- The Irete autonomous community, Owerri west local government area of Imo state has finally abolished the Osu caste system
- This was declared by His Royal Highness, Eze E.C. Ekwelibe (Agubiam 1, of Irete community) on Saturday, July 14
- The month for celebration of the abolition of the age-long ideology is December 2018
There was great joy and jubilation on Saturday, July 14, among indigenes of Irete autonomous community, Owerri west local government area of Imo state when the amiable king of Irete, His Royal Highness, Eze E.C. Ekwelibe (Agubiam 1, of Irete community) declared that the Ohu, Ume, Diala and ‘Osu’ caste systems has been abolished and belongs to the past.
Before now, not less than eighteen villages had advocated the abolishment of the the Osu caste system; many thanks to CY Amako (Irete 1), Lolo Uche Amako, Chief Chris Anukam (Omeudo Irete) Phillian Chima Duru, Smart Monye, Duru Sunny George, Reverend AJV Obinna, who were highly instrumental to the anti-osu movement, Vanguard reports.
Ekwelibe had an unforgettably bitter encounter with an ‘Osu’ elder in 2009, which left an impression of pain on him for a long time an experience which propelled him to take steps towards the abolition of the age-long ideology.
Recounting his experience to journalists, he said: “The encounter was at a village gathering. After drinking palm wine, the eldest man in the village at the time, who was regarded as ‘Osu’ wanted to pour out the remnant of that wine on the ground for libation, as the custom requires, but I intervened and stopped him, simply because he was regarded as ‘Osu’. He then politely asked me, “Ethel, why are you stopping me?”
"And I arrogantly retorted, “Why do you want to do this? Do you not realize that Sunday is here?” “By age and by right, Sunday was much younger and shouldn’t be doing the libation. But because the eldest man was regarded as ‘Osu’, I stopped him and made Sunday pour the libation. Rather than protest it, the elderly ‘Osu’ man simply said, “Well, let it be to you people, and you’re Christians”.
"Now, the humility with which he surrendered and gave up the function to Sunday shook me to my bones. His words, “Let it be to you people, and you’re Christians”, began to hurt and hunt my conscience endlessly. It never stopped. So when I became the king on December 28, 2013, I made up my mind to deal with this problem. Today, the rest is history. The journey that got us here has been succinctly captured in a tell-all book titled The Osu Caste System: The Myths, Realities & Its Abolition.”
In order to indicate their seriousness, a chieftaincy title that until July 2018, could not be possible for a so-called ‘Osu’ person, was conferred on an Irete son and medical practitioner, Isaac Ugorji, who was once termed an ‘Osu’.
Isaac, who flew in from the United States of America to witness history in his hometown, was almost in tears. Another Abuja based politician and highly revered elder in Irete, C.Y. Amako a.k.a Irete 1, openly announced that he has two beautiful daughters ready to graduate from the university and that he will never ask questions about their suitors, regarding caste identities as ‘Osu’ no longer exists in his vocabulary.
He boasted that his daughters were in full agreement! Popular Nollywood actor, Joseph Okechukwu, who had been at the forefront of the campaign to summarily abolish the Caste Systems in all Igbo Speaking areas of Nigeria and beyond, was live at the epochal event.
According to the Nollywood star: “It was arguably the best day of my life, I couldn’t hold my joy. I had been following the development and praying that nothing would stop July 14th from coming to pass, and nothing did, it happened.
"The journey to the freedom of the Igbo nation in Nigeria begins. Few months ago it was Ozalla in Nkanu West Local Government Area, Enugu State, today it’s Irete in Owerri West, Imo State. We want it abolished everywhere in our land.
"In Nigeria, Igbos are like people in a giant prison. And this nonsense is the reason for our imprisonment. God told me that and I made a video about it. We’re breaking loose!” The joyous Nollywood star hinted that a bigger event billed for December 2018, is in the offing.
He promised that the December event to abolish the Osu Caste System in Igbo land will be much bigger and all encompassing, and will see prominent Igbo sons and daughters, home and abroad grace the occasion.
African-Americans or foreign nationals who identify as Igbo by ancestry will also be invited to the big event in which forgiveness for slavery and casting shall be sort from God by elders of the Igboland in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com reported that a young Nigerian barber, Victor Imasuen, who was sold into slavery in Libya while trying to pass the country on his way to Europe had recounted his ordeal.
NAIJ.com reported that Imasuen said he was introduced to the illegal journey by a client who came to his shop to have a hair cut.
What is cooking in Imo state? On NAIJ.com TV