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Igbo Nation Worldwide - Igbo Union Of Canada

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Igbo Nation Worldwide

The term Igbo is used here in both the singular and plural senses. Igbo stands for both a nationality group and the language spoken by that group. With these igbo_kids_ikwuano_umuahia_iriji_2017.pngclarifications out of the way, Igbo are an ethnic group in present-day Southeastern Nigeria, namely: Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo States. Other Nigerian states where Igbo have ancestral homes are Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Kogi, and Rivers. Igbo are reputed for multiple qualities that speak to their values as a group, such as their familyhood, neighborliness (onye aghala nwanne ya), equalitarianism, innate social justice (ofo na ogu), enthusiasm for education and learning, technical ingenuity, and entrepreneurship (oha-afia), among other attributes. Igbo are one of the three largest ethnic groups in Nigeria and by far one of the best-known ethnic groups in Africa. Igbo number over 30 million people in Nigeria alone, and about the same number outside Nigeria, including here in the Canada.    

Igbo had a history of independent existence that dates back more than 5,000 years before British intervention into what later became Nigeria. Precolonial Igbo societies were kingless communities (Igbo enwe eze), marked by republicanism and decentralization of political power.  Ancient Igbo organized themselves into village democracies, over 2,000 in all, where they practiced a direct democracy marked by checks and balances, pursuit of consensus through elaborate discussion, the use of religious sanctions, and political institutions which combined popular participation with respect for experience. Thus, while elders ran affairs in Igbo society,  political participation was open to many, including young people, and women. Ethnic consciousness and awareness were something that came with British colonialism. In precolonial times, Igbo thought of and identified themselves only based on villages they came from: as people from Abakaliki, Asaba, Awka, Enugu, Owerri, Umuahia, and so forth.  

Igbo played and continue to play a leading role in the defense of global human rights and freedoms. Some Igbo slaves exported to the New World committed suicide rather than be slaves in a foreign land (Igbo landing in St. Simon’s Island, Georgia).  Other Igbo, such as Olaudah Equiano played a major role in the anti-slavery movement. Inside Nigeria, Igbo held a record for the most tenacious resistance to British colonial rule. Moreover, the first large-scale uprising against colonial rule in Nigeria, symbolized by the Aba Women’s revolt of 1929, took place in Igboland. Other Igbo contributions to human rights and basic freedoms include the instrumental roles prominent Igbo, such as Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr. Akanu Ibiam, Mbonu Ojike, Dr. Kingsley O. Mbadiwe, Mbazulike Amechi, and Dr. Okechukwu Ikejiana, played in the nationalist struggle that led to Nigerian independence in 1960. Azikiwe himself led the National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC), the first truly national party in the country. Given this history, it is not surprising that Eastern Nigeria was the first region in 1956 to achieve self-governing status. 

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