”A people without knowledge of its past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”, (Marcus Garvey).
Thus we define history as the study of past events, particularly in human affairs, or rather the entire series of past events relating to a person, thing, community, nation, or even an empire. Today, we have reams of documented stories of people, places, or countries whose history cannot be denied or contradicted. The Bible provides a classic example from history that has not been contradicted even though the new generation of ‘men of God’ are twisting the Bible to suit their purposes.
Ogwashi-Uku as a community is not isolated from finding the ‘real and true’ story of their origin and possibly having it instead. Having this history in place has suffered severely as the prevailing oral history that is always available often lacks attributes such as research backing with precise dates and events. In addition, factual content, empirical knowledge and peculiarities that can guarantee an authentic history of the kingdom are unfortunately lacking. Most people have been limited by the fact that they cannot read or write and therefore have not seen a written story. I note, with some trepidation, that there is a vibrant literate class trained as historians, and who, for some reason, may not have treated the idea of a history book for their homeland lightly, but simply put off its execution, thus resulting in high ideas that are gradually extinguished in their memories and programs.
People like F. N Odum, lived and died for the cause of history written by the beloved homeland. In contrast to the baseless oral history common today with different kinds of variations, the Ogwashi-uku story is a distillation of standard versions from medieval times to the present, full of events, adventures, and heroism. Writing the history of Ogwashi-uku may not be complete without mentioning those renowned men who made Ogwashi-uku terrible. These include war legends such as Nwabuzo Nwaiyogolo and his celebrated counterpart, Agbambu Anika, and other brave and successful men who, by their deed and strength, seemed larger than the kingdom itself.
The closest documented history of Ogwashi-Uku, though not conclusive, is the work of Ben Nwabuwa, who at the age of 39, with the encouragement of Mr. A. R Okaeme, had written a well-documented book on the Kingdom of Ogwashi-Uku. uku. In writing this, I pay tribute to this great son of the earth in the effort to find who we are as a people.
Before now, I have pointed out the difficulties associated with stories. This could be due to the fact that it is often forged, or that the person who wrote it did not do the necessary research before drawing their conclusions. And then there are other individuals who can make no effort to ascertain the authenticity of anything, but are quite apt to condemn the work of others, especially if such history does not see them or considers them first before anyone else. In this sense, I think this is absurd, despicable and delusional. It is more destructive than constructive. In my opinion, we should be chasing the form more than the substance, and denounce any disproportionate interference if we want to move forward in the search for our true root or, at best, accept what has been written so far.
A few weeks ago I published the dynasties of Ogwashi-Uku and later, the Nine Federative Units of Ogwashi-Uku on Facebook. Those posts went viral. On the dynasties, I got more than 50 likes and more than 30 comments, while 17 people sent me thank you messages for that post. One person specifically said that he thought that Obi Izedinor alone was the only Obi that Ogwashi-uku had had so far.
There were others who joined the thread, without the slightest knowledge of the subject under discussion just to prove that they are from the “royal family”. Others argued that it was incomplete, wrong, and misleading with no genuine reason(s) to back it up. A careful reader or critical thinker would have looked at the list of enumerated monarchs and perhaps highlighted the question marks placed on most of those monarchs to see the gaps and lapses. Those gaps and lapses show that the quest for kingship has been going on for decades in the Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom. What precisely was “incorrect, incomplete or misleading” in the post? At what time were the names mentioned incomplete? Unanswered! Apparently, these groups fell into the categories of people mentioned above. They would rather be happy to see the history of Ogwashi-uku modeled around their own neighborhoods, or mention the names of their ancestors under whom Ogwashi-Uku could never have existed.
The second post was more or less technical. Ogwashi ebo-iteni (Ogwashi, the 9th federative unit). I understand people’s frustration at not seeing their own neighborhoods on the list, but that’s the way it is. You just can’t change things that have been there for a long time. We can misunderstand things like the new generation preachers mentioned above, but there are things we can’t vehemently change. Those who fought over this issue knew the truth, but the question was, who is the author and who gave him the nerve to broach such an issue without acknowledging them or their quarters? Is he one of the first settlers or from the royal family?
But, here’s the deal. I grew up in Ogwashi-Uku, living with my grandmother whose fondness for the history of the kingdom of Ogwashi-Uku was invaluable; and a father who lived to see the relentless murderous carnage carried out by the feared Nwabuzor Nwaiyogolo of Azungwu. Can I start writing now, using my dad or grandma as my source? How can I quote them to portray them as heroes? Would anyone in their right mind ever believe me? This is definitely an issue for me. I was barely 18 years old when I started collecting information about the Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom. Those materials, including those from the Ibadan National Library, and those given to me free of charge by the late Professor Andy Ajiduah from the education department at the University of Lagos. There are other materials including photocopies from the British Library in Euston Road, King’s Cross, London, and finally a book that I hold dear; Ogwashi_uku Kingdom; 1,000 Years of Traditional Democracy and Cultural Life: 950-1940, by Ben Nwabuwa.
At relevant times, none of these materials have been questioned, denied, refuted or contradicted; and perhaps the most important reason why anyone who tends to challenge me on this issue must be fully prepared and, when necessary, present a constructive argument to convince me otherwise.
To make a thoughtless falsification of history for personal or one-sided gain is the last and worst depth to which any scholar or anyone can descend in life. This counterfeiting may do more to prevent or trigger an erosion of human development than ever known to mankind. As people, we need to learn where we have failed, and whether we accept it or not, it is of paramount importance as this may herald an erosion of people’s right to know and a clear threat to a legitimate investigation that is very likely to set a precedent. dangerous to the intellectual knowledge of our revered community. In all of these, we owe it as an obligatory duty to our children who are prone to asking questions.
I have previously argued that no form of informative or scholarly research has been successful using a source. Research methodology on any given topic may include publication research, interviews, surveys, and other research techniques, including historical information if required. By the time our preliminary research is complete, we need to narrow our focus, organize that information, access scholarly sources, and subsequently evaluate and analyze all the materials we’ve collected. In doing this analysis, all of the above procedures must be considered, including oral interviews, and before long, in the course of our evaluations, we can see, without being told, where fiction gives way to reality and vice versa. It is, in my opinion, on the basis of these that we can authoritatively and categorically quote our source without any panic or anxiety.
Asking Diokpa Okafor or Nwafor because he is 120 years old is not enough and over time, we must question diokpa’s mental capacity to answer such questions as he has shown, in most cases, that one’s knowledge of a subject given tends to decrease. along with age. If diokpa cannot tell us precisely “what happened, when, where, who was involved and how it happened”, it is unlikely that any information collected in such a way would be used by a sane mind as a reliable source, on the ground. only diokpa is 120 years.
However, it would be highly unfair to suggest that diokpa’s contribution is unimportant. It should be noted that experience has continually shown that most of them in this category are intellectually sound, even when most of them cannot remember when they were born. Anything we’ve been told needs to be cross-checked with other sources before we can come to any meaningful conclusions.
We can play with the development of our community and even play politics with it, but I guess we can’t play with the valuable history of the kingdom of Ogwashi-uku. We can never move forward as a community riddled with cheap lies, innuendo and unacceptable fabrications that see us first before anyone else in the Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom.
Despite our differences, I pray that we can all challenge ourselves to delve into the deepest resources of our hearts; cultivate an atmosphere of understanding, acceptance, tolerance and compassion.