Anioma in Perspective

INTRODUCTION
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Birth of the Anioma nation
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BALKANIZATION

Loss of Important communities

The history of the location of the region shows that during the colonial period of the nation, it was located in the Western region later Mid West, Bendel State and from 1991 till date Delta State. After the loss of the Ekumekwu war, the British colonial government visited the region with castigatory measures which Balkanized it into two separate parallel lines, amalgamating them to the Benin and warri provinces. The British would also merge many of the people’s important communities such as Onicha-Ado (Onitsha), Ogbaru, Obosi, Atani, Ndoni, Ozubulu, Ogba, Oraifite to then Eastern region, a development that has since remained unchanged till date while the provinces merged with Benin and Warri have reunited in present Delta State, Igbanke and some smaller Ika communities are still lying in Edo State.

GEOGRAPHY

Loss of Important communities

The history of the location of the region shows that during the colonial period of the nation, it was located in the Western region later Mid West, Bendel State and from 1991 till date Delta State. After the loss of the Ekumekwu war, the British colonial government visited the region with castigatory measures which Balkanized it into two separate parallel lines, amalgamating them to the Benin and warri provinces. The British would also merge many of the people’s important communities such as Onicha-Ado (Onitsha), Ogbaru, Obosi, Atani, Ndoni, Ozubulu, Ogba, Oraifite to then Eastern region, a development that has since remained unchanged till date while the provinces merged with Benin and Warri have reunited in present Delta State, Igbanke and some smaller Ika communities are still lying in Edo State.

ETHNIC IDENTITY

Dialects

About 13 Languages are spoken in Anioma some of which are Enuani, Bini, Olukun (Old and extinct Yoruba language), Igalla, Ishan, Ika, Ukwuani and Aboh. Enuani which obviously is the dominant language is spoken by Asaba, Ibusa, Ogwashi-Uku, Ubulu-Uku, Ubulu-Unor, Issele-Uku, Issele-Mkpitime, Onicha-Olona, Onicha-Ugbo, Onicha-Uku, Ejeme-Unor, Ejeme-Aniogor, Ilah, Ezi, Obomkpa, Oko-Anala, Oko-Amakom, Oko-Ogbele, parts of Igbodo, Akwuwu-Igbo, Akwukwu-Ukwu, Okpanam, Idumuje-Unor, Idumuje-Ugboko, Anwai, Oraifite, Ogbaru, Onitsha, Obosi, Atani. Ika is spoken by Agbor, parts of Igbodo, Umunede, Igbanke, Oguta, Owa-Oyibus, Owa-Nta, Owa, Ekwuoma, Obior etc. Ebu speak Enuani, Ishan and Igalla. Aboh and surrounding communities speak Aboh. Ukwuani is spoken by Ukwuani/Ndokwa, Umutu, Ogume, Obiaruku, Asaba-Ubulu, Ashama, Edo-Ogwashi, Azagba, Amai etc.

Ebu is a bi-lingual town. Some people speak Ishan, others speak Igalla. Enuani is comprehensible to all. The people of Igbodo speak Ika and Enuani. This is due to the influence of its location between Ekwuoma and Onicha-Ugbo. It must be noted that while some parts of Anioma understand and speak languages close to Urhobo and Isoko, a sort of Igbo language is intelligible to all the towns and communities that make up the Anioma region. This is the beauty of what a writer has defined as “cross culture” or “cross-cultural pollination” that the people have enjoyed as result of peaceful relationship with close by ethnic groups which has in no small way enriched the people’s traditional background and even harmonized it.

What it means is that from Agbor to Aboh, the people of Anioma can relate effectively in a harmonious language quite close to Ibo.

ECONOMY

Dialects

About 13 Languages are spoken in Anioma some of which are Enuani, Bini, Olukun (Old and extinct Yoruba language), Igalla, Ishan, Ika, Ukwuani and Aboh. Enuani which obviously is the dominant language is spoken by Asaba, Ibusa, Ogwashi-Uku, Ubulu-Uku, Ubulu-Unor, Issele-Uku, Issele-Mkpitime, Onicha-Olona, Onicha-Ugbo, Onicha-Uku, Ejeme-Unor, Ejeme-Aniogor, Ilah, Ezi, Obomkpa, Oko-Anala, Oko-Amakom, Oko-Ogbele, parts of Igbodo, Akwuwu-Igbo, Akwukwu-Ukwu, Okpanam, Idumuje-Unor, Idumuje-Ugboko, Anwai, Oraifite, Ogbaru, Onitsha, Obosi, Atani. Ika is spoken by Agbor, parts of Igbodo, Umunede, Igbanke, Oguta, Owa-Oyibus, Owa-Nta, Owa, Ekwuoma, Obior etc. Ebu speak Enuani, Ishan and Igalla. Aboh and surrounding communities speak Aboh. Ukwuani is spoken by Ukwuani/Ndokwa, Umutu, Ogume, Obiaruku, Asaba-Ubulu, Ashama, Edo-Ogwashi, Azagba, Amai etc.

