THE NGWA SOCIAL CLUB

In the early 70s, there existed various organizations of the Ngwa people in Lagos, but, two were outstanding, Ngwa Clan Union (NCU) which pre-dated the Nigerian Civil War and the Ngwa Cultural Association (NCA) which metamorphosed from the NCU

While the NCU was seen by the then military authorities as being political... click for more information

The History of Ngwa People

Although the date of the movement of the Ngwa and Ikwerre from the Igbo heartland is unknown, it is believed that people who were displaced during the formation of the Yoruba kingdoms in the 13th century moved across Midwestern Nigeria and took refuge in parts of Igbo land.

Another movement was occasioned by the expansion of the Benin Empire when many people fled from Midwestern Nigeria and settled in Igboland.

It is likely that these population movements into Igbo heartland subsequently led to Igbo expansion into Ngwaland, Ikwerre area and parts of Ijaw.

The settlement of immigrants in Owerri area is believed to have increased the local population and necessitated the need for people to migrate to other places in search of virgin lands to cultivate.

Among those who moved were the Ngwa and the Ikwerre. The Ngwa migrated from Umunona through Amaigbo and arrived Ezinihitte where they dispersed into different directions.

While some infiltrated northwards into Umuahia, Etiti and Mbano areas others moved south-wards into Okpuala Ngwa and its environs where they founded the Ngwa clan. The Ngwa subsequently expanded into Asa and Ndoki and to Bonny in the eastern Delta.

After founding Okpuala-Ngwa, the early Ngwa dispersed to establish the 8 original villages in Northern Ngwa namely Okpuala Ngwa, Okpu-Ngwa (Ovungwu) Orie Afo (Unuoha), Amaku-Nvosi, Eziaia-Nsulu, Ntigha-Okpuala, Umuokwo, (Mbutu) Amauha (Ovokwu).

After settling in the 8 villages founded by the early Ngwa, their successors established new villages around their original homes.

Their third generations expanded into the eastern part of Ngwaland while the fourth and fifth moved into northwestern and southern sections of Ngwaland. The sixth and seventh generations migrated into Ndoki, Asa and Bonny areas around the 14th Century.

Historical consciousness amongst the Ngwa is preserved by those who bear Ofo Ndiche (ancestral staff of office) and Ofo-Ala (staff of office of original founders of the clan).

Both are used as instruments for the legitimization of authority in each community's link with the past. Important laws are sanctioned and sanctified by them and it is a very serious crime for anyone to violate such laws.

Ngwa history is also preserved in the music, dance and drama of the various communities especially during burials and festivities. While formal traditions are transmitted amongst the ruling hierarchy which are usually heads of the families and had authority, informal traditions are known by other members of the community.

During communal worship of the ancestors, sacrifices are offered in accordance with the head of the family stressing the need for loyalty and obedience to the ancestors whom he represents. Thus, this form of socialization during major religious festivals helped in schooling the ordinary Ngwa man on the norms of hi* society that by his adulthood he had mastered his societal rights and obligations Ngwa dialect is rich in idioms, proverbs and taboos which are helpful understanding events in each area.

A notable feature of the history of the Ngwa is that the offshoot settlements bear the same names as their founding/parental villages and as they have descended from a common ancestry, people in both communities do not inter- marry.

Moreover, in the past they usually assembled annually or periodically at their cultural capital usually in the parental village to worship their common deities.