Amuvi History


The history of Amuvi people is based on oral tradition. There is no authenticated, written history about Amuvi people, but we faithfully regard the oral history as the best alternative to other sources of history. According to oral traditions Amuvi was founded by two brothers who came from Umuoti Oke, Arochukwu.

History has it that the two brothers came to the land area now called Amuvi during a hunting expedition. The parcel of land now called Amuvi was not occupied by anybody. It was a virgin forest. Their first point of entry from Asaga is called Ani Ezi Amuvi. They were captivated by the vast land with its luxurious growth and scenery. The river called Iyi-ivara attracted them most. They were so excited that they started having double mind on what next to do with their new discovery. In fact, what immediately came into their minds was to pack out from their original abode, the Amagba home, for their new heaven. They agreed that they should come and settle there.

This historic decision was unanimous.

But the human mind being what it is, little did one of them realize that the brother was not sincere. So as they were happy and over excited over their new found land, one of the two gentlemen failed his own part of the agreement which they initially reached. According to their initial agreement, they mutually agreed that they would come back at an appointed date, to establish a common house for themselves. But before the appointed date, one of the two brothers came back at night without the knowledge of his brother and built a makeshift house or shed. It was this makeshift home that made all the historical changes in the future administration of Amuvi people till today.

So, on the appointed day, the two brothers came to their new found land, but surprisingly there was a shed standing. The one that had built the shed was courageous enough to admit his historical treachery and insincerity. This other brother was not happy abut the way his brother out witted him. This treacherous act placed him on the position to be the one who first settled on their new found land.

According to oral tradition, the one that was outwitted did not take it kindly. He took the matter to Arochukwu people: Efforts and energies, talent and money were wasted, but the one who cleverly built the first shelter there won the case after eight years of litigation.

As there was no available record to show who was senior by birth, the treacherous act decided the case. Therefore, the person who built the first shed became the senior brother and the one outwitted became the junior brother. The senior brother here represents Ugwogo and the junior brother represents Eziukwu. In fact the two brothers showed Amuvi spirit of being the brothers keeper. It should be noted here that there was no evidence of violent settlement of the brothers disputes.

Their differences were amicably settled by the people of Arochukwu community.

Therefore, based on this story, the Amuvi village community is made up of two broad lineages Ugwuogo representing the senior brother who till this day holds that position, and the Aziukwu representing the junior brother.

As time went on the two different families started expanding. They established families, and families established others. With the increase in their population, there were also an increases in human problems: sharing of land, human differences, interests, philosophies, talents and other problems of administration. Therefore, there were obvious needs for breaking the large families into manageable units.

For the purpose of convenience and other unidentifiable reason, the Ugwuogo kindred was divided into three sub-families namely Ndi Okoromgbo, Ndi Umahi, and Ndi Obia. The same problem was identifiable in the brothers kindred, Eziukwu. It has Ota Ezuma Oke family B the family has three blood brothers, namely: Okoronkwo Ota, Okereke Ota, and Ezuma Ota; Okoronkwo and Okereke Ota were of the same mother while Mazi Ezuma Ota was of a different mother.

When the changes in the establishment of various compounds were going on in Amuvi, the Ota family was not interested in splitting their unit, for unknown reasons. So out of the Ota family of Eziukwu, the families that were carved out were Ndi Chiobaeke, Ndi Igwe Oti and Ndi-Ota groups of families B as one family called Eziukwu made up of Ndi Okoronkwo Ota, Ndi Okereke Ota and Ndi Ezuma Ota.

According to history, the Arochukwu Kingdom did not favor plural units because of some social reasons. As a result of this tradition, Amuvi people decided to establish the seventh compound; the Ota Eziukwu family, because of her large number, was asked to carve out the seventh compound. So from the family of Okoronkwo Ota, one young man called Esomonu was selected and presented to the rest of Amuvi for approval. The selection was approved by entire Amuvi community; so he became the founding father of Ezinta. At the time of selection, he was not a full fledged man. What he did was to get his share from the share of Okoronkwo Ota family to which he biologically and historically belonged.

In summary, Amuvi has two broad compounds (kindred) made up of seven families:

(a)Ugwuogo:-(i)Ezi Ndi Okorombgo (ii)Ezi Ndi Umahi Nlenanya (iii)Ezi Ndi Obia.
(b) Eziukwu:- (i) Ndi Chiobaeke (ii)Ndi Igwe Oti (iii) Ndi Eziukwu (iv)Ndi Ezinta.

From the facts presented here, even a layman can see that Amuvi people have close blood ties. It is therefore unreasonable for any person or group of persons to think of separating these natural ties. It is because of this oneness of Amuvi people that one of her illustrious sons Barrister Ndionyema Nwankwo, LLB (Hons.), B.L. has this to say about Amuvi. Amuvi Village is one of the nineteen villages of Arochukwu in the Arochukwu local government, area of Abia State. It is a village which is unique and refreshingly different from most of the other villages of Arochukwu. Amuvi is perhaps one of the best planned villages in Nigeria; in fact the whole of Africa. Thanks to that indefatigable gentleman, Sir Alex Onyeador of blessed memory, the Village is properly mapped and laid out. The layout is only comparable to that of a good town planning authority. The situation is such that every home in Amuvi has a drive way aborting into one of the network of roads.

