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The greatest politico-military event in all of Human History, to date, is, arguably, the Haitian Revolution! The most potent decision, by the revolutionists, towards the super-heroic Haitian feat was choice of Worldview Coherence as an organizing paradigm.
This superlative choice is reflected by
1. Choice of “The African God that Demands Good” against the “Slavers’ God that allows Evil” and
2. Choice of “Nou Se Ibo”…We are Igbo; part of Ibo Granmoun (The Great Igbo Nation)…as framework for pan-African one-peopleness. Worldview Mongrelism is the greatest under-miner of any embattled people. Worldview mongrelism made Slave Coast out of the Bight of Benin (European ideas, via Portugal, polluted Bini worldview and Arab ideas, via Mali, polluted Oyo worldview…scattered the peoples’ minds. And these on autochthonous minds earlier made vulnerable by Oduduwa and Ogiso worldview syncretisms. These became self-destructive Slave empires). Worldview mongrelism enslaved Hausa speaking peoples (through adoption of Al-Maghili/Berber rendition of Arab ideas). Worldview mongrelism ruined African resistances during Arabo-European Slavery and Colonialism. It subverts African resistance, and renascence, during the current neocolonialist phase. Africa’s notorious modern-day tyrants are, usually, identity mongrels with mongrel worldviews.
Worldview Purebreedism has been the historical strength of the Igbo in absorbing shocks from external cultural or politico-military perturbations. From ‘Kutukutu Oba Igbo” of Igbomokun (now Ile-Ife) to the Oduduwa settler-monarchists, through “Ibo Granmoun Lackay Ibo” that Haitian revolutionaries addressed to European slavers, and unto “Bekee Biara ikpuwe Uwa ihu n’Ala!” (The Whiteman has come to upturn the World!) of the Isuama Resistance to British colonialism, the Igbo have always resisted worldview mongrelism. The evidence, from around the world, indicates that worldview syncretism hardly leads any people to sustainable, peaceful, development. Rather it is the Jews, the Chinese, Japanese, etc.; who are worldview purists and graft only desirable alien concepts unto their native purebred worldviews, that manifest existential resilience over time. The best vehicle to a great Igbo future is the purebred Uwaizu worldview of the ancient Igbo, as the Ooni of Ife has, inspired, deposed. History of a people’s past is as great as its capacity for inspiration towards a future great History!
1.1 The Idea of History
History is the story of any entity; a thing, a person or people told, imaginatively, in a chronological and contextual manner as to enhance understanding of the past, guide the present and direct the future. Human beings, generally, see life as a continuum of Past, Present and Future. The Past informs the Present, as the Present guides the Future. Not to have a history, is to have not existed. Unawareness of History is to be confounded with Life. The very nature of History makes it a powerful existential tool of social control and manipulation. This explains the habitual manipulation of History by imperialists, throughout History. Societies that have any kinds of colonialism; external or internal, are subject to the manipulation of History. Facts are in this case are, usually, substituted with Fables. Since the arrival of Arab imperialists and slavers in Africa, 7th Century AD, and European imperialists and slavers, 15th Century AD, manipulation of World History against Black Africa has been the convention. Within this convention, some alien rationalizers of anti-African imperialism tried to write Africa out of History, altogether (Hegel cited in Ihediwa Chimee; https://trafo.hypotheses.org/11518). This implies that The Great Igbo Nation, which is part of Africa, for example, has no History.
