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THE HISTORY OF UMU-EZE-CHIME IN ANIOCHA NORTH LOCAL GOVT AREA OF DELTA STATE
Umu Eze Chime: This is a traditional social history of a community. Their culture, customs, values, beliefs, norms, music, literature, art, practices, and language kept and preserved by the people for the generation to generation. Showing their life style, social economic behaviour political structure and religion. The rich culture and tradition of Aniocha people generally, Aniocha North and Aniocha south have helped to shapen the culture and tradition of the people mostly the Enuani people West Niger Igbo. The beauty of the tradition have helped both old and young become exposed to their culture.
This book is divided into five chapters.
Chapter One contains; Introduction/Background of the Study, Purpose of the Study, Objectives of the Study, Limitations of the Study, Definitions of Terms.
Chapter two contains; Different Believes About the Origin of Umu-Eze-Chime
Chapter Three discussed the Real/Authentic Origin of Umu-Eze-Chime, Map Showing the Umu-Eze-Chime and their Neighbours.
Chapter Four discussed the Founding of Each Community In Umu-Eze-Chime, the Founding Of Onicha-Ugbo, the Founding Of Onicha-Uku, The Founding of Obomkpa, The Founding Of Onicha Olona, The Founding of Ezi, The Founidng Of Onicha-Milli, The Founding Of Issele-Uku, Onicha Ugbo As Diokpa Of Umu-Eze-Chime.
Chapter Five contains Conclusion and Recommendations,
TABLE OF CONTENT
TITLE PAGE 1
TABLE OF CONTENT 5
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY 7
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY 8
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY 8
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY 9
DEFINITIONS OF TERMS 10
NOTES AND REFERENCES 11
DIFFERENT BELIEVES ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF UMU-EZE-CHIME 12
NOTES AND REFERENCES 16
THE REAL/AUTHENTIC ORIGIN OF UMU-EZE-CHIME 17
MAP SHOWING THE UMU-EZE-CHIME AND THEIR NEIGHBOURS.23
NOTES AND REFERENCES 23
THE FOUNDING OF EACH COMMUNITY IN UMU-EZE-CHIME 25
THE FOUNDING OF ONICHA-UGBO 26
THE FOUNDING OF ONICHA-UKU 27
THE FOUNDING OF OBOMKPA 29
THE FOUNDING OF ONICHA OLONA 29
THE FOUNDING OF EZI 30
THE FOUNIDNG OF ONICHA-MILLI 31
THE FOUNDING OF ISSELE-UKU 31
ONICHA UGBO AS DIOKPA OF UMU-EZE-CHIME 33
NOTES AND REFERENCES 34
1.1 BAKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The Umu-Eze-Chimes are popularly known or called the West Niger Igbos or in general parlance, Delta Ibo. They are part of the greater Aniocha people and occupy a very large portion of the land even across the western side of the Niger River. Due to geographical factor and migration, the Umu-Eze-Chime can also be found in part of the Ndokwa land and across the Niger River area even to the eastern side of Niger River. In reference, the Onitcha Miri, Onitcha Olona, Onitcha Ugbo are part of Umu-Eze-Chime in origin. The differences existing between these settlements most especially the Onitcha Miri sub-group was only as a result of geographical factors as this study will later explained.
Historically, the Umu-Eze-Chimes are of the Benin stock but due to migration and settlement in their present location, near the western side of Niger River, the Benin Language and Traditions had being adulterated. Today the Umu-Eze-Chime shares more of the Ibo tradition than that of the Benin’s. The simple reason for this change was the influential factors of geography and long history of close socio-cultural interactions between the Umu-Eze-Chime ancestors and their neighbor who are mostly of Igbo stock. Presently, the Umu-Eze-Chime people, although trace their origin to Benin, have became established in their present abode and live harmoniously with their neighbours. Socially, the Umu-Eze-Chime sons and daughters has through intermarriage contributed to the unity of Delta state and Nigeria in general. Politically, as part of the greater Aniocha people has in numerous ways contributed to the peace and development of Delta state and Nigeria. In the area of economic sector, the Umu-Eze-Chime people has made giant strides through various human endevours that reflected not only on the state of affairs in the local government but in the whole of Delta state and the country Nigeria.
From the foregoing, this study traces the history of Umu-Eze-Chime people of Aniocha North Local Government of Delta state, Nigeria and their contributions to the socio-political and economic developments of the local government in particular and Delta state in general.
1.2 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The importance of history in human and community life can never be over-emphasized. History is the study of human past activities and its usefulness among others is to educate and serve as light to human path in the present and illuminates the future. Hence, this piece attempts to established the historical origin of the Umu-Eze-Chime people based on facts obtained through different sources fully scrutiny. The purpose of this study would have been achieved if the historical origin of the Umu-Eze-Chime is laid in straight perspective.
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY:
This study/research is not only to unfold the authentic origin of the Umu-Eze-Chime or to showcase intelligence but to also preserve whatever can still be preserved within the natural dynamics of the laws of change, but also to record for posterity what was and what is in order that what will be may naturally develop from them.
