History of Amauzari



Uzari was the founding father of Amauzari. Amauzari means a thoroughfare to the house of Uzari. He was born in the year in which his father, Mbama Onyeukwu, had a bunt harvest. His father was overjoyed that his first wife, Nwaanma, gave birth to his first child and first son, on the year he had abundant harvest.

Like in most other parts of Igbo land, before the advent of Christianity in Amauzari, the people of Amauzari predominantly communally worshipped carved wooden gods, their chi . Their lives revolved around deities and their farmlands. Mbama Onyeukwu, the father of Uzari was the Chief Priest of ‘Ezeala Uhie’, of the deities.

It is speculated that Mbama Onyeukwu was born at about 940AD around Mbaa River. About year 1001, Mbaa River overflowed its bank and flooded all the surrounding areas, including the land in which ‘Ezeala Uhie’ was located. Mbama was agitated by the natural disaster and decided to move to the hinterland. He eventually settled in a place called ‘Ikpa Eke-Oga’ or ‘Obi-Mbama’, the present location of Mbama local Government Development Area.

As Mbaa River dried up at ‘Ikpa Eke-Oga’, coupled with the threats of wars from Atta people, Mbama Onyeukwu set up his residence at ‘Ikpa-Mbama in Umuechem Amauzari, where he lived till he died. Mbama Onyeukwu gave up the worship and service of ‘Ezala Uhie’ the god of the seas and the waves (in the year 1002) in the protest of the sudden departure of Mbaa River, which he blamed for the flood of Ill-luck and setbacks in inter-communal wars. He opted to worship ‘Duruemezuru’ deity, the god of fulfilment the bountiful god, the god that accepted sacrifices wholeheartedly.

Mbama Onyeukwu was blessed with material wealth, children and good health. He had three wives, and bore six sons and many daughters. His first wife, Nwaanma, begat Uzari (970AD) and Inyishi (now in Ikeduru) (972 AD) while Nwaihu, the second wife begat Nkwo (973AD) (now Umunkwo) and Aku (975AD the present day Amaraku). The third wife, Ejiatu begat Igbo and Ndugba, present-day Amaigbo and Amandugba respectively. His first four sons and daughters now live in today’s Mbama, while Amaigbo (976AD) and Amandugba (979AD) are now in the Nwangele and Orlu local governments of Imo State respectively.

The golden thread that runs through the children of Mbama Onyeukwu is the adoption of ‘Ama’ in their names, in reverence to their great father, Mbama.

Uzari worked for his father up to the age of fifteen years and at 16, he cultivated his firs farm at a piece/parcel of land called ‘Uhu Olerum’ in today’s Umuechem. The yield of that land was beyond description. The land, Uhu Olerum, is still the most fertile land in Amauzari today.

The story told over the decade was that Uzari did not even let his mother know of his farm, from the clearing of the bush to the planting of the seeds to the weeding of the grasses. He worked surreptitiously, in the early hours of the day and towards sunset. He wanted to live up to his name as given to him by his father. Mbama Onyeukwu.

When Mbama Onyeukwu harvested his yams and other crops, and stored same in his barn, Uzari also harvested his yams and put them in his own barn at ‘Uhu-Olerum’.

On an eventful day, when Mbama Onyeukwu, Uzari, Inyishi, Nkwo and Aku were going on a hunting expedition, they saw a very large barn with assorted yams, arranged conspicuously, one on top of the other in lines, on a well prepared barn, while the cocoyams were in heaps of about a hundred or so. Mbama Onyeukwu commanded his sons to take cover, and they did; and he asked the children ‘did you see the wide open space in front of you?’ it looks like a barn of yams and cocoyams. Stay calm children! I believe someone from somewhere have entered our territory and land; cultivated on it and may be living close by. Get yourselves ready for war. War! War! War! We have a war on our hands! Gird your loins and let someone fetch Igbo and Ndugba, my other sons from the obi…’

Uzari interjected and said to his father … ‘the owner of the barn may be one amongst us. No need to worry papa’, Inyishi added, ‘no wonder Uzari wakes up before the first cock-crow everyday and goes hunting alone and comes back towards sunset of each day- all alone’.

There was laughter and a great joy in the hunting party. Father and sons moved briskly to see and appreciated the secret efforts of Uzari. The harvest therein, like Uzari’s name, was truly abundant.

On getting to the barn, Uzari narrated every step he took in the farming experiment. How he got his yam seedlings from across the border in Ikeduru from families who have been wiped out by wars and how he intended to maintain an independent existence, his farm and barn according to his name. The father was delighted and called him ‘Ome ka nna ya’. Everyone present eulogized him and sang his praises.

Uzari grew up with great physical features and robust attributes. He was tall, strong and full of life. He was a man of means which in those days amounted to barns of yams, and other tubers, palm trees and most importantly, wives and children. He ate healthily and was the epitome of hard work. He farmed vigorously and was an astute hunter. The staple foods came from his farmlands while protein and meat were obtained from his hunting expeditions at the nook and crannies of his huge land holding, and from livestock kept in his residence.

Uzari was a warrior who hardly trembled and was hardly fatigued. He was a fighter with a difference, who attacked to perfection and knew how to lure and snare the enemy into a volley of firepower, an archer who rarely missed a shot.
He was a rugged fighter who marshalled his warriors into intricate manoeuvres and fought without flagging. He gained advantage easily over his enemies (on occasions when the end of wars or hostilities was to be negotiated) with fluent oratory. His oratory skill was profoundly manifested whenever he addressed his troops in preparation for a battlefield.

Uzari grew in size and stature, was blessed with increased harvest every year, and made money. He also kept goats, cow, sheep, chickens and exotic birds and his agricultural outputs multiplied every year. Uzari informed his father of his intention to take a wife to assist him. The request was granted and Uzari married his first wife Ukwu who gave birth to Igwe now called Umuigwe. Igwe the known direct son of Uzari, married three wives – Olugie who begat Eze; Nmaezi who was the mother of Agu and thereafter Nneuwa who was his last wife and mother of Echem.

Amauzari today occupies an area of approximately 1100 sq kilometres. It is a native town with agrarian proclivities and was initially in Isiala-Mbano local government area of Imo state, Nigeria. In 2005, Mbama local government was created by the Governor, Achike Udenwa. However, Mbama local government is yet to be ractified by the National Assembly and legalised. Therefore, technically speaking, Amauzari is still part and parcel of Isiala –Mbano Local Government.

Amauzari has common borders with Umunkwo, Abajah, Amaigbo, Amandugba, Atta and Ogwa, all in Imo Sate. It is in the the Igbo heartland, and is approximately 20 kilometers from Owerri and 30 kilometers from Okigwe.

Amauzari is densely populated. The population of Amauzri was put at 13,467 by the 1963 census. The projected population of Amauzari today is about 100,000 people.

Majority of the population are Christians. Despite the influence of Christianity, majority of the families dating back to 1970’s were polygamous in nature ranging up to 27 wives to a man. Christianity, education, civilization plus current economic situation has brought major and drastic changes as of today, so in majority of cases today, it is one man to a wife.
The economic landscape has also changed; more people are educated creating new rising stars within the society. In the past, leadership and economic powers were predominantly concentrated in the hands of few. Economic powers are now more equitably distributed. The general standard of living has expanded and greatly increased. The numbers of middle class families have increased enormously. There is still advert poverty among the very few… the new administration under the leadership of Chief Johnson Asinugo is working absolutely hard to eradicate this situation.