Eleh is a village in southeastern Nigeria, located near the city of Orlu, Imo State. The name Eleh is coined from the word Nne Eleyi. But on the arrival of the colonial masters they changed the name Eleyi to Eleh as they cannot pronounce Eleyi. The town usually, that is not always, is claimed to have been founded by a common ancestor, as we saw, usually larger-than-life, who begat several children to whom he allocated areas on which to settle. These areas eventually evolved to become villages. A typical example of such a claim is the tradition of origin of Eleh autonomous community in Oru West Local Government Area (LGA) of Imo State, Nigeria. Today, Eleh town is one of the autonomous communities in the LGA.
Eleh community has ancient villages namely Umuabiahu, Umuezike, Umuoma, Ihite-Eleh and Umuchukwu. Eleh ancient kingdom is ruled by His royal majesty Eze L. E Ihekaibeya Eze Dara X of Eleh ancient kingdom. It is a typical Igbo town. It is bounded on the north by Nempi community; on the south and southwest by Omuma community; and southeast by Aji community. It is served by the Mgbidi-Orlu road and Nempi-Omuma road. It is about 10 kilometers from Orlu. It is a small, compact but thickly populated community with a projected 1997 population of ten thousand people.
According to this tradition, a sort of warlord called Oru and Oma with vague Nri ancestry, but certainly a peripatetic individual, migrated from Nri in the present Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria and settled in the present Eleh town, having decisively defeated the original settlers who had resisted him fiercely. He dispersed the settlers, seized their land, and distributed it among his children. His first son Eleh, became the progenitor of the present Eleh Ancient Kingdom.
This brief account of the evolution of Eleh town in the pre-colonial period is recorded here not because of its peculiarity but because of the general in its peculiarity. In other words, the story is very representative of Igbo communities. There are, of course, several instances where towns arose in this period as a result of several villages, not related by blood, were forced to confederate to defend themselves against a common enemy or danger. Over the years they developed a sense of community and in some cases invented a common ancestry and began to call themselves brothers. It is probably towns founded in this way which, for the most part, and with increase in population, tend to be loudest in clamouring for autonomous community status these days.
1. Nkwo Eleh (present)
2. Eke Eleh (old Market) which is no longer in existence.
1. Holy Family Catholic Church
2. The Apostolic Church Nigeria (Igbo Field)
3. All saviors Anglican Church
4. Save the Lost Mission
5. National Evangelical Mission.
6. Watchman Catholic C.R.M
1. Community Primary School.
2. State Primary School.
Written by Arc. Leonard Ejikeme Okeke
February 19, 2017