Amuvi has produced first class and first rate personalities namely: Late Architect Christian O. Nwafor, first in the field of architecture, Late Dr. Nwakanma Okoro (SAN), was not only the first Senior Advocate of Nigeria but also the first Nigerian Bar Associations president east of the Niger, and our own Mazi Mike Okereke was a long serving Public Relations Manager of UAC and now the first African Public Relations Practitioners President from this side of the world.

Amuvi is the envy of other villages. This in itself  being due to the efforts of the type of selfless leaders it had produced; people like Late Chief Oji Nwosu, Late Sir Alex O. Onyeador, Late Dr. Nwakanma Okoro (SAN), Late Mazi E. O. Ume, Late Mazi Emmanuel Lebechi Okereke, Late Mazi Charles Uwah, Late Mazi A. U. Okereke, Late Mazi Charles Uwah, Late Mazi A.U. Okereke, Late the very rev. A.O. Anicho Eze Ogo Amuvi, Late Mazi J.U. Udenyi, Late Mazi Ezuma Ngwu, Late Elder Ezekiel O. Oji; Mazi Dennis O. Okoronkwo, Mrs. Elder Eme Nwakanma Okoro, Elder Jonathan N. Oji, Late Madam Grace A. Ume, Justice Ngozi O. Igwe, Ambassador Sunday E. Igwe, Lucy Azubike alias Akwa Akwuru, Juliana Oji Nlenanya and Late Mrs Philomena Emesih. Their selfless services uplifted Amuvi. We salute their wisdom, courage patriotism, patience and love. May the efforts of our heroes past and present never be in vain.

Amuvi has seven wards otherwise known as and called Ezi Asaa. These are Ndi Okoro Mbgo, Ndi Umahi, Ndi Obia, Ndi Chobaeke, Ndi Igwe Oti, Ezikwu and Ezinta. Traditionally Amuvi has two-main-sharing arrangement. That is, it divides its common items, good or proceeds into two. That is what is traditionally called two-okes. This is between the two groups called Ugwuogo and Eziukwu. Ugwuogo’s share goes to Ndi Okoro Mgbo, Ndi Umahi and Ndi Obia; while that of Eziukwu goes to Eziukwu itself, Ndi Igwe Oti, Ndi Chiobaeke and Ezinta.

Again, Ugwuogo is the ruling family while Eziukwu is the first family or Di Okpara. This simply explains the reason for the two-okes and they take in turns in that order. These seven wards & Ezis could be further fragmented into other smaller family units, but to what purpose?

The heritage of Amuvi lies in unity in diversity. Amuvi has many communities outside Arochukwu and include most outside Abia State. These diaspora communities bring in a motley of cultures and traditions. Thus affecting our habits, dialects, and choice of delicacies. In fact, this is the reason that in Arochukwu today only Amuvi is known for Nsisa or tapioca and Okpa delicacies. In fact, this diverse nature has helped to build and enrich the tradition and culture of the village.

However, Amuvi cannot be an atomistic society, and therefore, cannot fragment into pieces. Whatever name it is called, whichever Ezi or family a person may come from, is utterly immaterial. He or she is seen or recognized first and foremost as an Amuvi person, and is as such taken up on that single identity.

In the very recent past people did not known or hear the name of any particular family; nor did any body care to remember his or hers. We must therefore hold to our heritage, to our root where the identity is one and indivisible Amuvi. This is the ideal every true Amuvi person should live and work to:

Long live Amuvi,
Long live Arochukwu,
Long live Arochukwu Local Govt. Area
May peace continue to reign B Amen.
Culled from a new book, Amuvi The Dawn Of a New Era by Elder J.N. Orji.

PAST PRESIDENTS OF AMUVI WELFARE UNION IN RECORDED HISTORY
Name                                                      Period
1. Rev. A. O. Anicho                            1940-48
2. Mazi Okugo Nwaba                        1948-50
3. Sir Alex Onyeador                             1950-71
4. Mazi Emmanul O. Umeh                1971-74
5. Mazi Pius M. Igboko                        1974-77
6. Mazi Martin Okoro                           1977-80
7. Mazi Emmanuel K. C. Okereke     1984-86
8. Mazi Gibson C. Ihe                         1986-87
9. Mazi Chris. N. O. Emesih              1987-89
10. Mazi Okoro Okerekocha              1989-93
11. Mazi Fidelis Oji                               1993-94
12. Mazi Chris Aniche Okerafor        1995-99
13. Sir Stephen N. Okoronkwo           2000-04
14. Engr Alex Ezumah                          2004-08
15. Mazi Joe Nwokoro                         2008-Present

