Anioma people

Anioma are the Igboid,communities in Delta State. They are popularly known as Delta Igbos or Western Igbos. Anioma means Good Land in Igbo Language. Anioma consist of Enuani, Ukwuani, Ndokwa, Ika and Oshimili/Aniocha of Delta State. It has an estimated total population of approximately 1.8 million people.[1]

GeographyEdit

Anioma is located in the areas of the West Basin of River Niger, south-south within the present Delta state of Nigeria, it encompasses a land mass of about 6,300 km2. In the political matters of the state, Anioma is often referred to as Delta North as against the other peoples known as the Delta South and Delta Central in the same state. Anioma is bounded on the East by Anambra State, south-east by Imo and Rivers States, south Bayelsa State, south-west by Isoko, west by Urhobo people, north-west by Edo State and north by Kogi State. Anioma may therefore be regarded as highly contiguous to very many neighbours ethnic groups. The people have drawn experiences as a result of lying contiguous to numerous other towns, communities and states which characterizes the Anioma as one of the most peaceful regions in the country.[2]

LanguagesEdit

Anioma people are speaking the Igbo language just like other Igbo subgroups. A pure dialect of the Igbo language, Enuani, and two Igboid languages, Ukwuani and Ika, are the primary indigenous languages. There are also small numbers of Olukumi, Ozzara and Igala-speaking communities.

Civil War GenocidesEdit

The genocide of Anioma by Gen. Murtala Mohammed and Major Gen. Ibrahim Haruna (Retd), during the Nigerian Civil War started on the 21 of September, 1967 on the recapture of Benin City from the Biafrans sweeping large Anioma towns of Asaba, Ogwashi-Uku, Ibusa, Otutu, Ishiagu, Igbodo, Aboh and Ushisha but the massacres carried out in Asaba remains the most severe and unforgettable in which mostly helpless women, youths and children were killed in rapidity by the federal troops. It has been noted that the massacres were organized and mostly carried out under the supervision of Maj Gen Ibrahim Haruna (Retd) and the reason was that Gen Murtala Muhammed was aggrieved and suspicious of the Anioma as having aided their Igbo kinsmen to invade the Mid west.

Gen. Yakubu Gowon (Retd) the then Head of State would later apologize to the Igbo community, while Major-General Ibrahim Haruna, the General officer Commanding (GOC) Two Division of the Army during the Civil War while testifying at the Human Rights Violations Investigation Commission Panel aka Oputa Panel held in 2004, insistently maintained that he had no regret for the Asaba massacres in which the Igbo were killed by his troops since it was motivated by sense of duty to protect the unity of the country, he stated this under cross examination by Ohanaeze Ndiigbo group.

State creationEdit

After the independence of Nigeria, few Nigerian groups desired their own identity separate from forced colonial political and social institutions. The Anioma were no exception. As a wave of demand for state creation in the 1970s permeated the Nigerian political landscape, included in this movement was the yearning for Ndi-Anioma, land of the Aniomas as a separate political state for the Anioma people.[3] This agitation gave birth to the demand of Anioma State, which though remains unrealized. In 2007, the National Assembly of Nigeria announced its willingness to allow the creation of one more State for the Igbo people, a committee to adopt a State for the Igbo was set up and led by Chief Emmnauel Iwuanyawu, this committee which failed in adopting any State for the region, threw out Anioma, stating that the creation of Anioma State would amount to an additional State for South-South region of the country. The Anioma people have renewed this agitation once again following another recent announcement by the National Assembly that seven more States may be created in the country to create balance among the various geopolitical regions in the country. Among pro Anioma Activist is Henry Ogochukwu have been promoting the creation of Anioma State through Anioma Peoples Association. Henry Ogochukwu is the President General of Anioma Peoples Association

