Any person referred to as ‘Dike’ in Igbo land is a great man and must have performed an extraordinary feat to deserve the title. In times past, it was used for great warriors who had shown exceptional bravery at war. Dike Madueke, who lived and died in Ukpor before 1700, falls under this category. He is reputed as the greatest warrior in Ukpor land. He led the people to many wars, perfecting a strategy that enabled the people defeat their enemies all around. The early European adventurers who came to Ukpor met such stiff resistance from the local soldiers that they had to retreat for re-enforcement before they were able to subdue the people.
It was said that in the process of perfecting his war strategies, Dike Madueke erected in his family compound which still stand today, a twenty-foot tall multi-purpose pyramid tower that aided the people to thwart the plans of their enemies. The interior of the tower has three decks, spy holes all around it and with the aid of ladder people climb from one deck to another. a sentry is constantly posted on top of the deck from where he observes the surrounding are and reports the movement of soldiers from every direction. The middle rung is reserved for sharp-shooters armed with Dane guns and darts. The height gives them the advantage of reach over enemy soldiers.
The ground floor of the tower is the most spacious and acts as a refuge for women and children, considered the most vulnerable in war times. While the men fight, they ensure their loved ones are protected from attack. Dike’s tower has recently been reduced in height to enable maintenance and preservation of this important historical monument. It has survived years of weathering due to special indigenous architectural skill that went into its construction, which according to the people has been lost, years ago. The walls, hedging the Madueke family compound are as old as the tower itself and still stand as strong as ever. One cannot claim to have seen the ingenuity of the Igbo people during the early years without a visit to Dike’s tower at Ukpor town in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Dike Madueke is also reputed as a powerful rainmaker in his days. The art of rainmaking in Igbo land is one that can only be inherited; a jealously guarded secret of families that are its custodian. See more about the art of rain making as we take you to cultural practices of Igbo people.