Nono Chief Ezinne Felicia O. Ukwu (Nee Chibuzor)
Life Member, Catholic Women Organisation, Enugu Diocese
Ezinne 1 of Abor, Nnediebube, Nne-ezi-olu, Diamond Lady
During the early 1900s before the coming of the missionaries, the people of Abor practised African Traditional Religion. They worshipped several gods like Afa-bi-na-agu, Nkwo, Ohunne, etc. These practices continued until the early 20th Century when Onyeama n’Eke welcomed the missionaries at Eke. With the missionaries, came Christianity and education.
Ozo Ngwunwagu Onodugo, and, later, Ozo Ukwu-na-ejeb’eze Nwa Ozo Nwaanukagu and Ozo Agada-Ngwu Ochi were the warrant chiefs in Abor at the time. They embraced the coming of the missionaries to Abor. As was the case in Eke, the missionaries brought Christianity and education to Abor. The first mass was celebrated at Chief Ngwunwagu’s compound. The first school was established at Umuavulu. It was named St. Theresa School Abor by the missionaries.
At that time the people did not appreciate the value of education. The young girls were encouraged to get married rather than attend the school while the young men who were encouraged to attend the school avoided it.
Some of the pioneer students included Chief Felix Onodugo, Theophilos N. Onodungene, late Igwe L. U. Ukwu, Chief Raphael Anidi, Lawrence Okpokwu, Chief Gabriel Njeze, Nze Festus M. Okolo, etc. Several went on to secondary schools due to the influence of the notable headmaster, late Chief Gabriel Adimora from Agulu, Anambra state. He paved the way for the education of several young people in Abor. Nono Regina Adimora, the wife of Chief Gabriel Adimora took the young women, particularly the wives-to-be, under her care and she provided training on all round domestic education such as sewing, cooking, farming, housing keeping.
By the mid-20th century, education in Abor flourished.The first developed and accredited school at the time was St. Peter’s School Abor. People from surrounding towns came to Abor to take their Standard Six class and examination. During this period young women began to attend schools, women like Nono Lydia Anidi (Nee Njeze), Nono Florence Njeze (Nee Onodugo), Chief Mrs. Kate Agada, late Mrs. Maria Okeke (Nee Anidi), Mrs. Benedict Udogo, Rebecca Ikeyi (Nee Njeze) and my humble self, Nono Chief Mrs. Felicia O. Ukwu (Nee Chibuzor). I was also the first Grade 2 teacher from Abor. The first private secondary school in the old Udi and Ezeagu Local Government Area was Christ High School, Abor. It was founded by H.R.H. Igwe L. U. Ukwu, Inyime Awubu II of Abor, Ezeudo I of Abor, Igwen’enyeihe of Ojebeogene, KSM, JP. Igwe L. U. Ukwu was also the first graduate son of Abor; he had B.sc in Economics from London through correspondence.
The missionaries through religion and education brought development to Abor and its environment. What would have been the fate of Abor if the missionaries and private secondary schools did not play their roles in the development of humanity? Would we have known Christ? Travelled round the world? Come out of paganism and pagan practices like the killing of twins, slavery, maltreatment of widows, etc.? The families who embraced the early missionaries, the religion and their school have fared very well even to the present time.
I firmly appreciate the early missionaries, Chiefs and educationists who brought education, development and sensitization to our great community, Abor and other towns around us and beyond.