Igbo names and spellings for various settlements
Abakaliki is Abankaleke; Afikpo is Ehugbo; Awgu is Ogu; Awka is Oka; Bonny is Ubani; Enugu is Enugwu; Ibusa is Igbuzö; Igrita is Igwuruta; Oguta is Ugwuta; Onitsha is Onicha; Owerri is Owere; Oyigbo is Obigbo... any more will be added.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dike's 20ft Tower [Igbo]

Any person referred to as ‘Dike’ in Igbo land is a great man and must have performed an extraordinary feat to deserve the title. In times past, it was used for great warriors who had shown exceptional bravery at war. Dike Madueke, who lived and died in Ukpor before 1700, falls under this category. He is reputed as the greatest warrior in Ukpor land. He led the people to many wars, perfecting a strategy that enabled the people defeat their enemies all around. The early European adventurers who came to Ukpor met such stiff resistance from the local soldiers that they had to retreat for re-enforcement before they were able to subdue the people.

It was said that in the process of perfecting his war strategies, Dike Madueke erected in his family compound which still stand today, a twenty-foot tall multi-purpose pyramid tower that aided the people to thwart the plans of their enemies. The interior of the tower has three decks, spy holes all around it and with the aid of ladder people climb from one deck to another. a sentry is constantly posted on top of the deck from where he observes the surrounding are and reports the movement of soldiers from every direction. The middle rung is reserved for sharp-shooters armed with Dane guns and darts. The height gives them the advantage of reach over enemy soldiers.

The ground floor of the tower is the most spacious and acts as a refuge for women and children, considered the most vulnerable in war times. While the men fight, they ensure their loved ones are protected from attack. Dike’s tower has recently been reduced in height to enable maintenance and preservation of this important historical monument. It has survived years of weathering due to special indigenous architectural skill that went into its construction, which according to the people has been lost, years ago. Dike Madueke is also reputed to have been a powerful rainmaker in his day. The art of rainmaking i Igbo land is one that can only be inherited; a jealously guarded secret of the families that are its custodian. Emmanuel Madueke, a direct descendant of Dike Madueke is presently in charge of this art as was evident during the research visit. Having been informed of the visit and its significance, he promised that there would be no rain for the duration and though the clouds were very heavy at a point, the rains remained at bay. The NACD team was informed that the rain stone was already smoking truly the smoke could be seen gushing out from somewhere within the inner compound. The walls, hedging the Madueke family compound are as old as the tower itself and still stand as strong as ever.

— Nigerian Arts and Culture Directory (NACD)

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