Onitsha History, Kingship and Changing Cultures

Visit to Nsugbe: Igwe and Ijele

Dec 28 1961: Akpom: Igwe of Nsugbe “formerly Isiokwe man” (I met him)….

Byron’s boy Michael

The Road to Nsugbe (looking north)
Mighty Nsugbe Ijele circles the Ilo

When we first began working with him, Byron Maduegbuna would often surprise me with a suggestion that we travel to some hinterland Igbo community in order to witness some kind of event.  I think sometimes he had business in these locations, and knowing that our Fiat vehicle (motu-machis) was available, he thus could gain transportation with less bother than he would face negotiating with the touts at the Onitsha Lorry Park.  Of course, many other conveniences would result from having transportation at his destination.  (And we did enjoy each other’s company and interests.)

On this occasion1, Byron’s steward Michael, a gentle, poised young man who was a native of Nsugbe, accompanied us along with another man of Byron’s family, so we met a few core members of his descent group.

On this occasion — the day of the outing of a grand Ijele masquerade, organized for the people of Nsugbe by their new Igwe or Obi — the road to Nsugbe became increasingly crowded as we neared the town.  Women carrying loads and escorting children shared the narrow dirt pathway with occasional motorcars, and I once again saw extremely dangerous situations due to the careless aggressive incompetence of the hired drivers. ((I have discussed this briefly elsewhere, see

Note:  visit to Nsugbe “Obi”, who is a native Onitsha man from Isiokwe:  his name is Anyansi; Igwe Achebe knew him — he had wavy hair.















































nsugbe-ijele-children jpg




































  1. I sadly confess I have misplaced my field notes regarding this trip. so this report will be very sketchy. Return ↩
Scroll to Top