In pushback to this Historical Fallacy, the Igbo Martiniquais great poet of Negritude, Aime Cesaire, wrote:““I am talking about societies drained of their essence, cultures trampled underfoot, institutions undermined, lands confiscated, religions smashed, magnificent artistic creations destroyed, extraordinary possibilities wiped out…Culture is everything. Culture is the way we dress, the way we carry our heads, the way we walk, the way we tie our ties – it is not only the fact of writing books or building houses… Eiyaa! for those who never invented anything for those who never explored anything for those who never conquered anything but yield, captivated, to the essence of things…playing the game of the world truly… eldest sons… Africa, help me to go home, carry me like an aged child in your arms. Undress me and wash me. Strip me of all of these garments; strip me as a man strips off dreams when the dawn comes…”. ….Return to the Land of Birth… Aime Cesaire. An interesting, historical fact, is that of all African Peoples taken to the Americas, through the evil Trans-Atlantic Trade, the Igbo more than any other were the most insistent on the wish to go back home…physically, spiritually or metaphorically. As Aime Cesaie expresses the wish in this long poem, so did Olaudah Equiano wish to come home to pour libation of virgin Palm wine to the ancestors; so did the mutineers of Dunbar Creek who walked into the Atlantic Ocean to come home, spiritually. So did those led by Igbo Bishop Henry Turner, to found Liberia. So do the Haitians to whom death, even today, means a return to Africa, etc., etc. That deep Igbo wish to come on back home was to return to an ancient paradisiacal civilization that Equiano had characterized.
Above all, the Igbo of the slave era knew that they were the people least likely to have been betrayed; sold into slavery by their own relatives, as Equiano also indicated. The enslaved Igbo gut wish to come back to roots is the root of pan-Africanism. The Francophone version of pan-Africanism is Negritude, which the originator of that term…Aime Cesaire, traces to the Haitian Revolution. The Igbo are, indeed, creators of a Primary Civilization, based on the Yam and Palm agriculture, which had granted Humanity more freedom than any other had granted.
1.2 World History
There exists a world History. Europe, within the context of social Darwinist imperialism that sought to destroy Africans denied Africa had a history. Hegel, a German philosopher, enunciated this strange idea, of something that exists not having a history. Historians, particularly African historians and fair-minded aliens, felt Africa to have existed had to have a history. The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), decided to undertake the project of documenting African History. Lack of funding, due to the reluctance of European dominated world organizations, stalled the process. Then, in the 1980s, an African; Amaudu Mbow of Senegal, became UNESCO Director-General. He managed to find money within UNESCO to prioritize and execute the African History Project (M’bow’s action angered some powers, and was thought to contribute to Reagan’s America and Thatcher Britain leaving UNESCO at the time). The multi-volume, UNESCO, General History of Africa demonstrates that Africa, as expected, does not only have a history, but has a great History indeed.
In that Grand History Book, Igbo homeland was documented as a land where human civilization had existed since the Stone Age. A land where civilization leaped over the Bronze Age; from Stone Age, straight to Iron Age, unlike elsewhere. The Ugwuele-Uturu Stone factory was cited as part of the evidence. The Iron-technopolis of Oka-igwe/Okigwe at the same spot as well thousands of years old iron smelters/founderies at Lejja, Nsukka, and elsewhere explain the citation for ironworks. The Technopolis of Oka/Awka might be the world’s very first technopolis and properly so-called. The so-called Bantu migration to populate many parts of sub-Saharan Africa is said to have resulted from this Iron Technology Revolution.in Eastern Nigeria. In this sense, Igboland is the cradle of a grand civilization.
1.2 The Igbo People
From available archeological and other evidence, the original Igbo are the autochthonous or ancient peoples of the Southern Nigeria Forest…NDIGBOO. Igbo are defined by their belief in the problem-solving doctrine of IGBO/IBO; Problem Preemption. True Igbo people spend their lives preparing to solve problems…IGBA MBỌ before the problems arrive to be solved …IGBO/IGBO MKPA. The symbol of the Igbo peoples is the EBO/EGBO (see Fig. 1), which is created by a ritual process present day Igbo call Ike-ebo/Egbo and Yoruba call Ebo Oyeku Meji.
Fig. 1: Ebo/Egbo; Preemption Gate into an Igbo Community.
Igboness is, therefore, primarily a belief in an ideology, and secondarily a biological phenomenon. This ideological basis of Igbo identity seems to be the basis of what can be called the “Nou Se Ibo”…We are all Igbo Resolution. That is the decisions by Nanchons Ginen; Nations of Black Africa within the context of the Haitian revolution, that for the purposes of Africans’ Liberation ‘We are all Igbo!’ Explained as ideology for all time and relevant to the time, different African ethnic groups, apparently, had no difficulty in assuming Igbo Identity in addition to who they were. That is they all adopted Ịgba-mbọ as a guiding ideology of their social lives. This, from what we know of the spread of the Egbo/Ebo culture along the Gulf of Guinea, is not surprising at all.
