Exploring The Igbo-Ijaw Linkages In Opobo, Bonny & Okrika

We saw this article that had a lot to say about centuries-long Igbo-Ijaw connections in the Kingdoms of Opobo, Bonny and Okrika and thought we should share. We just put up some tasters below to give you a taste of the whole article.

The Okrika on the other hand, also have relationship with the Igbo, with a good number of them having many mothers of Igbo descent and some others, descendants of Igbo migrants, traders and ex-slaves who have been assimilated into the Okrika society. The matrilineal culture of the Ijaw also allowed for Children of Igbo fathers to bear names of the families of their Ijaw mothers.

Also, British anthropologist, Arthur Leonard had documented a tradition of origin that linked the Okrika to the Afam-Ndọki area of Southern Igbo land.

The Bonny and Opobo People on the other hand have centuries of relationship with the Ndoki tribe, especially the Azumini, Ọhambele and Umuagbai clans.

Apart from theories of origin, precolonially documented, that links the early settlers of Bonny to Ndoki and Ngwa land, the form of Igbo spoken in Bonny and Opobo, is heavily based on the Ndọ̀ki dialect.

It should be noted that the Ijaw sections of Bonny traces origin to the Kolokuma area of today’s Bayelsa State. A theory of origin in Bakana, in the Kalabari country, as recorded by Arthur Leonard, holds that the ancestors of the Ijaw stock of the three “Eastern Ijaw” clan had migrated from the Kolokuma Central Delta, after a dispute over the sharing of games from a hunting expedition. They moved Eastwards where they were said to have met and assimilated preexisting peoples at their current locations.

Today, these Ijaw people in Ọhambele and Azumini have been assimilated into the Ndoki tribe although, their families are still found with their Ijaw names such as Waribo, Taribo, Ogolo, Gogo, etc.. Intermarriages has still continued between the Ndoki and the Opobo. Sim Fubara, the Rivers PDP flagbearer for instance, has his two grandmothers from Ndoki land.

Today, these Ijaw families settled in Ndọkị firmly assert a strong Ijaw identity and identify as Ibani Ijaw. They have become members of the Ijaw National Council.

Picture 3:
The Onye-nwe-ali of Azumini-Ndọki
HRM, Eze Edward Elue during his Traditional Wedding.

Book References:

. Arthur Leonard, “The Lower Niger and Its Tribes, (London: MacMillan, 1906)

G.I Jones, “The Trading states of the Oil Rivers: A Study of Political Development in Eastern Nigeria”, (London: Oxford University Press, 1963

To read more, see the links below


By OzoIgboNdu1 of Igbo Defender

Digital marketer and Marketing analyst


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