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This research focuses on the history of Agbogugu from the earliest times to 2000. It examines the unique history of the town and its customs and traditions through the centuries. The work examines the town’s traditions of origin and analyses its position as a member of the Ntuegbe-Nese clan. The study traces its history through pre colonial, colonial and post- colonial times. The research reveals in detail the socio-political and economic development that has taken place in Agbogugu.The people have evolved a complex, stable social, political and religious organization, which was in balance with their character and morals. They had their cultural beliefs and activities which made up their unique identity. This work also highlights the colonial experience of Agbogugu and their reaction to the British ‘pacification’ of Igboland, the impact of British rule and its work as an agent of change in the people’s lives and the developments that occurred due to this forceful impression of culture. In the end, the study maintains that regardless of the changes that have taken place in Agbogugu during the colonial time. The town has developed into a mega socio- economic and political force to be reckoned with in Awgu local government area.
Table of Contents viii
List of Illustrations x
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 1
1.1 Background to the Study 1
1.2 Statement of Problem 2
1.3 Purpose of the study 2
1.4 Significance of the Study 3
1.5 Scope of the study 3
1.6 Literature Review 3
1.7 Methodology 8
CHAPTER TWO: LAND AND ITS PEOPLE 10
2.1 Socio- cultural organisation 12
2.2 Agbogugu Inter Group Relations 16
2.3 Political Organisation 18
2.4 Religious Organisation 24
CHAPTER THREE: TRADITIONAL INSTITUTIONS 30
3.1 Marriage and birth 30
3.2 Betrothal Marriage 32
3.3 Abomination 33
3.4 Masquerades 35
CHAPTER FOUR: BRITISH CONQUEST OF AGBOGUGU 1907 – 1920 AND THE PEOPLE’S RESISTANCE 39
4.1 Educational Developments 40
4.2 Introduction of Warrant Chiefs 41
CHAPTER FIVE: AGBOGUGU 1967 – 2000
5.1 Agbogugu and the Nigerian Biafran War 43
5.2 Agbogugu Developments 44
CHAPTER SIX: CONCLUSION AND SUMMARY 47
6.1 Conclusion 47
List of Illustrations
Map 1: Enugu State showing Agwu L.G.A
Map II: Old Awgu Division showing the study Area
Map III: Agbogugu showing the nine villages
1.1 Background to the Study
Agbogugu is one of the twenty five autonomous communities that form Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State. It is located on latitude 6.15N and on latitude 7.28E[i], on the Nigerian map. The town of Agbogugu was once a part of Udi Division. The Awgu Division was created in 1922 due, probably to the cantankerous nature of the towns of Nenwe, Mgbowo, Mmaku and Awgu which were giving difficulties to the district officer who administered them from Okigwe[ii]. Agbogugu, with Ituku, Isuawaa, Ihe, Agbudu and Ogbaku belongs to the Mbanabo Local Government which was a local government created by Shehu Shaghari administration[iii]. Abgogugu is bounded to the south by Ihe, to the east by Amuri, to the north by Ozalla and to the west by Isuawaa. Agbogugu has a wooded, level and arable land, stretching from north to south and east to west which is suitable for agricultural purposes. The famed Nvuna River serves as the boundary between Ozalla and Agbogugu. The Enugu-Awgu road runs through the middle of the town connecting it to the Enugu metropolis. The 1991 census put Abgogugu’s population at 12,767[iv].
Agbogugu town has nine villages, which are sub- divided into two wards namely. Amakpu ward comprising of Amofia,Umuoye, Obinagu,Umuobom and Shikaghom. The Eziama ward comprised of Umueveh, Umuonwo, Ohumagu and Akwu[v].
The people of this area constitute a homogenous cultural entity in the native ‘Wawa land’ (Enugu). They also occupy one of the most fertile area of the state lying deep in the center of the former east central state between Udi hills and Okigwe . There is no doubt it is the fertility of the area that made most indigenes agrarian in occupation. The period of time covered by this study will trace through the pre colonial, colonial and post colonial history of Agbogugu.