I also want to help to fill the gap, which time and the absence of written documents/records had created.
My desire is to offer the readers, researchers, teachers and students of Nigerian Communities a volume that provides better details and objective of events and activities that have for a long time, been the subject of speculation because of the effects of tradition and biases based on selfish temporal motives.
This volume will unfold the following:
Ø How did he come by his Igbo name if he hailed from Benin?
Ø What was the Span of his life?
Ø Did he have any known ancestors?
Ø Did he first dwell in Benin or there about in Agbor and migrated to the first settlement within the clan named after him?
Ø Did he found the entire clan himself by moving from one place settlement to another?
Ø Did his descendants found the towns?
1.4 LIMITATION OF STUDY:
This volume is not written to bring about conflict, superiority or to intimidate any writer or publications but to bring enlightenment to all generations.
It is not also written to offend or to please but only plead to be read objectively. The limitation of the study among others is that one; it focused only on the Umu-Eze-Chime as part of the greater Aniocha people. Also another limitation could be found in the area of research materials on the topic. There is dearth of written materials on the subject, hence the researcher was confronted with the problem of sources using for the study. The most daunting limitation was the shortage of fund. The traveling expenses and timing was grossly inadequate.
1.5 LITERATURE REVIEW
Anionia: “meaning good soil” refers to Delta Igbo, a subgroup of Ndi-Igbo comprising of communities and towns located in Delta State, South-South region of Nigeria. Anioma starts right from Ubulubu to Ebu down to Illah. Anioma is bounded to the north west by Edo state and the north by Kogi state, to the south by Bayelsa state to the south west by the Isoko to the south east by Imo state to the west by Urhabo and Anambra state to the east.
Anioma generally have their own dialects and can be adequately grouped as follows Ukwuani, the dialect spoken by the Ndokwa’s Enu-Ani, the dialect spoken by Umu-eye Chime, in Anioch North, Onicha –Olona, Issele Uku, Obio, Ogwashi-Uku Asasa, Ibusa Illah and Ezi ika, the dialect spoken by the Agbors, Umunede and Agbor-Obi. However, Anioma towns and communities understand and speak Ibo language effectively. It is important to note that most of the Anioma people live in Edo State (Igbanke) Anambra state (Onitsha, Ozobulu Oraifite and Obobi) Imo state – (Uguta) River state (Ndoni) and others.
The term Anioma is derived from the four original local governments i.e (A) for Aniocha, (H) for Ndokwa, (1) for Ika (O) for Ashimilim and A are common denominators found in the four original local governments. The name Anioma was mentioned by the founding father, chief Dennis Osadebay in 1951. He was one time the Governor of mid western state this name Anioma remained the preferred indigenous name by which the people collectively refer to themselves.
Anioma people trace their origin to Benin and other places around them. Just like Ezechime who migrated from Benin founding source towns in (Aniocha North).
Onicha-Ocona, Onicha – Ugbo, Issele – Uku Obion, Oboukpa Issele-Nkpitire, Ezi, Issele Azagba and Onitsha-miti in (South East) of Anambra state. The towns that trace their origin to igbo from (Nri) are Ogwashiuku and Ibusa. Below Isa list, in alphabetical order comprising the towns in Anioma.
Abah, Abala Anikoko, Abavo, Abi, Abodei, Aboh, Adai, Adonta, Afor, Agbor, Akakpan-Isumpe, Ankara, Akoku, Akuku-Akumazi, Akumazi-Umuocha, Akwuku-Igbo, Alasime, Alidinma, Alihagu, Amai, Anakwa, Anifekide, Aninwalo, Aninwama-Jeta, Aniofu, Aniogo, Anioma, Anuregu, Anwai, Asaba, Asaba-Ase, Asaba-Ubulu,
Ashaka, Ashama, Atuma, Atuma-Iga, Azagba-Ogwashi, Ebedi, Ebu,
Edo-Ogwashi, Egbudu-Akah, Egbudu-Ogwashi, Ejeme-Agbor, Ejeme-Aniogo, Ejeme-Unor, Ekpecho, Upon, Ekwuemusana, Emu, Emuhu, Etua Etiti, Etua Ukpo, Ewulu, Ezi, Ezii: kpor, r-ionum, Ibodoni, Ibrode, Ibusa, Idumuesah, IdumujeUgboko, Idumuje-Unor, I&inu-Ogo, Igbanke, Igbodo, Igbuku, Illah, Isa-Ogwashi, Iselegu, Isheagu, Isikiti-Isheagu, Issele-Azagba, IsseleNlkpitime, Issele-Uku, Isurripe, Kwale, Mbiri, Ndemiri, Ndokwa, Nkpolenyi, Nsukwa, Obeti, Obi Anyima, Obi Umutu, Obi, Obiaruku, Obikwwele, Obinumba, Obior, Obodo-Eti, Obomkpa, Ogbe, Ogode, Ogume, Ogwashi-Uku, Oko Anala, Oko/Ogbele, Oko-Amakom, Okotomi, Okpa, Okpanam, Okwe, Oligbo, Oligbo, Olor-Usisa, OluOdu, Omaja, Onicha Olona, Onicha-Ugbo, Onicha-Uku, OnitshaUkcruani, Onogbokor, Onuseti, Onya, Oolor-Ogwashi, Otolokpo, Oti.j' u, Owa Nta, Owa-Abi, Owa-Alero, Owa-Ofie, Owa-Oyibo, Owerri-Olubor, Ubulubu, Ubulu-Okiti, Ubulu-Okiti, Ubulu-Ukwu, Ubulu-Unor, Udumeje, Ugboba, Ugbodu, Ugbolu, Ugiliamai, UkalaOkpunor, Ukala-Okwute, Ukwuani, Ukwunzu, Ukwu-Oba, Umuabu, Umu-Ebu Adonishaka, Umukwein, Umukwota, Umunede, Umuolu, Umute, Umutu, Unor, Unor, Unuaja, Ushie, Usisa, Utagba-Ogbe, Uta-ba-Unor, Utchi, Ute Aru, Ute Enugu, Utegbeje, Ute-Okpu, Utuoku(Nwabuwa,2000).
