The Origin of the Nike People of Enugu

A name is a kind of face whereby one or a place is known. A name is given primarily for identification. However, for the Igbo society it goes beyond this for names are a meaningful and significant part of people. Indeed names tell tales about people. In this article, we will be using 'Nike'for example. It means 'with power' or by 'force'. Hence something that is obtained by force or through power. 

Historically, the name was suggested by Anayo Enechukwu, taken after the war between Nike and Aro people. The war was inspired by inhuman treatment of Nike children who were being sold into slavery to the Aro people, who during the time inaugurated their firm position in Nike.

 

Nike as we know is a town made up of 24 villages under the authority of Enugu East of Enugu state, Nigeria. Population-wise, Nike is large in terms of land mass. It covers a massive area in Enugu east local government area.

Originally, it is legendary that Nike was biologically related to Egede and Affa. As a matter of Fact they were assumed to come from the same mother, Ugwunye. According to the story Ugwunye was a very beautiful woman who was married to Awuwa (a god).Ugwunye gave birth to Anike at Nike, she left Awuwa after sometime and married Ukwu,unknown was the reason why she left her first husband. However, it was habitual for beautiful women not to stay with one husband. 

This matrimonial Union between Ugwunye and Ukwu resulted in the birth of Egede and was married to Eze Achala Ukwu. As a result of that a baby was born at Ikolo by the name Affa. From the narration, Anike Nwa Awuwa, was the child of Awuwa and Ugwunye. It happened that Anike got married to a deity, Aho-Ojoma, in Nokpa. They had eleven children with Ibagwa as the eldest.

According to the story, on a faithful day Aho was hungry and wanted to eat. Unfortunately, Anike could not give them any food, Aho being annoyed by this incident, put a stone in his mouth and swallowed it. Following this, he took a vow never to eat again.

This explains till date why sacrificial animals meant for deity are not slaughtered but given to the priest of Aho alive. As a result of this bizarre development, Anike ran to Onyohu and made her home there. It was believed that when the children of Anike Nwa Awuwa came of age, dispersion became necessity, hence the establishment of other villages.

Another paramount place in Nike is the Ogui Nike. They were said to be descendants of refugees from one of the villages of Udi plateau. They were believed to have moved from Akegbe to settle at Ugwueke, so as to assist Nike during the celebrated war between Nike and Okpatu. 

Following this, they settled at Iji and later moved to their present location to check the encroachment of Awkunanaw on Nike land.Also,there was a general belief that Ogui and Akegbe were waging war against each other, they suggested to Akegbe to set houses of Ogui ablaze when they fled from their abode as an effective means of foretelling further attacks.

Importantly, there is the fact that Akegbe and Ogui were said to have blood relation.some quarters argued that it was actually the like of  'Izo Egonyi' more than anything that related Akegbe and Ogui.

Additionally, Emene is said to be the child of Nike and Akpawfu war. Nike's oral tradition on the belief that 28 people of Nike were poisoned by Akpawfu.Being enraged by this incident, the Nike people consequently invaded her in the course of invasion, the voice of Anike Nwa Awuwa was heard restraining Nike from further punitive action. Hence, Emene which means 'Don't do'.

The injunction was observed thought could not obliterate the consequences. The Akpawfu people because they poisoned 28 people of Nike were colonized for sometime and were prevented from worshipping Anike deity.

Finally, seen as confederation, the current geographical description now known as Nike was neither inhabited nor cultivated till the arrival of early settlers in Nike land. These settlers didn't arrive at the same time. They were Amokpo, Eziama, Ibagwa,Ahuhu,Nokpa, Ama-owelle,Edem,Ogui, Iji, Amaoyi and Onyohu.Needles to say is the fact that various villages that comprises of Nike town has no ancestral linkages. At various points in history, they came to settle at their present abode as a result of divergent circumstances.