1.2 Statement of Problem
The history of Agbogugu has not found its deserved place in Igbo historiography among historian. This is partly because most works on Igbo history tend to focus on the most prominent Igbo towns like the Aro and their neighbours without due diligence to the people beyond the coastlines. As a result of this neglect, not much work has been done to reconstruct the history of smaller Igbo groups like Agbogugu. The study of the history of Igboland from earliest to 1960 has suffered from a number of problems part of which includes but not limited to the following; firstly, not much was documented on the prehistory of Igboland. Secondly, much of what we have on precolonial and colonial history of Igboland deals on a few towns like the Ezza, Afikpo, Aro etc. The final challenge is that Agbogugu is largely reflected in terms of proper documentation of the developments it has witnessed during and after colonization. It is therefore these loopholes that necessitated an enquiry into the historical past of Agbogugu.
1.3 Purpose of Study
This work is primarily researched upon to determine and bring to light the pre colonial, colonial, post colonial history and culture and traditions of Agbogugu. It also aims at highlighting the socio- cultural and historical developments that have taken place in Agbogugu from time immemorial to 2000. It is hoped that the present work will unfold the untold happenings in Agbogugu from earliest times to 2000 and finally to arouse the interest of future researchers in this area. Furthermore this work seeks to show the unique culture of the Agbogugu people.
1.4 Significance of Study
The paucity of written materials in this area of local history challenges the attempt to reconstruct the history of Agbogugu from earliest times to 2000. Albeit, the significance of this work will be found in the fact that the present effort will be a readily available tool in the hands of future researchers who may desire to reconstruct the history of Agbogugu or any of her neighboring towns. It is also hoped that the present effort will protect a better image of the people and culture of Agbogugu.
1.5 Scope of Study
This work covers the earliest history of Agbogugu to 2000. This study involves all the component villages of Agbogugu. The choice of its earliest history involves the reconstruction of the foundation and origin of Agbogugu. It will also cover the history of Agbogugu from pre-colonial to post colonial times, the year 2000 was chosen as the termination of its scope because it was the start of the twenty first century gained. This work covers the earliest known history of Agbogugu dating back to prehistory up to the post colonial era..
1.6 Literature Review
As it appears, not much has been written directly about the history of Agbogugu, however, there are a few works that captured either part of the general history about the area of the present study or its neighbors, or the historical developments in the area. Below are some of the literatures reviewed.
Nnamdi S. Onuigbo, in his work entitled, The History of Ntugbe- Nese : A five town clan. In this work the author detail part of the history of Agbogugu, including culture and tradition. He also analyzed the history of Agbogugu highlighting its similarities with the south Ntegbe towns. He shows the relationship between Agbogugu and the rest of the south Ntegbe towns. It is well defined and most commendable for its thematic approach to the history of the Ntegbe-nese. Indeed his work is on the Ntegbe- Nese clan, it is therefore not surprising the author didn’t elaborate on more aspects of Agbogugu’s history. However the present effort will do well to do so[vi].
S.O Okolo in his book entitled, History of Agbogugu discusses important aspects of Agbogugu history. Mr Okolo in this work describes the main themes of Agbogugu history, pointing out the pre colonial, colonial and post colonial history. As a work about the history of Agbogugu, its merit lies in the detailed way the author chronicled the history of Agbogugu, starting from its origins to modern times. This work didn`t include some important aspects of Agbogugu history such as its social organization[vii].
Sebastian .M. Obi in his work entitled, A century in search of identity discusses the theme of Osu in Igboland , The work is a general work on Osu in igboland. The author analyzes the social, psychological, spiritual problem that is the osu caste system. The author writes that the church can function as a change agent and effect changes in the osu problem in Igboland[viii].As a general work on Osu in Igboland it is not surprising that the author didn`t write on the Osu history of Agbogugu.