Chudi Okwechime suggested that if, Eze Chime was originally of Igbo extraction, it is unlikely that he lived anywhere beyond Agbor to the west. A study of the approximate extent of Nri Hegeniony (AD 900-1911). Shows that between 1100 and 1400 AD there already existed Igbo settlements in the areas west of the Niger-up to a little beyond Agbor. Prominent among these are Asaba, Ibusa, and Ogwashi –Uku Ejeme and Ubulu clans.
By 1270 AD Igbo influence on Agbor had been so seriously felt.
In Agbor tradition, chime is said to have been a run away from Agbor and not from Benin. This occurred during the reign of Eze Adigwe (about 1698) as recorded by Iduwe. That Kime (Agbor (Ika) dialect for Chime) plotted against Adigwe the obi of Agbor and fled to Obior and that Kimes children founded the Ezekime group of towns. If Agbor story were to be believed then the tradition which dates the founding of Onitsha (Onicha mili by the people who are said to have migrated from Benin during the reign of Oba Esigie (about 1505 AD) should have be taken with a pinch of salt. But as it will be evident later, the Agbor tradition on the flight of Ize Chime and his people cannot be altogether correct just as the above date of the founding of Onitsha may not be accurate either.
According to Onwueje Ogwu, Onitsha (Onicha mili) tradition has it that Oba of Benin ordered Gbunwala Asije to pursue and punish chime, the recalcitrant cousin of Gbunwala. Chime escaped and founded Onitsha about 1748.
The “Gbunwala” invasion story features prominently in Onicha’s oral tradition as having led to the find exodus from their ancentral home. He was also said to have been a giant (guala) who dug the moats round Benin in one day. Guala story and mix-up but Benin history, the mmoats were dug during the reign of Oba Oguola (C 1280 AD) by Egharevba.
According to Chudi Okwechime, Umu-Eze Chime, no doubt migrated into the area they occupy today. But Eze Chime was neither a migrant from Nri or Arochukwu nor was he a prince or chief who migrated from Benin in distant times. Rather, he was a descendant of migrants from Benin, dating back to Ovio, Eze Chimes great ancestor Ovio had migrated from Benin with his people and followers during the first period of Benin Empire, which was marked by the reign of the Ogiso Kings. This, he had done, in order to avert unnecessary civil war, consequent bloodshed and destruction valuable property in the event of a show down with the Ogiso of his time. In so doing, he had founded a place known by his name, (Ovio) which is today called (OBIOR) in Aniocha North local government area of Delta State.
Eggarevba, such emigrations as these were very common in those days because of the atrocious hearts of the people. The early people of Ishan and Afenmai Divisions, the Ika and Ibo speaking peoples of the west bank of the Niger, Aboh, the Urhobo Isoko and the people of Onitsha are all emigrants form Benin.
1.6 DEFINITION OF TERMS:
Below are definitions of some terms as used in this research work.
Umu-Eze-Chime: Children of king Chime
Oba: Traditional heads in Benin Kingdom
Obi: Traditional head in the Niger Igbos
Ika: The Agbor speaking communities
Ogbe: Is referred to as town
Idumu: A quarter in a town
Eze: Is referred to as king in Niger Igbos and the Ibos
Nni Alifo Ipmo: Food taken by a woman to the family at the beginning of the annual festival as annual homage
Ko-ko-o: Way of alerting people
Aya Idu: Benin war
Traditions: This is referred to as the way of life the people lives
Offor: Symbol of authority
Diokpa: Eldest son/Eldest person
NOTES AND REFERENCES:
Interview with Prince Chris A. Akeh-Osu
The Benin history by Onwuejeogwu
The Benin history by Induwe
The Benin history by Okpuno
Interview with Patrick Okonkwo Mokwoye
The Benin history by Eghareuba
Visit to the palace of the Obi of Ise-Ile-Uku
The Benin History by Uwadu
Authentic origin of Umu-Eze-Chime
Onicha Ugbo through the Centuries
Visit to National Archive Ibadan