Igbos Of Delta State And Crisis Of Identity (Conclusion)

by Ephraim Adinlofu

Continued from: Part 1

In 1999, Mr. Peter Okocha { from Ibusa} contributed financially and campaigned vigorously for the OBJ/ Atiku ticket. In 2003, as a PDP party loyalist, he did exactly the same, supporting the duo. There was an unwritten agreement that after James Ibori, the governorship would be zoned to the Delta Igbo senatorial district. All eyes were on Peter Okocha who belonged to the Atiku camp to clinch that ticket.

Thus when the war of ‘attrition’ between OBJ and his Deputy started, Peter Okocha, rather than following the much hackneyed principles that in politics, there is no permanent friend but permanent interest, remained loyal to Atiku. That, became his undoing. He probably thought he was still doing business. So, OBJ mobilized the state apparatus to make sure that he did not clinch the ticket. Okocha decided to go under AC to contest. Prof. Maurice Iwu’s INEC did another abracadabra on him. He was ‘disqualified’. His case is still pending in the electoral appeal court- to be determined by only God knows when, by a seemingly compromised section of the judiciary.

Chief Ibori, who benefited from Peter Okocha’s electoral largesse and support throughout his stay as governor, did a u-turn and stabbed Okocha on the back. Overnight before the 2007 charade called election, a decision was taken that the PDP governorship race should be zoned to the other senatorial district while Delta Igbos were to make do with state Chairman of the party. That was how Mr. Peter Nwaoboshi became the state PDP Chairman. The Urhobos, Itsekiris, Izons, Ijaws, and Isokos, aptly supported by OBJ, ganged up and executed that coup against us. They rounded it up with the puerile logic that since we have the state capital, we should not produce the next governor.

Again in the 2007 election, as a prelude to that charade, Prof. Pat Utomi { from Ibusa}, whose wife is from the East, went to OHANAEZE to solicit for support for his presidential ambition. Chief Orji Uzor Kalu also went to solicit for his too. A section of OHANAEZE that rejected Pat Utomi, gave me a terrible food for thought. One of them, according to some daily Nigerian newspapers’ reports, hankered abject adroitly : “Is he really a proper Igbo man? Look at him, he cannot even speak Igbo properly.” Others even insinuated that his name did not sound Igbo. I was shocked to the bone marrow. I couldn’t believe what I was reading from prominent Igbo citizens.

Instead of asking the two candidates to present their programmes and manifestoes, they were busy hankering on whether one of them is a “proper Igbo” or not. I was shocked of words. If any Igbo person does not know the meaning of Utomi, then that person should take a suicidal dive into the river Niger.

I guess some Igbos will ask of the true meaning of my surname – ADINLOFU. An Igbo man ones asked me in London whether I am a Yoruba man, that my surname looks like one. I just laughed { even though my spouse is Yoruba} and politely asked the man to pronounce my name. He ended up pronouncing it with all the Igbo-ness and accent which goes with it. While he was slowly pronouncing it, the meaning was unfolding before his eyes. He simply laughed and laughed himself to scorn.

Besides, it is a historical fact writes Emma Okocha of Izu-Anioma, that when Ojukwu even declared the Biafran Republic, he never had us in mind. Ojukwu’s Biafran and its boundary ended at Onitsha, living his kiths and kin – Midwestern Igbos – to their destiny. And yet during that pogrom of 1966, most Delta Igbo officers ran, not to Mid -West or to the West but to their kiths and kin in the East. The Chief of Biafran Navy, the late Captain W. A. Anuku, was from Agbor.

Ojukwu went further to choose Col. Banjo against the overwhelming preference of Nzeogwu {a then Mid-Western Igbo officer}, to lead that tactical assault on Midwest and on to Lagos. Most writers call it tactical because, the choice of Banjo and his subsequent antics {Read WHY WE STRUCK 1983 by Ademoyega} changed and swung the war to the advantage of the Federal troops. In that assault, Col. Banjo, who was then assisted by Lt. Col Igboba {from Ibusa}, got his assistant locked up in Benin prison over disagreements on tactics and the way and manner the invasion was being compromised.

However, while the Biafran soldiers were retreating from the Federal counter attack, Banjo, Ademoyega, and coy deliberately left Lt. Col Igboba behind at the Benin prisons only for the invading ‘British troops’ called Federal forces under the command of Lt. Col. Murtala Muhammed to stroll casually into Benin prison, locate Igboba and had him beheaded. That was the same Igboba who helped General Ironsi to quell Nzeogwu’s coup in Lagos.

Even in their genuine demand for more Igbo states, the East never count the Igbos in Delta state as worthy. Their request ought to always incorporate the demand of our people for the creation of Anioma State out of the present amorphous Delta State. After all, it will still be another seemingly full fledged Igbo State. However, I still remembered quite vividly that the late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo ones in while, had requested that the Igbos of Delta State should be given appropriate hearing in their quest for Anioma State which would have extricated and freed us from the strangle-hold of the Urhobos. But that was a lone support in the wilderness.

There is a need for the Igbos in the East to reach out to their brothers and sisters across the river Niger. This is not to say that we cannot stand on our own. The point here is that there is strength in number-“Igwe-buike”. The Igbos in the East should always seize the initiative because of their strength. They should make it their statutory duty to come to us and embrace us.

They are our fathers and, like most migration theories have confirmed about the origin of most of these communities, we are their children. We may not be business inclined like them because we are not cut out for such but we are educated and are good civil servants. Our word in most cases is always our bond. Our people are sincere to a fault and are prepared to fight with anybody for a just and sincere cause in as much as you don’t cunningly backslide or sabotage the cause. The causes that Major Nzeogwu, Pat Utomi, Col Tim Onwuatuegwu, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, Col.Nwanwo, Col. Achuzia had fought and still fighting for, is a testimony to our strength and character.

In fact to reinforce this view, I want OHANAEZE to move forthwith, their headquarters to either Asaba, Ibusa, or Ogwashi-Ukwu. I believed that the closer you are to us the better. Let us have a sense of belonging. By this invitation, I am not saying you should now come and colonise us. I am saying that we should relate and that there should be a strong cultural affinity and rapport.

Anybody in the Igbo culture area of Delta state who is in doubt about his or her Igbo historical connection, should contact Prof. Nolue Emenanjo, Executive-Director, National Institute Of Nigerian Languages, Aba, for more explanation and Professor Okoh, UNIBEN. The late intellectually versatile Prof. M. A Onwuejeogwu, another Igbo encyclopedist, who was from Ogboli-Ibusa, and founder of the Nri Museum, should have been another contact but for his death.

The intellectual bloc of OHANAEZE should not shy away from its responsibility. The bloc should pickup the pieces and do more research work in this Igbo culture area of Delta state to establish more historical connectedness and build on such relationships. The Israelis are doing exactly that all over the world. When the State of Israel was created, most Falashas of Ethiopia, were lifted to that state because it was established that they were Jews. The Yoruba is doing the same, tracking their Oduduwa kiths and kin all over Africa and even beyond, as far as to Brazil.

Besides, this is not a question of whether the people of Agbor or Ndokwa are disclaiming their Igbo-ness or have decided or deciding to opt-out, no, it is a question of research, based on solid historical and archaeological evidences. I reckoned that all research should focus on that title of “Obi” which has been handed over to our traditional rulers from generation to generation. “Obi”, as the title designate, is an undiluted Igbo nomenclature. It is not an Hausa, Bini, Yoruba, Ishan or Fulani terminology. Apart from the differences in Igbo dialects, accents or phonetics, and historical variances in origin, the other common variable for research revolves around this term and title of “Obi ”.

Flowing from this, and of secondary relevance, is the Igbo name of their subjects. For Example, the people of Agbor and Ndokwa bear names like Isioma, Ngozi,Nwabuzor, Nduka, Chukwuma, Chukwuekwu, Chukwuka, Ibegbulem, Nwanyimogor, Nwajei, Obika, Ijeoma, Ifeoma, Nwaokolo, Nwoko, Iwebelua, Chiedu, and other names with the prefix-“Umu”. And “Umu” is a complete Igbo terminology which means “Children”. Thus “Umu-dein” means the “ Children of Dein” and there is a street in Agbor with that name- Umudein street.