Igwebuike Romeo, Okeke in his work entitled. The osu concept in Igboland, discusses the nature and manifestation of the osu problem in Igboland. The author writes in detail about the problem of osu and Ohu in igboland. The author illuminates the origin of osu in Igboland. As a general work on the theme of slavery in Igboland it is not suprising the author didn’t write on Osu in Agbogugu[ix].
Jude. Achu in his work entitled: Igbo culture in disarray focuses on theme of the Igbo culture being displaced by western culture. It is a general work on Igbo culture and the partial displacement of Igbo culture and traditions throughout Igboland. It highlights the ill and wrongs that have risen due to the merging of the two cultures[x]. It highlights the general culture of igboland.
GT Stride and C. Ifeka in their work entitled People and Empires of West Africa: West Africa in History 1000-1800. As a general work on the history of west Africa, it discusses the general history of Igboland. It concentrates on the Aro history, culture and Aro dominance in Igboland. However although the authors provide illuminating insights into Igboland, the work failed to give an account to other communities that makes up Igboland. The author concentrated on the Aros as though they are the only community in Igboland worthy of note[xi].
Fabian Nkeonye, Ukaegbu in his work titled: The Igbo’s, the Afrikaans root of nations. This work is focused exclusively on Igboland, as a general work on the Igbos and thus encompassing the whole of Igboland, it illuminates the culture, origins, and customs of the Igbos. It highlights in commendable writing the Igbos position in Nigeria and the world[xii].
Emefina, Ezeani in his work entitled: In Biafra Africa died: The diplomatic plot. This work discusses the general theme of Nigerian-Biafra war in Igboland, as a general work on the civil war in Igboland, it highlights the aspects of the war like Genocide and the Northern agenda of Igbo extermination[xiv]. It does not Agbogugu experience in the war.
J.O.J. Asiegbu in his work entitled Nigeria and its British invaders. This work focuses on the theme of British invasion of Nigeria, it illuminates the experience of the Igbo people during the British military pacification of Igboland, but how Agbogugu came under British domination was not highlighted[xv].
A.E. Afigbo in his work entitled Ropes of Sand: Studies in Igbo History and Culture. The theme of this work is on common Igbo history, as a general work on Igbo origin, culture and migration. It explores the pre colonial and colonial history of Igboland, it discusses the theme of Igbo origins in Nigeria[xvi]. It does not show the historical development in Agbogugu, this present work seeks to fill that gap.
G.T. Basden in his work entitled: Among the Igbos of Nigeria. This work highlights in details the Igbo culture, traditions and life. it is concentrated on the life of the pre-colonial and colonial Igbos as a general work on Igboland it is not surprising the author glossed over other communities in Igboland[xvii].
Uwakwe Basil Ekwe in his work entitled: Ikoro 24: A short History of Oduma Town. The book focuses on the history of Oduma town of Aniri local government area. It examines its origins, culture and traditions. it highlights Oduma from pre-colonial times to modern times. The author’s thematic approach to this work is commendable[xviii].
Elizabeth Isichei in her work entitled, A History of the Igbo People. In this work Prof Isichei discusses the theme of Igbo history. She highlights Igboland’s growth through the impact of modernity. As a general collective work on Igboland, it traces Igbo origins, Christianity, education and how colonialism affected the Igbos[xix]. It does not show the history of Agbogugu.
J.B Webster and A.A. Boahen in their work entitled, The Revolutionary Years: West Africa since 1800. As a general work on West Africa, the authors address West African history through the different tribes that makes up West Africa. The authors addressed Igbo history through the mutual and common traditions and customs that unite Igbo people. As a general work, it is not surprising the authors paid scant attention to the different communities that make up Igboland[xx].
Robin Hallet in his work entitled: Africa to 1875 and Africa since 1875.As a general work on Africa. This work is most commendable for its thematic exposition on most aspects of African history. The author addressed Igboland through the theme of common culture that unites various Igbo village groups. It is not unexpected as a general work that the author didn’t mention other village groups apart from the Aros[xxi].
