BOOK TITLE: The story of Ubulu Kingdom, A
Historical Documentary of the
People of Ubulu
AUTHOR: Esther Nwogwonuwe Wright
PUBLISHER: Opelsey Ventures Nigeria
PAGE: 324 pages
Inspired by the need to preserve her people’s cultural heritage, against the backdrop of the erosion of the country’s cultural heritage”, writer, theatre director and filmmaker, Esther Nwogwonuwe Wright, embarked the production of a film on the people of Ubulu. She therefore set out from Lagos to her hometown Ubulu-Uku in 2005. But as events unfolded, what she discovered and verified was far too weighty.
She says, “What stood naked before me was the reality of the total disregard of the core values in our cultural heritage and the speed with which these cultural values were slipping away and being replaced with borrowed cultures or none.”
According to her, the fear of losing sight of who we are and what we would be without our cultural values “was glaringly standing aloft, and starring me in the face like a weathered tree struggling to survive in the desert, yet, crying out for the urgent need to find, collect, save and preserve what was gracefully and freely passed to us for now and for the feature before it disappears completely.
“So, the need arose more than ever to document the knowledge of the custodians of these cultures before they die with their vast knowledge, taking with them to their graves our history undocumented proved fatal and might leave us without an identity. As a result, inside of me was born the great hunger to do more, as I realised that a single hour‐long documentary film would be a disservice to the understanding of the complex interwoven political, economic and socio-cultural developments of the Ubulu Kingdom and the Ubulu people as the research later revealed.”
She reasoned that only by producing this information first in a written form would one be able to explain and appreciate the findings, as well as tell the story of the Ubulu Kingdom.
‘The story of Ubulu Kingdom, as the title suggests, is a historical documentary of the people of Ubulu scattered throughout the southern part of Nigeria. Written in clear and lucid language, the book, which is divided into eight chapters, is a fascinating and inspiring read, especially as it also assists in correcting the erroneous impression that being civilised means detaching oneself from cultural practices, burning artifacts, destroying what was left behind by our ancestors. For instance, some people refuse to participate in their festivals, dance, music, and village meetings, or dress in traditional attire.
“Having travelled to more than eleven countries, my greatest fascination had been their culture and the importance attached to these cultural heritage as well as the boost cultural tourism had brought to their economy which I know our communities if passionately looked into and security created, we could have a great source of revenue as it seen in countries such as Britain, Israel, Kenya and others,” the author stated.
Chapters one and two dwell on the Ubulu towns and how it all started; the mystery behind the activities of some migrants and the mystic pot called ‘Ududu’. The ancestral origin as well as reasons for their migration out of their original places is highlighted here.
Chapter three is about the culture and traditions of Ubulu people; the significance of their festivals and ceremony such as: Ikenga, iwa ji, iwu and ine festival, isa ifi, idegbe, non-consumption of the civet cat known as edi, are highlighted.
In chapter four, the author writes on the founder of Ubulu kingdom – The Man Ezemu – and what made him an exceptional statesman of his time. She notes: “In everything he (Ezemu) did, he displayed intelligence, courage, patience, intrigues, and pursued his diplomacy with a deep sense of awareness that human destiny was divinely controlled. A man with enormous energy, a competent administrator, a great diviner and a diplomat, Ezemu used his talents to get what he wanted. He was well rooted in the use of herbal medicine. These attributes he combined and used to secure all he wanted for his kingdom. Ezemu, is a legend whose extraordinary accomplishments had an unequalled track record…”
Chapter five is on Ezemu/Ozim dynasty – from the lineage of Ozim, came the Umuozim. According to the author, “they are the direct children of the past kings in Ubulu kingdom beginning from Ezemu. They are the princes and princesses spread all over the quarters in Ubulu‐Ukwu, Ubulu‐Okiti and beyond…”
Political and social cultural organisations among Ubulu towns, is the focus of Chapter 6. It is interesting to note that the people of Ubulu towns still maintain ties with kingship, family, kindred, as well as agegrade with structures that differed slightly from one town to the other.
Chapter Seven dwells on war experience and the Ubulu people, while chapter eight is on their contact with the outside world.
The launch of this book which is scheduled to hold this Saturday April 15, in Ubulu-Uku, Aniocha south LGA, in Delta State, will bringing together the Ubulu people whose common ancestry dates back to the legendry Ezemu and his brother Obodo.