Most people do not know but Mbaise and Ngwa are kith and kin... seperated by The Imo River but keeping similar customs and a very similar dialect..
As one scholar puts it... Mbaise dialect and culture is about 60% Ngwa, 30% Uratta and 10%Isu
The Ohuhu su group is one of the largest Igbo subgroup.. although there is currently no pan Ohuhu cultural association except perhaps Ezumezu Mbaise.
The Ohuhu is the name Ngwa used to refer to the Ezinihitte located to their West and Umuahia to their North...
The meaning the name implies is that of a straggler i.e those who where left behind.
They were part of the same wave of population movement of Southern igbo from their homeland in what most likely was Alinso towards an Eastern direction to settle on the banks of the Imo River
The Ohuhu were those of the group who tallied behind and with time integrated with the neighbouring Uratta and Isu peoples they found on the West bank of the River Imo
Whereas the Ngwa were cultural purists who quickly crossed the Imo river in search of land and greener pastures.
The Ngwa were believed to have been led by legendary figure Ngwa Ukwu who gave his name to the tribe...and his brothers Nsulu, Nwaoha and Ntigha.
Despite being apart over the centuries Ohuhu people and Ngwa continue to share several cultural similarities (e.g nwanjoku and mmaji culture, dog rites, similar deities and dances such as ekereavu, abiigbo, ese l'uko etc) as well as similarities in dialect
The myriad of name places called Okpuala (which where they erected a shrine to Ala) scattered in ikeduru, Mbaise and Ngor/Okpala are evidence of these Ohuhu-Ngwa migrations....
However one must note that the migrations across the imo river did not happen in one stroke as told by oral tradition...careful scientific and anthropological study reveals that the movement across the river occurred in different waves after the initial crossing as different Mbaise groups crossed the river as a result of land shortages and the Ngwa needing more manpower to subdue the Annang on the other side...
As such there are name replications of several towns between Mbaise and Ngwa some of which do not intermarry
E.g there is Nguru, Mbutu, Onicha, Ekwereazu, Itu, Umuagwa, Uvuru, Amorji, Ogbor, Obohia, Obizi, in both Mbaise and Ngwa.
In the 1940s 5 Ohuhu clans coalesced to form a seperate identity known as Mbaise
These clans were Agbaja, Ahiara, Oke-Uvuru, Ekwereazu and Ezinihitte.
There are Ohuhu clans which did not join the merger... isu-obiangwu did not, Umuohiagu, Umuowa, Logara, Okpala did not. Obowo did not
Obowo tradition of origin was somewhat varied... they posit that they did not follow the same route as other Ohuhu people but had dallied behind, they arrived with their kin Obohia clan and Ihitte-Afoukwu (Obokwu)
One oral tradition had it that they took a different route from other Ohuhu-Ngwa people via Orlu while another has it that they came via Nekede.... this might be plausible given cultural similarities that link them to Owerri.
It was from this population movement that would later cross the river to settle North of Ngwa in what is now Umuopara and Umuhu na Okaiuga (Ohuhu) clans of Umuahia today...
It was from the same Ezinihitte axis that crossed over to form Ubakala clan of Umuahia today. (Ibeku and Olokoro are more affiliated to Bende-Ikwuano people)
Obowo for political reasons chose to align with Etiti (ihitte and Ehime) seeing also as Okigwe administrative court was closer to them.
In total Ohuhu people make up the following: Ahiara, Ekwereazu, Agbaja(Nguru, Enyiogugu, Lagwa etc) Mbutu, Uvuru, Ogbor, Ezinihitte(Onicha, Eziudo, Itu, Ife, Amaumara, Okpofe etc)
Isu-Obiangwu, Umuohiagu, Logara, Okpala, Obowo, Umuhu na Okaiuga, Umuopara, Ubakala
United by one culture and their closeness to the Ngwa