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As soon as the child was old enough to associate with others, the child is then combined with children of his age to form a new age-grade. The names of the known age-grades and their various years of foundation are given below.

The names of the age-grades appear significant as they seem frequently to reflect the most topical issues at the time when particular age-grades came of age (i.e. when the members were fifteen years of age). At that age, most age-grades took a permanent name. The following examples may clarify this point:

The Osukwu (highest grade oil palm) age-grades member (born about 1868) were about fifteen years old in 1883 when legitimate trade in palm oil was most probably at its peak. Ogbomdi (cannon) age-grade members (born 1888) were fourteen years old in 1902 when the “expeditionary forces” used cannon to subdue different parts of southern Nigeria (e.g. Arochukwu expedition for the destruction of the long juju or chukwu took place in 1902).

The Abaam age-grade born about 1890 were fifteen years old in 1905 when many of the battles of resistance against colonial conquest were fought. (The Abaam people near Ohafia and Arochukwu were the recognized professional mercenaries hired by the Aro and others in their resistance efforts). The “German” age-grade youths were fifteen years old in 1901. (Around this time, German control of the neighboring Cameroon territory may have been topical).

Okpamma (armed men) age-grade suggests violence and insecurity around 1905. Awusa (i.e. Hausa) age-grade youths were fourteen years old in 1914 when North Nigeria (locally known as hausaland) was amalgamated with Southern Nigeria by Lord Lugard and Hausa began to travel freely in large numbers to settle in Southern Nigeria. Zik age-grades born about 1944 were about fifteen years of age in 1960 when Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (alias Zik) became the Governor-General of Independent Nigeria.

Ghana age-grades were fifteen years old in 1965 when the international fame of Ghana reached its peak. The Rivers State age -grade were about fifteen years old in 1970 when the Nigerian Civil war ended and former combatants came to acknowledge the rivers state for the first time.

New age-grades were formed every two or three years. An age-grade had a “President” and other officials and was organized to levy fines and dues and enforce discipline. This pattern was apparently borrowed from Oru through the contacts made since the late 18th century, every Nkwukwu or sixteenth day, members of the male age-grade hold traditional meetings at which they drink and dance asawa and sing in the Kalabari (Ijaw or Oru) tough (egwu asawa) although only an occasional member may understand that language.

All age-grades have their female counterparts but these are more or less “notional” associations. On great occasions, women attend the male age-grade meetings in company of their husbands.

Ali Ogba: A History of Ogba people By Ellah, Francis J. 1995

NONAMES OF AGE GRADEYEARS OF BIRTH OF MEMBERS
1IMERE OGBO 1866 – 1867
2OSUKWU-OGBO         1868 – 1869
3OKPURUKPU   1870 – 1871
4AWARAWA     1872 – 1873
5OWIGBA         1874 – 1875
6IJII1876 – 1877
7IBAGWA         1878 – 1879
8NNUNU           1880 – 1881
9AGBA-AKA      1882 – 1883
10EBULOGWE    1884 – 1885
11OGBULOR      1886 – 1887
12OGBOMDI      1888 – 1889
13ABAAM           1890 – 1891
14ABRAAM        1892 – 1893
15OGBOSHOE    1894 – 1895
16GERMAN        1896 – 1897
17OKPAMMA                 1898 – 1899
18AWUSA           1900 – 1901
19WIRE  1902 – 1903
20IYER    1904 – 1905
21AKPURUKA     1906 – 1907
22AFUNEYA        1908 – 1909
23ABRASS           1910 – 1911
24OWAJIRI OGBO          1912 – 1913
25AMERICA        1914 – 1916
26GOVERNMENT           1917 – 1919
27LAGOS1920 – 1922
28SOLDIER         1922 – 1924
29IBROGWU      1924 – 1926
30INDIA  1926 – 1928
31ELUOYIBO      1928 – 1930
32EUROPEAN     1930 – 1932
33NIGERIA          1932 – 1934
34IBADAN          1934 – 1936
35FULL POWER  1936 – 1938
36LONDON        1938 – 1940
37OMOKU          1940 – 1942
38ZIK      1942 – 1944
39FREEDOM      1944 – 1946
40EKWELA          1946 – 1948
41GHANA           1948 – 1950
42NIGER 1950 – 1952
43WEST AFRICA 1952 – 1954
44RIVERS STATE 1954 – 1955
45AFRICA1956 – 1957
46NAIRA 1958 – 1959
47CHINA 1959 – 1960
48FIGHTER         1960 – 1961
49DANGER         1961 – 1962
50CONGO1963 – 1964