How Eke, Oye, Afor And Nkwo Market Days Were Introduced In Igboland

It was during the reign of Eze Nrijiofor I 1300-1390AD, the fifth Eze Nri in the line of succession. One day during his reign, four strangers came to visit him at his palace. When they arrived, these four wise men or ‘magi' pretended to be deaf and dumb. They did not say their names or their mission to Nri. Each of them carried ‘nkata'-basket known as "Abuokpa".

They were taken to the visitors' room by the king's servant-‘Adama'. Later in the evening, the Eze went to see them, but they did not greet the Eze and did not acknowledge his greetings. ‘Oji'-kolanut was presented to them but they did not say anything.

Later at night, they were shown where to sleep. In the middle of the night, the Eze's soothsayers sent a rat to disturb them. When the rat went to the first basket that belonged to ‘eke' and started to nibble at it, ‘oye' woke up and said "‘eke' wake up". When he answered him; ‘oye' told ‘eke' that a rat was trying to get to his basket. Eke woke up and the rat ran away. After a while, the rat repeated the same trick on the remaining baskets, and in the same manner, all of them revealed each other's names.

In the morning, the Eze went to the strangers' room to greet them and to perform the ‘oji ututu'-morning kola nut rituals. The Adama broke the kola nuts and the king called each of the visitors by their names-‘eke' ‘oye' ‘afo' and ‘nkwo'. The visitors which were referred to as ‘o bialu ije ekwu okwu'-visitors that do not talk, were astonished when they heard their names being mentioned by the Eze.

They asked for water to wash their hands and faces; and took the kola nuts that were presented to them. After chewing the kola nuts, they gave the King ite ano-four earthen pots and directed him to keep the pots in front of the Nri Menri shrine outside the ‘obu'-palace, with each pots facing the sun. ‘Eke' who was their spokesman, told the Eze that the first pot was owned by him, ‘eke', the second one by ‘oye' the third by ‘afor' and the last by ‘nkwo'. He told the Eze that the four pots were sent down from ‘Chukwu'-God Almighty. He instructed the Eze that he and his people whom he ruled should be observing those names daily as market days, during which they should be buying and selling. These market days are used in Igboland to count the native weeks-‘izu', months-‘onwa; and year-‘aro'. Therefore, Eke, Oye, Afor and Nkwo (four market days) make one ‘izu'-week. He also instructed him that the first name that should be given to their male children should commence with ‘eke', then ‘oye', ‘afo' and ‘nkwo'. That is why we have igbo names as Okeke or Nweke, Okoye or Nwoye, Okafor or Nwafor, and Okonkwo or Nwankwo. In the same order, female children should be given "Mgbeke", "Mgboye", "Mgbafor" and "Mgbankwo". The message was preached throughout Igbo land by spiritual priests of Nri and they set up market squares in Igbo land.

The four strangers later told the Eze that they were messengers from God. Some foods were prepared for them but they did not eat them. In the noon, these magi of Igbo land disappeared from the Eze Nri palace like angels. The news spread throughout Igbo land and far west and north where it was observed to this day. Edo, Ogoja, Igala-Onoja, and Calabar peoples observe these market days in their lands, though they gave it different names to suit their dialects.

For more Igbo traditions, go to www.nrikingdom.com and www.nrienweluana.com

See also the new book titled: "Nri Kingdom: Igbo, A Lost Jewish Race" by Chief Ambrose Nnalue Okonkwo with a forward by Prof. Miriam Ikejiani-Clark (Ada Di Ora Mma of Nri)

Chukwudi Nwokoye can be reached at nwokoyeac@hotmail.com



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Re: How Eke, Oye, Afor And Nkwo Market Days Were Introduced In Igboland
Aguabata posted on 07-06-2008, 06:25:14 AM
what a lovely myth, but not the most brilliant.
Re: How Eke, Oye, Afor And Nkwo Market Days Were Introduced In Igboland
Oguguo Yakere posted on 07-06-2008, 15:18:41 PM
I don't beleive this myth. It sounds recently made up. Most of Igboland say Eke , Orie, Afo and Nkwo. Oye is ok but dialectical, so it could not have been the origin. Let us learn to share some more mature and cogent part of our history even if such is a myth.
Re: How Eke, Oye, Afor And Nkwo Market Days Were Introduced In Igboland
Willy posted on 07-06-2008, 17:19:40 PM
QUOTE:
I don't beleive this myth. It sounds recently made up. Most of Igboland say Eke , Orie, Afo and Nkwo. Oye is ok but dialectical, so it could not have been the origin. Let us learn to share some more mature and cogent part of our history even if such is a myth.



OY,

That Oye is used in different dialects does not mean its origin is in doubt. Many Greek gods - Venus, etc became part of the Roman pantheons does not make them any less Greek.

On the issue of dating - you can look up M. Angulu Onwuejeogwu's "An Igbo Civilization: Nri Kingdom and Hegemony" where this myth is also cited in the 4th chapter - The Nri Economic System. Mind you that work on this book which started before the civil war though the book was finally published in 1980 is arguably the most respected work on Igbo civilization, successfully dating Igbo civilization including the Igbo-Ukwu artifacts within acceptable scholarly standards. In summary, this story did not just start today.

On the issue of "more mature and cogent part of our history" I suggest you research this myth before casting it away. It is not any more or less a myth than the first verse of the Bible through the last book of same, neither is it any more or less a myth than Pan-Ku (Chinese), etc.