It is not an issue of sentiments, emotions and unsubstantiated trivialities. Almost all the traditional leaders of Delta Igbo communities that I’d listed in part {1} hold the title of “Obi” and not Oba. And if any of them wants to invoke the anger of the gods by changing to another title, just because the leader does not want any linkage with the Igbos, may the ancestors and IGBOPHOBIA take care of that person.

In about 1979, I travelled from Agbor to Benin-city to spend some days with late Prof. Mike Onwujeogwu, who was then { I think}, either the Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences or the Head of Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Benin. One day, he told me to get dressed that we will all be travelling to Enugwu-Ukwu, the wife‘s village. While we were meandering through pot holes and following some short cuts here and there and stopping over here and now for the Prof. to greet his friends and for the wife to greet relatives, we came to a village called { I think} Isu or Isu-Aniocha near Awka. I was already fast asleep in the car.

Then the Prof. woke me up and said. This is Isu, where the founder of Igbouzo anglicised Ibusa, migrated from. He then gave me a thorough lecture of what happened. I was so stunned and flabbergasted. Since then, that indelible sight and lecture, even though he has written a book on it since 1972, has not left my memory.

After the civil war in 1970, my parents decided to migrate to Agbor. The Obi of Agbor then, Obi Ikechukwu, welcomed Igbos like wise was the Obi of Owa. Obi Ikechukwu has a friendly, approachable and welcoming disposition. By 1978, the Obi, just like any other Obi and going by the principles and practice of the patrilineal system, was anxious to have a son – a heir apparent. Fortunately, his Royal Highness had one from one of his wives, who was pregnant for him before he {the obi} died.

It was alleged that the heir’s life was in danger from other jealous wives and sensing that, the Agbor Council-of-Chiefs in consonance with perhaps, the Oba of Benin, decided to smuggle the young “Obi” out of Nigeria to London, where he lived and studied at Lewisham college, imbibed western cultures, MORES and ways of life and came back to assume his throne in about 2002. Since then, the young “Obi” has been behaving like the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Royal Highness should take time to study the history of his community. He should thrive to do away with most of his westernised ways. His subjects are complaining about that. Rumours have it that he wants to, or has changed his title from “Obi” to “Dein”. If unchecked by Agbor elders, then I won’t be surprised if at a later date he changes to Emir of Agbor. Although, I learnt from my source that it is a rumour; however, if is true and it is assented to by his Agbor Council-of-Chiefs, may the council direct all their subjects with Igbo names to drop such names and choose Benin names like Anini or Osunbor. Enough of this hypocrisy! If in this age some educated people are still contesting their culture and cannot make do with profound evidence before them because of a peculiar phobia of their own creation, then such a culture is a dead culture. “A contested culture is a dead culture.”

And this is why I call on OHANAEZE to embark on further research in this “Igbo culture area” of Delta state, establish the historical links, migration trends, patterns of settlement, cultural diffusion, symbolisms, feast and festivals and their resemblances, contacts and acculturation in the whole amalgam and; to try as much as possible, to harmonise researches that have been done already and to stand firmly by the synthesized result. There is a need to focus research on the following movements in their chronological order as culled in the late Professor Onwuejeogwu,s book titled: The traditional Political System Of Ibusa {1972}, namely;

“the Owerri-movement before A.D. 800 ; the Eri-movement about A.D. 800; the Nri-movement about A.D. 900 to 1911; the Isu-movement between the 15th and 16th centuries; the Ubulu-movement around the 17th century; the Aro-movement around the 17th and 19th centuries; the Idu or Bini-movement around the 18th century and the Igala-movement between the 18th and 19th centuries.” These movements, especially the Nri, Isu, Ubulu, Idu, Aro and the Igala movements should be of tremendous interest to OHANAEZE research unit and this is because these movements seemed to be the ones which have had profound impact on the cultures and thought processes of the people of these communities.

The studies and research should be based on technique of participant observation. By this, I mean the researchers have to live with the people they are studying over a long period of time. You don’t stay in the USA and London and lift opinionated articles devoid of any research technique to claim that you are Urhobo or Benin while your name is Emeka Okafor.

I believed strongly that If tomorrow the Jews are to prove that there is a trace of archaeological evidence establishing consanguinity between Igbo and Hebrew and as such, have come to lift the willing Igbos to the State of Israel, as they did to the Falashas of Ethiopia, I guess those people of Ika and Ndokwa and some others, who are still in a state of denial about their Igbo linkage, will automatically turn around to announce that their father’s father’s father’s father’s name is NRIJIOFO, just because they want to migrate to Israel. Funny world! I rest my case!

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Azareel February 9, 2023 - 5:25 pm

My brother most of the names you mentioned or listed here are Benin names which I can’t tell if Yoruba bear same like ikeke – bicycle, Ogo – bottle, ewu – cloth, stick – Okopo or ukpokpo, etc

No body can claim to know the history of a people more than the costodian of the heritage, culture and tradition of the people, meaning the KING of the land will know better unless otherwise.

The Obi or Dein of Agbor knows the history better than many of this historian.


Okeke Ebubechukwu November 5, 2022 - 5:59 pm

Do you know the obis of Agbor from 1800 till date sir?….i want to use it for my project changes and Continuity of Agbor Dynasty Since 1800. Delta state university

Ogbuefi July 7, 2011 - 6:54 am

Excellent write up.@Omojie….You will fail in this quest of yours to mislead people on the true identity of Ika people…..@Gbenoba……I doubt if you know much about Agbor history and I doubt if you are really a Prince of Agbor kingdom.To claim that the Dein dynasty of Agbo was founded by a younger brother of Overami(as you put it) a king whose period of reign is put at between 1888-1914 is an insult to all Agbor people.

Veronica Solu December 31, 2010 - 9:35 am

All these narratives are cultural realities which one must face for being part of a culture. I am not from Delta and that does not mean that I don’t regard them. This will be an eye openers for everyone from the region that want to go deep into Sociocultural Anthropology of Agbor. If we do not preserve our culture it will extinct and we will regret. Well done guys.

solomon April 15, 2010 - 12:40 pm

it is only a reall full blooded ika person that can understand what it means bein ika ..you can be igbo or any other thing but if you are ika , then royalty runs in you period.i am very proud of my ancestory.we can trace our history,most core founders of ika came from benin,our culture and way of life stands as a testimony .and you cannot belong to the royal lineages of the ikas if you are not from benin.i want to thank prince edobor,i am also from idumuezomor in owa from the royal quarters and one of my ancestors was obi igbegidi of owa, the second king of owa.it is good we are salvaging our self and ika from those who want to force us to be what we are not.no ika man will ever say he is igbo.so people should stop wasting their time re-writing our history.we have taken a stand to be ika .

Leo Annorzie February 7, 2010 - 7:25 pm

From known and observed events, one can predict the unknown. Language is the record we all carry in our heads. Linguistics have identified Ika as Igbo language. Are they wrong? The Yorubas have linkages in Brazil and Cuba because of the yourba language. Facts are very different from opinions which anybody can have. The only way to run away completely from Igbo is to eradicate Igbo tongue in Ika. Sadly the Achilles’ Heels is Igbo, and that is what Igbos have latched on. Suffice to call it an embrace of absolute chaos.

francis njoku January 27, 2010 - 11:48 am

very insightful from the discussants on both divides

igwe December 29, 2009 - 10:10 pm

solomon should stop confusing us with his falacy. pls since he dont want to assimilate he should go back to bini.

Okeosisi n'igbo land September 10, 2009 - 6:27 pm

Solomon Omo-ije please be a distinct Benin Nationality halelujah.

You win.

Okeosisi n'igbo land September 10, 2009 - 6:16 pm

I dont really see the point of these arguments. If Ika people want to be Benin people what’s the fuss. There is room for a blend they can be Benin people with some ibo blood culture or names or vice Versa. The world is not black and white. All Igbo are not the same its a rainbow of many colours and hues. I actually dont think as anambra man I have anything in common with someone from Eha Amufu Ebonyi state not even the language. so let them be. A word of caution. The truth is that when they start killing Igbos in Nigeria they are not usually discriminating enough to kill only Igbos from the East they kill all IGBO, IKA -IBO, KWA-IBOE, IKWERRE, IKA whatever hue or shade.

