Onitsha Omu - the Female Chiefs
The King of Onitsha
is not without a queen mother, otherwise known as "OMU". The
queen, according to Onitsha tradition, is not necessarily the King's
wife. She is selected and installed by the Obi from among the entire
women population of the town.
The candidate for
such exalted office must be a woman recognized for her high socila standing
in the community. She must possess a proven ability for patriotism and
While the candidate
for the Obiship must come from the Umuezechima kindreds, the lady chosen
for the Omu title may come from any kindres group in Onitsha, irrespective
As the Obi has his
Ndiche(Chiefs), so the Omu has women chiefs whose titles are more than
not, similar to those of the male chiefs.
The duties of the
Omu and her chiefs are to look after the public affairs of the womenfolk
generally, to ensure that women organizations are peacefully run, to
supervise village markets, to settle disputes mostly of maritime nature,
to disseminate information of public interest, to ensure strict observance
of customary practices, to render socila and political services.
is a member of the Obi's cabinet. In the palace, she takes her seat
with her chiefs on the far end of the rectangular court opposite the
Obi's throne. thus, the sublime status of the Omu clearly shows the
high esteem in which Onitsha people hold their womenfold.
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