1. Preamble: From time immemorial, the Amaimo Nation had many component nationalities, It is one of the most populous single administrative units in the present Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State with an estimated population of 75,000 people (what census?) It was formerly made of fifteen towns but now has twenty-four towns/autonomous communities. Amaimo is one of the three Children of Urehioma. The other two in order of seniority are Uzoagaba and Amakohia.
2.Geographical Location: Amaimo is located in the North East of Ikeduru. It is bounded on the North by Ehime in Mbano LGA, on the South and East by Ugiri-Ike and Ahiazu in Mbaise; on the North-West by Inyishi and Eziama in Ikeduru LGA and on the South-West by Amakaohia Ikeduru. The town is about five Kilometers radius from the centre and is located on a plain.
3. Historical background: The present Amaimo autonomous community, as a typical settlement in the Igbo heartland, is a patrilineal society with a peculiar descent pattern and kingship system. The community is believed to have descended from two different sources to form a conglomerate of populous Amaimo communities with their peculiar dialects, gods, markets, priesthood systems and kingship patterns.
Amaimo is under a unique kingship system that is as old ad royal in comparison with those of Akabo, Amakohia, Inyishi and Uzoagba - all in Ikeduru LGA and Owerri the state Capital- to mention a few . Since the tragic death of the amiable and peace - loving His Royal Highness, Eze Jude Ohiri Alaribe some nineteen years ago, the community has not been able to fill the vacuum created by his demise .
The history and name of Amaimo are inextricably related to the legendary passing of the Imo River through the town. Authentic oral evidence and impeccable traditional sources reinforced by empirical data support the following fact: In the course of it’s journey through many communities, the goddess of Imo River, daughter of the Ocean(Imo Nwa Oshimiri ) - made a figurative demand which our forefathers did not initially understand.She requested for a black son and a white son in order to settle here. The people wondered whose children would be sacrificed only to have a river, and so refused .
Much later , after the River had left the town, the elders consulted their oracle which revealed that the black and white sons symbolized a black ant know in the Amaimo dialect as “anyisha” and an egg respectively. Frantic efforts by the people to appease the goddess in order to have the River failed because the River could not reverse its course or direction of flow. This phenomenon or event seems to justify the presence of some riverine features like gentle hills and valleys in the town - AMAIMO which literally means the Imo way.
4. Socio - Economic life : Traditionally, Amaimo is an agrarian community with subsistence farming as the major occupation of the people. Located in the tropical forest region with evergreen vegetation most parts of the year, Amaimo is blessed with much arable land. The chief crops cultivated by the people are yams by the men and cocoyams by the women with the assistance of the youths and children. Some other staple foods crops like “Una” -the three-leaf yam-are also cultivated, as well as plantains, bananas and cassava.
Livestock farming is also undertaken to supplement to supplement the main crops. In addition, the town is noted for the production of high quality unadulterated raffia palm wine as well as the celebrated “up-wine” also know as “Nkwu-elu”. The popular Ikeduru palm wine in hot demand mainly in the state capital and elsewhere is the handwork of Amaimo wine tapers.
With the coming of Christian missionary Church - School in Amaimo at Amuzu in 1915, the community has presently 8 primary schools, two secondary schools, three vocational schools and Nursery schools. The town has a high concentration of academicians, intellectual icons, architects, medical doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers, professors; captains of commerce and industry as well as top brass politicians and military personnel etc . This high calibre of personnel has helped tremendously in the economic transformation of the community.
From the pre- colonial and colonial periods in history, through the pre- and post independence era down to the wartime and present period, the destiny of Amaimo community has always been administered by astute and tested social engineers who had excelled in handling the affairs of their respective Villages .
Because of the Large and expansive area of the town, the early colonial masters, for their own administrative convenience, created two artificial divisions(based on proximity) called the “IBE AMA” or literally SECTIONS. Thus Umuri, Egbelu and Amachara became Amaimo East while Amuzu, Umueze, Obodo and Umuofor became Amaimo WEST . Like all such artificial creations, the system did not stand the test of time as it later collapsed like a pack of cards . The Amaimo Town council was the central body ruling the town. It produced prominent leaders like Frederick Ekenta, Anyanwu Agwu, John Ukonu etc all of blessed memory. By the early fifties, the Amaimo Improvement Union (AIU) emerged as the apex umbrella Union of the town. The body has accelerated the pace of progress i the town. It has also produced some popular and patriotic leaders who are household names today.
6. Current Trends :
There have been some contemporary positive and heart-warming developments in the long march of Amaimo nation towards progress, state and national prominence as well as international conspicuousity, This fact is underscored by the smooth and peaceful attainment of autonomous status by two of the former component communities that hitherto made up the Amaimo nation. The mature and seemingly effortless ease with which, first Umuri (in 2002) and later Umufor di Ngozi (in october 2004) got their autonomy without the usual acrimony and tension characteristic of such attainment - proves the fact that Amaimo people are a highly tactical and irrepressible go-getters imbued with sparta discipline.
7. Problems and prospects:
The traditional Amaimo nation was a large heterogeneous conglomeration of diverse people, which the irresistible forces of history, time, as well as other socio-economic imperatives have welded into a smooth homogeneous entity through the untiring efforts and relentless labours of our people - most of whom for progress, development and social justice , the hitherto rural agrarian Amaimo community has gradually graduated into a bursting modern semi urban status. This transformation has its own attendant problems.
One of the most prominent of these is the fact that she has a high concentration of educated elites, some roaring to attain the peak of socio - political prominence. This scenario sometimes generates occasional local tension which the people’s characteristic maturity, mutual magnanimity and patriotism eventually resolve for the greater interest of the community.
It is not out of place to think aloud here that, with the benefit of both fore and hind sights, some of the preset component communities that make up Amaimo will also attain autonomous states. This development will the give rise to Amaimo being elevated to the higher and more prestigious status of a CLAN in Ikeduru local Government Area. That will be another beautiful feather on her cap of progress.
These and many more we cannot possibly enumerate here are the opportunity costs we are collectively paying for the richer dividends of modernism.
9 Conclusion: In the foregoing pages, we have tried to present a short and panoramic but appreciably detailed history of the unique people of AMAIMO. The analysis portrays a determined and an enterprising people in their long struggle to better the harsh socio-economic hardships and deprivations i which the people have found themselves over time- hardships and deprivations that were aggravated by long years of painful neglect by successive governments. This predicament has been more painful when one recalls the impressive and towering contributions of the people to both Ikeduru LGA, Imo state and the Federal Governments in different areas of human endeavour.
The book of Ecclesiastes teaches us that “There is a time for everything…. a time to sow and a time to reap...” And the Igbo adage consoles us that “nature provides respite for a tailless cow” . The people’s long years of deprivation and neglect seem to have some relief as God himself has now provided them with a dynamic and illustrious son in the corridors of power to help put them on the fast lane of progress and development. With the massive assistance and cooperation of all and sundry this is our BEST chance to rewrite our history in letter of gold to the glory of God, the pride of our ancestors and fallen heroes, but above all to the edification of Amaimo, our dear AMAIMO.
14th february 2005