Ohafia is a town and local government area in Abia State, Nigeria. It is an igbo speaking region. The ancestral capital of Ohafia is located in the village of Elu. The Ohafia Local Government Area also includes the towns of Abiriba and Nkporo. Historcally, Ohafia people left Andoli and settled in Isi-Eke, from where they ran away one night, when they heard the rattling sound of calabashes. The sound was interpreted to mean that they were being invaded which lead to a commotion, as some of them escaped toward Ngodo and others went towards Isuochi. At one point, some of them headed towards Abam leading the group heading to Abam, was a man known as Ezeama Atita, and his two sons called Uduma Ezeama and Onyereobi Ezeama.
When they got to Abam, Onyereobi’s wife, who was heavy with pregnancy, could no longer walk. He, therefore, remained in Abam with his pregnant wife, while the group continued on the journey. In the present location of Ohafia, at a place called Ugwumgbo, Ezeama Atita, and his second son, Uduma, settled. After many years, their offspring established the 26 villages that make up today’s Ohafia. The ancestral headquarters of Ohafia is in Elu Ohafia. Each village is governed by an eze ogo. All the eze ogo’s come together to form the Eze Ogo-in-Council, which, with the amala, decide how the community is to be governed. The overall traditional ruler, Udumeze, who lives in Elu Ohafia, intervenes only when there is a matter between an eze ogo and a subject.
THE HISTORY AND ORIGIN OF WAR DANCE
In the past, the culture of Ohafia was hinged around one’s prowess in war. They were constantly on the lookout for wars in which to take part. They became something like mercenaries and the people of Arochukwu, who were all over Igboland ‘hunting’ for slaves, harnessed this warlike spirit in Ohafia people to their own advantage. The ancestors of the Ohafia people were renowned as mighty warriors. This aspect of the Ohafia peoples history remains fundamental to the Ohafia people’s sense of identity.
According to oral history, the ancestors of Ohafia were renowned to be mighty men of war who were always on the lookout for wars to take part in.
The Ohafia warrior tradition which remains one of the fundamental identity of the people of Ohafia is hinged in the performance of iri agha – the practice of beheading a fallen enemy. A human skull is a proof of a man’s courage and strength. Only those who brought home a human head could join the Ogbu-Isi society and wear an eagle’s plume which is a symbol of courage.