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UMULERI KINGDOM


Festivals: Olili Obibia Eri
State: Anambra State
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The origin of Umuleri is surrounded in myths and legend as its in other ancient Igbo communities. However, there are generally acceptable oral story of origin which was passed from generation to generation which emphasis the area as the first area of human settlement east of the Niger. Therefore, the origin of Umueri, which literally means \Children of Eri\, can be traced back to ancient Eri Kingdom, which dates back to the 9th Century. The Nri Town in Anambra State is also descendants of Eri. They migrated to the present place from Omabala River Valley.

According to tradition, Eri was a great warrior, hunter and polygamist. He has a lot of children and wives. The most famous of the wives was Iguedo from presumably the lineage of Ogiso (Bini) who was amongst the crowd of migrants at that time. She was also mother to the founders of Ogbunike, Awkuzu, Umueri and Nando and a daughter who was amongst the founders of Oboli Quarters of Onitsha (this explains the relationship between Umueri and Onitsha and other Iguedo clans). Eri due to his influence was said to have snatched (re-marry) Iguedo from Nnamenyi, another of the migrants and she bore to him Dabawor who founded modern Umueri clan. At the demise of Eri she remarried again to Iru, a hunter and herbalist who was said to be part of Eri Company. It was here (in this relationship) that she begat Ndo who was the founder of Nando.

Originally, Dabawu/Obuga was the ancestral home of Eri before ancient wars and growth in population scattered them into the forests of Igbo land including the present Nri town. Traces of their origin are still visible in this area. For instance, Dabawor is still there at Ugume Umueri, Aguu Nri tree, which is over a thousand years, is still at Amairuakpu Ugume Umueri, an antiquity of historical importance. While Mkpu Nando, a residential quarters of Iguedo descendants of Nando lineage is today located in Aguleri.

Traditionally, Umueri is broadly divided into 3 clans: Ikenga, Ivite, Ezi. The clans are further divided into villages and sub-villages. But with advent of colonialism and modernization, the town has consciously grown into fourth clan (Otuocha) with another one still in making (Obinetiti). The three traditional clans of Umueri are written down below with their corresponding Villages:

Ikenga: Comprises Ugume, Umudiana, Umunchezi, etc.
Ivite: Umuatuolu, Ogbu and Mgbede
Ezi: Belongs to Nneyi Village which is also divided into further sub-villages
The pre-colonial Umueri government was a republican but with influence of Bini Kingdom in that part of Igboland, it changes to Monarchical in nature in which the Eze resided in Ivite. The Prime Minister (Onowu) & Ajie in Ikenga and Ezi respectively. Modern administration since colonization relegated this system and enthroned the Igwe Dynasty which is prevalent Institution till date.

Traditional Ruler: H.R.H Igwe Nelson Ugume Okoye: The traditional Ruler of Umuleri





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