INTER REGNUMS
1. Caretaker Committee, 1980-84     Chairman: Mazi Ezuma Ngwu
2. Peace Committee, 1994-95 Chairman: Mazi Michael Okereke
3. Caretaker Committee, 1999-2000  Chairman: Engr. Sylvester Abam

Amuvi Throne in History…
Mazi Azubike Okoro

As at date, the two most authoritative written accounts on Amuvi history were provided by Elder Jonathan Nwagba Oji and Professor Chris Aniche Okorafor. The two authors substantially agreed on the events that led to the founding of Ogo Amuvi but vehemently disagreed on timing, circumstances and roles assigned to our progenitors. However, of material significance is the fact that Professor Chris Aniche Okorafor came very close to indicating the exact period Amuvi city state was founded. Arriving at a determinable time frame is necessary in tracing the Amuvi royal tree.
In fact, the best method to approach the history of Amuvi throne is to lay out the royal list from recognizable time of certitude. This effort is therefore, based on the account by Professor Okorafor with the conviction to the effect that Amuvi was founded about 1630 – 31 by the two brothers – Mazi Oti Oke and Umahi Nlenanya. His postulations relied heavily on the extensive research of Professor M B Abasiattai of the University of Calabar. The learned Professor had in his work on the “History of Cross River State” determined a mean reign of 11.8 years for our neighbors, the Efik’s king-lists. Taking a cue from that, available evidence indicates that the first to occupy Eze Ogo Amuvi throne is Mazi Itigbe Nwosu. He was succeeded by his son, Eze Ogo Oji Nwosu.
When Oji Nwosu passed on, the seat was due to Mazi Okoroji Mgbavor but Amuvi opted for an educated gentleman who made great sacrifices for its development – Eze Ogo Revered A O Anicho. The line was restored at his death to Eze Ogo Cyprian Oti. Then came the very brief reign of Eze Ogo Okoronkwo Oji Nwosu of the lineage of Oji Nwosu. This brings us to the present – Eze Ogo Thomas Nlenanya Okoroji of the lineage of Okoroji Mgbavor. There is an unsubstantiated case of one Mazi Ijeoma Okoronkwo from Okereke-Ijeukwu who once sat on Amuvi throne. We do not have detail about this particular Eze Ogo? Further research is therefore, required to confirm this information and also determine when exactly in history the first Eze Ogo ascended the throne, the years each of them ruled, and other important matters pertaining thereto. Our objective presently is to sensitize readers and cause additional inquiry on the matter. Individuals with useful information should please, forward written memos to any member of the editorial board of Aro News Newspaper. Excerpts from the work of Professor Chris Okorafor which was referred to above is reproduced here for guidance. Details are available in Vols. 1 & 2 of Perspectives in Aro History & Civilization by Mazi Azubike Okoro & Mazi Ben Ezumah, currently on sale.

Amuvi Comprehensive College Takes-off

At last, the much expected Amuvi Comprehensive Secondary School has commenced operation. The school which is temporarily sited at the Amuvi Civic Hall currently has a student population of 150 and five teachers including the Principal. Following the formal approval and recognition of the school by the Abia State Education Board last year, Amuvi indigenes tasked themselves and refurbished part of the civic hall whose completion has been stalled for a long time because of lack of fund. The secondary commercial school which previously operated from there was relocated to make room for the new toast of Amuvi indigenes. Two Amuvi parents who spoke to Aro News enthusiastically about the new school indicated their preparedness to withdraw their children who are in form two in Aggrey Memorial College and Mary Selessor Comprehensive College to repeat form one in the school. Amuvi school children, they recalled have been suffering a lot because of the distance between Amuvi and the only two secondary schools in the town. Young children of about eight to ten years trek several kilometers daily to enable them attend school. The alternative is to pay bus or taxi fares daily for such children by parents who could not afford the money. Those of them who ride bicycles have been known to have suffered immensely. When he was contacted on the issue, the Chairman of the School Committee and an ex-principal of several secondary schools, Mazi (Elder) Jonathan Nwagba Oji confirmed the news and expressed gratitude to God that the efforts of his committee is being rewarded. He particularly paid glowing tribute to the immediate past-president of Amuvi Welfare Union (AWU), Mazi Chris Okorafor whose EXCO worked round the clock to ensure that the prescribed conditions by government were met. It was their ability to satisfy all the conditions that led to the issuance of a certificate of approval for the commencement of the school in the current school year, he noted. Elder Jonathan Oji appealed to Amuvi indigenes and their friends not to relent in making donations to enable the school committee complete work on the temporary site to ensure adequate and congenial learning environment. The building of the permanent site of the school is also a matter that will be given priority attention soon, Aro News further learnt.

 

In Search of Amuvi History
By Elder Johnathan Nwagba Oji