According to Eze Nri, Nri-Enwelana II, the “Nri Kingdom is the oldest Kingdom in Nigeria. It was founded around 900AD by the progenitor, Eri, the son of Gad. According to biblical accounts, Jacob had Leah as his wife who begot four sons for him. When Leah noticed she had passed child-bearing age, she gave her maid servant, Zilpah to Jacob to wife, and through Zilpah he had a son named Gad. Gad then bigot Eri, who later formed a clan known as Erites vide Genesis Chapter 30 verse 9; 46 verse 16 and Numbers chapter 26 verses 15-19. Eri was therefore amongst the twelve tribes of Israel via Gad.”
“During their stay in Egypt Eri became the high priest and spiritual adviser to Pharaoh Teti, the fifth dynastic king of Egypt around 2400 BC.”
“During the Exodus, which marked the beginning of the mass movement of the tribes of Israel, the tribe of Eri was amongst the tribe that left Egypt following the injunction from God to the Israelites (see Deuteronomy chapter 28 verses 58 68). Some of these tribes founded settlements in the southern part of Sudan, where they established the “Nok” culture, which is similar to that of other (sun Cult) culture, like Nri, Fiji, Samoa, and Jukun in the Northern part of Nigeria and elsewhere. But others who could not remain in the Southern Sudan traveled further South, some branched off to Jukun, in Northern part of Nigeria, others continued and arrived at the confluence of Rivers Niger and Anambara known as “Ezu-na-Ọmambala” and settled there while some veered off to the Island of Fiji in the South Pacific Ocean. An intelligence report notes that the Fijians have the same sun culture with the people of Nri.”
“However, the Hebriac/Egyptian origins theory is the official account of the present Eze Nri, Nri-Enwelana II, who went further to trace Eri’s origin to the biblical Eri (the son of Gad, the son of Jacob).”
In addition to the pattern of evidences of migration from Egypt, other people also entered the Igbo territory in about the fourteenth or fifteenth centuries. Many of these people still exhibit different characteristics from that of the traditional Igbo people for example geographical marginality, the institution of kingship, a hierarchical title system. The Igbo word “Igbo” is now used in three senses, to describe Igbo territory, to identify the Igbo people (whether they speak the Igbo language or not) and to Identify the language spoken by Igbo people.(see (A.E. Afigbo,1981: Ropes of Sand, Caxton Press,Ibadan. and T. Shaw:1970; “Igbo Ukwu: An Account of Archaeological Discoveries in Eastern Nigeria”, Faber and Faber, pp. 268-285).
Pre-colonial Igbo political organization was based on a quasi-democratic republican system of government that guaranteed equality of the citizenry as against a feudalist “dictator king” in tight knit communities as witnessed by the Portuguese who first arrived and met with the Igbo people in the 15th century. With the exception of a few Notable towns of the Igbo like Onitsha, which had kings called Obi, and places like Nri and Arochukwu, which had priest kings known as Eze; Igbo communities and area governments were overwhelmingly ruled solely by a republican consultative assembly of the common people.
Although title holders were respected because of their accomplishments and capabilities, they were never revered as kings, but often performed special functions given to them by such assemblies. This way of governing was immensely different from most other communities of Western Africa, and only shared by the Ewe of Ghana. Igbo secret societies also had a ceremonial script called Nsibidi. The Igbo had and still have their indigenous ancient calendar in which a week has four days. A month consisted of seven weeks and thirteen months made a year. In the last month, an extra day was added. This calendar is still in use in villages and towns to determine the market days.