Anioma in Delta StateEdit

Asaba (an Anioma city) has been the capital of Delta State since the creation of the state in August 1991, by the then Military president, Gen Ibrahim Babangida (Rtd). This development continues to generate criticism from the people of the Delta south notably Professor Itsay Sagay, an Itsekiri, Dr. Temi Akporhonor and Professor Obaro Ikime backed by Urhobo Historical Society. In an article in The Guardian, August 15, 2002 Professor Itsay Sagay openly campaigned for the relocation of the state capital from the Anioma city of Asaba to the town of Warri in Delta south. This was preceded by the reaction of Dr Cyril Uchenna Gwam published in the defunct Post Express Newspaper of June 1999 and several internet forums in reaction to the publication of Obaro Ikime in which he argued amongst others that centrality factor had never been the major criteria for the location of State or Federal capitals.[4] This was also followed by another article be Clem Okonji published in The Guardian, July 8, 2002 in which he maintained that Asaba had come to stay as the capital of Delta State. He further stressed that the peoples constituting the state are all located within the Delta region. Reactions in favour of the stay of Asaba as the capital of the state has since been supported by Henry Ogochukwu, Michael Ozah, Emeka Esogbue, Tony Odiadi, Emma Okocha and others alike. Dr. Temi Akporhonor would call for a political arrangement whereby governorship power would remain with what he termed 'The real Deltan' because according to him the capital of the state is located in the Igbo speaking town of Anioma. (Whither Delta state?, The Guardian, May 23, 2002) The strong resistance of this call has ensured that Asaba remains the state capital. Though all would unilaterally admit that a separate creation of another state from the present Delta State to constitute Anioma with the capital at Asaba, and Delta with state capital at Warri is necessary.

Anioma in Ohanaeze NdigboEdit

On November 29, 2008, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization announced the election of Ambassador Ralph Uwechue, an Anioma indigene as its President-General to pilot its affairs for the next two years. He was nominated by Delta State branch of Ohanaeze as their consensus candidate in a resolution reached at the palace of the Asagba of Asaba after the position was zoned to Anioma, one of the seven units that make up Ohanaeze Ndigbo. But in his acceptance speech, Uwechue expressed gratitude to all and called for unity among Igbo, which is said to possess the talent to and wealth it would take to take to address national issues, while also noting that the position given to him has created confidence that the Igbo from Delta State are accepted as brothers and sisters in Ohanaeze. Finally, he promised not to disappoint Anioma people as the race is for Anioma home and abroad.

Economic prospectsEdit

Anioma has abundant oil deposits particularly in Ndokwa land, Akumazi, Umunede, Ute-okpu, Ute-erume, Ute-Ogbeje, Ekuku-Agbor, Nsukwa, Olodu, Ewulu, Idumuesah, Ejeme and other Anioma regions. Records also indicate that oil was discovered in Ubulu-Uno and Ubulu-Uku in 1958 by Shell B P Petroleum Company two years after the first discovery was made in Oloibiri now in Bayelsa state, but exploration of the oil was not carried out by the Federal Government. Anioma region is also rich in other mineral resources such as rubber.

Notable Anioma peopleEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Federal Republic of Nigeria, Official gazette". 94 (24). 2007. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ Kunirum Osia, Anioma Association Inc, USA, May 24, 1997
  3. ^ Ohadike, Don (1994). Anioma: A Social History of the Western Igbo People. ISBN 0-8214-1073-3.
  4. ^ Warri[permanent dead link]

External linksEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Udeani, Chibueze. Inculturation as Dialogue: Igbo Culture and the Message of Christ. p. 11. ISBN 9042022299.
  • Ikime O. (ed). Ground work of Nigerian history. Heineman educational books (Nigeria) PLC, Ibadan, 1980: 89-121.
  • Onwuejeogwu MA. Igbo civilization: Nri kingdom and hegemony; London, Ethnographica, 1981.
  • Obi Efeizomor II (Obi of Owa). Community development in Owa kingdom – the Nigerian factor. University of Benin press; Benin City-Nigeria; 1994: 303.