Origin of Eri/Nri - Onyeji Nnaji

This is Obalike, the first Eze Nri to be seen.


Also Read: Nri Kings are Truly Imortals

That one is an Ignorant does not make him an acquaintance of the IGBO history. The reason is simple, Igbo history is not realised ordinarily; it is intertwined with the life, culture, tradition, religion and the ceremonies that the Igbo are known. To understand how Igbo history is decoded, you may need to check here.

At UNN in 2017, after presenting a paper on Igbo history, a professor who fortunately held from Nri approached me and said that I was wrong by not stressing that we migrated from Israel. I listened to his blunders; but my patience couldn't wait when he told me he held from Nri. Unfortunately, when I ask him a little question about his relationship with Yorubas, he said we are not related. That was when I knew he had read books written by Basden and Jeffrey. So, when I quoted three ancient tablets excavated from Egypt, he said he had no idea. "What about the IGBO oral history told by Obalike himself?" I asked and he said nothing. That was when our discussion shifted hands; I became the teacher and he, the learner. We cannot claim Israeli ancestry simply because one of the sons of Gat had the same name Eri (Gen. 46: 16). Cain's grandson married a woman whose name was Adah (Gen. 4: 19), should we now say that Igbo woman gave birth to the Sumerian population? Read the scripture and ask yourself the people occupying the land of Nod(o) where Cain dwelt according to Gen. 4: 16.

You have heard and read so many wrong narratives claimed to be the history of Nri; I too have read more than twelves of them. I have tried correcting many on the internet via my comments. You may have heard also that Igbo-Ukwu claimed to be the foundation of Igbo land. Should anybody tell you such, ask the person to tell you the original name of Igbo-Ukwu and tell you when they began to bear the name they have now. It is unfortunate, the feathers that gave Igbo-Ukwu her pride actually belonged to the people of Oraeri. But for the traditional artistry rendition that is peculiar to them and the Abam warriors, Igbo-Ukwu has no further contribution towards sustaining Igbo history. I stand corrected if there is any.

The first Igbo researcher to dive correctly into the history and origin of the Igbo race was the late erudite scholar I respect so much, Professor Catherine Acholonu. She was the first Igbo to stress that Igbo ancestors Lived Before Adam. I was one of her beneficiaries; but just like the situation between Plato and his student, Aristotle, I found what she couldn't put straight. She became bias in her work when she turned around to use the Lost Testament of Enki, a Sumerian book, to explain the emergence of Eri. Invariably, she was talking of events after Noah flood, she took Enki for Eri. That was my problem. She faulted the time and person 

Now, according to Obalike, the Eze Nri (1889 - 1936), Eri descended from the sky with his wife 'Namaku'. They climbed down through a rope. The Earth was covered with water, so, they landed on an anthill. From that point, they called unto Chukwu and complained why they were asked to come down here when He (Chukwu) knew that there is no land to stay. At this point, Chukwu promised to send the Awka (another set of ancestors) who came and used their blacksmithing tools to dry the land for Eri to land properly.

Till today, Israel and Egypt have a festival that re enact this belief of Eri landing. Unfortunately, the narrative that contents this ceremony claims that the reason celebrants raise mounds during the festival is to commemorate the art which shows that God first raised earth upon which he stood to create man. Again, the role played by Awka in this creation story gave rise to the claim which popularised the middle 20th century historians that Awka might be older than Nri. According to this school of thought, Awka must have descended and settled somewhere before God summoned them for their technocrat roles. But it was not so; Eri was the first.

Eri had children according to history. The most pronounced and recognized among them, according to Obalike, were Nri (The eldest) and another whose real name was lost to his position in the family as the last child. He was called "Odudunwa" (this was he who founded the Yoruba race and later was called Oduduwa to conceal the atrocious act that ejected him from Igbo land). Eri lived to witness the arrival of the four Igbo ancestors, but he didn't witness the creation of Adam. When it was time for him to depart, for he did not die, he handed his staff of authority over to his eldest son, Nri.

Other Events that followed the departure of Eri are discussed in the topics below:




 





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