List of rulers of Nri

The following is a list of rulers of Nri. The title of the ruler of Nri is eze Nri. The eze held religious and political authority over the Kingdom of Nri in a fashion comparable with that of the pope. The Nri culture is believed to stretch back to around the 10th century, however, its recorded kings goes back to the early 13th century. The power of the eze Nri and the kingdom as a whole ended in 1911 with the last independent monarch being forced to submit to British rule at gunpoint. Nevertheless, the title of eze Nri has survived into the 21st century.


The eze Nri was chosen by the Nze and Nzemabua (state leadership) and had to be recognized by the general public. Before being crowned, he could not have a living father. The potential eze Nri also had to prove he was the choice of God (Chukwu), Eri (founder of Nri), the ancestors ("ndiichie") and spirits (alusi) through revelations and visions confirmed by diviners. After this, he had to travel to Aguleri to obtain a lump of clay from the bottom of the Anambra River used to make the ritual pot (odudu) for the shrine to Nri Menri.[1] After various other rituals such as causing the magical ripening of a fruit palm and undergoing a ritual burial and reviving, the eze Nri was proclaimed and saluted as igwe (meaning "heavenly one").[2]


It is difficult to trace the exact dates for an individual eze Nri, because there was an interregnum after each one's death. During this time, the priests of the eze Nri waited for someone to manifest the signs indicating they were the next priest-king.[3]

List of recorded Eze Nri

Eri period

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death

Post Eri period

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death
Eze Nri Ìfikuánim
Eze Nri Nàmóke
Eze Nri Buífè
1159-1259 [4]
Obeagụ Unified Ọfọ N’alọ Agukwu and Diodo
Eze Nri Ọmalọ
1260–1299 [4]
Eze Nri Jiọfọ I
1300-1390 [4]
Eze Nri Ọmalonyeso
1391-1464 [4]
Eze Nri Anyamata
1465-1511 [4]
Eze Nri Fenenu
1512-1582 [4]
Eze Nri Agụ
1583-1676 [4]
Eze Nri Apia and Nri–Alike
1677-1700 [4]
Both from Uruọji Both died the same day
Eze Nri Ezimilo
1701-1723 [4]
Agbadana Assassinated[5]
Eze Nri Èwenétem
1724-1794 [4]
Eze Nri Ènweleána I
1795-1886 [4]
Eze Nri Òbalíke
1889-1936 [4]

Post decline

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death
Eze Nri Jiọfọ II Taabansi Udene
1937-1987 [4]
Eze Nri Ènweleána II Obidiegwu Onyeso (MFR)
1988-current [4]

See also


  1. Uzukwu, page 98
  2. Uzukwu, page 99
  3. Isichei, page 246
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Onwuejeogwu, M. Angulu (1981). Igbo Civilization: Nri Kingdom & Hegemony. Ethnographica. ISBN 0-905788-08-7.
  5. Murder at Montpelier By Douglas B. Chambers notes p. 253


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