on political parties, he ran as a candidate for the new Nigerian People’s Party but was defeated.

Throughout his career, Azikiwe used his nationalist press, political connections, and kinship of his tribe to promote education, self-government, welfare, and progress. He also wrote over a dozen books on the struggle for African nationalism and other topics. He died in 1996 after a long illness, at the age of 91.

Awards

Nnamdi Azikiwe Distinguished Endowed Chair in International Relations, Lincoln University.

Further Reading

Books

  • Azikiwe, Nnamdi, My Odyssey: An Autobiography, Praeger, 1970.
  • Glickman, Harvey, editor, Political Leaders of Contemporary Africa South of the Sahara, Greenwood Press, 1992.
  • Hatch, John, Africa Emergent: Africa’s Problems Since Independence, Henry Regnery Company, 1974.
  • Markovitz, Irving Leonard, African Politics & Society: Basic Issues and Problems of Government and Development, The Free Press, 1970, pp. 456-457.
  • Olisa, Michael S. O., and Odinchezo M. Ikejiani-Clark, editors, African Revolution, Africana~FEP Publishers, 1989.
  • Rake, Alan, 100 Great Africans, Scarecrow Press, 1994, pp. 383~387.
  • Segal, Ronald, African Profiles, Penguin, 1962.
  • Zik, A Selection from the Speeches of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Cambridge University Press, 1961, p. 72.

Periodicals

  • Black Collegian, December 1981/January 1982, pp. 90~96.
  • Jet, June 3, 1996, p. 16.
  • Negro History Bulletin, February 1961, pp. 104~109.
  • New York Herald Tribune, December 21, 1947.
  • Journal of Modern African Studies, June 1974, pp. 245~263.
  • Time, August 5, 1956; March 25, 1957, p. 33.


About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Biography of Ben Okri

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Read Time:2 Minute, 36 Second

Poet and novelist Ben Okri was born in 1959 in Minna, northern Nigeria, to an Igbo mother and Urhobo father. He grew up in London before returning to Nigeria with his family in 1968.

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About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Chinua Achebe

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Prominent Igbo (Ibo) writer, famous for his novels describing the effects of Western customs and values on traditional African society. Achebe’s satire and his keen ear for spoken language have made him one of the most highly esteemed African writers in English. In 1990 Achebe was paralyzed from the waist down in a serious car accident.

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About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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