Nnewi: Agbananọ And Its Statues ~ By Anayo Nwosu
Ikenga the father of Isu and Nnewi was seized with the fear that his two children and his brothers Ifite (Oraifite) and Ichinwa (i.e Ichi) would not live in peace and could waste themselves in unending wars hence he organized a spiritual covenant called Agbananọ for them. And they all swore to live in peace. It was like an agbata done by four persons namely Isu, Nnewi, Ifite and Ichinwa.
The provisions of the Agbananọ or Covenant were:
1. No war among the pertakers and their children.
2. No form of oppression or nmegbu against each of them.
3. None of would sell anyone of them to slavery or gọọ ya Osu.
4. They would also meet to resolve issues of common interest at Okwu Ọyọ located behind Okwu Ulasi on Igwe Orizu Road in today’s Ọkpụnyo Otolo.
5. Establishment of Agbananọ shrine to commemorate the covenant. This shrine was called Agbananọ Ikenga.
Please note that Isu took over the headship of Obi Agbaja from his father Ikenga and was on the saddle when Ezeafọfụ arrived from Oba.
Obi Isu and his children were scattered by the powerful Ezeafọgụ who formed a government in the area known as Ụshuagụ.
Following what happened to Isu, Nnewi and his sons withdrew from the Agbananọ treaty. Ifite and Ichinwa also withdrew when they were attacked by the expeditionary army of Ụmụezeafọgụ. Today’s Ụshuagụ expanded far into homelands of Ichi and Oraifite.
It is important to state that only descendants of Isu and Nnewi, Ifite and Ichinwa could enter Okwu Ọyọ as decreed by Agbananọ Covenant.
It is amazing to hear some citizens of the new Nnewi keep mentioning Agbananọ which was instituted before their progenitors arrived as if it was an agreement between others other than ụmụ Agbaja.
Nnewi and Uruagu never stopped fighting until whiteman arrived. At that time, inter-marriages between Otolo, the strong Nnewi anchor standing and Ụshuagụ was kept in abeyance.
War with Ụshuagụ continued. There was this war termed as Ọgụ Ọnụọ Obili mounted against Uruagu to recover a swathe of land covering the entire Maria Regina, Catholic Diocese upto Mbụli and more. This land including where the Ọkanụ family presently occupy.
The land was seized by Uruagu from Abụbọ the child of Nnagha who was the last son of Nnewi. The war was started by the Ọnụọra Obi Ezeoguine and continued by Eze Enwe and EzeOnyejemeni up to Ezeodumegwu. That war claimed the head of Ezeewuzie the first son of Ezenwegbu.
I had to wait this long to hear another version of what Agbananọ was.
So the Agbananọ the Nnewi’s children are conversant with is that of Ikenga, which covenanted the children of Agbaja.
Please note that Agbananọ ritual is common in Nri and the entire Anambra Central and North zones.