ONLY AGBOR WAS ABLE TO WITHSTAND BENIN IN TERMS OF MILITARY STRENGTH – Esogbue
Elder Emeka Esogbue, Author of the book; Essentials of Anioma History and Editor, Anioma Essence Magazine, speaks with Jerome-Mario Utomi, Special Project Officer, Ika Weekly Newspaper, about the origin of Anioma, how the name “Ika” emerged” political leadership in the state, the need to have the country restructured and other sundry topical issues.
Essential, all through the interview that spanned for close to six hours, this thorough bred historian with B. A. (Hons) in History and International Studies from the Lagos State University and M. A. in History and Diplomacy from the same institution used properly framed narrative power, vividly supported evidence and emotions to demonstrate that knowledge of Anioma history flows naturally in him.
Elder Emeka Esogbue’s responses to the question placed before him during this delectable interview, blazes a new trail for every Anioma indigene desirous of developing profound knowledge of the area. And also will act as a guide to any Anioma town seeking modernization or want to speed up their development.
Looking at your activities within Anioma nation and beyond, you need no introduction, but for the benefits of our readers littered all over the world, kindly say some words to enable the audience understand more fully your background?
(Laugh) thank you very much. Well, I think the mention of ‘Emeka Esogbue’ is the mention of ‘Anioma’ and vice versa as it is now. Even in some distant places, you would find my Yoruba neighbours and others, referring to me as ‘Anioma’. That may have to do with my frequent activities on our Anioma nation. Anyway, thank you kindly again for locating and finding me worthy to engage in this interview.
I am Elder Emeka Esoegbue. I was born to Patrick Chukwudumebi and Theresa Nwasiwe both of who hail from Ibusa, an Anioma community in Delta State. I am a professional historian, journalist, writer, researcher, Anioma advocate and author. I have by the special grace of God authored a total of four history books on the Anioma people and they are “A study of the Origins and Migrations of Anioma Settlements”, “A Short History of Omu”, “Essentials of Anioma History” and “A History of Ibusa” in this particular order.The most recent is “The Ekumeku Movement and Resistance to Colonial Rule in Nigeria”, which is currently being published and should be out any time soon. Elder Emeka Esogbue is a thorough bred historian with B. A. (Hons) in History and International Studies from the Lagos State University and M. A. in History and Diplomacy from the same institution. I was one of the pioneering members of Umu Anioma Foundation Worldwide and as a matter of fact, the first Assistant Publicity Secretary and member of Board of Directors of that very organization. I am the co-founder of Ndi Anioma of Nigeria Association, a founding member of Igbanke Nationals Progressive Association (INPA) and the founder of Igbuzo Singles Meet. I have received several awards that include Patriot Award of Anioma Association USA Inc. Georgia Chapter, for extensive Research and Literatures, 2015 Umuigbuzor Man of the Year, 2014 and Deluxe Entertainment’s Social Media Personality of the Year, 2015 to mention a few. I have more than 1,000 articles and research works about the Anioma people published in different mediums. At present, I work as the Editor-at-Large of Integrity Watchdog International Magazine and the Research Editor of Anioma Essence Magazine, a publication of the Organization For the Advancement of Anioma Culture (OFAAC).
Without fear of contradiction, you are a historian of repute, what informed your choice of in the first place?
Perhaps, this question, profuse blooming as regularly posed to me is turning to a trite and commonplace. Let’s talk about the disappearance of history from our curriculum. The suddenness with which the discipline of history took some flight off our school curriculum courtesy of the almighty and all-knowing Nigerian leaders is something that speaks of our society as not willing to learn from the past. Nigeria seems to me the only country of the world that does not relish its past events.
Now, what country does not look back and learn some lessons from her past? That specific country is Nigeria. Well, like I often respond to my interviewers, history searched, located and chose me. Early enough in my formative years, I started to develop a feeling, pleasure and enjoyment for the past accounts of societies. In Ibusa, my community, I sat close to my maternal grandmother who gathered a number of us as children to tell us tales then we asked questions thereafter. At this stage of my life, listening to stories on the past made interest for me. I grew up to gradually discover that I had become a gatherer of sources–primary and secondary.
History was so innate in me that even in my secondary school days at the Agboju Secondary School, my mates had nicknamed me “Historian.” My then teacher of history, Mr. Esemuede had become my favorite teacher. During the Prize Giving Day ceremony of the school, I received the prize for being the Best student in History. In that year, I went on to become one of the only two or three students that would pass this subject at the West African Examination Council level in that school.
