Category Archives: IKA CULTURAL

Ika North East PDP Executive, Ward 8 Members, Commiserate With Hon. Victor Nwokolo

The Chairman of Ika North East local government area of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon. Chuks Agboma, has on Friday, July 23, 2021, in company of his executive and the enlarge party faithfuls of Ward 8, Igbodo, commiserated with Hon. Barr. Victor Nwokolo, over the demise of his beloved mother Ezinne Grace Nwokolo.

The visit which took place at the Igbodo country home of the Federal lawmaker witnessed several notable personalities who came from all walks of life, within and beyond Delta State to express their condolences.

PDP Ward 8 Igbodo Women

During an interactive session with Ika Mirror Newspaper reporter, the Ika North East PDP Chairman, Hon. Chuks Agboma, stated that the late Ezinne Grace Nwokolo, who died at the age of 89 years old, lived a life of charity and services to God and humanity, noting that the woman of substance trained her children in the ways of God bequeathing in them the virtues of kindness and goodwill to humanity. According to the amiable Chairman, in his words “On behalf of my immediate family, the executive and entire members of our great PDP family in Ika North East local government area of Delta State, I commiserate with our genial and wonderful leader, Hon. Barr. Victor Nwokolo, the Member representing Ika Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, Abuja, with the entire Nwokolo family, over their loss. Let the family take solace in the fact that Mama lived a life worthy of emulation and left a legacy of selfless service to humanity while on earth. We Pray Almighty God to grant the family the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss and for the soul of Mama to rest perfectly in the bosom of the Lord”.

(2nd Left)Hon. Chuks Agboma with other Executive members

In their separate remarks during an interactive session with Ika Mirror Newspaper reporter, Hon. Stephen Eghen, the former Vice Chairman of Ika North East local government council, Hon. Victor Onyeisi Agbojumona, the PDP Youth Leader Ika North East local government area and Mr. Chima Azi, the Youth President PDP Ward 8, Igbodo.The trio, eulogized the sterling qualities of the late Matriarch of the Nwokolo’s family whom they noted lived a very good life, describing her as a virtuous woman and a celebrated mother. While consoling the Federal Lawmaker, they urged him to take solace because his sweet and beloved mother died in the Lord.

(2nd Left)Hon. Chuks Agboma with other Executive members

PDP Ward 8 Igbodo Women

PDP Ward 8 Igbodo Youth President and Members
The post Ika North East PDP Executive, Ward 8 Members, Commiserate With Hon. Victor Nwokolo appeared first on IKA Mirror Newspaper Online.
Source: Ika News Agbor
Ika News: Ika North East PDP Executive, Ward 8 Members, Commiserate With Hon. Victor Nwokolo


Crafts: The various handiworks wrought in Ika are produced essentially for use and to meet the daily needs of the people. Some of these articles possess artistic qualities which enhance their attraction and market value. The local craftsmanship includes cloth-weaving, mat-making, pottery, smithery, and basketry, especially in the olden days.

Cloth weaving centered mainly in many parts of Ika in the olden days. Then, all the clothes were hand-woven by women. This craft is becoming a thing of the past in Ika nowadays.

Weaving is an ancient craft in Ika culture. In the olden days, women wore stripes of coarsed cloths which were hand-woven from ede fibres. In the olden days, ede plants were abundant in Ika forests. They grew wildly and women usually went to cut them from the forests. The bark of ede plant contains fabric-like materials out of which threads for weaving could be made.

The plants were collected, split, soaked in water and boiled in order to remove the rough portions. They were dried in the sun and at that stage the substance looked like flakes. The weaver took them in bits to produce threads arranged in bundles. With needles, they were woven into cloths, loin-cloths, bags, etc. The ede woven cloths and materials were very durable.

Subsequently, cotton weaving was introduced when cotton plants were grown in their farms. When the women were not employed with the men in the farm, their usual hobby was spinning with locally made spindles and weaving cotton. Dyes were made out of barks of some trees which were carefully squeezed after certain processes. These cotton woven cloths were made into different types of durable and beautiful garments.

Mats are still produced in many villages in Igbodo and Ute kingdoms in Ika. Mat-making is traditionally a female occupation.In the olden days, Ika people carved wood panel doors which were used in their buildings. They also carved wooden ash-trays, ladles, mortar, pestle, calabash, etc.Baskets are made extensively in Ika. The basic raw materials are obtained from palm branches and canes (ogan).Previously, the ogan twigs were the only raw material, but this is now out of Ika bushes. Basket products include farmers’ wicker baskets, domestic baskets, waste paper baskets and fishing baskets by those living near the streams.

Blacksmith: Good blacksmiths are found in some parts of Ika. They provide farmers with cutlasses, hoes; housewives with such articles as kitchen knives, pins; and rich customers with iron gates and wrought iron windows.

