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List of rulers of Nri

  (Redirected from Eze Nri)

The following is a list of rulers of Nri. The title of the ruler of Nri is eze Nri. He held religious and political authority over the Kingdom of Nri.

The Nri culture is believed to stretch back to at least the 13th century, with a traditional foundation by Eri dated 948. The 15th recorded eze Nri, Òbalíke, was deposed by the British administration in favour of the "warrant chief" system, but the title continued to be held; the current eze Nri, Ènweleána II Obidiegwu Onyeso, was instated in 1988.


The eze Nri was chosen by the Nze and Nzemabua (state leadership) and had to be recognized by the general public. Before being crowned, he could not have a living father. The potential eze Nri also had to prove he was the choice of God (Chukwu), Eri (founder of Nri), the ancestors ("ndiichie") and spirits (alusi) through revelations and visions confirmed by diviners. After this, he had to travel to Aguleri to obtain a lump of clay from the bottom of the Anambra River used to make the ritual pot (odudu) for the shrine to Nri Menri.[1] After various other rituals such as causing the magical ripening of a fruit palm and undergoing a ritual burial and reviving, the eze Nri was proclaimed and saluted as igwe (meaning "heavenly one").[2]

List of recorded Eze NriEdit

It is difficult to trace the exact dates for an individual eze Nri, because there was an interregnum after each one's death. During this time, the priests of the eze Nri waited for someone to manifest the signs indicating they were the next priest-king.[3] The following list is based entirely on Igbo Civilization: Nri Kingdom & Hegemony by M. Angulu Onwuejeogwu (1981).

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death
Eze Nri Ìfikuánim
Eze Nri Nàmóke
Eze Nri Buífè
1159-1259 [4]
Obeagụ Unified Ọfọ N’alọ Agukwu and Diodo
Eze Nri Ọmalọ
1260–1299 [4]
Eze Nri Jiọfọ I
1300-1390 [4]
Eze Nri Ọmalonyeso
1391-1464 [4]
Eze Nri Anyamata
1465-1511 [4]
Eze Nri Fenenu
1512-1582 [4]
Eze Nri Agụ
1583-1676 [4]
Eze Nri Apia and Nri–Alike
1677-1700 [4]
Both from Uruọji Both died the same day
Eze Nri Ezimilo
1701-1723 [4]
Agbadana Assassinated[5]
Eze Nri Èwenétem
1724-1794 [4]
Eze Nri Ènweleána I
1795-1886 [4]
Eze Nri Òbalíke
1889-1936 [4]
Eze Nri Jiọfọ II Taabansi Udene
1937-1987 [4]
Eze Nri Ènweleána II Obidiegwu Onyeso (MFR)
1988-current [4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Uzukwu, page 98
  2. ^ Uzukwu, page 99
  3. ^ Isichei, page 246
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Onwuejeogwu, M. Angulu (1981). Igbo Civilization: Nri Kingdom & Hegemony. Ethnographica. ISBN 0-905788-08-7.
  5. ^ Murder at Montpelier By Douglas B. Chambers notes p. 253


  • Chambers, Douglas (2005). Murder At Montpelier: Igbo Africans In Virginia. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. pp. 325 pages. ISBN 1-57806-706-5.
  • Isichei, Elizabeth Allo (1997). A History of African Societies to 1870. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 588 pages. ISBN 0-521-45599-5.
  • Uzukwu, E. Elochukwu (1997). Worship as Body Language: Introduction to Christian Worship: An African Orientation. Collegeville: Liturgical Press. pp. 384 Pages. ISBN 0-8146-6151-3.