Ika is a minority Igboid/Edoid subgroup in Delta State. Ika People/Ika Igbo are specifically located in the North-West of Delta State. They are regarded as Anioma (Good Land). Ika communities mostly comprise the following: Agbor, Owa (Agbor and Owa being the major Ika speaking place), Umunede/Umuede, Owerre Olubor, Ekuoma, Emuhu, Mbiri, Abavo, Orogodo, Otolokpo, Igbodo, Ute-Okpu, Ute-Ogbeje, Idumuesah, Akumazi, Ekpon (Edo State), Igbanke/Igbon Akiri (Edo State), Oligie (Edo State), Inyelen (Edo State), Iru (Edo State). Other Ika communities found in Edo State are Owanikeke, Ute Oheze, Ute Obagie N’Oheze, Owa-Riuzor Idu and Igbogili.
Ika people have a unique language. The majority have food and mode of dressing similar to their Igbo kin, while some have similarity with their Benin neighbours.
Oral history and folklore have it that Ali-Ogba people migrated from what is now called Anioma in Delta State and Igbanke (an Ika community) across the River Niger. Ogba is one of the Igbo groups in River State.
Geographically, the Ika speaking people are found in the north west of Delta State. They share borders in the East with the Aniocha, in the south with the Ukwuani, in the north with the Ishan and in the west with the Edo. Politically, Ika speakers are mainly found in two local government areas, Ika North East and Ika South local government areas, both created in 1991 from a single Ika Local Government Area, in Delta State. Ika South and Ika North East local government areas, occupy a land area of 117.45 square kilometres (Delta State Government website, 1999) with a total population of about 240,000 people. There are other Ika speaking people that are political outside the Ika North east and Ika South local government areas. The exact population of speakers of the Ika language or those with Ika as mother tongue is not known since this information was not included in the 1991 census result (1991 census).
Ika people speak the Ika language, an Igboid dialect and also maintain their Igbo culture through their traditional rulers (Eze), Ndi Ichie. Their language is similar to Igbo but with a different tonality with many root words coming from the Edoid language. There is an argument concerning Ika being a separate language, but many natives say that it is important to note that the Ika and Igbo are not the same language but are classified as languages which belong to the same linguistic family of Igboid languages. Kay Williamson in his research (1968), reaffirms this by stating that, the dialect of Ika people is of the Igboid group.
The Ika people mostly originate from Anioma, an Igbo subgroup in Delta State.
The various clans that make up Ika have many origins, most of which are Igbo or Benin in nature.
Just like the Ukwuani people,the Ika people are also believed to be originated from both Igbo and Benin tribe. At present, this is creating an identity crisis amongst the Ika people.
References: IKA people
The Ika people are predominantly Christians. Some Ika people also practice their traditional worship called Omenana. Their traditional religious practices and cultural beliefs is referred as Odinani. Ika people refer to God as Osolobue.
The Ika (of Delta state) boast of being the home to the sweetest African palmwine. The people of Ika tribe are majorly Farmers and the wealthiest engage in Palm kernel business with red oil extraction or other forms such as palm wine tapping. Ika people are also well know academia’s, one of the most educated region in Delta State. Most indigenous Ika people can be found in all countries overseas & there is frequent influx of funds from indigene abroad back home for business investments, real estate & agriculture.
Their culture is similar to the Igbo people. There are celebrations such as the New Yam festival "Iwa-igi" which are held for the harvesting of the yam. During the festival, yam is eaten throughout the communities as celebration. A festival is held to thank God for a successful ‘farming season’ and yam harvest. These festivities normally include a variety of entertainments and ceremony, including the performance of rites by the King, or the eldest man, and cultural dances by the Ika men, women, and their children. Usually at the beginning of the festival, the yams are offered to the gods and ancestors first before distributing them to the villagers. The ritual is performed either by the oldest man in the community or by the king or eminent title holder. This man also offers the yams to God, deities and ancestors by showing gratitude to God for his protection and kindness in leading them from lean periods to the time of bountiful harvest without deaths resulting from hunger. After the prayer of thanksgiving to God, they eat the first yam because It is believed that their position bestows the privilege of being intermediaries between their communities and the gods of the land. The rituals are meant to express the gratitude of the community to the gods for making the harvest possible, and they are widely followed despite more modern changes due to the influence of Christianity in the area. The colourful festival is a spectacle of exhibited joy, thanks, and community display. Palm oil is used to eat the yam. The ceremony of the festival varies, depending in which Ika region it takes place.
Prominent Ika peopleEdit
- Nduka Obaigbena, founder of ThisDay Newspapers, AriseTV/Network, Arise Fashion Show Lagos
- Jim Ovia, Nigerian business man ; founder of Zenith Bank
- Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria
- Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta State Governor 2015-till date
- Sunday Oliseh Ex Nigerian football player
- Dumebi Iyamah Owner of the “Andrea Iyamah” International Fashion Brand
- Somkele Iyamah Model, Movie Star, Director & Producer