Kizito March 29, 2021 - 8:59 pm

Hahahaha…very very funny

gnwanze@yahoo.com July 27, 2009 - 7:03 pm

Prince Edobor, no one disputes the fact that many people have come and gone in both ANioma and in so many other lands all across Nigeria. There is no part or tribe in Nigeria that has existed monogenously all through their history and existence. The missing gap you failed to fill in your comment was this: ” Who were those living in Agbor land before the arrival of the Bini prince who fled in terro?” Surely, this bini man didn’t meet empty land in where we know today as Agbor, cos it wasn’t posible for just Anioma land and Agbor area in particular to remain empty while the entire southeast, south south, then jump over to Bini land, Yoruba land, Hausa land, etc were already occupied…empty and waiting for the arrival of the first bini man? Come on, that wasn’t possible. The fleeing bini prince met lots of original inhabitants when he arrived. Who were those people? My guess is not a hidden one.

Prince Edobor Gbenoba,Arch.D July 27, 2009 - 4:40 am

Agbor people are descendants of the ancient Benin empire. The first king of Agbor, Dein was one of the younger children of Oba Overami who fled from Benin when the European colonialists conquered the city and sent him (Oba Overami) on Exile. Originally there was no ibo dialect in Agbor language. The igbo dialect was introduced into Agbor language by Igbo traders who came to Agbor town to trade and later settled down there in great numbers and inter-married as well. Until this day, members of the Agbor Royal Family cannot inter-marry with the members of the Benin Royal family because we consider ourselves to belong to the same family still. The distorted history presented above is completely misleading and erroneous. Intellectuals should refrain from publishing information which is not factual because it diminishes their intellectual integrity. I am a Prince Edobor Gbenoba, Arch.D. As a member of the Agbor Royal family, I have a complete and unadultrated information on this matter.

Sandra Scott September 14, 2021 - 12:51 pm

Wow please sir can you enlighten me on this??? Because I’ve been wondering why some of my people bear Benin names, my thoughts exactly! Why our languages are similar, and most of us especially in abavo bear Benin like names

solomon-omojie June 23, 2009 - 7:00 pm

dein of agbor is still regarded as the youngest king in recorded modern history , chek the guiness book of records and other books , do you know why , it is because agbor kingdom is one of the most ancient kingdom in nigeria dating to over several thousand years , starting from ogiso , ogele to obi (dein) titles .no complete ika man who knows his history of migration will tell you , he is from any other place than benin , i am from the royal quarters and one of my ancestors was a king,we are descendants of kings and we know our origin to be from benin .please show me any king in igboland that is as great as the agbor king in history ? ika language is a mix of bini, ishan and igbo , that makes it different and unique.our culture is 100 percent bini , our spiritual view is same with bini, our chiefthancy is same , our marriage culture is same . my linage comes from the ezomor -edogun -the great bini warrior and general of bini army , who assisted oba esigie in defeating the idah warriors .that is why our village is called idumu-ezomor .your allution that ikas are igbos is a sacrillage , have you seen ikas in any ohaneze meetings before ? who will our royal kings sit with in a meeting ? ikas for ages have been linked to binis , if we have any thing or dispute to settle we go to bini ,we do not go to the igbos in the east, when agbor had a dispute in 1978 , we called on oba of bini to settle it and he did , ika is a seperate ethnic group and you can say whatever you like , no ika man will call himself igbo.we know where our ancestors came from ,.ikas will never be part of igbo , so if you like keep dreaming , ikas are a seperate group of people .we love and cheerish our royal heritage , do you know that the present oba of bini and the dein of agbor belong to the same family ?

all ika and agbor kings are princes of bini ,this is still know by binis and agbors , all the same agbors are neither bini or igbos , but we are ika people .

Enderson Nnamdi Mazambulous Okpara January 28, 2021 - 2:35 am

Your conflicting views can only inflict more pain in your historic distortions of facts, in your words”, same you’re neither Igbo Or Ika, that’s personality crisis. Professor pat Utomi whose identity is genuine and a proudly igboman will enlighten your horizon. Nduka Ogbaigbena e tal. I will advise you do a proper history on the Bini Kingdom which it first colonizers were Portuguese, there is an existential museum in Lisbon Portugal which clearly deduce the distinction of tribes. No time the Igbo Agbors & the Bini’s had anything in tamdem from their geneology. Okowa will tell you this for free, Pat Utomi too.

Godwin March 23, 2021 - 7:04 pm

Your views, while partly correct, are not absolutely accurate.

It is true that their are some traces of Beni history in Agbor, but that happened several centuries ago when a certain Benin prince fled to the area.

Before he fled to the area though, there are already Igbo speaking Agbors on ground. History has it that the fleeing prince did not meet an empty land. There were already settlers there of whom accommodated him, gave him cover and even allowed him to marry among them.

The binis were not the ancestral progenitors of the abgor people. Agbor people are more Igbo than Benin. Benin influence on Agbor only began in the late 18th century after wave of influx from Benin people. Despite that, the people still maintained their Igbo identity more than that of the Beni people trying so hard to annex them.

Sandra Scott Elumah September 14, 2021 - 1:00 pm

You were absolutely correct, when yuu said the ika language is a mix of Benin, Igbo, esan and the others you mentioned. Words like “opia” (cutlass) means exactly the same in Benin and esan languages, Ogede” (plantain) etc are all the same. Let’s not talk of names Lol. The most intriguing part that got me was when I noticed some of our streets in Agbor has Benin affiliates like the popular “upper sakponba road” is a street too in Agbor. The similarities are so large that one can write a full theses, research or project from it and still won’t be able to exhaust all the knowledge in writing. It’s a mystery to me and it’s soooo deep.

Aguebor Azareel February 9, 2023 - 4:18 pm

You are truly a man who are not ignorance of his history. This is lovely

NwaAniochaIgboMan June 5, 2009 - 4:02 pm

Emeka nwannem…the Igbo which you are one cannot actualise Anioma state in the present Nigeria because of the politics involved. The Igb as you called them are still eventrying to get at par with other regions as to the number of states! 2. Would Anioma be in the South East or South South? If it will be in the south East then see nhow the Igbo would fight for it tooth and nail! If in the South South…does it mean you’d want the Igbo to stop agitating for parity of their region with others just to help Anioma people like you who say you are not Igbo? See things in their holistic view and not bthrough a parochial prism! This is Nigerian politics as it is and as it is it is very painful. The Igbo who I am a proud son of…no apologies…say that a drowning man does not try to save another, and that one whose house is burning does not chase rats!!! Ka ora m nofu!!!!!!!!

NwaAniochaIgboMan June 5, 2009 - 3:54 pm

I made a mistake rating the write up by Ephraim Adinlofu (Adighinlofu/Odighinlofu=something that cannot be forgotten) as 1..it is indeed a 5 STAR writeup! Please keep the good work up. And to Solomon, please do MORE RESEARCH!

NwaAniochaIgboMan June 5, 2009 - 3:46 pm

My God?! Solomon you ask if Nrin had a Kingdom?! This shows you do not know anything then about history! You are writing from the heart! You see Ika you call it Ekalaedehan to suit you, Obi to you equals ovbi, etc! Nri was a very very very Ancient Religious/Spiritual Kingdom that even the British who were its recent contacts attested to! You need to read up on a lot of thing my dear Solomon! Anyone who reads your writeups would see immediately that you are emotive, stating childishly that the Obi or is it now Dein of Agbor is the youngest monarch in history. Go read the Bible! See other civilisations and then tell me if he is. There are even one month old monarch who get their kingdoms administered by Regents the world over through hstory! You do not even know that Igbo language influenced Edo alnguage in the far distant Ancient times. Igbos have been in the Niger area for about three going to four thousand years as they came in waves of migrations. If they had retained their armies and overan their neighbours I doubt whether Bini Kingdom would have even come to exist! Please do not engage yourself in something you know practically Nothing about! Times have changed and the modern world is trying to rewrite history! Do you even know that when the Portuguese (who were indeed the first Europeans to venture into Africa West) came to the Niger Area that they met a waning Ancient Kingdom which they called Biafar/Biafara/Biafra? Please if you do not know history then do not write or engage yourself in history..history has to be written objectively and not emotivelly (i.e. subjectively). Choose who you want to be but please do not generalise!