IGBO HISTORY OVERVIEW
“It can be said that, until the fifteenth century, Black Africa never lost its civilization”. …Cheikh Anta Diop…(https://www.scmp.com/yp/).
The above statement by the famous Senegalese pan-African intellectual, Cheikh Anta Diop, is, particularly, true of the Igbo civilization. Though the Parachute Fabulists (Eri, Ogiso, Oduduwa peoples) had entered, and perturbed Igbo civilization earlier, there was no systematic destruction, as they all respected Igbo Sovereignty over Igboland as the Igbo insisted. Systematic destruction of Igbo civilization, which is still ongoing in 2021, started with the trans-Atlantic Slave trade. This makes it possible to have an overview of Igbo Civilization in full, continuous, flow; from the Stone Age to the twenty-first century AD. That is thousands of years of continuous civilization.Some clear epochs of Igbo Grand History are manifest to the informed, and careful, observer. These include;
i. Igbo Gboo or Igbo Kutukutu
ii. Igbo History from the Intervention of Parachute-Fabulists to 1500AD
iii Igbo History: 1500 AD-; from Trans-Atlantic Slavery to date. The first two epochs depended on mostly Archeology, Language/Orature etc. to decipher, while the third includes significant writing.
2.1 Igbo Gboo/Igbo Kutukutu
Among the Igbo, grand History is denoted in UGA …very long epochs. It all started from UGAAKA; the Age of Creation, when the World was created. Then, through other Ugas, up to UGAAZI…present Age of Childishness. Narcissism; childish self-obsession is a key characteristics of Ugaazi. To follow will be UGAANYANWU; the Age-of-the-Sun; Age-of-enlightenment, which is upcoming and awaited by Igbo Dibia. At Igbomokun (Ile-Ife) and environs, in the West, Ugaaka is called Kutukutu; the Dawn of Time. About the stone-age settlement of Ugwuele (Uturu) and environs, Ugaaka is Gboo or early time. From the Stone-age archeological findings at Ugwuele-Uturu, Igbo History is estimated into many hundreds of thousands of years. The iron-smelting operations at Okaigwe, Lejja etc. the Igbo Iron Age date thousands of years. The story of the Igbo people; Igbo History had, for a long time, been passed on from generation to generation.
2.2 The Igbo people’s sensitivity to the authenticity of their history can be inferred from the vehemence with which they reject the narratives of empire-building immigrants; Eri, Oduduwa, Ogiso, etc., as fables (Akuko Nd’Eri, Akuko Iduu N’Oba and Akuko Ife). The recent media altercation between the Igbo Olugbo of Ugbo; Oba Obateru Akinruntan and Oduduwa Ooni of Ife; Adeyeye Ogunwusi, over this seminal issue is noteworthy (It is interesting to note that whereas the Olugbo admits to being Igbo, and not Oduduwa, he claims the people eastwards of his Ikale land are Ibo, not Igbo, contrary to the Ooni’s claims. To confound the situation, an Onitsha High-chief had claimed in Karl Maier’s book This House Has Fallen that Onitsha people are Ibo, not Igbo like their immediate neighbours. Within these narratives, one hears some history perturbation noise). The Ooni has been, for Truth’s Sake, very enlightening on this issue. He has publicized key contributions in the areas of
i. Geographical and anthropological spread…linking Igbo in Eastern Nigeria with ancient Igbo in western Nigeria
ii. Time depth…beyond 9th Century Oduduwa immigration unto ‘Kutukutu’…the Dawn-of-History and
iii. Archeological evidence of Obatala…Spirit-of-Nature and Four-lobed Kolanut…Uwaizu; African network cosmology. What many people do not know, which the Ooni addressed head-on, is that the Worldviews of the 9th Century monarchist immigrants and the autochthonous peoples are widely different, as I addressed in the 2003 Ojukwu Birthday Lecture.One is very satisfied and grateful for the Ooni’s pro-African Renascence intervention. Only those who do not appreciate the majesty of the Ooni’s inspired intervention can wonder about it.
