OKOLI IJOMA OF NDIKELIONWU
The legend of all times, HRH Lord Okoli Ijoma, who succeeded his father Ijoma Ike as his first son and the heir to the throne as king of Ndikelionwu.
He was a fearless war lord ruling over the entire town in now known Anambra state from 1856 until the British conquest of the heartland in 1896.
Story has is that Okoli Ijoma is immortal, fearless and defiant."No blade can pierce his skin". He could predict the future; many of his subjects rely on him for their protections. He was sought as far away by Awkuzu (1885), and Achalla (1889) which were beleaguered then.
Ose Okwudu at Onitsha derived its name from Okwudu Ocha, Okoli's flutist, who the story goes spent seven days on that location employing all possible device with his flute to goad his master to proceed on his self assigned attempt to lock horns with an allegedly powerful Oba N'Iduu. The River Niger constituted to an unanticipated impregnable barrier forcing Okoli Ijoma to return home with his mission unaccomplished.
Okoli Ijoma lived in a two story house in Umuochu Village around 18th century, built with local material and held a law court in a circular building (Ogbagburugburu) which was an architectural masterpiece and first during his time.
HRH Nnama of Nibo was the deputy chief judge of legendary "Omenuko" court headed by HRH Okoli Ijoma. Both of them became friends and in-laws
Okoli Ijoma was at the peak of his power when the British where trying to consolidate their holding on eastern Nigeria. Nibo was the first town to capitulate to British army. HRH Nnama sent an emissary to Okoli Ijoma briefing him how mighty strength and arsenal the British battalion has got. And that Nibo war council has decided not to wage a futile war but to surrender. Okoli sent a "flag-staff" message to his friend wishing him well but vowed that he rather die than be ruled by any other king; be it white, red or black. He kept preparing for war. After the bloody massacre of Agulu town warrior, Okoli Ijoma, an immortal war lord still fiercely fought the British, he successfully held out against them, but he only could reign for a year. Then British split
Ndikelionwu into two; Umuochu and Ndikelionwu when they could not dismantle Okoli after he won them at Ikpa with bees.
Having resisted for a year and Having left with nothing to fight with, Okoli dressed up in his royal robe, sat on his royal throne and put himself down after drinking from a royal cup, and kept his word (not to die by human blade). But before the British could arrive Umuochu, Okoli Ijoma was gone. He was buried in Umuochu in an underground castle still sitting on his throne. Umuochu was later united with Ndikelionwu during Ike Mbonu's regime.
Today Okoli Ijeoma is remembered as one of the heroes of lifetime though it has gradually washed away in the minds of many.