Igbuzo, also known as Ibusa, is a vibrant Igbo community in Delta State, Nigeria. Experts from across the globe traced the roots of the community back to around 1450. At this time, waves of Igbo migrants embarked on a journey westward, ultimately leading to the formation of Igbuzo.
The name “Ibusa” is derived from “Igbo bi n’ụzọ,” meaning “Igbos that live by the wayside” or “Were you the first to settle here?” neighbouring communities such as Ogwashi-Uku, Asaba, Oko, Ilah, and Okpanam, as well as European missionaries who struggled to pronounce the community’s original name gave them this moniker.
Historians believe that a group of settlers who embarked on a journey from Benin alongside Ezechima, heading eastward, may have found their final settlement in Igbuzo. Experts believe these settlers assimilated into the Umejei and Edini groups in Igbuzo. They did this due to illness or a lack of interest in continuing their journey.
Ibusa comprises two distinct units: the Umejei and Ogboli settlements. According to oral history, Umejei Nwa Eze Isu, the prince of Isu, had a wrestling bout and killed his opponent. Traditionally, this the community considered this act an abomination punished it by death.
However, Umejei’s father, the king of Isu, commuted his son’s sentence, and exiled him with a gourd given to him by his father. The king instructed him to settle wherever the gourd dropped. This led him to establish Igbuzo at the present site of Ani-Oshe in Omeze.
In another tale, Odaigbo of Nshi (Nri) had relations with one of his father’s wives, usually carrying a mandatory death sentence. However, Eze Nshi spared Odaigbo’s life and exiled him, accompanied by his father, mother, and younger brother, Edini. Each of them carried a pot and charms, instructed by Eze Nshi to settle wherever the pot fell.
Edini’s pot landed at Ani-Nshi (Nri) Ogboli in Ibusa, while Odaigbo’s pot dropped at the current site of Ogwashi-Uku, where he settled. The groups of Edini and Umejei eventually merged to form Ibusa, with the Ogboli community becoming part of the larger Nri (Nshi) community.
Ibusa is famous among the Igbo and Anioma people of Delta State for their courageous spirit. People often describe them as as “Isu (Igbuzo) fu ogu ju nni,” meaning “Ibusa people who refuse food to fight wars.” This statement exemplifies their bravery in times of conflict. Researchers are currently delving into the history of wars fought by the Igbuzo people, particularly in the homes of their kinsmen in Nnewi, Anambra State, to uncover any historical connections between the two communities.