My Bible on the issue is Professor IA Akinjogbin’s Ife; The Cradle of a Race. When that distinguished Ife University Professor wrote the book, he could not publish it in Western Nigeria, where most of Nigeria’s publishing companies are located between Lagos and Ibadan. The Lagos-Ibadan Press would not publish it because it challenged politically sensitive ‘orthodoxy’. He had to bring it East, where Sunray Publications published it. Two Yoruba men; Professor Sam Aluko, an Ekiti man and Chief Olu Akinfosile, an Ikale had first (1993), at an Abeokuta conference, called me aside to inform me of the ethnic relationships between their peoples and the Igbo in the East. The full story is for another day! As Akinjogbin’s Book is my reference on the relationship between the autochthonous Igbo peoples of Western and Eastern Nigeria, MA Onwuejeogwu’s Nri Kingdom and Hegemony is the go-to book on the subject of the Nri. K.O. Dike and Felicia Ekejiuba’s The Aro of Southeastern Nigeria: 1650-1980 is the reference book on the subject Aro. I would hesitate to talk to anyone who has not read these books on any of the related topics.
Many people enjoy Akuko Nd’Eri, Akuko Idu N’Oba and Akuko Ife, but those have their limitations as contributors to Igbo History. Parachuting down from Heaven; as the Parachute-fabulist immigrants were wont to narrate is not an admissible narrative for hardheaded Obatala naturalists (Iwuala-bound), as the autochthonous Igbo peoples were.
2.3 Ancient African Worldview and ancient African Great Civilizations“…The basic elements of Egyptian civilization (are to be found)…in Nubia and the heart of Black Africa; moreover, that is where we find the animals and plants represented by hieroglyphic writing…” …Cheikh Anta Diop Above quote links the civilizations of different parts of Africa, including ancient Egypt. What one can say for sure from available evidence is that the ancient African ancestors developed a great worldview share by, more or less, all Africans? This ancient African worldview is of a network Cosmos. Models of this worldview, as Roped Pot; The African Cosmopot, are to be found in the Saqqara Pyramid of the Pharaoh, Djoser, that unified Egypt as well at Igboukwu (Fig. 2). In other words, the Kemet Per-aa (Pharaoh) Civilization on the Nile Valley and Igbo Erima Civilization on the Niger Valley originated from the same worldview of, all-inclusive, Network Universe. Just as the earlier Egyptian pyramid in which their Roped-pot was found is a Step-pyramid, the Igbo also built Step-pyramids (Fig. 3). The pyramid motif is, also, the basis of many Igbo games and structures.So, we have archeological evidence that the pyramid is a common ancient African building motif. Pyramid is now associated in the World’s mind with Egypt, instead of with Africa. However, if Igbo, for instance, had copied pyramid building from the Egyptians as some people might suppose, they would have built angular non-step and not curvilinear step-pyramid. Angularity in Egyptian construction came later, with the development of Geometry…an artifact of Egyptian Agriculture. Geometric thinking; mathematics of exponents arose, also, among the Igbo from such cultural practices as the kolanut ritual. In the kolanut ritual, the only numbers that can be offered are 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32…2n (0 ≤ n ≤ ∞). The basic base of Igbo counting is, indeed, base 2 (even when bases 10 and 20 are employed in ordinary counting; they don’t count in sacred activities).
Fig 2. African Cosmopot Models of Network Cosmos. Saqqara (left) and Igboukwu (right)
Fig 3. Ancient African Step-pyramids; Saqqara (left) and Nsude (right).
