The history of every society is shaped by certain events and certain personalities who have the privilege and the capacity to influence that particular moment in history. Anambra’s history is replete with such individuals whose works echo till eternity and whose names gave their families a larger than life image long after they are gone.
These families continue to dominate in their spheres of activities despite the death of their forbears and over the years have acquired a measure of huge influence. In some cases, some of their people delve into the profession or the line of business of their patriarch, deepening the notion of what they are known for and sustaining that myth around their family name. Some of such families in Anambra State are:
IWEKA. Iweka family is one of the most common surnames in Nigeria. According to research, approximately 1472 people bear this surname. It is a royal dynasty lasting for generations in the ancient land of Obosi in Anambra State and has produced 95% of all kings of Obosi. The name and the influence of the family extend beyond Obosi and the surrounding towns. The popular Upper Iweka and Iweka road, the home of electronics and electrical products in Anambra State derived their names from the family. The family is reputed to have produced the first Igbo engineer and several professionals in diverse fields of human endeavor. They have also produced a senior advocate of Nigeria.
ONYIUKE: The Onyiuke family is a powerful family of lawyers in Nimo, Njikoka local government area. From the great GCM Onyiuke SAN, the family has produced not less than 20 lawyers. It can be said that the law profession runs in their blood. Recently, they have also branched into other fields and getting to the Pinnacle of whatever area they venture into. The very popular Prof. Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke who once headedW the Nigerian Stock Exchange and transformed its operations is a member of the family.
IKPEAZU: The Ikpeazu of Onitsha is a very influential surname made possible by the former chief justice of Nigeria and two time NFA (Nigeria football Association) chairman, Hon. Justice Chuba Ikpeazu. The family has produced an excellent lawyer and accomplished advocate in the person of Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu SAN, three time house of representative member, three time house of assembly member, former head of service and many other lawyers. It is a family that is well respected and highly influential in Onitsha.
MODEBE: Modebe surname is the 526,285th most common surname in the world and approximately 616 people bear this surname. A school and a street bear the name of their progenitor, Joseph Fredric Modebe. The Modebe family is a very large one with heavy investments in real estate. The popular Modebe avenue in Onitsha and the surrounding streets were originally owned by the family before they were sold to settlers in the hey days of the development of the commercial city. They have also produced several accomplished personalities in different spheres of life.
EZE: The Eze family is one of the most respected dynasties in Anambra state. The family has produced the first Nigerian military doctor, one of Nigeria’s richest oil mogul, Prince Engr. Arthur Eze and the current Igwe of Ukpo. Their father was the first Okofia, HRH. Igwe Michael Eze.
NWACHUKWU: The Nwachukwu family of Umunya is one of the most powerful families in Anambra with about four bishops, Bishop Paul Nwachukwu, Bishop Arthur Nwachukwu, Bishop Paul Nwachukwu Jr. etc. Bishop Paul Nwachukwu is the founder of Grace of God Mission while his brother, the late Bishop Arthur Nwachukwu is the founder of Rhema deliverance ministry.
AMECHI: The family of Nigeria’s first aviation minister, Chief Mbazulike Amechi is a family that boast of well to do businessmen and powerful politicians. They are well respected in Ukpor. Chief Mbazulike is the only surviving nationalist in Nigeria with an extensive knowledge of the Nigerian tortuous history, having been an active player himself in the Nigerian political firmament.
UBA: The Uba family of Isuofia is a very prominent and well respected family in Anambra state. A family nurtured by two brothers who were into distributorship of various products in Nigeria. Their children have continued to sustain the business and have expanded into property, oil and gas, hospitality and merchandise.
NWANKWU: The Nwankwu is a large, vibrant, progressive and successful one, the patriarch of the family, late Sir Joseph Nwankwu was one of the movers and shakers of old Anambra business circle. The family produced three powerful women in Nigeria, Elizabeth Nwankwu, West Africa’s first female district governor of Rotary of club, Amaka Nwankwu, Anambra’s first female MD of a bank and late Oby Nwodo, former judge of appeal court.
UME-EZUOKE: Ume-Ezuoke family is not only a big name in Amichi but also in Anambra and Nigeria. Their father, Igwe Umeorimili Orji Ezeoke was a warrant chief in 1914. He was appointed the president of customary court. The family has produced ambassadors, well known lawyers and former speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke.
ONYEMA: A royal family of Oguikpele with a three time house of representative member, Nigeria’s most powerful female shipper and director general of the Nigeria Stock Exchange. It is a name that reverberates in Ogbaru and Anambra state.
