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Ezeogoship in Edda Society

Unlike most other parts of Igbo land and like in areas such as Onitsha in Anambra State, the “Ezeogoship” (Kingship) is hereditary in Edda. However, heredity is not necessarily from father to son. It may pass to any of the oldest sons of the patrilineage which produces the “Ezeogo” and to which the head of any slaughtered animal is given.

Ezeogo of Edda, HRM Daniel Ibiam Afa Date: May 2009

Ezeogo of Edda, HRM Daniel Ibiam Afa
Date: May 2009

Waddington (1930), in an Intelligence Report on Edda Clan in the then Afikpo Division confirms the hereditary system of Edda thus:

“Ifugo (Nguzu) is the family of the founder of the Clan and is the first family of Edda. Its head is the head of the Clan and the priest of the Otisi Juju. The head is always the senior man of Eziukwu (Ifuogo), the compound nearest in line to the founder in which the Otisi Juju is. The present holder is Oko Mba, a man of middle age. His successor will be his cousin, Onu Chima”.

The hereditary system in Edda could be better appreciated from illustrations:

Ezeogo of Edda (middle) flanked on the left and right by his two most likely successors

Ezeogo of Edda (middle) flanked on the left and right by his two most likely successors

X is the founder of village Z, and invariably becomes the Ezeogo of Z. He dies, leaving say, five sons – A,B,C,D and E; so A assumes the mantle of leadership if he performs all the rites in his father’s funeral and rituals of the Ezeogoship and is not phusically or mentally handicapped. If A cannot or does not, B automatically takes over if he can perform those rites and rituals.

When A dies, the right of the Ezeogoship may go to any of the eldest sons of A,B,C,D or E who has, of course, performs the necessary rituals.

In other words, the Ezeogoship stool will be rotationg among the five sons of X and their descendants, and they will constitute what will be known as the Five Houses of the Royal Family. Due to this rotational system, the Ezeogoship has to be assumed by an elderly person (a mature adult). For instance, in Nguzu (the mother village group or town in Edda), there are four Ruling Houses – Nde Ajunwa Okporieke, Nde Agbagha Okporike, Nde Okere Okporike and Nde Ugwumba Okporieke; the fifth (Nde Obasi Okporiekke) having been ruled out of contention for the crime committed by Obasi that almost caused the death of their father, Okporieke.

In Ekoli, the next village to the mother town, the Ezeogo comes from Eziukwu Nkagbogo which has three Ruling Houses – Nde Ibiam Udu, Nde Ama Udu and Nde Ikwuo Udu.

Contest for the stool are not usual, but contestants must come from any of the Ruling Houses. Naturally, the elders have means of minimizing friction and conflicts in regard to the stool of Ezeogo. Take this succession pattern, for instance: The Ezeogo usually has two attendants at any function he performs – one on his right and the other on his left. If he vacates the stool, the attendant on the right takes over (all other conditions having been fulfilled), the one on the left moves over to the right and a replacement elected for the left position.

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