Onitsha Monarch

The monarchy of Onitsha derives from a complex of interesting, only partially separable, symbolic components. Put together, these parts portray a coherent social identity. However, taken as individual units, they refer to a series of unrelated structures.

How to greet the Obi of Onitsha
Igwe
Agu
Agbogidi
Eze
Ogbuonye Mbosi ndu na guya
Ogbu Agadagidi
Okwue obe
Onye Okwu nine dino onuya

The king combines in his person, some of the attributes of a king, someof an archpriest and some as a god. He is not one person nor the other but is something of the three, protector and president of an ancient cult whose mysteries are elaborate and still largely unexplored.

The three three major terms refering to the king are EZE concerned primarily with his relationship to the sacred nze complex; OBI, which refers to his providing a secure forum for public meeting, and court proceedings; and IGWE, the sky.

The various roles of kingly identites are suggested by these and other titles. Some of these and titles include the following: OGBU ONYE MBOSI NDU NA AGU YA, translated means "he who kills a man on the day he desires a life", refering to his power of life and death.

The king is also saluted as NKPU or ant hill, for just as an ant-hill has inmesurable apertures, so the king has inmeasurable eyes, being aware of everything that occures in town. His councellors salute him as AGU, which means "Leopard".


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