There could be no greater service to the Igbo society today than establishing the exact identity of the people, which naturally should start with whence they came. This great question of identity, this great debate on origins, may not be peculiar to the Igbo race, but had started to assume wider proportions since the 1966/67 organised massacre of the Igbos and other easterners, otherwise called pogroms, their subsequent mass exodus to the East, the bloody struggle for self-determination under the auspices of Biafra, and the end of the Nigerian civil War in January 1970. The Igbo identity is also special because not only that they are about the biggest ethnic nationality in Africa, they are also known for special attributes that invariably attract the attention of others, constitute objects of admiration, sometimes also envy and hostility, yet, nevertheless indispensable if the Nigerian nation must develop and prosper, or the Black and African peoples join the rest of the hardworking world in create the new millennia of prosperity and peace.
If the Igbos are a great people, the Nri people, that special tribe of the igbo race that either pioneered the migration from Palestine or the Middle East to the present Igboland, or led the spread of the Igbo people or propagation of their culture to many parts of the ancient and modern Africa, or inspired the settlement of Igboland or creation of many of its clans or villages east and west ot the Niger, and that remained for long, and are still the center of many aspects of Igbo culture, could not be less great.
Therefore, tracing the Nri phenomenon, justifiably from biblical time, is a great and worthy enterprise, and an inestimable contribution to scholarship. Chief Ambrose Okonkwo has accomplished a remarkable task in this book, and by so doing, added a clearly strong factual element to the debate over whether the Igbos were indeed a lost tribe of Israel, or the present Israelis a lost tribe of the Igbo race. The great Igbo people suffered a mighty delinkage from their past, most probably because of the long migration from somewhere, the protracted wandering in the African wilds, and the consequent de-linkage from literary or written culture. The task of reconstructing this silent but very important period in Igbo history is a very difficult one, but through such men as Chief Ambrose Okonkwo, and such efforts as demonstrated by him in this work, who the Igbos are, is becoming gradually but systematically settled.
It was a great honour to offer me the privilege of writing the foreword of this important work. And being an Nri woman myself, there would be few happier assignments for me. Hence, I have done so with great joy and fervour, especially because the great role of Nri people in Igbo and, therefore Nigerian and African history, is a great role by me, for my sake, and for the sake of my children. It is, therefore, with great emotion and clear knowledge of the rich factual narrative, that I recommend this extant work to everyone especially those interested in African history, in Israeli-African relationships, and in the Igbo peoples in particular.;
Dept. of Political Science
University of Nigeria