Ibusa: A Small Pond With Big Human Fishes
By Emeka Esogbue
When it is comes to abundance in human resources, Ibusa is the envy of other communities especially those surrounding it. It is just a natural advantage enjoyed by the community that only few Nigerian communities can rival. There has always been Ibusa, an Anioma community in Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State. History say this community was founded by the first ever wave of Igbo migrants that settled on the West of the River Niger Basin, the exact spot that the people are found today. Around this particular town set on a dusty-hilly location are other viable settlements such as the city of Asaba, the capital city, only about 6 miles away, ancestrally-related Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom, Ubulu Uku, Issele Azagba and a few other communities surrounding it.
The strength of this community unarguably lies in huge abundant human resources available to it, an advantage said to be gifted in accompaniment of St Thomas’ College, a teachers’ training college, the first higher institution in the whole of the present Delta State and one of the earliest in the defunct Southern Protectorate of Nigeria established in 1928 by European missionaries. The gift of intellect in the people is also intangibly explained as naturally derived from Prince Umejei, the founder of the settlement as claimed by the community’s oral sources. Whatever the factor that accounts for this, the community is by and large gifted in this area. It enjoys this natural gift so much in abundance that its critics query inability of this large pool of humans to utilize this advantage to attract social development beyond the quantum of what is observable. Others have had to blame frequent strife in the community on this large pool of human resources. Their possible explanation for this is that concentration of too many scholars for the community is an uphill task that requires uncommon tact and Patience of Job to deal with.
Every single issue affecting the community collectively requires diplomacy mixed with so much physical and mental effort to resolve thus, those in charge of traditional arms of judiciary and other stakeholders often discover themselves between the Scylla and Charybdis in finding lasting peace to issues of collective and individual concern. Be that as it may, the people submit to the laconic phrase which conveys the thought that whatever has advantages also has disadvantages. Nonetheless, the brighter side is that with huge accomplished men and women in different endeavours available to this community, it is probable that you may have meaningfully related with someone from this great community at one time or the other.
Some observers have tagged Ibusa as a single community with one of the highest number of professors in the country and they may not be reasoned injudicious. One known characteristics of scholars from this community is that they enjoy global fame. The list begins with the community’s prescribed authority and traditional ruler, HRM (Obi) Prof Louis Chelunor Nwaoboshi, who is a retired Professor of Forestry from the University of Ibadan. There is Prof Pat Utomi, considered the community’s most popular Professor of today and indeed, one of Nigeria’s best known economists. He needs no introduction here. The late Prof Onyebuchi Emecheta popularly called ‘Buchi Emecheta’, one time Africa’s most popular female novelist hails from Ibusa. The late Prof Chike Onwuachi remains the first head of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA). There is also Prof Augustine Onwuyali Esogbue, a NASA Scientist who helped United States of America to take-off after initial crashed NASA dream. Prof Austin Uwandulu was a former Director with the National Population Commission while Prof Chris Mustapha Nwokobia, a social critic and politician cannot be neglected. In fact, the number of professors from this community is nearing one hundred already.
Much as the place of late Chief Willy Ukadike Ikolodo, a foremost member of the People’s Democratic Party and Dr. John Anaza cannot be forgotten in the history of politics in Ibusa, Distinguished Senator Peter Onyeluka Nwaoboshi is today, the Senator representing Delta North Senatorial District of Delta State at the Nigerian Senate. However, before him, Obi (Senator) Nosike Ikpo, a two-time Senator and another indigene of the community enjoyed this particular position. In the international scene, profiles rose with the likes of Dr. Collins Nweke being the first non-Belgian Counselor in Belgium to be sworn in, in that country, Kingsley Obiekwu, retired Nigerian footballer and current coach of Ingas FC, Enugu and Evelyn Nwabuoku, a Nigerian International and Captain of Super Falcons are also indigenes of this community.
There are notable technocrats, businessmen and politicians from Ibusa. The list opens once again with Chief Peter Eloka Okocha, Chief Anthony Azuya who is the President and CEO of Technocrime Security Ltd, Chief Dr. Austin Izagbo, the Chairman of Caniz Ltd who was a former Delta State Commissioner of Sports and now the President-General of Ibusa Community Development Union (ICDU). Dr. Nosike Agokei, the Ochikoba of Ibusa is a seasoned corporate manager and legal expert. He is well respected within and outside the community. Chief Barr Fred Chijindu Ajudua is one of the most popular living figures of Ibusa today while his wife, Hon Princess Adankele Ajudua is the current member representing the Oshimili North at the Delta State House of Assembly. The community has produced for the nation a former Chief of Naval Staff in the person of Admiral Joseph Dele Ezeoba who attracted the present Admiralty University to the community. It was an Ibusa man, the late Chief (Col) Mike Okwechime that lowered the Union Jack and hoisted the Nigerian flag at the nation’s independence.
There are other notable personalities whose influence cut across the nation such as Chief Sabastine Adigwe, the former MD of Afribank, now Polaris Bank, Barr Fidelis Odittah, one Nigeria’s remaining two Queen’s Counsels, Chief Amaechi Nwaenie, the Uwolo of Ibusa. Chief Peter Pan O. Okeze, an industrialist and politician was once a gubernatorial aspirant. Dr. Austin Obidi, a Medical Doctor by profession is a seasoned politician who has held several political appointments in the state and His Eminence Chief Celestine Okafor, the Ikwele of Ibusa. By the way, the community has produced three presidential aspirants namely Prof Chike Onwuachi, Prof Pat Utomi and Prof Christopher Nwokobia and two gubernatorial aspirants being Prof Pat Utomi and Chief Peter Eloka Okocha just as the community at one time of its history occupied the three legislative arms being the Senate, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly, being the only Anioma community to have achieved this remarkable feat.
Ibusa scholars are globally regarded and they include Professors Angulu Onwuejeogwu, an anthropologist, often regarded as Anioma’s best Historian and Don Ohadike, another fine historian. Other youngsters are beginning to emerge in similar endeavours. Among them are Philip Ngozi Ifechukwude, author of Wild Ixora, Austin Ogechukwu Nwulia and Austin Ajufo, author of the Conjugal Twins. Yet, a new generation of persons with high profiles is already rising. The following youngsters fit into this shoes: Ogechukwu Okonkwo-Osinkor, Politician and Critic, Stanley Ifechukwude Elege, writer, Gloria Ogechi Idegwu, poet and many more.
From other endeavours come Zik Zulu Okafor, a movie director and Evangelist Felix Nyemike Nkadi, another movie producer and Mr. Onyeluka Igbonoba, another respected ‘asset’ to the community among others. Chief Ogbogu Okonji is today regarded as Anioma’s most popular traditional musician.
The community is also one of the best visited in Delta State due to its strategic location and prowess in human resources. First visited by the European missionaries in the middle of 19th c, other notable personalities such as the Rt. Honourable Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Gen Yakubu Gowon (as the nation’s Head of State), Gen Ibrahim Babangida, Gen Sanni Abacha (during the civil war), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, as the nation’s Vice-President, Senator Olusola Saraki (as the nation’s Senate President) have at one time or the other visited the community. Chief Obafemi Awolowo particular visited the community to further his political rivalry against Obi (Senator) Nosike Ikpo while Gen Yakubu Gowon visited the community at the end of the civil war to flag-off the official opening of the present General Hospital in the community which medically catered for wounded soldiers during the war. He planted the tree which still stands in front of the hospital to commemorate Ibusa stand for ‘One Nigeria’. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was in the community to embark on a political campaign.
There is no doubt that Ibusa is one of the most visited communities in Delta State and it is its human resource wealth that earned it this gift.