Soap making: In the olden days, women gathered branches of trees and plants like efume, or igbefu, materials like esuke, plantain peels, husks of palm kernel, etc. whose ashes contained caustic soda, burnt them into ashes and processed the substance into soap. This was done by getting a clay pot slightly perforated in the bottom, on top of which is built a heap, and under such pot, another pot was set inside the heap. The top was the filter. A layer of sand and the caustic soda ashes were put in, and then the salty water is allowed to filter through. The filtrate was then withdrawn, processed and mixed with oil to make soap.

Fishing: A few people living very close to the streams engage in fishing. Fishing did not, and up till now, does not provide an important employment for Ika people. It has been carried out on part time basis. These people have little kind of fishing craft and techniques.

In Ika community culture, many people engage in a varietyof small-scale enterprises both industrial and science like:Bicycle and motor-cycle repairing.Building of furniture and interior decorations.Motor mechanics.Shoe repairing.Welding.Saw milling.Oil palm maintenance and milling.Radio and Television mechanics.Carpentry.Laundry and dry cleaning.Concrete block making.Block/brick laying and Plastering.Cassava milling.Knitting and tailoring.Soda soap making.Paid labour.Palm kernel crushing.Fishery.Piggery.Driving.Hotel and catering services.Hair dressing.Entertainment services.Machinery and equipmentrental and leasing.Canopies and chair hiring services.White-collar jobs.Banking.Trading.Religion, and so on.Concluded.
The post LAND AND EARNING OF LIVELIHOOD IN IKA CULTURE appeared first on IKA Mirror Newspaper Online.
Source: Ika News Agbor


An instance of Ika communal labour was the building of mud house (itun ulo/olo ejan). Annually, every Idumu in Ika community employed communal effort to build new houses for their kinsmen in need. Kinsmen then had reasons to build new houses. Some existing buildings might be cracking after some years and needed destruction in order to rebuild them. In other cases, some young men who were recently married would crave to have buildings of their own from those of their fathers. Hence in every year and from the months of June to September, when the rains fell, people willing to have new houses would indicate during their Idume gathering (ogwa) assembled for that purpose. During this period of the communal assignment, mud was dug and kneaded (izo ejan) towards the buildings while from the months of October to December or January, when the rains had ceased, the mud walls were raised (igbe ulo), and roofing (iwa ulo) came afterwards. Through the communal labour, every Idumu made houses affordable for their kinsmen.

Communal labour was often the assignment of all the age grades from the Ikoro to the young boys (Ikpele) led by the Okwa Ikoro age grade (the quin-quagenarians) between 51-60 years of age; and supervised by the lowest Ndichen age grade, Okwa Ikogbe/Ikoro-Uku (the sexagenarians) between 61-70 years of age (See chapter Four for the age grades and functions).

The reward for the communal labour of itun ulo ejan was not in cash payment, but the merriment which probably ended in local drinks especially palmwine, first on the commencement of the communal labour and the entertainment of sumptuous pounded yam and drinks on the day the house was roofed. On the occasion of this gathering, the elders of the supervising age grade would pray for the peaceful progress, for fertility of the new homes and uninterrupted continuation of communal labour for the kinsmen of their Idumu. The elders eventually supervised the formation of two groups to embark on the communal labour for the year on this day.

Each of the two groups was led by a respectable male in the Okwa Ikoro age grade. Then, each of the leaders was made to choose members in turns for their teams. These two teams would engage in competition to see which side was the more hardworking and dispersed at the end of year’s communal labour assignment.

The communal labour for house building was always on Eken days within the period. The assignment began with determination of the source of mud and water. Towards these, each team broke into two or more sets. While the elders of the groups dug burrow pits in which enough tromped mud would be heaped (otobo) with digger and wooden shovels (oseken), the young ones went for water with which to mix the mud for easy tromping in many smaller pits to produce consistent blended mud which were stacked at the main burrows. In most cases, the workers chanted songs to ease the tension of hard work.

This was the case for three different times or days on which an Idumu would come to knead mud for any house builder. The tromped mud heaped in the two burrows were often deemed sufficient by experienced mud builders for any size of building required, whether it was a three or four bedroom house. Each team carefully covered their otobo with foliage to prevent hardening from the sun.

Apart from digging mud from the pits, there were cases where mud could be gotten from the ruins of old houses (nkpru). This ended the first stage of the communal labour towards mud building (itun ulo ejan).

When the mud had been dug and mixed, a gap was given for the rains to subside before the second stage of the communal house building which was the raising of the mud walls. Towards this, a building plan was set out at the building site. A master builder often from the supervising age grade ruled either with leg or guide ropes. Workers from the two groups went back to their otobo to mix, making sure that the mixture was soft enough. One set of a group used their wooden shovels while the other kneaded the mud by stomping on it, often amidst melodious songs which gingered the workers to work harder.