The critical point to note is that a grand Igbo civilization on the Niger based on shared African worldview developed at the same time as the grand Egyptian civilization on the Nile. And by the time the Eri-Oduduwa-Ogiso immigrants arrived about the 9th Century, Igbo civilization was much more advanced that what obtained at the time on the Nile or Middle-east. This can be inferred from what transpired between the Oduduwa group and Igbo autochthons at Igbomokun (Ile-Ife), as well as the legend of Eri group ordering the a Mega-bellow from the then, well established, ancient Igbo technopolis at Oka/Awka. Igbo indeed had a great society and associated Great History, up until the European invasion from about 500 AD.2.4 Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative and Written Igbo History. Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative is the very first effort to write a Grand Igbo History. Great is the result of his endeavor! It tells of a great civilization, with a great history. Many of our people are, unfortunately, are not bibliophiles…lovers of books. Whoever has not read Equiano’s book has not encountered Gran Ibo—the Great Igbo Spirit. I have taken time to distill the essences of the Igbo Spirit and Society, as seen by Olaudah Equiano and recorded in his book, in a poem. I am glad the poem grips some people’s imagination so hard; they quote it as written by the greatest modern Igbo man himself. He had said in the book that Igbo national color is Indigo Blue, which gives the poem its name.EQUIANO’S INDIGO IGBO WORLD! Equiano was of ancient; Mgbasara-clad, indigo lgbo World. Equiano saw slavery-embattled, but gutsy, lgbo World. A land built of blocks of functional essences;A land of Truth-loving and religious people; A land of strong, well-proportioned, people; A land of freemen and empowered women; A land where Ignorance was hated Devil! A land without ennobled crooks; A land without unemployment; A land without the homeless; A land without prostitution; A land without drunkards; A land without beggars;A land without prisons; A land of clean, happy, Igbo! Indigo has fled raped, unhappy, Igbo World; Benighted, we dream Equiano’s indigo Igbo World! Chidi G Osuagwu (Poem in Ojukwu’s 70th Birthday Lecture, 2003; final revision, 2020).
IGBO HISTORY POST-EQUIANO
3. 1 Caging the Igbo in Their Homeland
We encounter Equiano’s History of Igboland under the siege of Slavery and destruction. Next time we meet Igbo History in great writing, it is Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. Colonialism is the phase of the European invasion, the mop-up denudation of the Igbo Homeland, with the idea of final and total takeover of the land. In 1885 Europe met in Berlin, German and shared out Africa as Estate. Igboland was shared out to Britain. Britain was very well familiar with Igbo resolute resistance to oppression. Britain had, led by the Igbo, been defeated by Haitian Revolutionaries in their bid (1793-1798) to re-enslave Haitians who had claimed their freedom. They had backed Slavery in the American Civil War, and when Abraham Lincoln emancipated slaves in January 1863, Britain established in June 1863 the Glover-Hausa Army of despoilers, from which they specifically excluded Southern Nigerians as non-acceptors of oppression. As Frederick Lugard consolidated British control of Nigeria, by 1918, he wrote in his handover note that though industrious and religious, the Igbo for their rebelliousness (eloquent objection to oppression), must never be entrusted. Working with local Nations and tribes that distinguished themselves as slave-catchers during the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade, Britain has managed to sustain this Igbo Containment Policy within the Nigerian Berlin State. Nothing reflects Igbo exclusion and containment than maps of the Niger Delta…as physical reality and as development instrument of the Nigerian State (Fig 4).
Fig 4: Maps of the Niger-delta; Shell Geomatics/Physical (Left) and NDDC/Developmental (Right).Surveying this map and realizing that all Igboland is in the Niger Delta; which is a Basin distinct from the minority-dominated Creeks, as the Willink’s Commission correctly noted, draws an efficient outline of Nigerian Berlin State Malice towards the Igbo. None Igbo States on both sides of Igbo States of Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi, are included in the map but the Igbo States are, pointedly, excluded as policy. This historical map shall give posterity something to ponder and wonder about the ruthless Lugardian Igbo Exclusion and Containment in Nigeria (LIECI).