It was not therefore surprising that I found myself studying the discipline at the university level and also proceeding with it at Master’s Degree level, combined with International studies. Have you noticed that everyone despite their discipline delves into history one way or the day? That is because history is the mother of all disciplines.
Elder Emeka Esogbue, today, you are a journalist; and at the same time, you exude great knowledge about Anioma history, and dissipate much energy promoting Anioma culture. Ndi Anioma would like to understand the relationship between journalism, culture and history.
In defining history, permit me to refer to Akinjogbin. He sees history as an organized critical study of such past activities of human beings as had produced significant effects on subsequent course of events or on other human beings in the course of events. As for journalism, it is the profession of reporting stories. With these definitions, you can see that history to a greater extent bothers on the past while journalism is mostly concerned with presentation for media outfits. With culture being the beliefs, values, behavior and material objects that constitute the way of life of a people, culture and history are also related.
Thus, while I can fall back on the past to probe why, how and when particular events occurred, I report current stories on the other hand. Promoting, projecting and preserving the good cultures of our people, I believe is a worthy cause rather than being unwise and frivolous. I had often wondered why our Anioma people especially our fathers chose to promote the culture of other ethnicities especially those of closely related ones while our own had had to suffer neglect and near extinction.
I asked questions on why any Anioma intellectuals would choose to research into subjects of other groups while our own are left alone and till date have not received any particulate positive answer to that. Our fathers got a lot of things wrong in their own time, maybe too, it is the reason I have read the description ‘docility’ attributed to them. You do not fight the cause of another man while your own is waiting.
Now, who fights your own? If I am not making sense to you, I make that sense to others. If you abandon your compound to fight in defence of another, you have exposed your own at the risk of destruction. This is where the intellectual activities of Prof Onwuejeogwu, Prof Don Ohadike, Prof Mordi, Dr. Opone, and Prof. Isichei come to mind. These are intellectuals that offered their intellectual services to serve our Anioma people. I took up interest in Anioma history because our people rarely believed in our own. You write on others but your children do not know your own. When this happens, you have knowingly or unknowingly sold your children to others; then a time will come when they will begin to disown you.
At the completion of first degree programs in higher institutions, our children are faced with paucity of materials on our history to further researches on their projects which compels them to write on other societies. On venturing into the documentation of Omuship, I discovered I was the first person to put this institution in book. But thankfully, the social media is coming to play some roles. With groups such as Umu Anioma Foundation, Anioma Voice, Onu Ika, Save Ndokwa, Anioma Anyi and many more, the Anioma patriotism is becoming entrenched. With interest raised, our young ones are becoming aware of our cultural affairs.
Elder Emeka Esogbue, no one spends 15 minutes without hearing you mention OFAAC, what is it all about? Please be explicit?
(Laughs) I actually envisaged Anioma but OFAAC was what I heard. Maybe that could be because I am a proud member of the organization, one of the oldest members at that, having joined the group in year 2008. This was when I first authored the article, “Goodbye Sister Maryam” in the Organization’s magazine. The Organization For the Advancement of Anioma Culture which most people know as OFAAC was established in 2002 or thereabout by Arc Kester Ifeadi. It is about the promotion of the culture of the Anioma people.
We publish the Anioma Essence Magazine to promote researches on our people. We also put together a microfinance scheme and organize the annual Anioma Cultural Festival in Asaba.
As they have come to know us globally, OFAAC is the culture umbrella of the Anioma people. Through the annual Anioma Cultural Festival, we have been able to bring together heterogeneous Aniocha, Oshimili, Ukwuani/Ndokwa and Ika to showcase their cultures. You know that due to the influence of westernization, civilization, Christianity and others, when people hear the mention of ‘culture’, they tend to flee immediately but the cultures I mean here are dances, traditional wrestling, flute competitions and others. These are aspects of our cultures that we, as a people must preserve to bequeath to the future generation.
From what I have said so far, the major objectives of OFAAC are to bring the Anioma people together culturally, promote their culture and project and preserve their cultural identities. I would particularly say we have reasonably succeeded in all of these. The OFAAC trustees are Chief Newton Jibunoh who is the Chairman, Prof. Pat Utomi, Hon. Emeka Nmadu, Arch. Kester Ifeadi and a few more but we have a personality like Mr. Gideon Nwaomu who deserves praise for his indefatigable contributions towards the promotion of OFAAC. I worked closely with him and singled him out as one who whose ideas and contributions are unquantifiable.
