Ikwerre is Igbo – Former Ohanaeze Secretary General and Ikwerre native dismisses existence of IPO

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The Ikwerre tribe’s connection to the Igbo lineage has been a topic of heated debate.

Uche Okwukwu, the former Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, who is also from Ikwer, recently addressed this controversy in an interview with the PUNCH.

When asked about the disagreement between Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and Dr Okachikwu Dibia, the President of the Iwhnurohna Progressive Organisation, Okwukwu responded with clarity.

As an Ikwerre himself, he stated that the Ikwerre community recognizes organizations such as Ogbako Ikwerre and the Ikwerre Development Organisation (IDO), but not the Iwhnurohna Progressive Organisation (IPO). He suggested that Dibia’s challenge to Iwuanyanwu was an attempt to gain recognition.

Okwukwu questioned Dibia’s claim to represent the Ikwerre, pointing out that Dibia is an Igbo man by blood and DNA. He referenced a book published by Dibia in 2011, where Dibia admitted to resisting pressure to change his Igbo surname. Okwukwu reiterated his belief that the Ikwerre are Igbo, a stance supported by historical records from the Henry Willink’s Commission.

He further argued that Ikwerre land is Igbo land, citing historical evidence from the Portuguese arrival in Ikwerre land in 1400 AD, before the reign of Oba Ewuare of Benin Kingdom, from whom the Ikwerre claim descent. He also referenced a book by Oba Erediauwa of Benin, who served in Ahoada Division (now part of Rivers State) between 1954 and 1965. In this book, Erediauwa stated that the Ikwerre and the Etche are typical Igbo.

In conclusion, Okwukwu firmly asserted that the Ikwerre people are Igbo, challenging anyone who says otherwise to provide factual evidence. He emphasized that any claim not based on fact is irrelevant, and he stands by the historical and cultural ties that bind the Ikwerre to the Igbo.

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