INTER-GROUP RELATIONS AMONG THE OGWASHI-UKU PEOPLE OF ANIOCHA SOUTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA IN DELTA STATE AND ITS NEIGHBORS
Historical records has it that a number of neighboring towns of Ogwashi-Uku such as Ibuzo, Ubulu-uku, Agbor e.t.c were founded in the sixteenth century and early seventeenth Century. On the other hand, traditional sources ascribe the funding of Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom to the people of Ikelike. There was the emergence of the Ikelile people in the kingdom followed by the state of migrations from the East and West of the Niger-Delta area of what later became known as the protectorate of Southern Nigeria.
According to T.A. Tabor in his book titled Southern Nigeria Vol 1, two families appeared to have left Benin at the same time, one of which settled at (Agbor), while the other went on to Obior while some continued to Onicha-Ugbo and others at a later date to Onicha-Olona.
Owing to its proximity to Asaba where the Royal Niger Company established a station as Royal Niger Company established a station as early as 1884, the people of Ogwashi-Uku clan has on early Western Education, Mission Schools were established in Ogwashi-Uku by the Church missionary society in 1907. While on the other hand, the Roman Catholic Church was established in Ogwashi-uku in the year 1905, while the present government school was founded in 1911 soon after the establishment of Ogwashi-Uku as the headquarters of the Asaba division in 19101.
In view of the above, the people had facilities for Western Education and a majority of its male indigenes having acquired early European education were found in the employment of colonial and post colonial civil service.
The nature of occupational practices in Pre-colonial times was mainly farming, though an insignificant number of the women folk engaged in crafting e.g. weaving. However, a quarter in Ogwashi-Uku called Ogbe-Nti where the Obi’s palace is situated would prefer trading to farming because of its proximity to the Obi. The reason is that they benefited from the general benevolence of the people who made available their farming proceeds during harvest in form of yam, cassava, plantain, coconut, palm oil, bush animal etc. The Ogbe-nti therefore took advantage of these ‘supplies’ to engage in petty trading.2
Justification of Research
The justification of this project is that it will not only portray to the reader the ideal response of the history and culture of Ogwashi-Uku people, but also create a situation where culture will be given a wider dimension in Nigeria. It is hope that the result of the study would provide government information concerning the history and culture of Ogwashi-Uku people.
Aim and Objectives
The aim of this work is to carefully examine inter-group relations among the Ogwashi-Uku people of Aniocha South Local Government Area in Delta state and its neighbors with emphasis on their socio-cultural and political relations in the pre-colonial era.
The objective of this work is to outline the areas and extent of such relations.
The essay is centered on inter-groups relations of Ogwashi-Uku and her neighbors in the pre-colonial times.
The work is structured into six chapters, chapter one deals with aims and objectives, justification of research, methodology, literature review; while chapter two discusses the historical overview of Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom, chapter three deals with the political relations between Ogwashi-Uku and her neighbors, chapter four focuses on the social relations between Ogwashi-Uku and her immediate neighbors, chapter five discusses the economic relations between Ogwashi-uku and her neighbors.
Finally, the work will be summarized in the last chapter of the Project Essay.
The historical and descriptive method is used in writing this essay; relevant data and information were obtained from two main sources. These were primary and secondary sources.
- 1. Primary Sources
This was a source of relevance in the course of this research in the sense that archival researches were carried out and oral interviews involving experienced individuals, some of whom were adults who played some roles in the economic life of their communities during the colonial era.
- 2. Secondary Sources
Secondary sources were consulted in Delta State University, Abraka, Ogwashi-Uku Polytechnic, College of Education (Agbor), Local Library (Ogwashi-Uku) in which textbooks and Journals gotten were useful in the successful carrying out of this research. Information obtained from these sources helped to guide and supplement materials obtained from primary sources.
Indeed there exist written works on Ogwashi-Uku. Those concerned to this work are reviewed below:
According to D.O Dieyi in his book titled, “The Realities and Values of Anioma Identity”3, examined the origins and settlement of Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom, the work also deliberates on the different kinds of resistance in Aniocha but had little to contribute concerning her interactions with her Neighbours during the pre-colonial era.
