SELECTION OF KINGS IN THE EDDA KINGDOM (EBONYI STATE)

Posted by Amanda Ibironke on Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Edda is a community in Ebonyi State, Nigeria. In the South Eastern region. It is inhabited and populated primarily by the Igbo people. Its capital and largest city is Abakaliki.

Unlike most other parts of Igbo land and like 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” (King) and to which the head of any slaughtered animal is given. “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 the following illustrations:              
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 physically 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 (Kingship) stool will be rotating 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). 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.

The Ezeogo (King) is both the spiritual and temporal head of the people. He attends to the important deities of the community and is consulted on lesser deities by the priests and any other persons he delegates their attendance to. Each village maintains some autonomy on matters of concern to the particular village only, and so has almost a replica of the hereditary Ezeogoship as Edda Clan. It is important to note that no Ezeogo has absolute authority over his people and every decision is by consensus. The paramount Ezeogo invites all the Ezeogos of the various communities on matters that concern the town or village group, and they, along with some members of the Royal family, form the cabinet.
As part of the need to maintain the Royal House properly, the Ezeogo always has the lion’s share of communal farmland, palm produce and animals killed during the hunting season. He is entitled to free communal labour on his farms on a selected “Orie” day once a year, and gets special allocations from fines and levies. The construction and maintenance of the palace are usually collective tasks.

Source - Egbebu Liberal Movement. Edda Heritage




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