Ikot Ekpene, also known as The Raffia City, is a historic town in south-southern state[2] of Akwa Ibom, Nigeria.[3][4] It is the political and cultural capital of the Annang ethnic group in Nigeria (Nair, 1972). The town is located on the A342 highway that parallels the coast, between Calabar to the southeast and Aba to the west, with the state capital, Uyo, on this road just to the east. Umuahia is the next major town to the north.[5] The population of the Ikot Ekpene Local government area was estimated to be 180,500 in 2022.[6]

Ikot Ekpene
Town
Nickname: 
I.K
Motto: 
The Raffia City
Ikot Ekpene is located in Nigeria
Ikot Ekpene
Ikot Ekpene
Location in Nigeria
Coordinates: 5°11′N 7°43′E / 5.183°N 7.717°E / 5.183; 7.717
CountryNigeria
StateAkwa Ibom
Government
 • ChairmanHon. Unyime Okon Etim
Area
 • Total45 sq mi (116 km2)
Population
 (2006 census)
 • Total143,077
 • Estimate 
(2022)
180,500
 • Density3,200/sq mi (1,200/km2)
GDP (PPP, 2015 int. Dollar)
 • Year2023
 • Total$3.5 billion[1]
 • Per capita$8,100
Time zoneUTC+1 (WAT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (not observed)
ClimateAm
Websitewww.annangheritage.org https://www.raffiacityhub.com.ng
Map

Kannan Nair, the noted historian described the town as a cultural and political capital of the Annangs and the Ibibios. The Ibibios live to the east and most of the Annangs live to the south of the town. Villages in the local government area include:

Ikot Ekpene is known as a regional centre of commerce, with notable exports of palm products, especially palm oil, kernels, raffia products including raffia fibers and its wine, and ground crops of yams, cassava, taro, and corn.[7][8] The population is made up primarily of the Annang people with a small number of Igbo traders and Hausa Suya vendors. Significant exports also include basket weaving, sculpture, and, most notably, raffia cane furniture (hence the colloquial name of the town).

Ikot Ekpene is also known for its technological innovations due to the emergence of Raffia City Hub.[9] Raffia City Hub is an inclusive technological community that supports collaboration, resource sharing, talent hunting, and entrepreneurs. The new Ikot Ekpene Local Government Boss (Caretaker Chairman Ikot Ekpene) Hon. John Cleton Etim inaugurated the Raffia City Entrepreneurs scheme committee. Also the headquarters of some notable seminaries and The Catholic Diocese in the south south region. The Akwaibom state polytechnic ikot Osurua, Ritman University is situated in the city. The city houses the notable mini stadium at GRA road, Nteps Super markerts, Four point by Sheraton hotels, plaza etc.

History

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Oral history indicated The Annangs first settled the area in the 16th century.[10]

British era

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Though most inhabitants of the area did not have direct contact with European traders who they called Mbakara until early in the twentieth century, it is believed that European articles of trade reached the people beginning in the 17th century.

In November 1903, British troops arrived in the area from Calabar and the following year established a garrison there in January 1904, putting Umoren Eyenobong (known as swordwearer by the Europeans) from Ukana in charge of the immediate Annang people. From Ikot Ekpene the troops marched to Uyo and from there to Abak and Opobo (now Ikot Abasi). Between 1904 and 1910, Ikot Ekpene became part of the Enyong District. In 1914 Enyong District was broken up into two: Enyong and Ikot Ekpene Districts. The new Ikot Ekpene District included Uyo and Abak with the headquarters in Ikot Ekpene town (Akpan, 1967).

By 1919, trade with Europeans opened up as the town became an administrative center. The following companies had posts and stores in the town: John Holt's, Cooperative Wholesale Society, Paterson Zochonis (PZ), G. B. Ollivant and the Compagnie Francaise de L'Afrique Occidentale. The establishment of these companies resulted in an exodus from the surrounding areas and made Ikot Ekpene a vibrant metropolis. In 1937, the colonial administration built the main market and separated those who sold imported European goods from indigenous articles. A slaughterhouse was added to allow for the inspection of meat (Ette, 2020).

In 1903, the British sent in troops and a garrison was stationed there at the main entrance to the town known as Control Post. The town was so important to the British that when a proposed road linking Owerri and Calabar in the late 1920s was to bypass the town, the British administrators abandoned the idea in favor of one linking Eket and Owerri in order to bring the town into the loop (Nair, 1972). It became the site of the experiment in local self-governance by the British in 1951. It was also the birthplace of the famous Ibibio Welfare Union when James Udo Eka teamed up with Udosen Obot at Methodist school in Ikot Obong Edong (Noah, 1988).

Under the British the town became the seat of both the (Annang) Division and (Ikot Ekpene) County Council. Today it is a municipal center in the state of Akwa Ibom.

Independence era

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Ikot Ekpene, probably more than any other town, was seriously impacted in the Biafrian civil war[citation needed]. It had strategic military and political importance to both the Biafrians and Nigerians. The town and the area changed hands at least 3 times in this bitter conflict. Following the war, the new reorganization and state structure led to policies that did not recognize the historic importance of the town as most of the Annang leaders were massacred during the war.

 
Section of Ikot Ekpene craft market showing woven raffia products for sale

Like most Annang communities, Ikot Ekpene has a tradition of self-improvement from its sons and daughters, both near and far.[11] Several groups are working together to recapture and rebuild what they fondly call "The Raffia City". Ikot Ekpene has a long history of transforming the raffia fibre into cloth used in shoes, hats, handbags, mats and with distinctive cultural carvings made out of wood. These unique arts and crafts trades have continued alongside traditional agriculture.