I suggest you pick up a copy of Onwuejeogwu's book (may his recently departed soul rest in peace) and few other works on Igbo civilization to acquaint yourself with more details of the myths that were integral to the religion of the Igbos before the advent of foreign

Until then, keep keeping up my brother
Re: How Eke, Oye, Afor And Nkwo Market Days Were Introduced In Igboland
Zanderlex posted on 07-06-2008, 21:17:55 PM
Myth or not, I like your writting and best of all, your continued projection of the Igbo culture. Mazi Nwokoye, it seems you are seeking the OFOR NRI title!!!!...............just kidding!!!!!.
Re: How Eke, Oye, Afor And Nkwo Market Days Were Introduced In Igboland
Oguguo Yakere posted on 07-06-2008, 22:41:31 PM
I hear you. Thanks.
Re: How Eke, Oye, Afor And Nkwo Market Days Were Introduced In Igboland
Akuluouno posted on 07-08-2008, 06:11:03 AM
Your Excellency Mazi Nwokoye,

Villagers are fully aware of my bias for articles that try to identify where the rain or the sun started to beat us such as this. Thanks once more for this enlightenment.
With this years Iri Ji festival about to be conferred national recognition akin to Osun Festival and Argungu Fishing Festival, and Igbo-Ukwu chosen as the venue, you may proceed to Obu Nri so that Eze Nri will confer you the title of Oti Mkpu Nri. Keep up the goodworks and I do not mean the type of goodworks which Andrew Young did for Our Father of Modern Nigeria on behalf of Nigeria
Re: How Eke, Oye, Afor And Nkwo Market Days Were Introduced In Igboland
Lionking posted on 07-08-2008, 08:03:45 AM
QUOTE:
Your Excellency Mazi Nwokoye,

Villagers are fully aware of my bias for articles that try to identify where the rain or the sun started to beat us such as this. Thanks once more for this enlightenment.
With this years Iri Ji festival about to be conferred national recognition akin to Osun Festival and Argungu Fishing Festival, and Igbo-Ukwu chosen as the venue, you may proceed to Obu Nri so that Eze Nri will confer you the title of Oti Mkpu Nri. Keep up the goodworks and I do not mean the type of goodworks which Andrew Young did for Our Father of Modern Nigeria on behalf of Nigeria


What's your beef with Nri? I no be Nri O! Just wondering.
Re: How Eke, Oye, Afor And Nkwo Market Days Were Introduced In Igboland
Chudi97 posted on 07-08-2008, 09:48:56 AM
QUOTE:
Your Excellency Mazi Nwokoye,

Villagers are fully aware of my bias for articles that try to identify where the rain or the sun started to beat us such as this. Thanks once more for this enlightenment.
With this years Iri Ji festival about to be conferred national recognition akin to Osun Festival and Argungu Fishing Festival, and Igbo-Ukwu chosen as the venue, you may proceed to Obu Nri so that Eze Nri will confer you the title of Oti Mkpu Nri. Keep up the goodworks and I do not mean the type of goodworks which Andrew Young did for Our Father of Modern Nigeria on behalf of Nigeria


Thank you Mazi Akuluouno. I am fully aware of this sacrilege of taking an important Igbo festival away from Nri, the ancestrial homeland of the Igbos. Politics has no place in tradition, and truth remains constant no matter what people do to cover the truth, it would prevail. The injustice would not go unpunished by the gods. As the saying goes, "anaghi ahapu isi aka agba uriom (uchu)" "ji anaghi esi n'odu efu ome"
Remember Mike Ejeagha's "Omekagu" song. Nri as the head of the great Igbo family will do like Omekagu's elder brother...."oja mu fugbuelu m Omekagu, fugbuelu m omekagu. Omekagu riri ji muo, omekagu riri ede muo. Oburu na ifugbelum omekagu, fugbuelum omekagu ka m were ebulu naa gi aka......" We hold the "ofo' and "ogu".

As for being the "otimkpu Nri", that's a major compliment and I wear it as a badge of honor. I am a proud Ambassador of Nri. O bulu mgbe enu bu ana osa, I will be travelling all over the globe cleansing the world of taboos and abominations on behalf of the sacred Eze Nri. Mba amaghi onye ukwu.

When the time comes, Nri will protest this injustice in full force with God and the gods on our side. Our "Onwa Asato" festival will go as scheduled and all Igbos in diaspora are invited. Stay tuned.....

Chukwudi Nwokoye
Ichie Ezechukwu I of Nri.
Re: How Eke, Oye, Afor And Nkwo Market Days Were Introduced In Igboland
Anioma777 posted on 07-08-2008, 10:29:13 AM
I will go and buy that book. Your description makes sense and is what my parents told me about the Igbo/Ibo origins. Although I am Delta Igbo one can clearly see the Influences of Igbo and Edo in our language.

I think its very refreshing to see younger Nigerians keeping traditions and researching more into our history.It often baffles me when so many Nigerians I meet are so ignornat of where they come from and their roots. Worse still some cannot even understand or speak thier language, even a simple hello they cannot utter.

Those who think this is a myth....lets us have your own version if you can find it.
Re: How Eke, Oye, Afor And Nkwo Market Days Were Introduced In Igboland
Akuluouno posted on 07-09-2008, 06:11:07 AM
Dear Lionking (Ezeagu),
Ichie Ezechukwu

Akuluouno pays respects. To all estemed Villagers, whatever title you have been conferred with, please may you be addressed by it. I am bread and buttered in Nri so I have no qualms about that holy town. Infact my qualms are akin to that of the proverbial cripple who was dazed when the choir started singing the popular hymnal "Stand up Stand up for Our Lord" (Icon showing Aku in a dazed mood)
Regarding the movement of Iri ji to Igbo Ukwu and the elevation to a national festival in a bid to attract tourists by the Tourism ministry, I have no qualms too. The matter will be addressed in the fulness of time or is it not our elders who counsel egbe belu ugo belu ( live and let live ). However it will still wrong for same elders to stand akimbo while the she-goat purirates in the hood.
Please throw away my words but do not throw me away.
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