How I Died, Buried & Ressurected Before I Was Crowned King – Anambra Traditional Ruler

14 Aug

The 26th Eze Nri Kingdom in Anambra
State has said he symbolically died and
was buried for three days before he
was crowned king.
In an exclusive interview with Punch
Newspaper, the traditional ruler of Nri
Kingdom, Anambra State, His Majesty,
Eze Obidiegwu Onyensoh (Nri
Enwelana), has given insight into his
kingdom and shared some rather
shocking norms and traditions behind
ascending the throne.
Eze Obidiegwu who is the 26th Eze Nri
in the kingdom, said he ‘symbolically’
died and was buried for three days
before he was crowned king, adding
that the method of ascending the
throne is not by election, but by
Read how he narrated it all below;
“In this kingdom, for you to be
an Eze Nri, you also have to die.
The candidate for the Eze Nri
must die symbolically, and after
three days, the person will wake
up. During the person’s death, he
takes a new body and when he
wakes up, he must shine like a
“What I am telling you may
sound like exaggeration but I tell
you, it is the truth! The
candidate must die! When the
candidate dies, he will be buried
in a shallow grave for three days;
his body will be buried, but his
head will be left outside the
grave. During that period, he will
undergo a transformation; pass
through a stage, from human
being to spirit, after which he
will wake up and his body will be
adorned with white chalk (Nzu)
and he will shine like a star.
From there, he will leave his
father’s compound.
“He will not leave through the
door. It is presumed that he has
grown above passing through the
door. They had to put a ladder for
me to climb over the fence and I
landed outside and I left my
father’s compound. This
happened like 28 years ago.
“While you are in the grave, you
are being mourned by your
family and the entire village will
be in festive mood, eating and
dancing every day. After that
traditional mourning, when you
wake up again, you take a new
body and you are now a spirit. So
when you have taken a new body,
you go to a confluence river. The
nearest to our community is the
Ezu River, which is in Aguleri. At
that confluence, they employ
divers, who go down deep into
the sea to scoop clay, which
would be used to mould a pot.
The Eze will drink from it and we
call that pot, Udueze.
“After the Eze has drank from it,
the pot would be seen as a very
precious pot because the clay
used in moulding it was got from
the depth of the sea, from a
confluence of two rivers. When
the divers go in there, they
would want to test your agility
and spirituality as an Eze. If the
diver does not come out, well,
that is it! But if the diver comes
out with the clay that would be
used in moulding the pot, then
you are Eze (king).
“Around our place here, we have
two confluence rivers where an
Eze Nri could be taken. There is
Lokoja and there is Aguleri. Since
Lokoja is far from us, we have to
go to Aguleri, that is Ezu na
Omambala, Abanaba.
”From there, you will visit all
communities that are
descendants of the Nri Kingdom
and then you go home
triumphantly as a king. Then you
embark on another visit to
Umueri clan, which contains 118
settlements. You have to visit as
many as you can, and they will
know that a new Eze Nri has
emerged. After then, the clans
will now return the visit to Eze
Nri, where the Eze Nri will settle
in his Obi (domain) and receive
them. During that period, the Eze
Nri will stay in a hut that is akin
to half room, and will return to
the spirit world for eight days,
before he will now become a
human being again.
“While he is in that spiritual
state, he does not receive visitors
because he is still a spirit. But
after the two market weeks of
eight days, he could receive
visitors. But before then, no one
sees him, he is served food from
underneath the door; no one is
permitted to see him physically.
When he leaves the Obi after
eight days, he moves to his
palace, which at that time, must
not be a zinc building but would
be built by a certain leaf, called
Uma, which is usually broad. That
is where he would stay for two
years before his palace would be
“Also, we have a kind of system
that when a traditional ruler
passes on, we have to stay seven
years without a king. Those seven
years will give the people time to
know which person would occupy
the throne. They would look for
signs and signals.
“One section of the community
produces, and then another does.
There are three villages here. So
the lot fell on my village to
produce the traditional ruler and
my village needed someone who
would occupy the seat. In 1987,
while I was in Port Harcourt, my
people invited me home and I
came, only to be told that the
position of Eze Nri had shifted,
and that I was likely going to be
the person to occupy the throne.
Our method to determine who
would become the king is not
through election; it is divine.
“We would have to perform what
we call ‘Afa’ (divination). The
gods would have to say who it
would be. Whoever the gods
appoint for that position cannot
refuse it. The gods were
consulted and the lot fell on me.
I could not believe it. I was like,
‘how can a poor man be the
traditional ruler?’ I was a young
man and I had nothing. I had just
returned from the US and was
looking for a way to earn a
living. Let me also say that
before you become a candidate
for Eze, you must have taken all
the titles.
“I had not taken any title then, so
I had to start taking all the titles
one after the other. I finalised it
by taking the Ozo title. When
that ended, I took a higher one –
the Oba title. The long and short
of it is that there are so many
titles one has to take to become
Eze Nri. You have to visit all the
shrines in this community and all
the ancestral homes. We are the
descendants of Eri. All the Eri
communities and all the shrines
in the communities had to be
alerted of the emergence of a
new Eze Nri. It took us about
three years to take all the titles.”

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Posted by on August 14, 2016 in Uncategorized


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