NwaAniocha June 5, 2009 - 3:02 pm

Hey Mr Omoregie, because you most probably are a descendant of a Bini man in Agbor should not make you try to twist history, and names in order to bamboozle people. First do you nknow that when the Yoruba people came into where they now exist from the North {Kwara axis) that they were said to have met IGBO people there..it was war that drove those Igbos back further into the East, as they were mainly traders and didn’t have a normal army and so were easily routed. Again the Yoruba assimilated those that could not leave and made tham Yoruba people! This is widely known amongst the Yoruba themselves. Now some names that you are mentioning and calling them Edo, do you know they are actually Igbo? Edo Kings was it not ‘Ogiso’ before it became ‘Oba’ recently? The dances you called Okangan, Ojerima do you know they are Igbo Okanga and Ojerima (Oyorima)? Do you also know that Benin kings (Ogisos) were nothing in the ancient times when compared to the Igbo Nri Ezes and that before a Bini Ogiso/Oba could be crowned that the Bini would go down to Nri to get the go ahead and blessings without which the Ogiso would not be crowned? And that it was such influence that caused the entrenchment of an Igbo man (Eze Chime/Chima) who was also in the Obas council as an Oba, and that when real Edo people revolted the said Eze Chime ran back to his ancient and original homeland and to his people leaving part of his entourage on his way as he went superimposing himself on small settlements he found on the way? That Towns like Asaba, Igbouzo (Ibusa), Ogwashi Uku etc were Nri people some from Isu Aniocha which was why they called their new homes where they migrated Aniocha? That this thought of Edo Bini having given birth to people from Agbor down to Onicha (Onitsha) was a recent phenomenon because of a time when Benin kingdom waxed strong and became an Empire extending Eastwards stopping at the (Orimili/ Oshimili ) i.e. River Niger?And that because of this Edo influence and the mightiness of the later Benin kingdom Obas (who were indeed called Ogisos till the Bini son who founded and ruled in the now lagos/Dahomey/Benin Republic area came back to Edoland as a ruling Oba in Yorubaland and made his son (I think Ewuare) Oba and started off Obaship,) people now want to associate themselves with such a glorious past as the Nri Ezes didn’t make an Empirically sustainable impact but rather influenced subtly their vassals spiritually/religiously? Now you take an Igbo word Obi and you write it Ovbi to suit you argument…may I ask why Edo people call people from Agbor down to Onitsha and Ovi Igbo and not Ovi Edo? Please stop your bamboozling and fantastic stories and contraptions as they do not hold water. Go and do your research before you write! Yes you might just be a minute portion of the remnants of the long Benin Edo influence on that area!!! Again may I ask some foolish Igbo people living in Delta why theirn ancestors were fighting an EKUMEKU defence wars if they are kith and kin with the INVADING Bini kingdom on it empirical expansion? Facts are real and any sane thinking individual who uses his head will see them for what they are and not fantasise about them. Do not try to rewrite history! Take a cue from the Europeans that tried that plot before and see how it has now fallen on its face as time goes by- (they caimed Ancient Egypt was built by white people and Great Zimbabwe too!) Please go and nurse your bloated ego with a soothing salve as you are just a minority in the midst of us Ibo people! Ika is mainly Ibo by a 98% margin ans so are all the Ndokwa, Aniocha, Ikwerre, etc peoples. Leave Nigerian politics alone and write HISTORY! Bini kingdom just influenced Agbor down to Onitsha and did not give birth to them!

gnwanze@yahoo.com April 23, 2009 - 2:15 pm

Igboamalu ThankGod Ananwa,

Thank you very much for your very nice comments. I pray God shall continue to strengthen us all as we forge towards oneness and unity in our great country called Nigeria.

God bless you too in all you do. The sky is your starting point.

Igboamalu ThankGod Ananwa April 18, 2009 - 10:01 pm

The article is great, i want to thank Gabriel Nwanze whom always take his time to study anioma history deep and also willing to put it to people notice about the origin of anioma, to my best of knownlege and understanding, i known there is no time all the aniomas will find the origin to particular tribe or group, but majority find theirs to south east, by language speaking, name bearing, culture practice and way of life.

My advice to anioma historians is never allow the tell of your fathers ancestery to be stopage to anioma future but focus on oneness,love, unity and change that will bring success to anioma as whole, only this will make anioma kingdom great, Gabriel Nwanze more gress to your elbow and more fearther to your crown i known you will still make it great in Nigeria as a historian with clean heart and sound mind of explanation,your type is indeed what nigeria need, my thank also go to Ephraim Adinlofu whom introduce this article and solmon-omojie who contributed.

Igboamalu ThankGod Ananwa

gnwanze@yahoo.com March 19, 2009 - 1:58 pm

No, I disagree with you on the obi and the ovbi word, but I won’t dwell too much on that. Just know that words such as those don’t appear by coincidence. Besides, kindly admit that Obi existed in Igbo language before it did in Bini. If you don’t , then you’re in essence, dismantling your own theory that Igbos copied the word Obi from the Bini word Ovbi. Really sounds funny to anyone reading this.

Secondly, I want yuou to know that no matter how old you claim Agbor Kingdom is, you must be VERY TRUTHFUL TO YOURSELF IF YOU ARE UNBIASED WITH HISTORY, if and if you will admit that the first established kingdom in Nigeria was Nri, then trhe Bnin Kingdom, then the Igalla kingdom..yoruba..etc. If this is too hard for you to take, then you must accept that at least, Nri ( and Igbo language ) existed before Bini ( and Bini language and it’s people. Do I have your acceptance on this? If you disagree, you’ll probably be the only one in the world who refutes this proven fact.

Thirdly, the word eka and ekalarderhan and as amny as they come, may or may not related to Ika. Does this surprise you? Again, i won’t dwell too much on this, as I will leave this to issues such as past manipulators of history who can pump in any verbatim for itchy and ready-to-believe to ears , if only it will soothe their egos!

Fourthly, don’t join the band wagon of those who mislead themselves by saying that a people deserve to choose who they are and where they belong to. Totally wrong. A people can only belong to where, what and how God has made them to be. Incase you don’t really understand this, ask Michael Jackson, who is still attempting and will forever continue to keep attempting to change his race and tribe and clan , after he chose to be white rather than black. You can never change what you’ve been created as.

Fifthly, like i said before, i think you technically qualify as a Bini person and not an Ika person, as you can clearly ( and without any controversy like that of the Ezechime being of Igbo or Bini ancestry, etc ) trace your lineage to Bini as you have said.

Finally, you’ve not been able to explain the predominace of Igbo around Ika land, and why Ika is part of Anioma and not Bini land, and why many Exumeku fighters that fought Anioma people from bini said they wanted to fight the igbos, which included Ika people.

solomon March 10, 2009 - 12:46 pm

well let me say that the word obi -meaning heart of courtyard has nothing to do with the word ovbi -(king) later changed to obi .just like ogungunagbon was changed to agbon , then to agbor in 1906.the royalty we have in agbor is by primogeniture ,unlike anything in the east ,and if nri-had a kingdom show me where it exists today, nri is quite ancient but they were a people without kingdom ,do you equate that to ika civilization or agbor ? agbor has existed for thousands of years ,and this is a world famous kingdom that is recognised by early europeans as an ancient kingdom ,east of benin .that was why our king was made the youngest monarch in the guiness book of world record. agbor is having the third generation of rulership from ogiso(ogele), in ominijie , to igidi and now the agbon dynasty .a palace in agbor language is egua or ogwa ,while ika is fully pronounced as ekalarderhan , the original spelling was eka and later changed to ika . we would like to remain as we are as ika people ,a people decides to choose who they are .we had a very vast kingdom before the coming of the british, ekas will like to be on their own as we have never felt oppressed by our neighbours before , we are very proud of our culture ,agbon ni igidi and owa-adagbanikoha , iyare.

gnwanze@yahoo.com March 7, 2009 - 9:59 am

Solomon, thanks for the objective reply. Firstly, i will start with your last comment which says that the tribes in Nigeria are all inter-linked. Well, to a large sense, that is true. Ok, if we look at it in a wholistic sense, we all originated from Adam !! Well, that will be too far reaching,as it will lump everyone into one fold. Now, to narrow it down a little bit more, you mentioned something interesting, which was the founder of Ika originating from Sudan as some have successfully argued. Kindly scroll up to one of my former postings and you will see where i mentioned the Kwa and Eastern African roots. To repeat my words:

“It is important to note that the towns that were said to have been founded by Eze Chime were not necessarily empty when we arrived there, or he would have been born after Noah’s flood to have attained this ! But that wasn’t the case. Eze Chime did meet people, original Igbo inhabitants ( descendants of the Kwa and Nok civilization as well as Eastern African immigrants that included the descendants of Gad, one of the twelve sons of Jacob. Gad settled in Africa) in every town he was said to have founded.”

