Igbuzo(r) or Ibuzo(r) (officially known as ‘Ibusa’) is a community located in Delta State, South-South, Nigeria, West Africa. It is one of the most important communities of Delta State. Principal inhabitants of the community are the Anioma.
The community is located west of the River Niger Basin, 6 (six) miles to Asaba, the state capital. Administratively, this community lies within the Capital Territory Development of the state declared in 1991. It further lies on latitude 6.40 East and longitude 6.370 North, 700km above the equator or east of the Greenwich meridian with its total land mass covering nearly 260km2. Its landmass stretches from Aboh on Ibusa-Ogwashi Road to Ashia Uzo near Iyiabi along Igbuzo-Asaba Road and from Azagba-Ogwashi to Abala-Unor. The location of the town is considered very strategic as it is surrounded by a number of notable towns and communities. It is bounded to the North by Okpanam; Ogwashi- Uku and Ewulu to the West; Asaba, Okwe and Oko to the East and Abala- Unor to the South. It also lies close to other important towns such as Issele-Azagba, Ubulu-Uku, Ubulu-Okiti and Akwukwu-Igbo and has the geographical coordinates of 6o 11’ 0”North, 60 38 0”East. Its official name (with diacritics) is Ibusa and it is the largest community in Oshimili North Local Government Area and one of the largest in Anioma and Delta State by land mass and population. Akwukwu-Igbo, Atuma-Iga, Okpanam, Illah, Amuta, Ebu, Ugbolu and Ukala are other communities in the Local Government. Ibusa is naturally drained by a number of rivers with tributaries some of which empties in the River Niger. Some of these rivers are Oboshi, Atakpo, Odiuche, Ogbu Iyi Ngene, Iyi-ojii, Asiama and Obida.
Ibusa has been described as a ‘hilly, dusty town’ in an article published in ‘The Nation Newspaper’ because of its natural location on the hill. This condition makes the community dusty and dry during the dry season. It particularly has a tropical wet and dry climate classification with a lengthy wet season with moderate temperatures. Rainy season in Ibusa runs from March to October while dry season runs from November to February. The month of August is the period of precipitation. Climatically therefore, the town has two main seasons that are rainy and dry seasons. The dry season is the time of harmattan that leaves buildings in the community covered with muddy dusts. The characteristics of its atmosphere are considered quite moderate without any concentration of pollutants such as carbon monoxide, the oxides of sulfur and nitrogen, and particulate matter expected in major cities. This is understandable from the point of view that the town is only transforming from rural to urban centre.
Ibusa is a semi-urban community with shops, schools, market places and a few banks. Although there is no official numerical figure of the population of the town, the community is considered one of the largest towns in Delta State with a growing population of nearly 500,000 (est). It is a growing town with immigrants, many of who live in the town but work in nearby Asaba. The process by which large number of people became concentrated in Ibusa was due to the creation of Delta State in 1991 and consequent declaration of Asaba as state capital. In the town, large number of people, shops and offices are principally concentrated in the busy Umejei Road, which connects the town with Asaba and Ogwashi-Uku. It is also the road that houses Union Bank and Keystone Bank, the two main banks in the town then Ashia Eke Market. There is Ashia-Eke, the largest market in the town with a number of lock-up shops. However, there are other small markets in the town like Ashia-Nta located in Umueze and Ashia-Okpulukpu. Ibusa provides total compactness of structures that are tightly crammed together in the community. It is therefore common to notice a mixture of ancient and modern buildings closely standing side by side, which astounds first-time visitors.
The language of the Ibusa people is Enuani version of Igbo. This dialect is rich in expressions and memorable sayings that personify facts of past important experiences but rarely written.
Like other African societies, early Ibusa people were adherents of African Traditional Religion who worshipped deities such as Ani, Oboshi (water goddess) and Atakpo (water god), Fejioku, Ikenga and Alor but they also believed in the existence of Chukwu, the Supreme Being. This Chukwu was though reached through smaller gods. Chineke was in the belief of the people the maker of all things that must be approached through lesser gods because of his supremacy and sanctity. However, with the coming of the European missionaries, Ibusa people became converted to Christianity and St. Augustine’s Catholic Church that now stands at Isieke Junction in Umuekea quarters of the community was built in 1898 by Rev Fr. Zappa and it became the first Christian worship centre in the town. Emmanuel Anglican Church also established in the community became the first protestant church. It was from Ibusa that Christianization of other Anioma communities began to spread. Nonetheless there are more than one hundred different churches in the community today.
Origin of Ibusa
The Ibusa popular rendition is that Edini and Odaigbo, two sons of Obodo left their Nri original homeland because Odaigbo slept with one of his father’s wives. To escape the death penalty which was the stipulated punishment for the crime, Odaigbo was exiled while his brother, Edini decided to accompany him. Their father who was the Eze Nshi (King of Nri) handed them a pot of charms that they both carried on their heads with the instruction to settle wherever the pots dropped. As they journeyed westward, Edini’s pot was the first to drop at a place called ‘Ani Udo’ in present Ibusa. However, Odaigbo’s pot dropped at a place called ‘Eke’ in Ogwashi-Uku where he later built ‘Ogwa’ (shrine). It is from ‘Ogwa-Nshi (Nri) that the town derives its name, meaning the shrine of Nri. This migration of Edini and Odaigbo birthed the settlements of Ogboli in Ibusa and Ogwashi-Uku according to the legend.
The second but more important wave of movement was led by Prince Umejei (or Umejei Nwa Eze Isu), an immigrant from Isu, East of the Niger who was said to have committed the crime of killing his opponent in a friendly traditional wrestling bout. To avoid the death sentence in the Mosaic Law society, his father prepared a pot of charm for him, apparently to guide his choice of settlement with the instruction to settle wherever the pot dropped. Incidentally, the pot dropped at ‘Ani Oshe’ in present Ibusa settlement. He thus settled in the land. It is important to note that Edini and Odaigbo left Nri with their mother who history regards as having settled in Ogboli-Ibusa. Prince Umejei departed Isu with a very large entourage that included his relatives. Other members of this entourage then continued later forming Atani in Anambra State; Olo-Anal, Isheagu, Ashama, Ewulu and Olodu.
THE IBUSA GOVERNANCE
Historically, Ibusa has practiced monarchical and gerontocracy systems of government at some points in its history but it is by tradition a republican society. The Obuzor of Ibusa, HRM (Obi) Prof Louis Chelunor Nwaoboshi is the prescribed ruler of the community while the Senior Diokpa is the oldest man in the community.
Modern Ibusa comprises of ten quarters that are:
- Ezukwu/Achala (Anyalla)
These ten quarters or villages are further grouped into three distinct ‘otu’ that are:
- Otu Odogwu
(i) Umuidinisagba (comprising Umuidi and Umuisagba)
(iv) Ogboli (founded by Edini)
(ii) Umuezeagwu (comprising Umuisor and Okponta)