On December 29, 2021, ndi Nimo in Njikoka local government area will embark on cultural revival celebrations, which recognize and reinforce morality and other positive Igbo core values of honesty, truthfulness and industry. Nimo will, on that day, initiate some women into the prestigious Iyom Society, also known as Otu Odu Nimo. Owelle Nimo, Igwe Maxxy Oliobi will also on the occasion install fourteen men of honour and valour as new Ichies of Nimo
Iyom title or Otu Odu is the most revered and coveted society for women in Igboland. It is the highest traditional organization women can aspire to. Igba Odu signifies prestige, honor, affluence, influence, and respect among women.
Iyom title is not a child’s play. There are rigorous screening inquiries plus extensive background checks to find out if there are some aspects in character and attitude of aspirants that are questionable. Anyone intending to join normally applies in writing, stating outstanding attributes that will qualify her, with the husband testifying also in writing about his wife’s worthiness.
Again, a serving Iyom, should write, testifying about the aspirant’s worthiness, just like her fellow women married in same kindred with her, Ndi Inyom Di, will also put in a word.
In most cases, Iyom title-taking is sponsored by a superbly satisfied and proud husband of the aspirant who wishes to use the title to compensate his well-behaved wife. Iyom title is for married women not less than 40-years of age. Iyom must be a woman of virtue, be of near excellent character and manners, industrious, a woman of modesty, transparency, and known to be very respectful and obedient to her husband, and others.
Women, who find themselves among the Otu Odu do not quarrel or fight in public and private, are not found drinking in a beer parlor. She should be slow to anger and be a reserved woman.
Iyom’s dignifying regalia is pure white Akwette or Igala woven cloth with Odu Aka and Odu Okpa. Iyom is also decorated with coral beads on her neck, plus a large Nza or Horsetail; a hand fan, called Akupe, with Iyom’s title name boldly written in front and back of the fan.
Iyom in her full Regalia is comparable to Ijele Masquerade. She moves like an Ijele, and is admired almost like Ijele Masquerade. Indeed, Otu Odu society is a formidable legacy organization, which seeks to uphold the rich Igbo cultural values that have nothing at all to do with paganism.
Iyom society has been in existence in Nimo, but was never officially launched, It is heading to gradual extinction. However, on December 29, 2021, it is getting a resounding boost and restoration. Gratitude goes to the youngest King that Nimo ever crowned – Igwe Oliobi, Ezeoranyelu in unity with his pretty Queen, Iyom Ocheze Nimo, Ada-Nri-Ji-Ofor and her able team of other Iyoms.
Our queen’s bold efforts to revive Otu Odu Iyom is already yielding positive result, as we are to witness the induction of at least fourteen qualified aspirants from across the globe, but of Nimo descent. Society of the Iyoms is the final arbiter in conflict resolution for women and children.
On the other hand, ichie is an important member of a class of titled chieftains amongst the Igbos. They are integral members of Nimo Royal cabinet. They are selected by their kinfolks based on the established requirements on their good account of themselves, in the areas of transparency, honesty and righteousness.
Before a person is conferred with the title of Ichie Nimo, he must have completed the full rituals of Ozo title to be able to belong to the traditional ruling council in Nimo. Ichies have special responsibilities with the Owelle of Nimo. Because of their close proximity to Nimo, they have the Owelle’s mandate to handle and resolve minor local civil disputes in their respective wards with the permission of the disputing individuals.
Such is the elevated position the Owelle Nimo in council, and the Iyom Ocheze Nimo want to reward these select few men and women of integrity and high esteem. Indeed, they merited this honour.
WRITTEN BY CHIEF NWAWELUGO IBIDA