UMEADI: A family of lawyers with the late Philip Umeadi SAN as the head of the family. The family has produced a former chief Judge of Anambra state and former INEC commissioner.
NWOSU: The Nwosu family of Nri is a powerful and respected business family; they are the owners of Njikoka Motors and Koka Oil. The family wealth has been sustained for over 60 years.
ORIZU: Orizu family is a dynastic family of Nnewi. The royal lineage started with Igwe Orizu 1, Eze Ugbonyamba. The family has produced Nigeria’s first republic senate president, Orji Nwafor Orizu and Igwe Kenneth Orizu who is the longest serving monarch in Nigeria. It is a family of very successful businessmen and politicians and a College of education was named after Nwafor Orizu.
FGN OKOYE: Chief FGN Okoye of Enugwu Ukwu was a well respected businessman who built Business Empire which is still doing well. They are into building and construction, printing, liquor distribution and the owners of TNT courier. His children have also followed his footsteps and are doing extremely well with a well respected engineer, a former appeal court judge and a very influential medical doctor.
ONWUAMAEGBU: Onwuamaegbu family is a respected family in Oba. Hon. Justice Obumeneme Onwuamaegbu was the former chief judge of Anambra state and the attorney general of east central state. The family has produced the first female chief judge of Anambra state and the 25th commandant of Nigerian Defence Academy, Maj. Gen. Emeka Onwuamaegbu.
ERINNE: Erinne family in Okija is a powerful family and a family of lawyers that produced the first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria. The family boasts of not less than 10 lawyers and other prominent professionals and businessmen.
EKWUEME: Ekwueme family is a powerful political family in Oko, Anambra state. The family produced the former vice president of Nigeria, Dr Alex Ekwueme and Africa’s best musicologist, Prof Laz Ekwueme who is also the traditional ruler of Oko kingdom.
NWANDU: Nwandu family is a well respected family in Enugwu Ukwu. They are the owners of Master Holdings and Daniels Construction and have large number of their family members in public service, both federal and state.
OJUKWU: Ojukwu family is one of the most respected families in Nnewi and Nigeria. Their father was the first African millionaire and the first president of the Nigerian Stock Exchange who is also the father of the late Biafran Head of State, Emeka Ojukwu and emeritus professor of medicine, Prof. Joseph Okwuabudike Ojukwu. It can be said that his seeds all exude greatness.
ODUA: Odua is a royal family of Akili Ozizo in Ogbaru and a powerful one for that. The family has produced businessmen, royalties and the current senator serving Anambra North Senatorial District.
OKIGBO: Okigbo family is a well known family in Ojoto. Three brothers startled the world in the 20th century, Pius the economist, Christopher the poet and Bede the plant pathologists. Theirs is a very large family in Ojoto. It was their father Eze Okigbo that went round Ojoto imploring their people to send their children to school.
ATUCHUKWU: Chief B.N Atuchukwu was a pioneer Amichi businessman; the family became very popular for being the place where instrument of Biafra surrender was handed over to the federal side. The family has produced notable doctors and professionals.
AMOBI: Amobi family is a big royal family in Ogidi. They have produced four traditional rulers and Igwe Walter Amobi was the last who died in 1996 before the arrangement for a rotational kingship in the town.
EMEKA: Igwe John Emeka of Anam was the patriarch of the family. A former contractor and businessman, the family has produced a deputy governor and former minister.
ONYEMELUKWE: Onyemelukwe family of Nanka is a very prominent family in Nanka. The family has produced the number two bishop in the Anglican Communion. The father of electricity, Engr. Clement Onyemelukwe and they have produced so many notable people in Nigeria.
TABANSI: The great founders of Tabansi Motors and Press came from this notable family in Nri and it is a very notable family in Anambra state because of their business exploits. They were also the owners of the Tabansi Record of the old.
EZENWA: Ezenwa of Oba is a prominent royal family, their father was one of the most prominent traditional rulers from Anambra state and the children have sustained the name doing well in politics, business and so on.
UBAJIAKA: Ubajiaka is a very big family in Nnewi. Their father is a well known transporter, the founder of Izuchukwu Transport and his children have sustained their father’s wealth. One of the sons is a big player in the healthcare industry, Agary Pharmaceuticals and equipment. Another son is heavily involved in ICT.
ONWUGBENU: Onwugbenu is a well known business family from Nnewi, they are owners of Iju Industries and Louis Carter.