Origin and Spread of Ancient Awka







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The contribution of Awka in the Igbo Tradition

Talking about the Awka and their roles, from the consideration of some historians like Onwuejiogwu, Afigbo, Catherine Acholonu and others, the Awka were suggested to belong to the first generation. They saw the Awka as people who had existed before Eri descended from the sky. It may not be true. Even a layman can see the situation clearly and decipher the generations of the earliest inhabitants. Therefore, the matters concerning which set of people occupied the respective generations are not supposed to still confuse us because the story was straight. From the account as cited above, the first generation was the Eri. It was his struggle to gain balance on the morass earth that led to the coming of the Awka. The same God who sent Eri knew already that the earth was morass and had ordained the Awka to respond to the task at the appointed time. Therefore, their functions had to wait for Eri to complain first. So when he did, the Awka had to come. We did not get the story anywhere saying that the Awka ascended to the sky after their assignment. They remained behind to form the second generation or race. Meanwhile Umudiala takes the third race or generation.

To understand who the Awka were, there is need to understand the way creation is conceived in the east. The Igbo of the east are not so specific about Chukwu’s (God’s) role in the creation generally. Rather than subscribe to the absolutism of the almighty in the act of creation, the Igbo suggested a relatively delegation of power by Supreme Overlord to a lesser divinity. This sense had a profound influence on the accounts kept by Nag Hammadi. The only difference is that the Igbo appear to see the case of every act of creation as the work of a separate and individual agent, chi; a personified and unique manifestation of the creative essence. The Awka is clear here from all indications as the creative personalities of God. The Awka were exceptionally technocrats, they were craftsmen who were instrumental to the activities involved in the acts of creation. As the creative personalities of the divine creator, they were the people through whom creativity was born into the human world. Vested with the power to create, the Awka possessed greater energy than the first generation. Finally, in the fourth generation, the creator sent another set of people who became the fourth ancestors of the Igbo nation.


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