Dikeogu Tower, Anambra State

In the Anambra State, the Dikeogu Tower was essential to the survival of the Igbo people.

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 the Ukpor land. He led the people to many wars, perfecting a strategy that enabled his people to 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 stands today. It is a twenty-foot tall multi-purpose pyramid tower that aided his 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, they would climb from one deck to another. A sentry was 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 gave 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, it was considered the most vulnerable in war times. While the men fight, they ensure their loved ones were protected from attack.

Dike Madueke was 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. 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 an architectural skill that went into its construction, which according to the people has been lost, many years ago. The walls, hedging the Madueke family compound are as old as the tower itself and still stand as strong as ever. This historical site is living history for visitors as not many structures stay in tact for long and it provides insight into how these people lived and fought. 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.