3.2 Great Igbo Pushback against Oppression and Great Igbo Nation
The, arguably, greatest socio-military event in all of Human History is the Haitian Revolution. In this first of its kind in Human History, the Haitians defeated all the World Imperial Powers of the time (Spain, Britain and Napoleonic France) and proclaimed their independence from Slavery. That world-changing event had one consequence for the Igbo. The Black African peoples in Haiti, for the capital role in the revolution, proclaimed the Igbo Granmoun; Great Nation. Igbo Spirit was, duly, proclaimed Gran Ibo…The Great Igbo Spirit and Mother of (African) Nations. Happily, in this information age, each of these terms and the institutionalizing songs are available online at the click of a cursor.
3.3 Igbo Future in Relation to Igbo History The misfortune that has hit the Igbo since 1500 AD did not come to the Igbo Dibia…the deep knowledge adepts, as total surprise. Ancestors had warned them that an Age-of-childishness, UGAAZI, would arise. When the Europeans arrived and displayed an attribute of childishness…extreme selfishness, they recognized them as the purveyors of the forewarned age of childlessness. As predicted, the European invaders set out to upturn the world…Ikpuwe Uwa Ihu n’Ala! Dibia had also left the message that before the Ugaazi people destroyed the Earth, there would arise UGAANYANWU…the Age of the Sun…the Age-of-Enlightenment, which shall restore civilization and save the World (Kemet/Pharaonic Egypt had left the same message as Thoth’s Prophecy. Note; Thoth is Agwu). A careful review of History shows overwhelming evidence that things are working out as prophesied/predicted by the ancients. Moreover, with the dynamic African worldview, which yields the kind of paradisiacal society Equiano described and Igbo Diaspora dream of, Igbo are likely to play a vital role in ushering in the new Age. The Ooni’s 2019, inspired, call on the autochthonous Igbo to lead African renascence presages this possible path. The thing is to be aware and work towards it. The status of Ibo Granmoun; Great Igbo Nation, cannot be sustained by being bystanders as epochal events unfold to create a new paradisiacal world shorn of childish selfishness, as Indo-Europeans have demonstrated.SUMMARY The Igbo are an ancient primary civilization. Igbo civilization is based on the basic African Network Cosmos, Uwaizu, they shared with ancient Egyptians and others, and modeled as the Roped-pot; the African Cosmopot. Igbo civilization stands on Yam-Palm Agriculture. Yam is the basic stable and Palm is basic cash crop. Igbo civilization has been dated, archeologically, to the Stone Age (Ugwuele), which transited to the Iron Age in the same general territory over tens of thousands of years. Igbo civilization was, comparatively, paradisiacal, until perturbed by first Middle-east immigrants and then European invaders in times AD. Igbo have, particularly since 500 AD of Trans-Atlantic Slavery and Colonialism, struggled to maintain their high quality civilization. Igbo have executed this struggle with distinction, earning the honorific title of Ibo Granmoun; Great Igbo Nation, among the Black African Peoples. However, the cost in sweat, blood, tears and mourning…in lives degraded and wasted, have been equally horrendous. Igbo Dibia ancestors had predicted a time like this…Ugaazi…a time of childishness; when narcissistic misanthropes would nearly destroy the Earth. Igbo Dibia ancestors had also foretold of the coming of Ugaanyanwu…the Age of enlightenment when high Civilization shall be back on Earth again.
In 2016, at a Library of Alexandria Lecture on African Cosmology and World Future, I had outlined some of the factors back to the African worldview and civilization. African Naturalism (faith in Nature as part of God) is one. Restoration of African dynamic network Cosmos is another. In 2019, inspired, the Ooni called on the Igbo; people of Obatala (Spirit-of-Nature) and Four-lobed Kolanut (symbol of Network Cosmos) to resume their role, as Ibo Granmoun…towards African Renascence and World Transformation. Dibia are ready! Igbo Zara Igbo are ready. The higher the Mountain to climb, the greater the Glory. It shall be done! As Equiano promised, the time for libation, with Virgin Palmwine, to Ancestors and Chukwuokike Abiama; when the struggle is over, must be ushered into the World, to restore the life-promoting Green Earth, in this Knowledge Age…Ugaanyanwu.