Ozo Title Taking

Ozo Taking

Given its importance in traditional Onitsha society, most Onitsha men desire to take the title. It not only elevates one to a high social position, but also bestows on one the right to officiate as traditional priests on family shrines. There are different stages of the Ozo title taking in Onitsha.
The first stage is an official declaration, to one’s family, of one’s intention to take the Ozo title. This is called Inyedo Nna. This is followed by the Inyedo mmuo rites which is an intimation, to one’s ancestors, of one’s desire to take the Ozo title in order to get their blessing. The third stage is the Igo mmuo. The intending initiate informs his maternal relations and his father’s mother’s relations of his intentions. This is followed by the Ibu ego na Ikpalo. During this stage, the initiate becomes an Eze ozo and acquires the right to sit on the ukpo (throne) of his family and pour libations to his forefathers. It is also at this stage that the initiate acquires his Ozo paraphernalia which includes a pair of staves (osisi), okwachi, okposi, ikenga and ofo. The Ina obibi is the initiation ceremony which starts at midnight and ends at dawn. The initiate pays a visit to the Ani shrine of his village before a public outing at the square. The ceremony ends the following day with the Ugwo ozo which entails the collection of the remaining initiation fee and Afia ozo a mock market session.