Ozo title taking of Ndigbo on account of NRI custom.
Nri is the originator and bestower of Ozo title in Igbo land. Eri, the progenitor of Nri bigoted the Ozo title
to his son Nri, who in turn bestowed the title to Ndigbo. Ozo title is a very rigorous exercise, which culminates in the holder becoming Ichie Ukwu.
For an aspirant to take the Ozo title, he has to undergo stringent processes, views and saying, carrying the ring of truth. He wishes to be regarded as a
dispenser of justice without any fear or favor, irrespective of who is involved. The oath taken by
the titleholders is to ensure that they live a good and upright life in the service of humanity.
There is nothing fetish or satanic as fanatics are inclined to believe. It is open to all male indigens of Nri
with good reputation. Not bankrupt in character, who came to wealth through robbery, not criminal or ex-convict. Title taking in essence is an
invitation to the people to come and share in one’s wealth through lavish feasting entertainment.
Before taking the title,
the aspirant must do the following:
(a). He must have joined an age grade.
(b). He must be married, and have child or children.
(C).He must have performed the Imachi Ritual, having done these, the aspirant can now start the
process by taking the minor titles such as:
1. Nlinwamadu Title: This permits him to take one of
his Ozo names. He is now empowered to speak in the palace of Eze Nri, if he is the only one with that
title in his age grade, he will be their spokesman at any gathering in the community. He is now entitled to carry (Akpa Nwefii), which will always house his Ofo. With this title he can attend and collect his shares whenever some one is taking
Nlinwamadu title in his Ogwe Muo unit, in Nri.
2. The aspirant can proceed by taking other minor titles in his Umunna (Kindred). To let his Umunna know that he is in the process of taking the Ozo title. He will also meet the requirements of Umuada, Inyom Di.
He will feast his Umunna to their requirements. He will also feast Okolo/Okolobia.
3. The aspirant having completed his Umunna requirements will feast his village by giving them their requirements.
4. The aspirant will now move his Ogwe Muo unit.
There are two Ogwe Muo unit in Nri for easy administration. On application to his Ogwe Muo
unit of his intention to take Ozo title, the Ogwe Muo unit, which of course is made up of Nze na Ozo titled men, whom the aspirant intends to join
will then refer his application to the screening committee. This process is very important for they
must know who wants to associate with them, the nobles, in the society. The report of the committee
will determine the fate of the aspirant, vis-avis becoming Nze Na Ozo titled man in the society.
What the screening committee will be looking for among other things are:
(a). Criminal records, if any
(b). How he made his wealth
(c). If he is an ex-convict
(d). If he had performed the Imachi Ritual
(e). If he lives in his own house
(f). If the father of the aspirant is alive and what is his reaction.
Igbo tradition forbids son(s) to take the Ozo title before their father or elder brother. If the father or any of his older brother(s) have not taken
the Ozo title, the aspirant must first and foremost fund the Ozo title for them before he can embark on his own.
If the screening
committee is positive, the aspirant can now proceed further: he can now perform the Igba-Ego-Ozo. His Ogwe Muo unit will then give him the list
of requirements for the purpose of title taking.
1. He will start with Igba-Ego-Ozo
3. Idoo Mua
4. Ima Nza
5. Ala Mmuo
6. Ikpata –Ofo
7. Ebute Anulu.
8. On Uka Eke, he performs the Izu Afia Ozo
9. Immediately after, he pays homage to Eze Nri, the custodian of Ozo title in Igbo land.
10. Registration with Nze na Ozo title men association
He is now a full Nze titled man with Atali (spun wool) on his ankle, a red cap on his head and Nku Apkuko. He is now Ichie Ukwu. Only death or defilement can stop him from being Nze Na-Ozo.
11. Upon death, the Nze Na Ozo titled man joins his ancestors without his title. His Ozo title shall be
disconnected from him. This is done by cutting the Atali Ozo. His title ends in this world. When he gets to the world beyond, he can take all the title he may wish to. He remains Ichie Ukwu in his ancestral home and Umunna.
His male children will share the dividends of his title such as Ofo Ozo. They may sell or use them in
taking or acquiring their own Ozo title. Ozo title is like stock exchange, one can borrow using his Ofo
shares as security.