By Olisemeka Obeche & Ada Nwanagum
“Ikelionwu: from Serfdom to Kingdom”, a book that chronicles the history of Ikelionwu, the progenitor of Ndikeliownu, a town in Orumba North local government area of Anambra state, his culture and establishment of the kingdom, has been described as a great work of art worthy of emulation.
The 191-page, 15-chapter, book written by Mazi Gilbert Ejikeme Mbonu, was launched amidst glowing tributes from well-meaning individuals from the community and beyond who thronged St Margaret’s Anglican Church auditorium Ndikelionwu on April 21.
While reviewing the book, Mazi Uchenna Nwankwo, an indigene of Umudim village, Ndikelionwu, described it as a great addition to the dying Igbo and African historical works. He disclosed that the book was “written to encourage constant yearning of the youths of Ike family and Ndikelionwu at large, to know more about ourselves; our historical origins as well as getting requires knowledge of our future development.”
According to Mazi Nwankwo, the book “is a very thoughtful piece of art, a great service to Igbo and African history, which indeed fills so many literary gaps to previous studies on the same subject matter by so many authors. It’s an epic production which came out of intensive reading from available literary and archival materials, with deep enunciation and a collected reliable story of the man, Ikelionwu; a man who steadfastly steered from grass to grace.”
Assessing the creative tools employed by the author to send his message across, the reviewer said: “The greatest fault of the book is the author’s mastery of use of simple language, the judiciously and effortlessly blended historical information with rapidly vanishing oral tradition. The book is written with arresting simplicity and penetrating wisdom; well arranged data with pampering glossary to accommodate all classic details.
“It’s a must read for both the young and old people in Ndikelionwu; students of history, sociology and anthropology, psychology, political science and every well-meaning indigene of Igbo nation and beyond”, he stressed.
The traditional ruler of Ndikelionwu, Igwe [Prof.] Chukwuemeka Ike, the Ikelionwu II, expressed great joy that a book which re-tells the story of life and journey of the first ruler of the community had been written and published. The Igwe, a celebrated author with many books to his credit, also thanked God for the wisdom and grace given the author to produce such intellectually sound piece of art and prayed that Ndikelionwu would have more of his kind.
Mbonu also disclosed that he was forced to embark on the research on the life and time of Ikelionwu as well as the establishment of the kingdom in a bid to provide answers to most of the questions asked by the younger generation of the town concerning their roots and origin.
According to him, “the book project which started way back in 1993 was inspired by some elders who are late now, but gave great contributions and concerns over the untold stories of Ikeliownu, the culture, tradition and establishment of our great kingdom of Ndikelionwu. I must express my gratitude to them and pray for the repose of their souls.
Earlier in his opening remark, the acting chairman of the occasion, Venerable Chris C. Mbonu thanked the author for investing so much towards unraveling the history of Ndikelionwu and to have cleared some contradicting belief of their existence. “This book is very important because it is going to teach us a lot of things about this world. The things written in this book started several years ago with a lot of research. We are here to lend support and appreciate the great works done in getting this book published”, he said.
The lawmaker-elect to represent Orumba North at the Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon Emeka Aforka who graced the occasion as a special guest, also described the author as a man of high level experience and praised his book as a great work of art that would help to understand the past and work towards a better future.
Various delighted speakers commented on the book and commended its author.
Barrister Ekeneme Ike also commended the author for providing accurate chronicle of “a history that is dated back more than 300 years ago for the benefits of the younger generations, and for carefully laying down the different perspectives of the life of the founder of the town- Ikelionwu”.
Barrister Tagbo Ike, an Enugu based legal practitioner also declared that everything about the book represents an aspect of the life of ‘Ikelionwu’ the founder of Ndikelionwu community and has shown their origin and connection with the people of Ifite Awka, in Awka South local government area of Anambra state.
Lady Star Nwafor described the book as an eye opener stating that she was married into the community with the notion that the man ‘Ikelionwu’ migrated from Arochukwu, but had found the truth through the emergence of this book.