Nzekwue, the younger brother of Dieyi took up the mantle of leadership as the 12th Monarch of Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom in 1888 at a very old age. He was just and the most efficient King that the clan ever had, and was recognised as a catalyst and architect of modern Ogwashi-Uku.Soon after his ascension to the throne, Obi Nzekwue was confronted with the allegation that he buried the late Obi Deyi with a human being, by the white colonialists from the colonial office in Asaba. Obi Nzekwue denied the allegation before the white men who had come to the palace for investigation in the course of which he was asked to open the late king`s grave. He bluntly refused arguing that it was an abomination as he said ” anya adi afu nti” meaning the eye cannot see the ear.The white men have no choice than to recommend a fine for the Monarch. He, Obi Nzekwue was said to have given the fine to one of his sons Okechukwu to pay to Major Harper, the officer-in-charge at Asaba and instead of accepting the fine, the Major slapped Okechukwu. This provoked his father who had to divert the money meant for the fine to buy gun powder in preparation for war which to him was inevitable as he also turned down the request that he should come personally to Asaba to pay the fine.In absence of an acceptable solution over the disagreement between Obi Nzekwue and the British at Asaba, everywhere in the two towns wore an atmosphere of war that was imminent. The Monarch summoned his war lords who included Nwabuzo Nwa Iyogolo and Agbambu Anika from Azungwu quarters and others from Umudei, Ogbe Ubu and Agidiahe that were renowned for valour.. On 16th June 1909 when the meeting came up, he briefed his war generals and Chiefs on what had become of his relation with the White Colonialists at Asaba. One after the other, the generals opted for war instead of the Monarch going to Asaba to pay the fine. Nwabuzo Nwa Iyogolo stood and damned the consequences of white man`s power as he pressed the monarch to declare a state of war throughout the clan in preparation for the great battle.The following day, on June 17th, 1909, the Monarch issued a degree authorising the clan to go war if the white men attacked from Asaba. As the subjects did not like the treatment meted out to Okechukwu and his father, their King, they gave the Monarch total support for war should the Kingdom be attacked. All the able men were called up into the traditional army while the women were given war instruction so as to survive the white man`s impending onslaught. Five days later, the Monarch met with his war commander, the Odogwu and his Chief Security Adviser, the Ihonor to enable them discuss military strategies that could match those of the British army of occupation that was armed to teeth with conventional weapons.One of the wars general with tested skills for charms proposed the poisoning of banana food which would be freely kept at Isi Uzo Ani (gateway to the Kingdom). He had divined that the whiteman could not resist bananas and that proposal alongside others was adopted.Major Harper did not take kindly to Obi Nzekwue`s nonchalance towards the administration in Asaba especially as regards his non payment of the fine that was imposed on him. He therefore ordered the Royal Army to attack Ogwashi-uku on the 26th of June, 1909, with the intention of capturing Obi Nzekwue as well to arrest Nwabuzo Nwa Iyogolo who had earlier killed one muzogi, a native of Igbuzo.The British Army were however beaten back to Asaba in their attempt to capture the Monarch in his palace. They reinforced and came through Iguzo and at Isi Uzo, Ogwashi-Uku traditional army laid ambush which precipitated a war before they could get to the palace once again for a show down. Casualties on the side of the British Army were enormous and there was a determination on the side of Ogwashi-Uku fighters to continue the war even on a larger scale.The British reinforced in the wake of what they perceived as planned rebellion against Her Majesty`s Government (HMG) in London. Following this, the people of Azungwu, Umudei and Ogbe Ubu also reinforced and invited the Omu (the Queen) of Ogwashi-Uku to equip them with war charms which she did. The Omu connected two pots with strands of cotton and said that anybody that climb the cotton strands and fell would not go to war. All did except one Udu who fell and died. Meanwhile the poisoned bananas were moved to the route leading to the Palace and where they suspected that the British would follow.The Obi`s palace was finally stormed by the British where they met a damsel with her breast throbbing and inviting. The scenario turned stranger than fiction, the British dispersed from the Palace as Obi Nzekwue disappeared. Outside the Palace, they met heaps of enticing banana which they ate and before dusk some 160 of the fighting men (4th Regiments) died as a result. That made the British Royal Army to retreat to Abu Ano Market spot and camped there. Threatened by their close presence, the Azungwu wing of the traditional army prepared for the final lap of the battles. A good number of able body young men turned out to bury the remains of the British soldiers who died as a result while the likes of Nwabuzo Nwa Iyogolo, Isiekwe Odogwu, Ubaka Adudu and Agbambu Anika became thirsty for blood as they advanced towards Abu Ano for collision with the Royal Army. They crept through the bush and shot most of the soldiers, who suffers the disadvantages of the military rule not to reply fire except on the order of the commander, this, invariably cause them some form of defeat at the hands of the traditional army for a second time.Perhaps, what accounted for the victory of the home army over that of Her Majesty`s soldiers was the system of guerrilla warfare (Bush War) that was devised which was highly disadvantageous to the British soldiers as the system was unknown to them.As the war escalated, Major Harper sent another battalion to overcome the rebellion in Ogwashi-Uku. On arrival, information reached the aggressors army commander in Ogwashi-Uku that Obi Nzekwue was hiding at Ikemkpu Olor Ogbe Ubu and that all the traditional army formations, it was the Azungwu`s that were invincible and had to be attacked and vanquished based on some elements of saboteurs who conducted the British soldiers to Abodei, two months after their arrival from Asaba. As the soldiers came up to Abodei with Captain Apper commanding, they vandalised every nook and cranny of the village leaving nine children dead while many more deserted the camp for a dear life. They then burnt the entire village and on their way home, as Captain Apper was looking at ant hill-unknown to him that Nwabuzo Nwa Iyogolo had ambushed them, he received a gunshot and died immediately. This caused the soldiers to panic and stampede, crushing their Captain`s head in the process. This was followed by a song from the home band saying “Afulu Egbue Onye Ocha Kpe Me Soja-Meaning (bullet has killed a white man much less a soldier.Still, the British were determined to bring the kingdom to her knees, and again has to reinforce for a decisive battle as they stormed Ikemkpu Olor, Mkpolo Enyi and Akpoma in order to vanquish Azungwu. The war however became uncontrollable as it grew in intensity and spread. The guerrilla tactics employed by Ogwashi-Uku native army served to further thwart the British military action to a point of frustration as they could not understand the manner of the bush war.The war raged on until the news came on the death of King George V and Major Harper was directed to call off the war and declare amnesty for war prisoners as a prelude to entering peace talks with Obi Nzekwue. The British war commander in Ogwashi-uku asked Obi Nzekwue to come out of hiding as the war was over but Azungwu people rejected the appeal as well as the peace offer, insisting that the war must continue to the last man. A native in the service of the British was then asked to meditate between the people of Ogwashi-uku and the invaders. He succeeded in assembling the people of the clan and the representatives of the British in Obi`s Palace to enable each of them state their grievances. In attendance were Onochie Ogwologite, Agbambu Anika, Nwabuzo Nwa Iyogolo, Uba Adu and Okaeme Nwa Mordia who were all in high spirit with songs, drumming and dancing the peace talks.Finally, the investigator and all the parties to the conflict reached an accord to suspend all hostilities and to allow peace to reign. In recognition of Ogwashi-Uku military power and great valour, the Headquarters of the then Asaba Division was moved to Ogwashi-Uku in 1910 while Obi Nzekwue joined his ancestors on December 3, 1913

Readers Comments (1)

  1. The power of unity hmmm how are the mighty fallen


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