Historian, Ikechukwu Uchenna Osuji, Hebrew Igbo Nation secretary of religious education, and Barrister Chukwuemeka Obinwugo, secretary of general education of HIN, both undertook two historic tours of Igboland recently.
HIN backed the author who is the secretary-general of HIN and he wrote a book which many Igbos, among them, Professor of Medicine, Francis Duru; Jewish ex-soldier and historian, Avraham Van Riper, acknowledge that it opens up the Israelite priesthood for fresh and open discussion. The book is about the ‘Osu’ among the the Israelite people who live on both banks of the great Niger River.
First, Osuji sallied forth to Nnewi, the Igbo town which is one of the richest towns in the world, and where the Innoson Vehicle Company plant is situated, to meet Dozie Ikedife, Hebrew of Hebrews, and inform him that not only has HIN brought out the real story of the Osu, but also that some missing links in the Israelite priestly tradition has been discovered among the Igbo. Had General Yoav survived King Solomon after trying to seek sanctuary in the holy place, he would have become an ‘Osu.’ Ikedife, one of Nigeria’s earliest surgeons, had been one of those who worked with the Red Cross to ensure that some Igbos survived genocide, had been a high ranking government official, headed Ohaneze, the premier Igbo socio-cultural organization, and in his 70s he had traveled to Israel, and spent time at a Kibbutz, learning. At Nnewi Osuji presented the book to Ikedife, and presently Ikedife is seeing that the book gets to who is who among the Igbo. After, Osuji went to the Ohr Ha Knesset, Nnewi, which is headed by Aralu Chidiebere, and participated in a Jewish version of the Igbo ‘ima mmonwu’, the bar mitzvah. To complete his tour, Osuji went to Awka, met Anthony Aniebue, an Igbo activist who was very active in the King Solomon Sephardic Federation, and they talked at length about the rehabilitation of Igboland. On his way back to Owerri, his base, he stopped at Ozubulu, the clan of the secretary-general of HIN, where he visited Emma Obi Nwadiora, a cousin of the secretary-general, gave him a copy of the book, and told him about HIN’s plans and programs.
Obinwugo took off with vigor. Armed with this slim volume which many have described as a tangible contribution to both Igbo, and general Hebrew history and culture, this indefatigable lawyer from Umu oji, one of the Igbo clans that still observed ima ntu (sukkot) as a traditional Igbo fiesta-emume ndi ogo Mmuo, Obinwugo met the famous Nkwo Nnabuchi, and they held extensive discussions about the Israelites of West Africa; the Igbo. And after meeting various important Igbo leaders he traveled to Aguleri, the homestead of Chukwuemeka Eri, the head of the Igbos who descended from Gad, the son of Jacob. From the smiles on the face Eri as they (himself, his clans people and Obinwugo) took photographs, one could deduce that Chukwuemeka Eri was very happy, likely because of the interest of the young in Igbo Hebrew heritage and culture. One of the effects of colonialism on the Igbo was alienation of many from Igbo culture and history, and Eri had traveled to many countries in the world trying to fight this.
The author and Toochi Igbo Tochi were very happy when they were debriefing both activists of HIN, because slowly, gradually, Igbos are returning to what they were Israelites: casting of the shackles of criminal colonization.
Remy Ilona is a lawyer, scholar, writer, secretary-general of HIN, and author of the influential The Igbos And Israel: An Inter-cultural Study of the Largest Jewish Diaspora, and Dissecting the Osu Institution….