The Politics of Igbo Origins and Culture: The Igbo-Ukwu and Nri Factors Reconsidered

By Institute Of African Studies, University Of Nigeria, Nsukka.


Since the works of such colonial scholars as Arthur Glyn Leonard, Northcote W. Thomas, Armory Talbot and M.D.W. Jeffreys, followed by the epic archaeological excavations at Igbo-Ukwu and the subsequent works of M.A. Onwuejeogwu, the questions of which sub-group represent the original settlers of Igbo land as well as constitute the original bearers of Igbo culture have continued to revolve around the orbit of controversy. Until the discovery and subsequent excavation of the Igbo-Ukwu archaeological sites, these issues had revolved around the Nri, also known as the Umunri, following the accounts of the colonial writers whose works were more ethnographically sensational than historical in objective and method. Although the Umunri thesis of Igbo origins and culture was originally applied in the interpretation of the Igbo-Ukwu sites, further historical researches proved the contrary. It was this emerging evidence which revealed that, originally the Umunri were not of Igbo but of Igala extraction which consequently questioned the authenticity of the Umunri claims of primordial rights and privileges under the aegis of Igbo history and culture. It was on the basis of this twisted historical evidence the Igbo-Ukwu, from whose soil the artefacts were excavated, began the lay claims to the same primordial rights originally centered on the Umunri, thus giving rise to a stream of controversy on which the other sub-groups have either become co-contestants or biased arbiters. The present work therefore looks at this stream of controversy through telescopic approach of a historian of Igbo extraction.
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Institute Of African Studies, University Of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Institute Of African Studies, University Of Nigeria, Nsukka.



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