Ozo title, the highest conferment in Igboland

Obinwannem News Ozo title, the highest conferment in Igboland

The Igbo people are well known to take various kind of titles. They take titles anywhere they find themselves; at home, even in a foreign land. In a foreign land, the Igbo people has a way of creating a home. They gather themselves together form a mini community, and take titles which is mostly expensive.

This is the reason you hear of “Eze ndi Igbo na China,” “Eze ndi Igbo na Malaysia,” “Eze ndi Igbo na Kano,” et cetra. These title does not just show the Igbo wealth but it also talks a lot about the influence, hard work, responsibility and leadership skills of the person taking them as the Igbo people does not just give titles to anyone that cannot afford it.

However, a title can still be conferred on someone if it is proven beyond reasonable doubt that such person(s) deserves it. This is the title the Igbo people confers on their heroes and those who has put in every necessary hard work for the progress of the Igbo race. What ‘National Honor’ is to America and United kingdom; what their medals of honor represents, is the exact thing the Igbo title represents to the Igbos.

The Ozo title, unlike other Igbo title, cannot just be done anywhere, or at anytime. This title requires a deal of secrecy and sacredness. The Ozo title is the highest spiritual, socio-cultural title, amongst the Igbo people, it is like an initiation into nobility. It is mostly done in the person’s town and often very expensive to acquire, it could be said that the Ozo title is the most expensive title amongst the Igbo people.

Once a man takes the Ozo title, consequently, he has become an ‘Nze’. People think the Nze, and Ozo are two different title; but the Ozo title automatically confers on you the position of an Nze.

The Ozo title is mostly the men’s title; although in recent times, some communities have conferred this title on a few women. Before one takes the Ozo title, it is assumed that the person has already taken the ichie title, the ichie title is taken first.

In most Igboland, There are two classes of ozo; the first is ‘Nnukwu Ozo’. The latter consists of subgroups called ‘Dunu,’ ‘Dim,’ and ‘Ezeana’. The second class of Ozo is called the ‘Obele Ozo’. Under this class, there are ‘Eyisi,’ ‘Ezuzo’ and ‘Okpala’.

In about 1930, a new grade of Ozo was introduced to the ‘Nnukwu Ozo’ sub-class known as the ‘Igwe’ or ‘Eze’ which only the Eze Nri (The king of Nri ) is privileged to have. It is the highest grade of the Ozo title.

In most towns of the Igboland, the Ozo title cannot be taken until you become a man; while some community confers it to a boy as long as his father can afford it – that is why you hear about “Ozo Ochinanwata, ” implying that he took the title at a very young age. In most towns, especially amongst the Igbo people residing in Nigeria’s Delta State, one may not take the title unless his father is dead. There are heights the Ozo title can achieve, unless you fail certain obligation.

The people look up to the Ozo title holders for leadership and assistance in times of difficulty, because they are regarded as the representatives of the ancestors. They swear oath never to lie or do wrong intentionally in any situation. Hence, breaking of this oath attracts great spiritual penalties and most times taking away of the Ozo title.

The Igbo people possess distinct values in every part of their lives as there are peculiarities towards the Ozo title.

Ifesinachi Nnabugwu reporting, Obinwannem News

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