Chief Chukwuemeka Onyeso, Prince of the Onyeso dynasty of Nri, Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra has postulated that the Nri traditional institution is the oldest in Nigeria.
Onyeso, an octogenarian, said this during the unveiling of his book titled “Dirt On White Spectrum” in Nri on Friday.
The book, a comparative study of kingships in Nigeria, established the Nri throne as the oldest kinship in Nigeria.
Octogenarian traces Nri kingdom, ancestry to over 900 years
The octogenarian said the throne played key roles in the coronation of Oba of Benin and Atta of Igala.
He said that priests from the kingdom which existed over 900 years ago, might have also played a very decisive role in establishing the institution of Oba in Yoruba land, 145 years after Nri.
The public presentation also coincided with the 80th birthday of the author.
He said the history books which was used to test students at the Senior Secondary School Examinations in the past had some fallacious claims that Igbo had no culture, organised governance structure and that the Igbo traditional system started with the warrant chiefs.
Onyeso said contrary to the claims, Igboukwu excavations and studies commissioned by Prof Kenneth Dike, the foremost historian, revealed that Igbo had the oldest traditional and kingship institution in Nigeria dating 900 years.
According to him, the Benin Traditional system predated the Yoruba traditional system, while Igbo have guest house in Oni’s Palace usually occupied by Nri Priests.
“It is documented that before Oba of Benin is installed, Nri Priests do cleansing rites.
“If we are from Yoruba, we won’t have guest house in the palace , so it shows that we visit there for special functions,” he said.
Onyeso expressed surprise that the people of Aguleri whom he described as children of the last child of Eri had presented a position paper to the Anambra House of Assembly to work on a bill that will recognize them as a source of Igbo nation.
He said Nri as a community would contest the position as it was fallacious and distortion of historical facts.
The Octogenarian who said he started gathering materials for the book in 2001 and started the writing works in 2013, thanked God that he was able to complete the book before clocking 80.
He recommended the book for community and schools including university libraries across Nigeria while calling on everyone to embrace and read books.
The book was reviewed by Prof. Chuu Ikwuemesi of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).