A new book, the Anambra State Compendium, a comprehensive and officially endorsed manual on everything Anambra, describes the state as, “a state with a rich culture, known for its great myths, giant strides and creative, hardworking and innovative people. Its history is as mythical as its great people, as there are diverse perspectives to the origin of the people.”
This 800-page history photo book documents the rich history and colourful cultural heritage, religion and traditional institutions, its people, arts and lifestyle, and tells the story of Anambra the way no other book has attempted in the past. The beauty of the book is the depth of information, presented in a concise form, accompanied with different dimensions of beautiful photographic images that conjure life into the pages, taking the reader on a fun, but educative journey, across Anambra communities, in their glorious splendour.
Divided into 12 sections which include “Our Enterprises”, that details the big businesses owned by Anambra people both in the state and outside, and celebrates “Our Beacon” and “Icons”, those personalities of Anambra origin, past and present, with outstanding achievements as pioneers or leaders in every field of endeavour, and has thus brought glory to Anambra and Nigeria in general. It also showcases the colourful festivals, masquerades and every details of every single community in the state, their food, uniqueness and traditional rulers.
The compendium also records the iconic pioneer educational, religious and medical institutions in the state with vivid pictures that trigger memories of home and the nostalgic past, especially for those that passed through such institutions in their formative years as the famous Christ The King College (CKC) Onitsha. Those who have had a glimpse of the historic book already refer to it as “a true treasure” that every Anambra home, and institutions, both in the state or in the diaspora should have. Everything that should be known about Anambra is in this history photo book.
Anambra State is predominantly a Christian state chiefly populated by the faithful of both Catholic and Anglican churches. This factor essentially plays a significant role in major social and political decisions in the state. Every Anambra indigene knows this, likewise political office seekers at different levels in the state.
What many people in Anambra and environs do not know and probably take for granted is the true account of the origin of Christianity in the state. Just as many don’t also know the history, sights, colours and the intriguing tales – some very mythical – of Anambra communities, nestled both in the serene hinterlands, or the bustling metropolis. This enlightening and highly educative information is offered in this compendium, complete with enchanting photos and insightful prose. On the advent of Christianity in the state, the book authoritatively states that, “John Christopher, an Igbo son was instrumental to the introduction of Christianity in Anambra State and the Igbo land.” Born in Sierra Leone in 1815 to a father that hails from Isuama and mother from Arochukwu, the compendium discloses that Christopher was a contemporary of the renowned pioneer missionary, Samuel Ajayi Crowder.
Ironically too, the book observes that in spite of the predominance of Christianity in Anambra State, the practice of traditional religious belief still exists in the state, remarkably among a minority population. It buttresses this assertion with amazing images.
Some of the traditional shrines and deities, where such worship takes place in the state, according to the book’s account include, Habaa, the famous female deity, near Agulu Lake, Ududonka, Agwuve Trinity tree, in Aguleri, Okija shrine, Ayaya shrine in Nando and the Okpo tree in Nteje, which is believed to have mystical powers. In fact, it was reported that several cameras and other electronic devices were mysteriously damaged as the compilers of this historic book attempted to capture the image of the iconic tree. It was not until certain rituals were performed by the custodians of the ancestral tree that photos were successfully taken.
The book also recorded many similar mysteries hidden at several other Anambra communities. One of such is the amazing Omambala and Ezu rivers which meet at a confluence known as Agbonabo, where both rivers inexplicably ‘refused’ to mix. And this strangeness is highlighted by the obvious differences in colour of the waters of the respective rivers. These and many more unique tourism potentials in the state are detailed in this compendium.
Obviously highly impressed by the quality of research and the resultant informative content of the book, former President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, who wrote the foreword of the book, expressed his delight thus: “I took a look at the draft of this compendium. It is a very rich book and from it I have learnt a lot about the state and its people. The chapters on the communities, tourism and lifestyle and enterprises are particularly enthralling.” He said he would recommend it to all. IBB’s government created Anambra State on August 27, 1991, hence his decision to make a contribution to the book. Giving insight into the painstaking efforts it took to produce a reference book such as this, the Editor-in-Chief, Emeka Okonkwo, wrote on the preface, “It took different teams and crew of investigative journalists and photographers more than a year to cover every nook and cranny of Anambra state, including all important historical, archeological, industrial, commercial and tourist sites and locations. There were many interviews and photo sessions. Professionals were deployed for frequent cross-checking of information to clear doubts and avoid factual errors.”
Governor Of the state, Chief Willie Obiano, who will be presenting this book in the coming days as part of his second term Inauguration, stated in the introduction of the book, which he wrote: “The Compendium is a detailed pictorial-based reference manual on the history, people and government of Anambra state, 25 five years after its creation. We have tried to x-ray in pictures and prose the beautiful story of Anambra people.
“We sincerely hope that the information contained in the impressive compendium on Anambra state will help ginger future generations of citizens of the State to surpass the toils and great accomplishments of the outstanding beacons and icons of the state as well as its past and present leaders.”