Kedu and Welcome to the Oraifite Community Town - Igboland or Igbo country (Alaigbo or Anaigbo) of South Eastern and South Central of Nigeria.
"Oraifite - Home of Raffia Palm Wine (called "Ngwo" in Igbo language). First, lets eat some kola nuts ("Oji") and thank almighty father for a long life and prosperity!
"Ndi b'anyi ndeewo nu O!...Onye wetara oji, wetara ndu..." meaning...He who bring kola bring life!
The belief in one God, Chukwu, spirits and the ancestors was a way of life of the Igbo people. Oraifite means Ora (group), Ifite (people) or group of people living together with common language, and a common cultural heritage.First, lets visualize where Oraifite is in the Igbo Land.
"Oraifite is one of the towns that make up ANAEDO clan which consists of Nnewi, Oraifite and Ichi. Anaedo has the same history,
traditional and customs in respect of festivals, traditional inhereitance and succession to obiship.
According to oral traditions, the authentic history of ANAEDO has it that Nnewi is the eldest son of Ikenga, followed by
Oraifite and Ichi the youngest son of their father. Oraifite being the most clever and the wiser of Ikenga sons.
Map of Oriaifte in the Igbo Land
Oraifite is an autonomous community and the second largest town in the mediaeval Anaedo kingdom. It is densely populated and situated
about 12 - 16 kilometers from Onitsha both sides of the Onitsha-Owerri Road popularly known as Ekwusigo. It is bounded on the East
by Nnewi, West by Atani, North by Oba and South by Ozubulu.
The land area extends from River Niger plains in the West and rises to higher grounds towards Nnewi to the East. The Ekwusigo highway runs
along the ridge and the plains are better appreciated by around Oba (behind Rojenny amusement park). This land area is dissected by Ekulo River
and bounded on the South by River Eze. Both rivers empty into the River Niger through a very complex system of waterways in the flood
plain (Mgbo!) which is navigable down to Atani town by the River Niger.
Oraifite was among the towns in the former Onitsha South County Council (OSCC) and later Nnewi local Government and now
Ekwusigo Local Government with Headquarters at Ozubulu.
Oraifite is made up of four quarters namely: Unodu(consists of Ibolo, Umuezopi and Isingwu), Ezumeri, Irefi
and Ifite. Each of these quarters had a traditional head known as Obi.These Obis have one of them (the Obi of Unodu)
as the Isi-Obi (Head Chief). The Isi-Obi is the traditional head of Oraifite people.
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the history of Oraifite
CHIEF GREGORY UDEH-UBAKA the Eze-Ora-1
Chief Udeh-Ubaka was recognised by the State Government in November 1977, and installed the Igwe of Oraifite in December of the same year. He ruled Oraifite until his death some time around the end of 1984. Chief Ude-Ubaka pursued a successful career in both the then Ministry of Works and the Ministry of Local Government in Port Harcourt where he attained the high rank of both the Inspector of Works (building) in ministry of works and later, Head of the Building Section of the Ministry of Local Government in Port Harcourt.
After his retirement from civil services in 1971, the chief established a very successful civil Engineering construction firm - Messrs Ude-Ubaka and Sons Limited with headquarters at Enugu. He progressed to become one of the most illustrious sons of Oraifite in his area of endeavour before he went into the chieftaincy scheme.
Among his achievements as the Igwe of Oraifite included the building of Police quarters and Office in his Palace, the setting up a modern Post Office building and staff quarters in Oraifite, initiation of the electricfication of Oraifite by NEPA Lagos, and handsome donations towards the Oraifite Cottage Hospital as well as to many social clubs inthe town. He was a philantropist of no mean order and a man of charming and powerful personality. He was married wth seven children.
By the death of this illustrious son of Oraifite, at the blom of his life, the town unquestionably lost one of her formost citizens. The unfortunate exit of this great philantropist frm our midst at the time he did, must be deeply reflected upon by Orafite citizens.
Although we cannot question God, but we must learn from experience that no town can become great which trades her citizens with destructive forces of falsehood and treachery only for selfish gains and gratification of hollow individual egos. It is hoped that Chief Udeh-Ubaka has not died in vain.
CHIEF BEN UDOJI 1935 - 1943
Chief Ben Udoji resigned finally from the teaching profession and returned to Oraifite in 1934 from Owerri for the funeral of his father. He was crowned in 1935 and reigned as the traditional ruler of Oraifite and Ichi until his death in 1943.
He occupied the same palace building as his last immediate two predecessors, his grandfather and his father. He married former Miss Dorah Ezinwa Adili (Teacher and eex-student of Uwguogba women's training college presently W.T.C Ogbunike) from Umuezeopi Oraifite and they had the following children:
- Chief Dr. Daniel Udoji - Specialist Surgeon & Physician
- Prince Edwin Udoji - Engineer (U.S.A)
- Prince Mich Udoji - Banker (Union Bank Lagos)
- Princess Mrs Comfort Udechukwu - Midwife (Ministry of Health Enugu)
- Princess Mrs Pearl Obidigwe - Teacher (Lagos)
THE UDOJI PALACE BUILDING (Constructed In 1836)
It is really amazing that this first modern building in Oraifite has defied the ravages of weather, rodents and ants since 1943 when it was vacated for good. Since that time the palace premises had become athick jungle and the building, the home of reptiles and all imaginable animals. Yet, when the premises was cleared in December 1985, the monumental palace was still found standing firm without major deterioration.
The palace was built in 1836 with the materials supplied by Portuguese Merchants (Potokill). The construction was also supervised by them. Through this information it can be seen that the Portuguese reached Oraifite more than 70 years before the British who came in 1905. The only difference was that while the Portuguese were simply interested in trading, the British came to colonise.
It is also interestng to know that the Portuguese Merchants got to Oraifite from River Niger. They anchored their stream ships out in th eriver, hired local people with their native canons who rowed them through the tributary (Ngbo water way) into the Ekulo river as far int Oraifite as the point now directly behind the Oraifite Boys Secondary School. From there they made contact with the Chief and the Oraifite people in the area that is today the Ibolo village.
The legendary wealth of the then Chief must be attributed to this contact with the Portuguese business men. It is not surprising therefore that the Udoji Royal family was already civilised and prepared to cooperate with the British when they came in 1905.
Hence, the early Missionaries were readily embraced by the palace Authority even against the initial misgivens of some of the lesser Chiefs of other Oraifite villages across the Ekulo river.
It will be in the historical interest of the town if this palace is preserved as a permanent monument.
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