Elder Emeka Esogbue, what has been the biggest challenge to OFAAC?
One must first and foremost, understand that there is no human organization or institution without challenges. What matters is the ability of the concerned society to rise to the occasion at all time to challenge the challenges and to keep surmounting them. Challenges deepen where any society becomes unable to rise above them.
In the case of OFAAC, the Anioma people are its major challenge. Tried hard as the Organization could, some Anioma bigwigs would not be present to physically identify with their people and the cause of the Group. I don’t know if I should mention names but I just haven’t seen many of them. Kudos should be given to the monarchs and Omus in Anioma who are always unfailingly present but I single out HRM Obi Dr. Martha Dunkwu, the Omu of Anioma for commendations. Apart from attending nearly all the festivals of OFAAC, she appears to have taken the Anioma culture farther than anyone else within her category. The Omu is herself, emulation to others in the promotion of Anioma culture so that even most Anioma monarchs have to imitate her.
I have also observed that writers on culture especially people who are enlightened on Anioma are seriously lacking. It is not therefore unexpected that the Organization struggles to keep up with the volume of articles on its pages. Outside this, I think OFAAC should also recognize and reward its members and veteran contributors who over the years have kept the organization alive. Anioma people should also see the Organization as their own and not a group of some particular persons.
At different times and places, Ndi Anioma read your accounts about histories of some major towns/kingdoms in the State. Some of those accounts were hailed, others view it with skepticism. The boundaries between these two spheres have in some cases been shifted back and forth and in cases, been a source of tension. A typical example is the Issele-Uku/Ezechima account which raised a lot of dust on the social media. Now, tell us, how authentic is your historical sources?
This is normal hailing and critiquing historical works are to be expected. However, one only becomes worried when such criticisms are destructive rather than constructive. In spite of this, I need to point out that most laymen do not see history from the point of view of professionals. It is worst that they expect you to favour them with your account whereas a good historical account should lack favouritisms. They want to see in your account that their community was the first to be established in the whole world or that their own community is the best in society.
Often times, they want their wishes boldly established in your account. The people of Ebu are Igala. The people of Ugbodu, Ukwu-Nzu, and Ogodor are Yoruba. The people of Ibrede are Isoko. The people of Amai are Igala. The people of Asaba; Illah and Okpanam have populations of Igala. The people of Ibusa, Akwukwu-Igbo, Ishiagu and Ewulu are Igbo. The people of Ozanogogo are Bini yet, they want me to write that the Anioma are entirely Igbo, Bini or Igala. History does not obliterate the ancestry of anyone.
It does not satisfy or dissatisfy people but gives account on the past. You must also understand that I major in an aspect of history that tends to explain the origin and migrations of societies. These are more difficult concentrations of history that require double efforts from you, the historian.
Our people scarcely share the belief that histories are to be updated in researches. This is why you hear “my grandfather told me this or that” whereas what your grandfather told you is not yet history. Whatever he told you is only a primary source. It takes the historian to analyze and interpret the source to make it become history. He breathes life into it to cause it to come alive. I think the challenge becomes worsened with internet history writers, many of whom in their school days could not have risked the study of history even at gunpoint.
I have also observed that a good number of history graduates hardly pursue careers in history, which makes the history graduates to outnumber professional historians. The social media has also come to make some egregious contributions. With copy and paste, you get confused the more. I sit down and ask myself why not much of history books on Anioma people are published compared to the “history” litters the internet. In the past 5 years, I can hardly point to three history books on Anioma. Maybe there has been one or two on Anioma communities but not on Anioma as a unit. If very few people are working round the clock, digging into our collective history, we should be worried. Shouldn’t we? Our people should rather than engage in destructive criticisms encourage, researches on history.
Elder Emeka Esogbue, do you have history of Ika nation to share with us in synoptic form?
(Laugh) Ika history in this brief interview? That may involve days and endless pages of papers to share in this interview.
(Laughter) – then, your response?
History shows that the people called “Ika” today do not have related origins. We must understand this to help us understand the area. In fact, the various communities have different origins. They trace their origins to different ethnic groups in the country. By the way, the name Ika, has not always been limited to the present Ika people etymologically. We know in history that this name was originally used to refer to the entire region that we know as Anioma or Delta North today. It was only a matter of time that the suffix “Ibo” was added to make it sound “Ika-Ibo”. With time too, “Ika-Ibo” gave way to “Western-Ibo”, the change that eventually replaced it.
