The Ekumeku Movement: The Untold Anioma Rebellion

Akobundu Anyiwo

"This large and grotesque mask, displaying obvious aggressive attributes, fits within the category of masks referred to as Mgbedike. Masks such as this express concepts of strength, violence, and bravery. However, it cannot be ruled out that this mask may be of the type known as Ojionu (Cole & Aniakor, 1984.131). The impact of this mask would have been even greater were the traditional costume still intact–a large, shaggy tunic with numerous accoutrements. To the Igbo who created and danced with it, this mask represents the embodiment of bravery and potency." -

The Ekumeku movement was the most effective, organized, and untold revolution against British colonialism in Southern Nigeria. The Western Igbo also known as the Anioma people, have proven to be very brave and fearless throughout history, yet they are not properly recognized for these traits. The Ekumeku fighters successfully used secret oaths for initiation and guerrilla tactics against the British. Though it may have only been a minority of Igbo youth, hundreds of brave Igbo youth were involved. There was not only one movement but two. The first movement lasted until 1902. However, it rose once again in 1904. However, the entire movement lasted from 1883-1914. How the British reacted was very atrocious. They used their common military failures against innocent people. The British attempted to destroy selected communities by killing all inhabitants. However, they failed for the most part in this attempt. The British won the physical battle through imprisoning citizens and waging destruction on the land leaving a disastrous result in Western Igbo society. However, the Western Igbos were not defeated in their hearts as they still cherish this moment. This is one of the greatest examples of how Igbos embarrassed the British for decades. The Igbos have had a long history of resistance against Western subjugation both at home and in the diaspora. The struggle for justice and freedom continues today. Where do you stand?