title (Agbalenze) is ancient and it constitutes a very important part
in the administrative functions of the community because of the high
religious position they occupy in ministering the spiritual needs of
the people. Matters affecting traditional relegion are handled by them.
In consultation with the Obi, and Ndiche, they decide measures to be
imposed on any on any person who contraveanes religious rites.
to it that title-taking is not abused but kept attractive and dignified
in order to maintain high social status in the community. They play
roles in the justice of peace in their localities and their decisions
are always held in high esteem.
Ozo title necessary before any Ndiche title is taken, was made separately
within each main kindred. Thus, an Obikporo man taking Ozo title approached
the senior Ozo title man in Obikporo, and the fees were divided among
titled men in Obikporo only.
But initial approval will be given. The Ozo title was a very expensive
one, though payment can be spread over several years.
by which traditional worship is performed is the ancestral shrine in
a prominent place in the home. It should be noted that the structural
form of the indigenous Onitsha dwelling house is patterned after the
jewish style of rectangular structure with many living rooms and an
open space or courtyard in the center.
the courtyard, the shrine is situated in the far end of the building
and placed in front Ofa mud seat called UKPO.
of shrine is exclusive for an Ozo titled man who is also a priest.
(Star-apple shaped sticks or staves)
the staff of office like a bishop's crozier. the staves are two in number:
the superior one which is bound with an iro ring and which is deposited
in the family's shrine after the ozo man's death for his commemoration,
the inferior on (Osisi afulu), is broken in two at the mans internment
and placed on his grave to symbolise the severance of all ties with
inferior stave is broken, the deceased Ozo man continues to share in
the ozo title fees according to his village.
a great bugaboo to many Christians. The horror overhanging this item
will suffer immediate dissipation when it is understood that the Okwachi
contains nothing but five wooden pieces tied together and representing
the Ozo man's soul. It is called Nkpuluchi and always kept white by
being smeared with the native chalk to show that the Ozo man's soul
must always be in a state of purity.
man of course at the night of his initiation confronts the Nze (symbol
of purity, thruth and justice) and vows to uphold these cardinal virtues
in his life.
It is only
at his second burial that the Nkpuluchi is smeared with blood and buried
with the Igbudu (lamentation of second burial coffin of catafalque).
the degree of purity the Ozo man must endevour to attain, it is an undefied
young girl that carries the item during the initiation ceremonies. The
smearing with blood and the burial of the Nkpuluchi are meant to show
that the soul has returned to the Maker.
(Sacred treasure wooden box)
This is used by the Ozo man for storing sundries like Kola nuts, native
chalk, eagle feather and sometimes cash as no one is expected to touch.
Okposi (Six egbi sticks tied together and representing
The Onitsha traditional religion consist mainly in communion with the
spirit of ancestors to whom aspirations are made as intermediaries and
to whom offerings of aliments and libation are occasionally made.
men no longer do this as it is ill accord with modern decency and against
This is the wand of authority. It is twig from the Ofo tree.
This is the wooden figure which is buried at the second burial of a
deceased Ozo man by his age-mate and it symbolises the parting of ways
with the deceased.
Azuzu of lether fan
This is carried by the Ozo man for pretige. He stikes it's face on chiars
before sitting down in order to cleanse the chair of any foulness and
waves it occassionally to create a peaceful atmospher around him.
Feather adorning his cap
Eagle is the king of birds and it's feather never tarnishes. the feather
thussymbolizes that the Ozo man must always shine with virtue. If he
trangresses he must take immediate steps at self-cleansing.
Back to Tradition