Eventually, the name “Ika” became limited to the present Ika North East and Ika South in Delta State. It was as recent as year 2012, that Anioma historians started to accommodate Igbanke, Inyelen, Owanikeke, Owariuzo, Idu, Igbogiji, Ekpon and good number of other related settlements now lying in Edo State in the fold of Ika. Incidentally, these areas in Edo were never originally classified as parts of Ika clan.
Again, it was Forde and Jones that popularized the name, “Ika”, giving it currency. Essentially, I have said that the name, “Ika” was first and foremost used by the Europeans to classify or give a description of the entire area called Delta North today before it was limited to its present use today. In my opinion, Agbor remains the largest of Ika communities and the best known and I believe that this to be so due to the settlement’s relations with Benin. There are quite a number of Ika communities but only Agbor was able to withstand Benin in terms of military strength, proving to Benin that they were no push over.
This brings us to the different wars in history between Agbor and Benin. When the British colonial government joined Agbor to Benin Province, they protested and instead decided on joining Asaba. It was the same way, Igbanke, an arch rival of Agbor protested to the colonialist, insisting they were not to be left under Agbor.The Agbor-Igbanke War of 1895 is well recorded in history. It was from this war that Igbanke gathered as much Igbanke patriotism as she has today and was able to match Agbor in some periods of its history. Igbanke is founded by six communities, out of which Benin founded just Oligie. Migrants of the rest five villages of the communities migrated from nearby Ika communities.
Till today, these six Igbanke villages have retained their various heads known by the people as “Enogie”. A few years, I paid the Enogie of Oligie, a retired soldier a courtesy visit and I found him calm, respectful and accommodating. He seemed to me, the toughest of the Enogies because of his boldness. The language spoken by the people of Ika is a mixture of Igbo and Bin but we have Igbodo that also speaks a combination of Ika and Enuani dialects. The Ika are not to be mistaken for Enuani.
In recent times, you often always comment on activities of the government particularly at the state levels. Tell us, are you a politician?
In contrast, I have not in recent times beamed my searchlight on the Delta State Government and political activities of the State as much as I could have done. My previous interest ended with former James Ibori who on ending his term, relocated the NYSC Orientation camp from Issele-Uku to Oghara, his hometown and I wondered why the Anioma got so marginalized. I have also wondered why my Ibusa community did not get anything worth it from the 8 years Uduaghan administration despite the community’s geographical location close to the State capital.
However, this is not to say that I have not been following activities at the Delta State level. To answer your question directly, I am not a politician and have never been but like all other political animals, politics makes interest for me.
Based on your response above; if no, why? Are you seeking any elective position come 2023?
I am not a politician because everybody cannot be politicians. Besides, we cannot all be politicians the same time. The thought of an elective position has never struck my mind since birth. Emeka Esogbue is a scholar. Maybe, I can accept an appointment, depending on which it is coming from, his precedence, sincerity of purpose for the people and agenda whether at the Federal or State level provided it is geared towards the well being of the people and their acceptance is assured. But the thought of an elective position is ruled out completely for now.
Do you think PDP is prepared to bounce back to power at the federal level, especially the Presidency in 2023?
Let the truth be told! It is difficult to predict the electoral circumstances of politicians in Nigeria because there seems no clear cut difference between them in attitude, ideologies and deeds. A PDP today is an APC tomorrow and vice versa. There is this juicy current that appears to either coalesce or send them decamping to the next party.
But if you followed electoral activities at the federal level since the years of Jonathan, you will see that Nigerians are getting aroused with their choice defined by the performance of the candidate and not the party. Jonathan lost to Buhari because he lost Nigerians and at that stage, maybe, just maybe, anyone other than Buhari could have defeated him. Now, you can see how it is going with Buhari. Nigerians are becoming bold critics of his administration. But to balance this story, we must also agree that Nigerians are difficult subjects.
How would you evaluate the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s led administration?
I cannot evaluate Governor Okowa now until he has completed his term and has handed over to another. If I do, my judgment of him today may be upturned tomorrow by his actions unseen today. For now, my mind of him is blank.
As you are well aware, the state has the Delta State Capital Development Agency, there is also the Warri/Uwie Development Agency, and the people of coastal region of the state are clamouring for the Coastal Area Development Agency (CADA). Do you think that the Delta State Capital Development Agency is serving the interest of Anioma people or should Ndi Anioma clamour for the creation of Anioma Area Development Agency?