At least you can see i said this before your last post which shows i agree with you. The truth is that most Southern tribes in Nigeria have much of their origins in the Kwa civilization ( NdoKWA , IKA, AWKA, uKWu, Iselle-uKWu, OKWA, EnuGWU,ABA, ..etc ) and they stem from the Niger-congo basin with migrations that came as a result of the spread of the children of Israel and their neighbours, as they dispersed southwards and westwards into africa, sudan, egypt ( Kemet ), ethiopia, etc. Thus, migration came to West Africa mostly from the East to the west, entering from the calabar axis and into igboland thn Bini, Yorubaland, etc. That’s why the Igbo Kingdom existed before the Bini Kingdom and the Bini Kingdom existed before the Yoruba Kingdom, after oduduwa migrated from Bini into Ife with his followers. Just as a diversion, most of the midle belt and minority tribes in Northern Nigeria stem from the Nok civilsation ( look closer at their names : PanDOK, goWON, GomWOK, lekWOT, etc ), while the Hausa -Fulani in same north have arabic origins among some other mixtures that also stem from the upper northern part of sudan and somali-land.

Back to our main issue, yes agreed Eze chime has nothing to do with founding Agbor or Ndi – Ika. ( by the way, Ika means ” you are greater” in Igbo language as the founder was a superior prince in war fare and royalty who migrated to set up his kingdom after some contest). Eze Chime however, made a stop over in Agbor on his back to retracing his roots as he fled the Bini Mornachu with his brother ( cousin, actually ), who stayed back in Agbor, and started the third dynasty. The ending of his name is Agbon, from which the name Agbon was formed and the British changed it to Agbor. Agbon himslef had far more Bini blood than Chime, who was more linked to igbo lineage. Agon did not start Agbor in the real sense, as two dynasties had existed before him, but he renamed the twon after he gained great influence backed by his ravaging troops from Bini. He also instituted Bini culture in cutting across the the area, which is quite natural.

Now, why you may not see records from the south east about migrations from the east into Agbor is simply because such wasn’t necessary. The entire place was initially regarded as Igboland, as the Nri Kingdom was the very first kingdom in the south and the entire Nigeria, s they believed the entire land mass up to even beyond Lagos belonged to the Igbos, Why then will you keep records of people moving within your territory? Think about this.

Just one thing i didn’t address in your former post. The word ” ovbi”( obi ) is not originally a Bini word or title, but rather existed in Igboland before the Bini adopted it also. Obi means “heart” in Igbo and it was used in the times of Eri , much before the Bini people came to civilization, to refer to the the human heart and more in the poilitical sense, to the male head of the family who was regarded as the ruler, and thus, stayed in his “obi” , a hamlet set aside within the family compound where the leader of the family stayed in a quasi-form of royalty over other family members. This was only extended to communal level by the bini as they called their communal leader Obi rather than just the family leader, and later, the word was changed to Ovbi to reflect their own preferred bini tongue/language, and later to Oba, substituting the “i” for “a”

Yes, indeed , history is interesting and much more remains to be discovered.

solmon-omojie March 6, 2009 - 2:41 pm

thanks mr nwanze, i will do more research on the igbo angle to agbor and ika history ,but i must tell you , it will not be easy because of several factors like keeping of records , even if you go to igbo land , you will not find much records on agbor and ika people, the only thing most scholars have to say will be that agbor people speak a smattering of igbo that is mixed or they bear similar names with igbos,but you will agree with me that if you go to a place like benin , they kept many records in the palace of migrations from bini into agbor and ikaland dating to about 800 years,and the monarchy in agbor also favours bini angle if you look at their history , culture and names and records kept in ihogbe in agbor.our folk stories talk of oba idu, and ogiso who was said to have ruled benin and agbor in ancient times.our culture also present many issues as most of it is taken from benin,and just to correct an impression agbor and ikaland in general are not children of eze-chima in agbor we call him prince ikhime or kime,agbor have existed before eze-chima stories .however i do agree with some of your write ups as their was a movement of people from the east into anioma area and into agbor ,but we still need to research on it and our brothers in the south east too have to come up with concrete research work and not one based on sentiment like names and only nearness to language,even as their were migrations from bini into agbor , there was also migrations from agbor and ika into bini areas too .history is very interesting but we have to note that the realitiy of today is that ika nation has taking root today in nigeria , and we are forging ahead in all spheres of life, ikas are proud of their heritage , culture and traditions.let me also say that there were notable migrations from yorubaland into ika area, and even nupe influence too .some elders trace ika , the founder of ika race as having came from sudan , to ife , then benin and then agbor , plus those that migrated from igboland ,i also often wonder why some words in ika language sound similar with yoruba like ikeke- bicycle -while yoruba is keke,agbor word for bottle is ogo and in yoruba , it is igo , agbor nail is ise and in yoruba it is iso, cloth in agbor is ewuru in yoruba it is ewu.breeze in agbor is ufere in yoruba -afefe, humans in agbor is ihian while yoruba is eniyan, a door in agbor is ekwe in yoruba is ekun or ilekun, a stick in yoruba is okpa while in agbor it is okpo , i can go on and on like that , but one thing i know is that most tribes in nigeria are linked to each other , e.g. igbo is linked with benin and yoruba .

gnwanze@yahoo.com February 28, 2009 - 4:28 pm

Solomon, I don’t doubt much of what you have said, but of course, won’t totally agree with it. My only joy is that you are now more forthright with the submerged inclinations that lay in your earlier postings, in which you struggled to appear neutral in not clinging to either Igbo or Benin, but in these two recent writings, you have clearly shown that your eye-view of Agbor and Ika people are purely from a Bnin eye. This is quite understandle, cos Agbor lay ( and still lies) closer in location to Edo and the Bini Kingdom than it did/does with the Nri Kingdom or the South East, and yes, Agbor has had undeniable bini influence. But just have one thing in mind. When the Bini Prince, who is attributed to initiated the first contact of Bini with agbor, fled Benin city after the crisis and dispute that resulted in he and his younger brother migrating to Agbor ( I know you know what I’m talking about ), he didn’t meet empty land. He met people there. Who were these people? What were their beliefs and origin before the Bini contact?

I have read the history of the Ika people, tons of it, but even more importantly, I have researched on the history of Ndi-Ika as often used ( note that Ndi-Ika is an Igbo word). What i want you to understnd is that you must make provision for research, i mean, modern day discoveries, and also, make provision for error in previously held beliefs. Afterall, if christainity wasn’t modified, i doubt if you and i will be exchanging our thoughts here.

I must first of all say i am highly impressed with you depth of knowledge about your history and origin. It will solve a lot of problems of many others in our area will do like wise. Solomon, if you observe, I had, in a maner that wasn’t verbatim, actually said i never doubted you were of Bini origin. Remember that in one of my earlier psotings, i talked about “The Great flight”, a period of 600years to 1,000 years in which a lot of Bini migrated and settled in Agbor, till this present day. No doubt, your family was one of them, as you ahve also admitted. Like i also said, some of these settlers retained their Bini names while others adopted Ika names/Igbo names, but then the main fact is that they came to be called Ika people right? You call yourself Ika without remorse, and not Bini. You argued your case, and argued that of the Bini, but when it cme to that of the Igbos, you gave only scanty information and quickly discarded this part of Agbor history.

