Omenana slowly goes mainstream

What I have been studying and writing on for over two decades is beginning to gain traction. It was good to hear a British who has spent some time researching Igbo business, say, ‘well, when my master settled me….I can almost say with total certainty that the Ibo apprenticeship system that governs the Alaba International Market is the largest business incubator platform in the world.’ What the British saw, and was trying to describe was Deuteronomy 15:12-15 put into practice by this dynamic people who survived genocide while still under systematic persecution and oppression. Again Kwasi Densu, Ghanaian scholar writing in an academic article observed, ‘..in addition it explores the relevance of Omenala to the development of an authentic social history of African people and as a theory to analyze contemporary problems in the African world.’ It made my day to see these said, and written about Omenana, the  neglected religion and culture of the despised Igbo people.

I have studied Omenana deeply, and I am convinced that it has many ingredients that will contribute fundamental healing to the world. My book: ‘The Igbos And Israel: An Inter-cultural Study of the Largest Israelite Diaspora’ first published in the United States is about to be published in Nigeria. In it I discussed Omenana, as the way of life of the biblical Israelites. It is as relevant today, as it was 4000 years ago, but incidentally over 80% of Igbos, whom this Israelite religious development is their heritage, don’t know much about it at this time, but the number of those who will know is growing.

Igbo Israelism study is becoming mainstream in the world, and I will say the following. We, i.e, those in the forefront of this study, have alienated afro-centric Igbos by saying the truth which is that Omenana is a Hebrew product, and not necessarily African product.  African is not one of the identities of the Igbo people, but Ibri (Hebrew), which Igbo, Ibo, Ebo, Egbo, which Igbos have being addressed as at different times, are all variants of Hebrew, which is therefore core Igbo identity. So, to make people who lost their way in Afrocentrism happy, we’ll never deny that Omenana is Hebraic! Omenana must never be hidden, or distorted by being presented as another product of Afrocentrism! And what any organization or institution besides scholars who have studied Omenana, Hebrew, Israelite, and Jewish cultures think of these is largely irrelevant.

About the Author
Remy Ilona, is a PhD candidate at the University of California, Riverside, where he also functions as a teaching assistant. He is also the secretary-general of Hebrew-Igbo people, an Igbo socio-cultural organization. He is also an author of 10 books. He is of Ibo or Igbo extraction, and a lawyer by training, as well as a historian of the Ibo. He is among the leaders shepherding the Ibos re-emerging Judaism.
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