Udeh Patricks in his book Legacy of Crisis: Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom”4 examined the inter-group relations of Ogwashi-Uku and her neighbor in terms of trading, marriages etc. He elaborated on the indigenous cultural practices of Ogwashi-Uku people as well as their political set-up.
P.A Talbot in his book titled The People of Southern Nigeria,5 shows the immigration and emigration of Ogwashi populace. Talbot emphasized on the original spot where the first Ogwashi-Uku people ever settled and he gave a clear description on how the fugitives and refugees from Benin and East of the River-Niger in Awka province in present day Anambra State met at a particular time and settled in a different spot.
J.C Anene in his book titled Southern Nigeria in Transition,6 posits that the wide range Benin Empire in the sixteenth to nineteenth Century encompassed almost all the ethnic groups in the lower Niger, the nineteenth Century Saw majority of these outlying portions of this empires become virtually Independent. As of the Igbos, he stressed that they were ruled by Obi, equally Ogwashi-Uku, Ubulu-uku, Isele-uku and Onicha-olona era.
Espousing further in his work, he gave a thorough explanation on how the foreign invaders burnt down the Anglican and Roman Catholic mission stations in Onicha-olona, Ezi and Onicha-uku while the native court building at Ogwashi-Uku, Onicha-ugbo, Ibuzo were pulled down and destroyed.
J.Ozieh in his book titled Traditional Beliefs of the People of Ogwashi-Uku,7 point out the social life of the people and how they social relates with Ibuzo, Ubulu-uku In terms of trade marriages and other social activities in the pre-colonial times.
Dr. Ben U.N Nwabua’s in his book titled Ogwashi-Uku Forward March points out notable cultural beliefs of the Ogwashi-Uku people and also the system of government practiced by the Ogwashi-Uku people from the pre-colonial period up to the post-colonial era.
Furthermore, in his book titled Ogwashi–Uku (One Thousand years of Traditional Democracy and Cultural Life 950-1914)9, shows how the people of Ogwashi-Uku interacted with themselves and also with their immediate neighbors.
This research is divided into six chapters as follows:
Chapter One: Introduction
This chapter provides a brief historical background of the Ogwashi-Uku people and her relationship with her immediate neighbors as early as the Sixteenth Century and early Seventeenth Century, it shows different forms of migrations that existed before the emergence of the Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom and also economic relationships that existed between her and her neighbors after its emergence.
Chapter Two: Historical Background of Ogwashi-Uku
This chapter looks at the geographical description of Ogwashi-Uku and her location amongst her immediate neighbors, it also examines the traditions of origin of the Ogwashi-Uku people, the social and cultural lives of the people is also examined in this chapter, the historical organization of the Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom is also a major focus in this chapter.
Chapter Three: Political Relations between Ogwashi-Uku and Her Neighbors
This chapter looks at the Socio-cultural exchange between Ogwashi–Uku and her neighbors in the pre-colonial period.
Chapter Four: Social Relations between Ogwashi-Uku and Her Neighbors
This chapter discusses cultural exchanges between her and her immediate neighbors as well as inter marriages between the people of Ogwashi-Uku and her neighbors.
Chapter Five: Economic Relationships between Ogwashi-Uku and Her Neighbors
This chapter discusses the occupational practices of the people of Ogwashi-Uku as well as trade relations that existed between her and her neighbors in the pre-colonial period which were majorly food crops.
Chapter Six: Conclusion
This chapter attempts to make a general pre-colonial historical survey of general pre-colonial historical survey of Ogwashi-Uku. It states that the people of Ogwashi-Uku had an organized system of government long before the coming of the Europeans that brought about colonialism. There was massive production of both food and cash-crops in the land. This chapter conclusively proved the fact that the Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom was a means for survival for some of its neighboring communities who depended sorely on the Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom for survival.