However, I want to tell you that a very large part of Agbor and Owa settlers are of Igbo origin. You attributed igbo names by your people as an accident brought about by trade and inter-marriage, but i must say that many tribes traded with Ika people, like Yoruba and Igallas, but how come you never adopted their names? Inter-marriage was also another factor, of which i bet there was more of this between non-Igbo parties in agbor, but the over-whelming influence of Igbo anme and language supercedes all the rest. it shows there is more to this than meets the eye.

What I’m saying here is that as much as I have shared the same views with you on the migration of Bini people into Agbor kingdom I want you to prepare and present to this forum, an equally exhaustive write-up on the history and migration of South Eastern and Enuani ( Eastern Anioma ) Igbos into Agbor.

Please do this, as not only you and i are reading this. Many others are also reading it. Being fair and all-embracing in your writings will win you more admirers. I’m waiting.

Ahkram January 1, 2022 - 6:34 am

The truth is that there are elements of ethic Binis in Ika, but they were cultured and assimilated by the Ibos who they met on ground. I don’t know if you have heard this before, but the sad truth is that the Igodomigodo kingdom which later metamorphosed to Bini kingdom or empire was founded by an ethnic Igbo man whose parents migrated from the East. This’s according to Udo elders who told this to the white man in late 70 and 80’s.
There’s no way Ibo traders will have an influence on ethnic Binis to the extent of changing their language, culture and traditions. Ask yourself, when did the Eastern Ibos started trading that much? Ask yourself, which of the Ibo tribes taught the Ikas their own different Ibo dialect? It’s on record that Christopher Columbus founded the American continent, right?? But this’s doesn’t mean that he was the first human being there. Native American tribes had been living there hundreds and thousands of years before Columbus set his foot on America.
The Ogele dynasty in Agbor is older than Bini kingdom. But the man who started the Ogele dynasty met people who were living in their ancestral lands hundreds of years before the Bini kingdom and the so called immigration of Bini Prince. You should also remember that the same Ogele dynasty was overthrown by running Ibo warriors some time in 1200AD.

The sum of it all is. The few ethnic Binis met the Ika Ibos, who welcomed and accepted them, and in the process cultured them. The various obi’s or Dein were paying tribute to the Oba.

Azareel February 9, 2023 - 6:15 pm

Mr Man if you are dragging the ika people to forcefully make them Igbo, you can continue doing so but don’t start by distorting the Benin history of igodomigodo to have Igbo root which metamorphosed to Benin.

Which record of history do you have in igboland that can match with the record in Benin?

As far as I know and concern, the real Igbos are the people of Imo every other man from the East are mixed blood from different people from different places accross Nigeria.

You can continue to make your argument with the ika people who of course I know understand who they are and not what you are here to tell them and beside you can’t be more knowledgeable then the Dein of Agbor himself.

Stop telling a man that is older than you who his true father is

solomon-omojie February 26, 2009 - 12:16 pm

let me state that the people of agbor and ika in general had migrations from benin and igbo areas , but it must be known that we are a seperate ethnic group from the two mentioned groups,we are not the only ones as the itsekiris are a mix of edo and yoruba peoples.

all ika people have benin or ishan names as their forefathers name , if you see an igbo name it is a recent occurence , may be in the last 100 years , the name of my ancestors are agbotaen -maternal and omigie- paternal , so we are the children of both and my family can trace their family tree to 800 years , and these are bini names , so what do you want me to tell my children that our forefathers came from igbo land or bini , even if an agborman bears chima today , he still knows that his great grandfather was osagie or obasogie , so he will tell his children where they came from ,my family oral tradition tells us that we are from benin and even uptil date we have some of families still in benin . the ika people are different to the igbos in world views and culture , take our dances of ojerima, okangan, udje they are thesame with those of the binis, look at our festivals of osiezi, ugbose,ogbanigbe and igue our new year ( the same with benin) look at our traditional worship- ovia, uhunwunde,ohinte, idigun(ogun) and olokun( benin), look at our marriages rites and our belief in ehi as guardian spirit while igbos belief in chi ,our royalties and chiefs both hereditory and non-hereditory chie all have benin characteristics like ihama, obasogie, ovia , esama , olihen , iyase , ologboshere e.t.c.in ancient times we had same tribal marks with the binis called igue , this was to distinguish bini descendants that do not live in benin city .what you might not know is that the present king of agbor is a blood family with the present oba of benin, and that benin and agbor share common royal cultures and tradition .the people of agbor are proud of their ancestral heritage as ikas , having moved through three dynasties from ominijie, igidi and now agbon ( agbor ) agbor is one of the most ancient of towns in nigeria ,in 1979 -the guiness book of records , placed our dein of agbor as the worlds youngest king ,right now he is the chancellor of university of ilorin as a firstclass king in nigeria ,of recent he was given the highest royal awards in belgium.in wesatern regional govt and midwest and in bendel state he was ranked after the oba of benin , olu of warri , it was dein or obi of agbor ,so please tell me with whom will this reverred monarch be with in the meeting of igbo kins or some anioma kings that are of igbo ancestory , well i will say with none .agbor controlled many towns in anioma (delta) and edo states in ancient times , it was a fact that when the dein of agbor dies , some kings and chiefs in some anioma towns are buried along with him ,he was an empire build second only to oselobue ( GOD) ,obi igbenoba 1 refused to put down his royal staff ebere and ada when he met with oba ovarawen of benin ,this almost lead to war between agbor and benin .if you go to a typical ika town , you will see or hear an old woman saying those people are igbos , to tell you that our people have always made a distinction between them and thier close neighbours the igbos , it is on record that during the colonial times the people of agbor refused to allow for any igbo day celebrations on thier land , because they knew they were not igbos ,i will implore the writter to go and stay in agbor for just some weeks and enter and reside in the interrrior village and see and ask questions then he can write .

agbor has two spoken languages called ozarra and ika , ika is a mix of ishan, bini, and igbo languages , the only link we have with them is in language , and the delta state govt has recognised ika as a different language that is why we now have news in ika language on delta radio. ihian hain-ihian-me-ihian( it is a person that makes a person to offend a person) ,to let you know even the ikas have migrants from yorubaland too .in 1909 , chief omordia from ute , and orderly of obi of ute , wrote in his diary that ika migrated from benin and ishan areas ,there is no ethnic group in nigeria that has one migration theory , even the igbos , some say they are from isreal,some from nri, others say from igala and other places, so too are the ikas too , we have many theoris too .

on baifra , the fact that some agbor people fought on biafra side is not enough proof of being igbo as some agbor people also fought for nigerian troops , and some yorubas were also in biafra side , does this mean they are igbos too ?

