The Father Of Igbo People (Eri)


The Igbo people have a belief that they descended from Eri. According to their tradition, Eri descended from heaven, he was sent to begin civilization. According to them, Eri was the son of Gad, and Gad was one of the sons of Jacob, which he had with his concubine


According to their believe, Eri used to live in Egypt as a high priest , this was during the reign of Joseph. When Eri noticed the intention to enslave his people, he ran away from Egypt through river Nile, then he crossed the river Benue, passed through the confluence and through river Niger, then he finally settled near the confluence. Himself and his people that fled with him, settled there and there he had a son which he named Nri.

Eri’s son Nri also possessed the same powers as his father, so he was appointed as the heir to take over from his father when his father goes back to heaven. Eri also had four other sons and just one daughter. Nri left his father to establish himself after he got older. Nri settled in a place which is known as Anambra State today.

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But there’s a debate between the Igbos about their origin. The Aguleri people and the Nri people have different beliefs. The Aguleri people believe that it was Aguleri that was the first son of Eri who migrated with his father from Egypt. But another school of thought believes that he can’t be seen as one of them because he was born in Egypt and not in the Igbo land. They believe that it was Nri that possessed the priestly nature of Eri, his father.

Despite all the arguments and different beliefs, the culture still stands that nobody can break a Kolanut in a gathering unless an Aguleri man isn’t present at that gathering. And there’s also another culture that before a king ascends the throne, he must visit Aguleri for seven days of blessings.

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Even today, after Eri’s death, his first son Agulu, who is now known as Aguleri (Agulu + Eri), took over and created more communities. Nri also heard about his father’s death and returned to home, where he stayed for a long period of time, before he moved on to create his own Kingdom.

Nri’s kingdom grew over the years with its capital located at Igboukwu. The kingdom grew so fast to the extent that they had their own currency. They mainly focused on farming and hunting.

Nri’s kingdom quickly became a safe haven for run away slaves. Even though the people of Nri Kingdom did not control the whole Igbo land, their influence was very much noticeable all over Igbo land.

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The leadership in the Nri Kingdom was smooth, and free of dictatorship. The selection of a king was not limited to royalty alone, but was done by a divine selection. The Chosen one had a process that he must go through to prove himself to Chineke, their creator. The process involves him pretending as though he’s dead. This symbolises that he is a new man that how belongs to his people and the spirits.

There’s a festival that’s celebrated every year, this festival is known as the Ancient Iduu Cultural (Olili Obibia Eri) festival. This festival is to celebrate the arrival of Eri.


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