High profile Akalite and the United Kingdom based director and principal, Hildebrant Ltd Group of Practices, Dr Uche Oguike is one of the illustrious sons of Umuduruoriaku community Uba. Dr Oguike who played a vital role in the publication of the book on Umuduruoriaku spoke to the Umuaka Times correspondent in the UK in a brief interview. The interview with Dr Oguike is an eye opener on the genealogy of Umuduruoriaku.
Dr Oguike, please can you tell us the role you played towards making this project a reality?
I worked with like minds to ensure that we made it. was involved in the conceptualization, research, editing and financing of the project.
Whose idea was it that there was a need to document the chronological history of Umuduruoriaku?
It is more of convergence of ideas and interests. Some of us had asked these questions about our genealogy from our parents and family elders.
At some point, it became imperative that these disjointed individual efforts needed to be harmonized and a properly reviewed document produced.
This was when Engr Sir Vice Onyemepu and a few of us decided to drive the process on behalf of all those that were interested in working with us.
The full list of like minds who did not only contribute in the information and materials given to us by our elders, like Chief Sir Mathew Oguike, Elder Alloy Niger Oguike, Late Augustine Oguike, but equally co-financed the project are clearly acknowledged in the book
Umuaka Times also heard that your dad, Mr Mathew Oguike also played a role. Tell us the role he played.
He was among those that accurately documented our genealogy as it relates specifically to ófó Ezikeoha.
The story about our genealogy is one that we all relish. As you know, handing down information by mere word of mouth (oral tradition) is not always very reliable. Documented and archaeological evidences are superior. That is exactly what we want to do.
Tell us more about Chief Mathew Oguike.
Chief Mathew Oguike has been the oldest man in Umuduruoriaku since his immediate elder brother, Chief Nathaniel Oguike died. He guided us in no small measure in this project. Our current efforts are to expand what he and his contemporaries did.
During the time of research for the work, what was the biggest challenge you and your team had?
There were some inconsistencies in the story lines and natural resistance by very few ill-informed kinsmen that were skeptical about the project and did not want to cooperate fully with us.
They were not sure of what we wanted to do with the information they were being encouraged to volunteer. However, these did not affect the accuracy and authenticity of the information as validated by well-informed minds.
Will the book be for sale or free of charge?
Essentially and in principle free of charge. We believe that giving our people knowledge is better than the usual food and drinks. As expected, we will gladly welcome those who will appreciate our efforts because the quantity produced is very limited.
From what you have gathered so far, who actually is Duruoriaku? Tell us a little about the great man.
Hahahahahahaha. Watch out for the book and make sure you get your copy.
Sure but just a little about the great man.
Duruori was the first son of Ezikeoha and the custodian of the shrine and ófó Ezikeoha, which are the known symbols of such sacred positions as diokpara in Igboland. These relics are within the kindred till date.
Do you have an idea of when he lived?
Working from the known to the unknown, we believe it must have been in the 17th century.
Considering the number of generations that have passed and the history of lower Niger during this epoch, we are convinced that it must have been in the early to mid-17th century.
But what is the need for writing this book on Umuduruoriaku?
We undertook the project to document our true genealogy/history and hand down a properly researched and reviewed family tree to current and future generations, wherever they may find themselves in the world.
No one will tell your history better than yourself.
Kindly note that we are not writing a book on the history of Umuduruoriaku per se. We are just documenting the genealogy or family tree of the kindred members. This is a small aspect of our history.
How often do you, Umuduruoriaku meet to discuss your affairs?
There is always a monthly kindred (physical) meeting but we equally discuss virtually on certain matters using the advanced technologies in social media interactions
Is there anything like Umuduruoriaku Day celebration?
Yes. 31st of December of every year. Make sure you attend this year’s event.
Now that the youths of Umuaka no longer see education as a vital took to capture the world, do you have any program in Umuduruoriaku family union aimed at encouraging education?
Yes. This genealogy project is one of such efforts. As I answered earlier, we felt giving our people historical knowledge of whom we are, this year, is better than the usual foods and drinks. This would give them a better insight and obvious advantage over their contemporaries in the knowledge of our genealogy.
Any program to empower the youths of Umuduruoriaku community through education? If yes, how is the response like?
When they are targeted, they have been successful. My first personal effort at kindred level scholarship failed spectacular because of useless sentiments and ego. Targeted ones has been very successful.
Thanks for the opportunity. Keep doing the good job.
Umuaka Times 2022 Merit Award Winners. second phase.
Lifetime Achievement Award for Peace and Unity in Umuaka.