Many foreign organizations and churches are present in the area. Four institutions of higher learning have added a richness to the town: the Akwa Ibom state polytechnic, Ikot Osurua, the School of Nursing, the St. Joseph Major Theological Seminary and Ritman University.

Villages

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Villages in the local government area includes:

  1. Abak Ifia
  2. Abak Oko
  3. Abiakpo Edem Idim
  4. Abiakpo Ikot Essien
  5. Abiakpo Ikot Irem
  6. Abiakpo Ikot Obionting
  7. Abiakpo Ntak-Iyang
  8. Adaratak
  9. Akanaan
  10. Ata Essien Mbiaso
  11. Ibiakpan
  12. Ibiakpan Ikot
  13. Ibiakpan Nto Akan
  14. Ibiakpo Edem Idim
  15. Ibong Nto Akan
  16. Ifuho
  17. Ikot Abia Idem
  18. Ikot Idem
  19. Ikot Inyang
  20. Ikot Obong Edong
  21. Ikot Otu
  22. Ikot-Ekpene-Village
  23. Ikot Enwang
  24. Ikotobio Okpon
  25. Itak Ikot Udo-Okop
  26. Mbiaso
  27. Ndem Ekpot
  28. Nkap Ikot Obio Ebok
  29. Nsiak
  30. Obioekere
  31. Uruk Uso
  32. Utu Edem Usung
  33. Utu Ikot Ekrenyong
  34. Utu Ikot Essien
  35. Utu Ikpe

Sports

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The Ikot Ekpene Township Stadium is located in Ikot Ekpene. It is the home of football club Vandrezzer FC, the 37th most popular African football club on social media in 2020.[12]

The Ikot Ekpene stadium is now the host to The Nigerian National League team Ibom Youth FC. It was also a former ground for Akwa Starlet, now Dakkadda FC. It has several football teams such as Mashal Rock FC, Raffia City FC, Ituen FC, Police Academy, Ibom Stars etc.

Great players have come from this city, such as Etok Aniekan (Esperanza of Tunisia), Isaac George (Akwa United), Imoh Obot (Nassarawa United), and Vincent Eyeama (Marshall rock to Lille of France, Super Eagles of Nigeria).

Notable people

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See also

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References

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  1. ^ "TelluBase—Nigeria Fact Sheet (Tellusant Public Service Series)" (PDF). Tellusant. Retrieved 11 January 2024.
  2. ^ "Map – Ikot Ekpene (Ikot-Ekpene) – MAP[N]ALL.COM". www.mapnall.com. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  3. ^ Books, L. L. C. (23 February 2017). Local Government Areas in Akwa Ibom State: Ikot Ekpene, Uyo, Eket, Mkpat-Enin, Abak, Oruk Anam, Ika-Annang, Oron, Nigeria, Eastern Obolo. General Books LLC. ISBN 9781155785943.
  4. ^ "Gov Emmanuel Commits To Democracy Dividends In Ikot Ekpene • Channels Television". Channels Television. 19 February 2017. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
  5. ^ "Hotels in Ikot Ekpene – Tours in Ikot Ekpene". Booknaija Travels. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  6. ^ "Ikot Ekpene (Local Government Area, Nigeria) - Population Statistics, Charts, Map and Location". www.citypopulation.de. Retrieved 1 February 2024.
  7. ^ Monitoring tour of preemptive management of cassava mosaic disease field activities in Nigeria. IITA. 8 September 2023. ISBN 9789781312281.
  8. ^ Okeke, Chukwuanugo S. (1 January 1980). Raffia Textiles of the Annang/Ibibio of Ikot-Ekpene, Nigeria.
  9. ^ "RaffiaCityHub || Home". raffiacityhub.com.ng. Archived from the original on 22 July 2020. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  10. ^ "Ikot Ekpene | Nigeria | Britannica". www.britannica.com. Retrieved 14 November 2022.
  11. ^ "Ikot Ekpene Town in Ikot Ekpene Nigeria Guide". www.nigeriagalleria.com. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  12. ^ https://scontent-amt2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/s960x960/118124640_214773976657556_3804198971384294005_o.jpg?_nc_cat=109&_nc_sid=2d5d41&_nc_ohc=6RGHQSEK5GMAX-srrj1&_nc_ht=scontent-amt2-1.xx&tp=7&oh=8e0a452166008f77f885f1e14125cc54&oe=5F7EF931 [dead link]
  13. ^ "Profile of Solomon Udo: Info, news, matches and statistics | BeSoccer". www.besoccer.com. Retrieved 17 September 2021.

Ette, E. (2020) Acculturative Stress and Change in Nigerian Society, Landham, Maryland, Lexington Books.

Bibliography

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  • Akpan, N. U. (1967) Epitaph to Indirect Rule: A Discourse on Local Government in Africa, London, Frank Cass & Co Ltd.
  • Ekanem, J. B. (2002) Clashing Cultures: Annang Not(with)standing Christianity – An Ethnography. Brussels. Peter Lang.
  • Ette, E. (2020) Acculturative Stress and Change in Nigerian Society, Landham, Maryland, Lexington Books.
  • Ette, E. (2010) Annang Wisdom: Tools for Post Modern Living. Bloomington, Indiana Xlibris
  • Noah, Effiong (1988) Minutes of the Ibibio State Union, Uyo, Modern Business Press.
  • Nair, Kaanan. K. (1972) Politics and Society in South Eastern Nigeria, 1841 – 1906, London, Frank Cass.
  • Nwaka, G. I. (1986) The Leopards’ Killings of Southern Annang, Nigeria, 1943 – 48, Africa 56 (4) 417 – 440
  • Udo, E. U. (1983) The History of the Annang People, Calabar, Nigeria. Apcon Press Ltd.