The Omu of Nigeria tradition

Who is an Omu

An Omu (awe-mu)/Mother is the highest royal title and position given to a woman as the leader of the women in the Kingdom. It is a over 820 years old tradition among the Anioma subtribe of the Igbo pople of Nigeria whereby there is a dual sex monarchy, King/Obi as monarch and Omu as a Queen mother. This tradition was largely reduced durig the colonial indirect rule system but has survisved silently in the respective communities. The royal roles and traditions of an Omu include;

  • Leader of Women, overseeing women’s affairs
  • Spriritual Guide to the King/Obi and community and not mother of the King
  • Custodian of the Market, ancestral shrines, solving market disputes
  • Once installed as Omu, she achieves status like men, take titles reserved for Men and dress like men- wear the red cap reserved for chiefs
  • Omu is preferred to be post menopause
  • Omu must not be married, if she is already married, she leaves her husbands house and retusn to her fathers home where a palace is built for her. She may occassionally visit her husband but must not sleep. The conjugal part is a grey area
  • The Omu marries many wives who sire children for her, since has now achieved the status of a man
  • Omu position is never emerged through election but chosen or selected by the Obi from the royal lineage
  • Omu has members of her cabinet known as Omu-In-Council. They’re usually chosen from each of the Ogbe or quarters
  • She also performs any other duty assigned to her by the Obi

Omu of Okpanam, Delta state, Nigeria

Obi Martha Dunkwu is the current Omu of Okpanam. She was crowned Omu in 2002 after coming back for UK and America where she had stayed and studied. She is the most well known Omu in Nigeria and was made Omu of all Anioma

Omu of Asaba

Obi (Chief), Ada Sunday Nwanneamaka Biosah (Ph.D) is the 14th Omu of Asaba/Ahaba. She is an advocate of proper family planning and a strong voice in the fight against human trafficking in Delta State.

Omu of Issele Uku Kingdom

Omu Beatrice Ebidomnwa Onwordi was installed the 6th Omu by King (Obi) of Issele Uku Kingdom in 2018. Omuship in Issele-Uku rotates among the three villages of Ogbeofu, Ogbeowele and Ukpai

Thid Pic is the Omu in 1994

Photo ; Ukpuru/Twitter

Omu of Ibusa

Obi Isioma Josephine Nwannabuogwu is the current Omu of Ibusa community.

Omu of Ogwashi Uku

Omu Ochendo Clara Edith Rafua-Doumbi Kinkel

Photo ; Ukpuru/Twitter

Omu of Onicha Ugbo

Omu Anwuli Nkenchor.

Photo ; Ukpuru/Twitter

Omu of Onicha Uku

Omu Theresia Uwadia

Omu of Obior Kingdom, Delta State

Omu Onyebuchibe Okonkwo is the current Omu of Obior Kingdom. She was crowned in 2018

Omu of Issele Azagba

Omu Azuka Muoekwunye

From left— Omu of Ugbolu, Omu Esther Obiogwa; Omu of Ukala, Omu Lobe Nokwaba; Omu of Okpanam/Anioma, Obi Martha Dunkwu; Omu of Obior, Omu Onyebuchibe Okonkwo, amd others at the meeting.
  • Omu of Ugbolu, Esther Obiogwa
  • Omu of Ukala Lobe Nokwaba
  • Omu of Obomkpa, Queensly Uzoka
  • Omu of Ubulu-Okiti Felicia Okolie
  • Omu of Idumuogo, Omu Diji
  • Omu of Onicha-Olona, Ada Dunkwu

Omu Okwei of Ossomari

Omu Okwei was born to Prince Osuna Afubeho. Okwei married Joseph Alagoa Elemah in 1889 and later to Opene. She exchanged merchandise for food which she sold to euopeans and soon she became the wealthiest woman in Igboland in 1920s due to her trading business. She was crowned in 1936 as the Omu of Ossomari and reigned until her death in 1943. She was the only female allowed to sit in the onitsha native court. She was also an adviser to the Atamanya (King of Ossomari) 

Her first son, Francis, was crowned His Royal Majesty Francis Ossomade Joseph Allagoa, MINGI X, Amayanabo of Nembe Kingdom (1954-1967). He became a district interpreter in Okigwe, a Registrar of the Supreme Court of Nigeria (1934-1946), and a magistrate in 1950. Okwei’s grandson, Ambrose, was also crowned His Royal Majesty Ambrose Ezeolisa Francis Allagoa, MINGI XI, Amayanabo of Nembe Kingdom (1979-2003). Okwei’s title has never been awarded to another woman out of respect for her legacy

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