The demand for agencies within the state appears to know no end because the people either do not feel the impacts of people elected to represent them or the impacts are too minute to meaningfully cater for their demands. As for whether the Delta State Capital Development Agency is serving the interest of the Anioma people or not, we can use Ibusa and Okpanam as case studies here. Using these two communities, the impacts of this Agency is absent.
I am failing woefully to see why these two communities after contributing the largest bulk of lands for the construction of the Asaba International Airport lost the same lands to Asaba. In the real sense of it, the loss of these bulks of lands meant the loss of parts of their territories which ultimately shrunk. The two communities despite losing their territories have gained nothing larger than the gains of other Anioma communities. It gets worst when facilities are introduced in Ibusa and the signposts read “Asaba”. Does the Delta State Capital Development Agency amount to reduction in status of Ibusa and Okpanam to make them satellite towns of Asaba? We should be asking ourselves this particular question.
The nation is facing a lot of security challenges now, what would you proffer as solution to the security threats in the country?
Yes, severe security challenges. This seems to me the height of security challenge that the nation would save since the years of the civil war. We have been experiencing unprecedented killings with no particular group spared. This is so unprecedented that it gets difficult to imagine how we were before now. The solution lies in restructuring. Restructure the nation and some of challenged will become unseen.
Stakeholders are calling for regional outfits as a way forward while others are saying true federalism. What are your thoughts on this?
Unfortunately, the creation of regional security outfits has become thrown up by inability of the government to act decisively. Simply put, it was the blatant refusal of this administration and previous ones to restructure the nation that amounts to self-protection by the regions. True federalism remains the answer. State Police should have counted more than regional security but unfortunately, the government rejected it with the dilly-dally that remains. See regional security idea as natural. Where a people are dying, especially where they perceive that only little or nothing is being done to protect them, they will naturally want to protect themselves from dying.
Simply put, it was the blatant refusal of this administration and previous ones to restructure the nation that amounts to self-protection by the regions. True federalism remains the answer
Is there anything wrong with the Nigerian nation?
The Nigerian problem is multifaceted hence too complex for understanding. The Nigerian people are the sickness of the nation. They have simply refused to live together. I get embarrassingly amused when I hear people blame the British over colonialism or the 1914 amalgamation then I ask: Is Nigeria the only colonized country of the world? USA, Canada, Jamaica, South Africa, Ghana and other countries were colonized.Even the colonizers were colonized. America colonized Liberia and the same America was colonized by the British.
It will also look like the nation itself is yet to have a good leader in the capacity of transformation. Only great leaders turn around their nation for good. Have we had such leaders with us? These Nigerian leaders appear to be concerned about themselves than those they should serve. It is all about themselves and families, what the wealth they should possess. A lot of things are wrong with them than I can tell you here.
Added to this is structural problem and imbalance in the nation which gives a particular region undue advantage over others. From the way Nigeria is structured, the North will continue to rule the country while the South particularly the South East will remain disadvantaged. It would also seem that the kind of democracy practiced by the nation is unseen in the progressive world. It is the most expensive in the world yet, lacking in ideology and ineffective.
Nigeria should go unicameral instead of the present bi-camera legislature. We should scrap either the House of Representatives or the Senate then allow only one to exist since their functions are the same. Balance the number of states within the regions. The South East needs to outlive the short change in the number of States given to them.
Seriously, arrangement on rotational presidency needs to be concretized else only one region will think they are born to rule others till eternity. This brings us to the obvious need for restructuring. Restructuring is the last standing remedy for the survival of Nigeria.
Can you let us know your position on restructuring?
My position is that failure to restructure the country will amount to the last straw that broke the camel’s back. With President’s Buhari’s emergence, hopes were high that restructuring would be seen but the same hope waned when it became obvious that we would continue the walk on the same previous paths.Let the nation implement reports of the Jonathan confab or sit down to talk on the way forward for themselves.
What are the issues?
The issue with Nigeria every Nigerian including you knows. Re-emphasizing on them here will amount to waste of time.
There is so much corruption in the country. Does it worry you?
The combination of Nigerian leaders has become wealthier than the country and there seems no stopping them because even the judiciary seems handicapped. Go pick up the book, “Fighting Corruption is Dangerous” authored by our sister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and you will wonder on how much institutionalized Nigeria is. My only surprise is that in coining the title of the book, Dr. Okonjo did not narrow the title of the book to Nigeria. It should have read “Fighting Corruption ‘in Nigeria’ is Dangerous”. The Nigerian leaders are the inhabitants richer than their environment. When creatures are richer than the gods that made them, something goes wrong which is what we face now.
