Biography of HRM Nwiboko Obodo

Culled from the Facebook Wall of

Sir Odonoh Agbadu, Sebastine Valentine Echezona (KSJI).

HRM Nwiboko Obodo Onyike (Onwe), Aphulenya Ekwe: The Lion-Like Man Whose Influence Extended Even to the Child in the Womb. My grand father, High Chief Nwiboko Obodo was born in 1893 into the rich family of Chief Onwe Aliobu of Idembia village in Ishieke clan. His grand father was Pa Aliobu Ali, who hailed from Amanamnta village of Unwuegara Ezechaji community, Izhia Ohaukwu. It’s of great importance to note emphatically that High Chief Nwiboko Obodo’s grand father, Pa Aliobu Ali migrated from Izhia clan to settle at Ishieke autonomous community where he lived and naturalized at Idembia village of Ishieke. His mother Ugoeze Iboko Una hailed from Anmegu, the ancestoral home of Izhi people. However, HRM Nwiboko Obodo was born on Iboko market day and that was why he was named Nwiboko. Originally, my grand father’s name was not Nwiboko Obodo, but Nwiboko Onwe Aliobu. The twist of the name was occasioned by his early sojourn with his uncle, Pa Obodo Onyike who lived at Odomoke village in Ishieke clan. There, he was mentored and nurtured by his uncle till after the death of his father in 1925. High Chief Nwiboko was fondly fostered by his uncle and that occasioned his popularity as Nwiboko Obodo Onyike, instead of Nwiboko Onwe his biological father. Also, he had one other half brother by name Pa Mbaba Onwe, whom he used to send for errands to HRM Onyeama of Eke in Enugu with a white horse bicycle. He had as well a direct sister named Nwophoke, who was married in the same Idembia village, Ishieke.

Meanwhile, after the death of his father in 1925, HRM Nwiboko returned to Idembia to inherit the father’s wealth and chieftain. At a further stretch to gain a wider coverage of action and responsibility, he further left his father’s compound at Idembia to settle at his Mbara Eke new home, where he erected his first bungalow roofed with white foreign aluminum sheets, the first in Izhi land. This house currently situates at Ishieke market opposite aswa mme (palmy market) area. Back home, it’s important to remark that High Chief Nwiboko didn’t contest any chieftaincy title with anybody. This was because, following his return to Idembia village from Odomoke after the death of his father; HRM Nwiboko simply assumed office as he inherited the father’s wealth and chieftain on merit. Apart from his self influence, audacious ego, domineering attitude, super will, self confidence, coupled with industrious nature; he was deeply loved by his people because of the registered impact of his father in Ishieke clan. His father Chief Onwe Aliobu having been appointed a Warrant Chief in 1921 by the colonial administration to help implement the Indirect Rule system of governance, laid a legacy that enabled HRM Nwiboko Obodo to be also appointed a Warrant Chief in 1928 to preside at Odomoke Ishieke Native Court. He presided over cases along side four other chiefs, namely: Idike Igboji Ola, Mgbada Ochinta, Nwiboko Udude and Okenwa Alegu. Indeed, in the upsurge for political relevance, Chief Nwiboko’s influence and power over his clansmen and his spirit of magnanimity by the mid of 1930’s, made him nation. Hence, he successfully eclipsed other Warrant Chiefs in the clan and was the first among his equals before the assessment of the colonial masters. For an instance, Mr Orlando Gunning, the District Officer in charge of Abakaliki District in the 1950’s paid regular visit to the chief’s palace at his Okpufhu home, the duplex underneath which he proudly hired British architechs to construct at the peak of his days. Adumbrating this account about HRM Nwiboko Obodo as a seasoned Warrant Chief, N. V. Steensel stated that he was often sent to Benin, Ife, Agbor, Oyo, Warri, Ibadan and Onitsha on visit to learn their system of taxation and apply same in his own area of jurisdiction. Hence, the associated aphorism: “Owa tax, Owa rate” was bestially coined to damage the administrative savvy of High Chief Nwiboko as a Warrant Chief.

That picture was designated to portray a situation whereby a native uses a cutlass on a tax master, thereby maiming his life after voicing the wordings of Owa tax, Owa rate. All in all, the Warrant Chief system in Izhi land lasted up to 1958 when HRM Nwiboko Obodo and other Warrant chiefs of Odozhi Obodo Society were arrested and prosecuted by the same administration they were forcing their people to obey their Indirect Rule system. Be it as it may, the Odozhi Obodo Society was the clan’s vigilante group who censor the happenings in the clan. It is modest and prude dent to recall that the group later grew wild and sometimes went beyond the limits of their power in settling disputes. These brews led to series of allegations cum petitions which were systematically instigated by the third party visitors in Abankaleke land, who see HRM Nwiboko as a royal rival that must be defeated/overthrown before they can take over the Abankaleke land. Thus, the Abankaleke men were used by the Arochukwus, the Ijekebes, the bought over indigens and of course, the white men who overthrew the Abankaleke strong man and his followers who were fighting for the security of their territory and the survival of their souls amidst injustice, intimidation, oppression and sub human subjugations.

 Notable events and clashes which culminated to his end includes

  • The land deals between Mr Ukanwoke Farms Ltd and the people of Nkaleke of Ugwuechara.
  •  The Ogboni cult and the fight against High Chief Nwiboko Obodo.
  • The betrayal acts of Odozhi Obodo Society leaders who instead of keeping peace, went further to fight their internal enemies using their titles and positions.
  •  The kick backs by known Ijekebes in the town over land acquisition disputes
  •  There were other warrant chiefs sprawling from Izhia, Orhi, Ezza, Ngbo, Ikwo, among others who he eclipsed, they all sought for his head.
  • The early selfish semi- educated idiots who wanted power and leadership at all cost and used their semi-literary skills to down turn the living light in Abankaleke kingdom
  •  The colonial masters perfected actions against Chief Nwiboko via Queen Elizabeth.
  • The roles of the only enlightened class the Aros who hired a cow rustler and used him to pin HRM Nwiboko Obodo down

Consequently, the death of Ugoeze Nwangbo Igbeagu (Nwiboko’s amiable wife) was used by his people to wreck down HRM Nwiboko.

Worthy to note are his holistic achievements via the church missionaries and his developmental explorations in society at large.