The Ndiche

(Red Cap Chiefs)

The Ndiche, otherwise known as Red Cap Chiefs, are the Obi's councillors. There are three classes of Ndiche title known, in order of importance. These are Ndiche Ume, Ndiche Okwa and Ndiche Okwaraeze.

The third grade of Ndiche still remain, although not all available titles have been taken. The Ndiche Ume are war chiefs and members of the cabinet. They execute the principal administrative duties in Onitsha generally and in their respective localities.

During war, they play the role of generals with the lower grades of Ndiches as their lieutenants.

There are six Ndiche Ume namely, Onowu Iyasele (Prime Minister), Ajie Isagba, Odu Osodi, Onya Ozoma, Ogene Onira and Owelle Osawa.

The Ndiche Okwa are second grade chiefs. They are primarily assigned the duties of assisting Ndiche Ume in executing administrative functions. Ther personally lead people to war under the command of the Ndiche Ume. They are 23 in number.

The Ndiche Okwaraze is categorized as third grade chiefs. As the name implies, titles of this grade may be conferred on public spirited citizens who may be Ozo title, by the Obi. There are 15 in number.

The function of the indiche in the community are as follows:

To act as Obi's representatives, and play the role of public relations officers.

To maintain law and order.
To uphold the propriety of religious and customary practices.
To dispense justice according to equity and laws of the land.
To promote socila welfare, and lastly,
To defend the land against aggression.

None of the Ndiche titles was confined to any particular family of kindred as of right, though in the case of the six Ndiche Ume titles, it was probably recognized that not more than one family member of each of the six kindreds shold be an Ndiche Ume.

Any person, provided he has taken Ozo title might, with his family's approval, approach the Obi to ask permission to take any Ndiche title which might be vacant. If the Obi approves, he would consult with the other Ndiche and, if the applicant were considered suitable, confer the title on him.

It is said that the Obi had complete authority to accept reject a candidate as he wished, but it is clear that he would seldom be so foolish as to go against the wish of a majority of the Other Ndiche.

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