Ebu is a bi-lingual town. Some people speak Ishan, others speak Igalla. Enuani is comprehensible to all. The people of Igbodo speak Ika and Enuani. This is due to the influence of its location between Ekwuoma and Onicha-Ugbo. It must be noted that while some parts of Anioma understand and speak languages close to Urhobo and Isoko, a sort of Igbo language is intelligible to all the towns and communities that make up the Anioma region. This is the beauty of what a writer has defined as “cross culture” or “cross-cultural pollination” that the people have enjoyed as result of peaceful relationship with close by ethnic groups which has in no small way enriched the people’s traditional background and even harmonized it.

What it means is that from Agbor to Aboh, the people of Anioma can relate effectively in a harmonious language quite close to Ibo.

RELIGION

Festival

As typical to Africans, before the coming of Christianity, the people practiced African Traditional Religion and held divine beliefs in Ane Ebu, Nwangene, Ibe Ata and Ibe Iye. Atakpo and Oboshi are believed to be god and goddess by the people of Ibusa. There are still Alor, Ikenga and Ani (The god of fertility). However, the people credited “Chukwu” (Ose Bu Uwa) with supremacy and the maker of smaller gods, spirits and deities. The people are now largely Christians with the catholic as the dominant denomination.

In 2007, the Organization for the Advancement of Anioma Culture (OFAAC) organized “Anioma fiesta”

Anioma people are highly cultural, therefore guided by culture in every aspect of life. Some of the festivals celebrated by the people are Iwu, Eborakiko, Ine, Ulor, Utegbe, Ichu-Ekwensu, Iwaji, (New yam festival), Igue, Ukwe, Olu, Ogwu, etc. In some Anioma communities like Ebu, disputes are commonly settled in the shrines with deities standing as arbitrates. A festival such as Iwu is necessary to cleanse the community and make preparation for the coming year while Igue festival celebrated by Agbor and a few other communities are analogous to that of Benin with similar objectives.

Music

Dance

The Anioma dance style commonly referred to as the “Famous Asaba dance” is “Egwu Oshushu” or “Ohuhu” in Enuani dialect (“Egwu Esusu” in Ika). It is superlative in performance and culturally requires costume, rich colour, comportment and choreography to perform. Traditionally, Uloko, Amala, Odukor, Ekobe, Agbalani, Aguba are of the dances or music indigenous to Anioma.

At the “Anioma Fiesta” organized by Organization for the Advancement of Anioma Culture in 2007, the following Anioma cultural groups performed and emerged winners:

1. Uloko Cultural Group of Ndemili, Utegba-Unor

2. Otu One Mind from Owa

3. Otu Chukwueonyi Rinma of Agbor

4. Otu Egwu Aduko of Eweshi, Onicha Olona

5. Aguba Dance Band of Ubulu-Unor

6. Otu Chuwuedo Cultural Group of Owa-Oyibu

The Ukwani/Ndokwa people of Anioma are legendary in the performance of highlife music with songs composed in native tongue while Ogbogu Okonji popularly referred to as “OGB” from Ibusa remains the most popular Anioma traditional musician. Otu Mbonsionyenwu Obulunjua Dancing Group of Ibusa led by Dana Okonji (Agility) is perhaps the most prominent traditional Group produced by Anioma. Some other Anioma musicians are Eddy Okonta, Zeal Onyia, Charles Iwegbu, Rogana, Bright Osadebe, Michael Obanya, Prince Smart Williams, Isioma Nwose and Ras Kimono, a well known Anioma musician with foreign brand music.

Agitation for Anioma State

As noted above, agitation for a separate state for the region began in 1951 and with the seeming blatant refusal of the Nigerian Government to create a separate state for the people, the campaign has continued till date even stronger with each administration passing without demand for the state. Other ethnic groups in present Delta State have also joined in the call for a separate state for the Anioma people. Pressures coming from royal fathers, groups and indigenes, petitions and other activities from within and outside show that the people have not succumbed to coyness.

The activities of Umu Anioma Foundation, a registered online umbrella-Association of Anioma indigenes worldwide seeking general developments and better life for the people have renewed the pressure on the government to recognize the region as the 37th state of the nation. The Association has in its array of membership the region’s recognized fresh, innovative and ground-breaking generation of rising leaders prominently committed to championing the people’s cause in a nation that their voice has only been given little consideration by nearly all the regimes in the past. Prince Emmanuel Ohai, (the convener), Esther Nwaise-Sowole, Clementina Nwaokeibuogor- Nicholas, Emeka Esogbue, Chris Okafor, Anthony Ndikanwu, Alister Chukwukadibia Smith, Vincent Ngozi Mokwenye, Lauretta Onochie, Prince Charles Anyasi, Michael Osadebey, Henry Molokwu, Andy Okolo, Uchenna Oyali are some of the leaders of the Group.

The Association hopes that developments come to the region and that a state is arranged for the region as ANIOMA STATE.