people should let us be ,we are ika people and we will never join ohaneze and we will never claim igbo ancestory because we know where we came from .our elders and oral and even documented evidence abound like the records of the great dutch historian nyaendel who visited benin and agbor in 17th century as he wrote waves of families migrating from benin and settling at agbor.no one can tell another who his father is except the mother , so no outsider can tell agbor or ika people where they migrated from ,only the ika people can do that and how do we see ourselfs , we believe we are ika people different from igbo or benin , but our unshakeable belief is that we migrated from benin , have you wondered why we are not ready to drop our edo names ? it is because that will erase our history , go to ihogbe in agbor and you will see that our people have kept the records of our history in tact

solomon-omojie February 26, 2009 - 11:22 am

mr nwanze , their are still many things you do not understand in ika history ,i want to tell you that all ika people have benin or ishan names as their surname , if you see igbo names occurring they are recent events , may be in the last hundred years , but ask them to tell you their ancestors name and you will hear benin names.check out our culture ,you will find it is still purely benin cultures ,e.g. dances like ojerima, okangan, udje .check out our festivals like ogbanigbe, ugboze and osiezi and new year igue. check out our traditional beliefs like olokun, ovia, ogun(idigun) uhunwunde ,ohointe, they are all benin related , check out our chiefthancy titles like obasogie, ovia, olihe, esama, iyase , ologboshere ,and our royal title oobi , wchich was formerly ovbi -meaning king in edo language, what you also do not know is that the present king or dein of agbor is the same ancestral family with the present oba of benin ,many families in agbor still have their relatives in benin , the ika world view is different from igbo world view , we have kings and figures like hereditoy chiefs and elders whom we respect so much,we belive in ehi as our guardiance spirit and not in chi like ibos do belief , our marriage system is just like the binis and if you look at our tribal mark it is the same with be binis , this was done to identify benin or edo people who have moved away from benin city .the only link we have with igbo is in language affinity ,which came about as a result of migration and trade and intermarriage, but looking at our language it still contains a great deal of benin language and structure hence that is why ika is a seperated language from igbo , even in delta state , this has been recognised that is why there is news in ika language on delta radio.i am an ika man myself and my ancestors are agbontaen and omigie , we can trace our family history to 800 years in our village of idumu-ezomor .today we are saying we are ika people , we are not bini and we are not igbo , but we know where we migrated from , even the igbo has many migration myths some say they came from isreal, others from igala , while some say nri , there is no nigeria tribe that have a single migration theories , we know who we are we are ika people .i also like you to note that in agbor their are two languages ika and ozarra .please read a short history of benin for origin of ika people .and agbor history written by scholar from agbor.there is no how you will change our belief , even if you go to agbor or any ika town , even an old un-educated woman will tell you they are not igbo ,and refer to some people as igbo .many people try to say that it was the civil war that made agbor people deny they are igbo , that is not true , agbor and ika land was not part of biafra , although some of our soldiers fought on biafran side , so also some of our soldiers fought on nigerian side .let me tell you in a diary of one of our elders from ute-okpu in 1909 .he wrote down the origin of ika as bein from benin .it will interest you to note that in colonial times our for-fathers did not allow any igbo day celebration to take place in agbor ,this was because our fathers wanted to protect our identity , may i also ask wchich king in igboland or in the land of those anioma people who claim igbo ancestory will the great monarch of agbor -dein of agbor be with ? for your information the king of agbor was highly respected and reverred in western and mid-western nigeria , he was an empire builder who conquered and ruled many towns in anioma in delta and present edo state , in olden days when the king of agbor died many kings , chiefs some parts of anioma will be buried alive , he is regarded as semi-divine , second to oselobue ,even benin empire can attest to the series of wars waged by agbor against them in some benin won , while agbor won some .in the midwestern nigeria , after the oba of benin , and olu of itsekiri , the obi of agbor was next , this was as a result of historical antecedents , it was the great king of agbor igbenoba 1, that refused to put down his royal staff called eberen in the presence of oba of benin ( ovarawen ) , this was what almost led to war between benin and agbor , before the benin king was capture and for the fact that agbor has taking over benin trading routes in towns close to the river niger .we have a great and proud history and culture as our kings having hailed from the royal blood line of benin monarchs , and to tell you further agbor kingdom is one of the oldest kingdoms in niger as we have recorded three dynasties – from ominije to igidi and agbon (agbor),that is why in 1979 , the young agbor king was crowned at age 2 and half, he was recorded as the youngest king in the world till date , you wat to know why it is because agbor was an ancient kingdom, right now he is the chancelor of a federal university in illorin , because he is a first class king .agbor has become a cherised price that both igbo and benin people claim to own, please let other people belong to any tribe they like , but we the agbor people are not igbo or benin people , we are ika people or properly people of ekalaedehan .

Gabriel Nwanze February 19, 2009 - 5:06 pm

Eze Chime wasn’t the founder of Agbor, cos the city and kingdom pre-dates him, but he had a stint in Agbor after he fled Benin. He lived for a while there, but some are of the opinion that he actually hailed from Agbor, hence his Igbo name. We all do know for certain that Eze Chime came from the eastern flank ( Igboland ) to Benin and wasn’t a Benin man by ancestry, and also know he was a full blooded Igbo man as his name, Chimerem implied ( shortened to Chime later on ), but wether he came from Agbor or from Nri in Anambra state remains in debate. There is documented evidence that Chime’s grandparents lived in Agbor, but the evidence is not satisfactory, while more recent evidence links him to Nri as his parents/ancestors reportedly had a rulership-related feud with their kinsmen and left as a result, travelling Westward, though he had some royal blood, hence the title Eze being retained in their family name more as a reminder of their roots, as they sought their own kingdom. Some argue that the title Eze is more common , but not limited to people of the South East Igbo origin, while Obi is more common but not limited to Igbos of the western flank, so he may have had very strong roots in either Nri, or in both Nri and Agbor ( inter-marriage ). I’m still gathering more facts on him.

For sure, i know that Eze Chime later left Benin after another feud with the monarchy, and he was determined to retrace his roots and where his ancestors migrated from, leading him to move back Eastwards, back into the Igbo area of Anioma and as he went, he set up camps and pocket settlements mainly through his relatives, his soldiers and some of his team that stayed behind and not necessarily by his direct children as many believe, though the off-spring of his relatives, soldiers and aides are generally classified as Umu-Ezechime. His search ended across the River Niger ( modern day Anambra state ), where he died after settling in Onitsha to form an lliance and a co-community with the people of Ado, who were the original people of Onitsha, hence the town was formerly known as Onitsha Ado before being called simply as Onitsha in uniformity with other Onicha towns across the Niger, like Onicha olona, Onitsha Ugbo, etc. There’s a recent contest as to wether Eze Chime died in Onitsha, though, and I’m following the progress of this argument. It is important to note that the towns that were said to have been founded by Eze Chime were not necessarily empty when we arrived there, or he would have been born after Noah’s flood to have attained this ! But that wasn’t the case.

Eze Chime did meet people, original Igbo inhabitants ( descendants of the Kwa and Nok civilization as well as Eastern African immigrants that included the descendants of Gad, one of the twelve sons of Jacob. Gad settled in Africa) in every town he was said to have founded, but being a mighty warrior, his influence and name over-rode the existing powers in such areas, and yes, his presence and entrance did bring more development in the places he ( and his battalion ) camped as they moved on, some remaining behind.

On the people of Agbor and their ancestry, this also is another hot topic, as even the Agbor scholars cannot explain in full or to any satisfactory degree, how they came about. This inconclusiveness is simply rooted in the fact that their modern day leaders have sought to carve out and formulate an origin for their people, an origin that isn’t theirs, and one that denies their true nature and ancestry.

The truth is that Abgor and Owa, who are mainly united with their common tongue in the Ika dialect, are Igbos from origin. Ika is a confirmed dialect in Igbo language as even the constitution of Nigeria states. No doubt, there was a very strong influence by their neighbours , the Bini, which even at a time, ika people were almost entirely absorbed into Bini culture due to the awesome power of the Benin Empire and the natural knack for people in those days, to seek protection from stronger empires or be crushed. But the distinct nature of Ika that is well separate and different from bini could not be over-ridden that easily, and in the end, the Bini gave up in their efforts to claim Ika people as Bini off-springs.

This however, didn’t mean that the influence on both language and culture wasn’t left behind in the wake of the exit of the Benin from ika land, and later on, within a period of 600-1,000 years ago, the “Great Flight” occurred, in which a massive wave of immigration from bini was witnessed into Agbor and those immigrants have remained till today, seeing Ika and not Bini as their mother tongue, though some retain both their first and last names as Bini names. But such are in the gross minority in Ikaland, and the majority of any Ika settlement is dominated by the original inhabitants and also by settlers and immigrants from the eastern flank of Enuani dialect Igbo speakers as well as Nri Kingdom ( South East Nigeria, mainly in Anambra State )as they spread. Many of these immigrants from the South East into Ikaland retained purely Igbo cultures, while their Bini counterparts retained Bini cultures, with Ika people having a mixture of both cultures as a result of the factors listed above, in addition to hosting and absorbing their new strangers from both the East and the West. That is where the term “East meets West” was coined, about Ikaland and Agbor. This means that modern day Ikaland has a mixture of three generations of people . The original speakers of Ika dialect in Igboland who were largely influenced by the Bini, the Bini immigrants and the South eastern immigrants.

