Wednesday, 15 November 2017

How some Part of Igbos originated from The Efiks, Ibibios and Annangs: PART1 by Comr Mayor JP.

|14 Novermber, 2017| Comr Mayor JP.

The Efiks, Ibibios and Annangs are ancient peoples who tremendously influenced their
neighbours especially the Igbos. This was partly because of their rich culture and partly because they controlled parts of the present day Igbo land. It is not out of place to say that about 30 - 40 % of Abia and a part of Ebonyi belonged to these peoples.

We shall look at the parts of Igbo land with such origins.
Arochukwu:  The present day Arochukwu was occupied by some of the Efiks, Ibibios and Annangs until the 18th century when a conspiracy saw the fall of Obong Okon Ita kingdom. The fall led to the fusion of the remains of Obong Okon Ita kingdom with the Eze Agu Inobia and Eze Nnachi factions to form what the Efiks and Ibibios called 'Ulu Okon' kingdom and later to be called 'Inokon'.  Obinkita is a corruption of Obong Okon Ita and till date the people of Obinkita village, especially the elderly ones still speak Efik, ibibio and Annang as a first or second language and practice their Ekpo and Ekpe. Ibom is another village in Arochukwu with Efik origins as evidenced by their practice of the glamorous Ekpe masquerade. Ibom has no meaning in Igbo language but means 'Universe' or 'World' in Efik, ibibio and Annang dialects.

 The Ibom people had a renowned shrine called 'Ibritam'. Following the fall of Obong Okon Ita kingdom, the priests of the shrine remained and taught the Igbos the practice,a practice which was later desecrated and renamed 'Ibini Ukpabi', the famous long 'Juju' Let it also be known that the the old Ibom people continued to influence Arochukwu and contributed to the rise of Arochukwu as a regional power. For example, the Annangs always intercepted the Aro slave trade troupes headed for Opobo until concessions were reached. The need to maintain a cordial relationship with the Annangs led to the Annangs joining and becoming leaders of the Aro cult. For example Ukpong Inokon from a village near Ukana Ikot Ntuen was a leader of the Aro blood brotherhood. Also, the Efiks permitted the Aro to use the Calabar port for trade. Therefore, it's obvious that Aro was a melting pot for the Igbos, Efiks, Ibibios and Annangs as evidenced by the origins of Ibom and Obinkita who still converge in Calabar, Eket and Ikot Ekpene in fellowship with their kin for Ekpe and Ekpo festivals.

Nkporo: Nkporo is an ibibio word for Buffalo referring to how well the people fought. The original Nkporo people acknowledge to have migrated from ibibio land due to disagreements with their ibibio kinfolk.

Abiriba: The Abiriba are historically of mixed Efik and Igbo descent. In fact, the Abiriba dialect still sounds more like Efik than Igbo. The Abiriba king the 'Enachioken' dresses like the Obong of Calabar with whom he is still in fellowship. They also converge at Calabar for ekpe festivals. Abiriba is in the current Ohafia local government area of Abia state.

Ohafia: The Ohafia people practice Ekpe and Ekpo with the former being preponderant. This might be due to the fact that some of the villages in Ohafia were founded by Ibom peoples including Amuma founded by Uka Etim and Amankwu founded by Essien Aru. They also speak Efik and Ibibio as first or second language and are in fellowship with Calabar and Ikot Ekpene for Ekpe and Ekpo festivals.

Comr Mayor JP.