… How Igbere people migrated from Okomoko

The Igbere people in Abia State who share ancestral and historical ties with the people of Okomoko in Rivers State have reunited with their kith and kin.

The Igbere clan which has produced three Abia State Governors, including Orji Uzo Kanu currently a Nigerian Senator, migrated several years ago from their ancestral homestead in Okomoko.

Historians from the area say the journey from the old settlement took them through the Igbo heartland to their present day habitat.

On leaving Okomoko, according to an account obtained from Eziama, the Igbere landed at a place called “Eke.”

It is believed that the pressure arising from “the scarcity of land” prompted that wave of migration which hit Okomoko many years after the first that took the people away from Igbodo.

The first wave of migration took the Okomoko people through Okomoko-Akpoku in Mba Clan to present day Okomoko near the banks of the Otamirioche River.

There is however another account that says the Igbere people sprouted from the ground and occupied the land.

This version of how the Igbere people came to be is prevalent at Umuisi as Okomoko sources have discovered.

It is difficult to obtain the exact date when the migration from Okomoko which appears more plausible took place.

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But, the Port Harcourt Telegraph, quoting local accounts reports that it was from Eke, which is now preserved as an ancestral forest, that Igbere fanned out to establish autonomous communities of their own.

On the whole, Igbere has 13 autonomous communities which include Agbo, Eziama, Amaukwu, Amankanu, Amakpo, Ibinanta, Umuisi, Amaofufe, Ibinaukwu, Okafia, Ohumole, Amaoji and Amaiyi.

There have been attempts in the past to resituate the historical perspective of what actually transpired in those ancient times when men migrated from place to place to found communities.

While some have tried to portray the Okomoko people as “wanderers” and “warriors” who migrated from Igbere in Iboland, the story of Okomoko, one of the sons of Igboh and his offsprings that migrated from Igbodo, is now being told at Igbere.

That story shows Okomoko did not migrate from Igbere. It shows that the Igbere clan rather migrated from Okomoko.

A delegation from Okomoko Community which participated in activities organized by the Igbere Welfare Union on the 27th of December, 2021 has just returned home.

While there, the Okomoko delegation was treated to a tour of some Igbere autonomous communities before taking part in the  development program put together by the clan.

Dr Oji O. Oji, visited Okomoko

Elder Eleazar Kas Nwogu recalls how he first met Dr Oji O Oji who was despatched by the Igbere to locate leaders and elders of their ancestral homeland.

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“I was about leaving for Port Harcourt when the vulkanizer who operates near my home in the village called my attention

“It turned out, Dr Oji whom I have never met was the visitor. He told me that he was directed to see me after he learnt that Eze Magnus Nwuke, Ogbuzor the Third, Paramount Ruler of Okomoko was no more.

“That discussion led to the arrival of a two-man delegation who visited Okomoko.

“Thereafter, Okomoko people resolved to send a delegation to Igbere to see things for themselves. We are happy that we did.”

High Chief Ogbonna Nwuke, a former member of the House of Representatives and one-time Commissioner in Rivers State recalls,” Some years ago, I learnt through a source that Governor Orji Uzo Kalu and his kith and kin migrated from Okomoko.

“At the time, I thought it was a mere tale. What is unfolding proves that the account that I heard was indeed true.”

This may not be the best of times for the Okomoko community whose motto is “Show The Light And Let Others See”, but the discovery of their kith and kin in Igbere clan has brought smiles to the faces of the people.

The Telegraph has learnt that on the 4th of January, 2022, a new traditional ruler who has taken the title, “Okomoko the Second” would be corronated.

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We have similarly learnt that Igbere people operate an age grade system that act as a pivot of development.

Some of these age grades are known as “Ebiri Okomoko” from what we have gathered.