Infact, to halt the spread of immigrants from Nri kingdom into taking over the Benin land area as the Bini kingdom feared, some Bini soldiers ( warriors, rather ) were sent into Anioma land to set up camps and halt the free-flow of people westwards. .

The discovery and re-discovery of history always remains interesting.

Azareel February 9, 2023 - 7:05 pm

My brother what they called or pronunce as Eze Chema by the people of the East is actually Ese Ehima.

Ese meaning (gift)
Ehima meaning (good destiny or good spirit)

solomon-omojie February 16, 2009 - 3:27 pm

the agbor and ika people are not children of eze-chime , although some traditions say he was from agbor and his name was ikhime or kime , while other traditions say he is from benin , but the agbors, owas ,umunede , abavo, idumu-esa and most ika people do not recone with him as such, we have names of those who founded agbon(agbor) before ikhime was born.so please you can check histories of ika people .it is some anioma towns and onitcha that claims eze-chima , and chima is not an agbor name ,what i do know is that ogisos, ogeles,and now ovbi (obi) ,deins has ruled agbor .agbor was first called ominije in the first dynasty, then igidi in the second dynasty and agbon(agbor) in this third dynasty .agbor history spans over thousands of years .and the people speak two languages called ika and ozarra .with traditions stepped deep in benin cultures , but today agbor has a unique culture which is a mix of edo and igbo cultures that is why we are called the land where the east meets the west

gnwanze@yahoo.com January 19, 2009 - 9:32 am

Solomon Omojie, there are some questions I will like you to answer.

1.) What role has the character called ” Eze Chime ” played in the history of Agbor people?

2.) Was the wife of Eze Chime a fool-blooded Igbo woman?

3.) Where did Eze Chime originally migrate/hail from before his ascendancy in the Bini kingdom?

gnwanze@yahoo.com January 19, 2009 - 9:22 am

Ephraim, this is an excellent piece ! Although a lot has happened in the Ohanaeze since thos article was written, including the election of an Anioma man to lead the apex Igbo organization, I will still say I share similar views as you do. Igbo is the only language that is well understood by everyone in Anioma, so I guess Igbo and English are the lingua franca. I wish other commentators will kindly address why the present leader of Agbor ha changed his title from ” Obi ” to ” Dein. “

Emeka Esogbue November 20, 2008 - 7:15 am

This article is a good one even as the author has pointed out that the Anioma people cannot rely on the Igbo for the creation of Anioma State or even the pursuit of personal political ambition as pointed out from what Utomi and Okocha suffered in the hands of Ohaneze. but surprisingly in spite of these anormalies, the author still holds the Igbo of South East as the Messiahs of Anioma, without whom the Anioma cannot survive and in fact, the lack of adequate knowledge of the history of Agbor (Ika) who are not originally Igbo are a little deviations from the path originally embarked by the author. In all the article is insightful, but should have advised us on how we can actualize the creation of Anioma State. Mr Ephraim you are excellent but my fears is that the Igbo will definitely not see reasons with you.

solomon-omojie November 3, 2008 - 1:04 pm

i am from ezomor quarters in agbor and i think he had not done a enough research on agbor and ika history , first ikas are different from ubulu-uku or ogwashi , we are a mixed tribe, in agbor there are two languages ika and ozarra, ika is a mixture of igbo and benin languages, all our kings bear benin names from ancient times it is just in the last 100 years that our kings started bearing igbo names , and you can see that ika people bear both igbo and benin names till today , e.g .the owner of zenith bank is called jim -ovia ( ovia is a benin name , it is a deity that benin and agbor people worship. the owner of this day is called nduka -obaigbena ,while nduka is an igbo name , obaigbena is a benin name , jut like nduka irabor , the journalist .my greatgradfathers name is agbontaen this is a benin name and we are the children of omojie that is also a benin name, allmost all the names of quarters and villages in agbor and ika land are benin names , we bear osahon, osaigbovo, osagie et.c ;just as we bear nduka, emeka e.t.c which is igbo , our cultural belief are purely benin orientated like we do not belief in chi , but in ehi like the binis , our deities are mainly from benin like ogun or idigun ( god of iron), ovia, olokun, ake and we celebrate our new year like the binis called igue .look at the names of our chieftancy titles like obaseki, ologboshere, iyase, esama, obahiagbon, e.tc,they are complete replica of benin .our towns are divided into ebon(umu-igbo) idumu -villages(benin) and ogbe( town in benin) our marriage culture is exactly like the binis both in tradition and dressings .

what i want to tell you is that no proper ika man who knows the history of ikaland and agbor in particular will agree that he is an igbo man , even up till today their are many villages in ika land who still maintain their link with benin, some still get blessings before their made chiefs from villages in edo state.

ask the oba of benin , and he will tell you agbor migrated from benin , what you might not know is that the present king of agbor is thesame blood lineage with the oba of benin , that makes every agbor king a benin prince .while i will say the igbos are our relatives because they did migrate in large number to ikaland , so are the binis, ishans, and others too. ika is a seperate ethnic group , and we have always maintained that ,it is true that anuku was chief of biafran navy , so too did some agbor men lead nigerian army against biafra , the king of owa-efeizomor worked against biafra , the biafran troops wanted to kill him , but he was lucky ,that why after the war he confered a title on muritala .

well what i will like to say is that people should ask the indigines of a place their history and not sit in his bed-room to write other peoples history and language a lone is not the prerequisite to know where a people come from ,because manythings can lead to language change .

if you read a short history of benin by egharevba the great benin historian he said that the agbor people originally spoke bibi language which was neither edo nor igbo , there are many rsearches that is going on in ika land and we have found out that before benin or igbo migration there were people who lived in the present ikaland .i guess many people have not taken time to investigate the history of agbor , there is a book the history of agbor, cultures and tradition , please try and read it .

just as our language contain igbo words like bia,- come,eka-hand,- isi-head , so also our language contains benin word like opoho-woman, odede -elderly woman, ofingbon-palm-oil, ukpe-light, ehi-guardian spirit , oselobue -god-almighty, ikeke-bicycle, igbon- slave, aza-bell, odegbe -female goat, iyare -save journey , ohai-ohai- blessing , oghogho-hapiness , ugbe-family, agbon – world , ohen-priest, obu-native doctor , oloden ,-niddle ., these and many others are benin words in our ika languge .it will interest you to know that agbor was called ogungunagbon or agbon in ancient times which means world or earth in benin language , before british changed it to agbor ,so that might be enough , but your article is good .we support anioma ,but we have our seperate identity as agbor people .

Sunny September 18, 2016 - 4:40 pm

Omojie, Despite the fact that agbor is very close to Benin yet the still kept there Igbo names intact. is to tell you they are Igbo’s more, than Benin. From the sound of your name, you are definitely one of the minority descendants of Benin runaway soldiers who fled Benin and sought refuge in agbor. That wouldn’t make you rewrite agbor. By the way the best history is what we witness today not fallacies perfected by people like you. For your information, Yoruboid, Igboid, Edoid, Igala, Idomoid, Nupoid were once a proto Nok people that inhabited the greater part of Nigeria before they dispersed into their various locations causing variations in the once common language the all shared. To kill your argument, so tell us what made the agbor man drop his purported Benin name in preference to Igbo name since they are not Igbo? Have you heard that Olaudah Equiano the proud Igbo freed slave in England is from your backyard Ndokwa who deny their Igbo heritage? It is God himself that exposes your shameless denials. Here is Equiano said it point blank his Igbo village in Igbo land. Shame on you people. Most Cross River Igbo’s migrated from so many places including jukun, Ekoi, Riverine etc, they have cross river culture due to the influence of nearness to cross river people, make use of their gods yet, they don’t deny their Igbo heritage. Shame on you people!

lovenest nwachukwu September 7, 2008 - 2:41 pm

Fantastic piece. I cannot understand why people should not be proud of their cultural identity. This is where I like the Yorubas. Wherever the Yorubas are, they maintain their identity and show it but the Igbos..ehm.


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