But the corruption goes beyond the leaders of the Nigerian nation and also touches on the led. You will understand that corruption starts from the grassroots then to the top. Those that hold the view that it starts from the top are obviously mistaken in their anthropological understanding of the society since it is from the grassroots that leaders are selected and groomed to leadership status they assume. Show me any sector in Nigeria exempted from corruption today. You see, make no mistake about it, corruption is not peculiar to Nigeria but the version of what we see in the Nigeria is peculiar.
It thrives because notorious corrupt men and women are allowed to roam the society and scarcely are they brought to book. It gets exacerbated that those once accused of corruption are the ones that have to fight corruption in the country. Where this happens, clarity and sincerity then become lost among the populace. This brings us to the question on whether the Nigerian judiciary is capable of fighting corruption in the land.
The country is now at the stage that when the ordinary citizen read in the newspaper that one big fish has been dragged to the court over corrupt allegation, they simply look away without interest. The belief of the common man is that he will freely walk back home the same way he arrested and charged. Any government that truly intends to fight corruption in this country must first and foremost reform the judiciary to function better. That suspects are detained and made to wait for years in custody is also corruption. What is the reason? The charges are unknown or courts are in shortage? Corruption is not limited to stealing.
Elder Emeka Esogbue, your final message for Anioma people
Like I have always told our people, whether you are from Aniocha, Oshimili, Ika or Ukwuani/Ndokwa, Anioma is your home. Those who say I am not Anioma but Ika or I am not Anioma but Ukwuani are greatly mistaken. Our collective destiny is to be found in Anioma. Whether you like it or not, your socio-economic and political interest rest in Delta North Senatorial of Delta State which is Anioma. It is only ignoratio elenchi that will make anyone to remove himself from his boat of interest. I pass this message to our Ika and Ukwuani brothers, especially the Ukwuani.
Take a closer look at the developmental structure of Anioma and you will discover that the Ukwuani region is probably the least developed. Why is this so? It is because our Ukwuani kinsmen have a way of withdrawing themselves from the Anioma umbrella and the effects are there. The people appear to enclose themselves while the world itself has turned a global village and you begin to wonder whether the understanding of global politics is present. Let me give you an instance. You should be conversant with a scenario that recently played out.
The Ukwuani had sought a location of a higher institution in that area which was denied them because the lawmakers decided that the institution be located in one Urhobo community. Within the same period, it was agreed that another higher institution be located in Asaba which sent some Ukwuani youths protesting the non-intervention of the Anioma leaders and blaming it on what they called the Anioma project.
Speaking on Anioma blamefully is wrong because you do not exempt yourself and still put the blame over your decision on others. Thankfully, countless number of Ukwuani believes and identify with Anioma and I have them as friend and see them on Anioma forums. Chief Ojieh from that area is today the President-General of Izu Anioma. Brigadier-General Alabi-Isama (Rtd) was before now. It is on the strength of Anioma that Senator Patrick Osakwe emerged the Senator that represented us for years at the Nigerian Senate and everyone gave him the necessary support that he needed at the time.
The same goes to our Ika people. The present Governor of the state, His Excellency Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa is from Owa, an Ika community and he presides over the affairs of Delta State on strength and platform of Anioma. Some of us have worked very hard not only to give Anioma currency but to make it our pride. When our people are prepared for traditional marriage, they remember our Akwa-Ocha instead of the bogus Agbada of the other group. Now, we have a place in Nigeria because we have a common identity. We only need to love and believe in ourselves the more, and do away with the docility that our forebears suffered in the hands of other groups in the country. Chief Dennis Osadebay, Chief Poco Ozieh, Chief Mike Okwechime, Senator Nosike Ikpo, Arewa and the rest of our Anioma nationalists have done their best.
It is now left for us to define and properly situate ourselves firmly within the Nigerian society. Some of us have been in the forefront of this achievement, the very reason the likes of Arc Kester Ifeadi, HRM Obi Dr. Martha Dunkwu, the Omu of Anioma, Emmanuel Ohai, Akamesike Okonne, Antonia Oguah, Enudi Marcus, Patrick Ochei, Chief Michael Onyekali Odiakosa and many more are commendable. If there is no one to keep the home, it will turn bushes.
I have always told our people, whether you are from Aniocha, Oshimili, Ika or Ukwuani/Ndokwa, Anioma is your home