Cajetan Eze in his work entitled, History of Greater Awgu, As a general work on greater Awgu, the author focuses on the theme of Igbo history. He discusses the cultural, political, economic and religious institution of Awgu land. He writes on the origins, education aspects of Agogugu history as they relate with Awgu[xxii].
Ikime, Obaro in his work titled: Ground work of Nigeria History. This thesis is a general work on Nigerian history focusing on the theme of origins. it addresses the history of Igboland before the 1800’s as a general work on Nigerian history, the different history of autonomous communities like the Agbogugu people are not present in this work but the present work seeks to fill this gap[xxiii].
1.7 Methodology and Sources
The methodology of this work is qualitative which uses narrative descriptions. The material used in this work consists of the primary sources of which the oral interviews with the indigenes of the area and archival materials played an important role. The secondary sources consist of the published books, articles and unpublished projects with relation to the history of the area.
[i]` Agbogugu map` Maplandia, 13, august,2018, www,maplandia.com/Agbogugugeography.
[iii] S.N. Onuigbo, The history of the Ntuegbe-Nese: A five town clan. Nsukka. Afro-Oribis publishers. 2001. P. 9.
[iv] C. Eze, History of Greater Awgu. Enugu. Madonna university press, 2013. P.IV.
[v] Interview with Mr Okoye, S.O, 66 years, Retired Banker, Akwu village , Agbogugu, Aug.5. 2018.
[vi] S.N. Onuigbo, The history of the Ntuegbe- Nese: A five town clan. Nsukka. Afro-Oribis publishers. 2001. P.211.
[vii] S.O. Okolo, History of Agbogugu. Enugu, Paso Screen Associates.1999. p. 9.
[viii] M.S. Obi, A century in search of identity. Enugu. Linco press. 1994.
[ix] , I.R Okeke. The Osu Concept in Igboland. Enugu, Access Publishers. 1986.p.11.
[x] J. Achu, Igbo Culture in disarray. Enugu. Idgina Global books.2013.p.2-28.
[xi] G.T Stride, & C. Ifeka People and Empires of west Africa: West Africa in history 1000-1800. United States of America. Boston University. 1971.
[xii] F.N. Ukaegbu, The Igbos: The Afrikan Root of Nations. Ibadan. Heinmann.2002.p.49.
[xiii] F.C. Idigo, Hebrew exiles of Eri kingdom. Enugu. Topecea print. 2006.
[xiv] E. Ezeani, In Biafra Africa died: The Diplomatic plot. London, Vertis publishers, 2013.p. 15-39.
[xv] J.U.J. Asiegbu, Nigeria and its British Invaders. Nigeria. Nok publishers.1984.p. 235-285.
[xvi]A. E. Afigbo, Ropes of Sand: Studies in Igbo history and culture. Nsukka.1981.p.1-31.
[xvii] G.T. Basden, Amonng the Ibos of Nigeria. London. Frank Cass.1966.p.45.
[xviii] U.B. Ekwe, Ikoro twenty four: A short history of Oduma Town. Enugu. Chirol Ventures, 2006.p.101.
[xix] E. Isichei, A history of the Igbo people. London. Faber & Faber. 1973.
[xx] J.B Webster, & A.E. Boahen, The Growth of African civilization: The Revolutionary years of West Africa since 1800.London. Longman.1965.
[xxi] R. Hallet, Africa to 1875.London. Heinmann.1970.p.310. Africa since 1875. London. Heinemann.1974.p.286
[xxii]. C. Eze, History of Greater Awgu. Enugu. Madonna university press.2013. p.21.
[xxiii] A. E. Afigbo ‘Igboland before 1800’ In O. Ikime, Groundwork of Nigerian History. Nigeria. Ed. Heinmann. 1980.p.89.