Each team having chosen which wing to wall, the lead person for each group surged forward and started laying large lumps of mud to start the Iyeto/mgba ejan, the first layer of the building. The members of each group had a duty. While some elders in a group would mould, one or two of the elders smoothened the molded walls with their wooden shovels; and others either draw water and carried for the mixture of mud in the burrows, some energetic ones prepare the mud in lumps for the younger ones to carry to the molders in their awiwo, a wooden palette, according to age and strength.

Layer after layer, the lumps of mud were laid from Iyeto/mgba ejan to mgbe ebuo/mgbenai to mgbawa/mgbe-eto and mgbe-eno/mgbedu, on four different Eken days or times after allowing the preceding layer to get well dried. At the mgbawa level, provisions were made for agba as the lintel board; and on these agba were moulded mgbedu/mgbe-eno, the last deck that finalized the construction of Igbe ulo ejan in Ika mud building culture.

The walls were ardoned with many fixtures while they were wet. For example, mgbawa level had holes (uvun) dug in the mud walls to provide saves; pegs (mkpukpo) were driven into the walls at different heights and ends of the parlor and rooms for hanging clothes and other materials; while shelves (okpukpen) were provided at some corners on which to place materials and things. Also, the ceiling of a house (ifiri) after roofing was decked on the mgbawa level with plank and mud.

On the tops of the mgbedu level, the last layer, were provided with nogs (mkpukpo) round the building on which the roof was firmly secured to the mud wall. The owner of the building made his arrangement to provide termite proof sticks or bamboo sticks which the structure of the roofing was made of. The broad leaves, mgbodo with which to roof the house were collectively cut by the assistance of the builder’s relations and friends. These broad leaves overleaping each other were tethered by the stem of the bamboo sticks which were used to do the nogging, while smaller bamboos were used for the purlines. Strong ropes were used to tie them firmly. Because this part of the construction was an art, it was reserved for the matured men usually between 35-45 years.

It is pertinent to note that throughout the communal labour building process, teams were encouraged to finish whatever they did in time. They would do so before nightfall on each day, and there were hardly any time when a team would abandon their work, especially during the laying of the mud walls levels. Everything was timed, punctuality being the key. Teams were traditionally the same all the time. If any member was late, he was thrown into the mud and his age mates would cover him with mud to embarrass him.

Itun ulo ejan, an age-old Ika tradition actually points to a long-lasting solution to the housing question in the olden days Ika culture. To be continued…
The post COMMUNAL LABOUR IN IKA CULTURE appeared first on IKA Mirror Newspaper Online.
Source: Ika News Agbor



Ika people have many aspects of traditional beliefs and practices. Some of them are:Rainmaking RitualRainmaking is one of the socio-religious activities in Ika community. Rain is the focus of interest since upon it depends the agricultural cycle and even life itself in Ika. There have been some families renowned for the act of rainmaking in Ika community. There are others who are famous for their powerful rain medicines and knowledge in weather forecasting, which enable them to tell when rain is likely to fall in the community. People rely on them for their security to make rain fall for them and possibly make rain not to fall for their enemies.Many methods of producing rain are tried, most of which are based on the principles of similarity; that is to say that they perform some actions in the hope that the elements will make rain to fall. For example, green branches and leaves are burnt in order to produce great clouds, which it is hoped will attract the rain clouds. Or the rainmaker crouches under a blanket over a fire and his running sweat symbolizes the coming down of rain. Or the rainmaker fills his mouth with water and squirts it into the air with the object of making the rain to fall in like manner. The rainmaker shedding tears applies the same principle in order to attract the rain.

The power depends on the rainmaker not to take his bath during the period in which he withholds the rain. If he bathes, the rain will fall. This is an implication of the principles that “like attracts like”, water attracts rain. Rain pots with some ingredients are said to cause rain when laid on the ground/fire or fair weather when they are hung up. Some rainmakers use magic brooms to “sweep” off dark clouds to induce fair weather.

The rainmakers observe some rules in their rain making acts. That they seek for rain does not mean that they know nothing about the regularity of the season. They do not try to induce rain in the middle of the dry season, but at the time when rain should fall. If there is a drought, they are called upon to stop it. Similarly, if there is too much rain and the crops are rotting, rainmakers are called upon to ‘drive’ the rain away.Most of the medicines of a rainmaker are kept in earthen pots, which have varied contents. Such pots are kept in secret places, but when they are involved in the exercise of rainmaking, the pots are always put on the fire. No matter the quantity or quality of medicines, rainmakers never engage in the act of rainmaking without first of all appealing to their ancestors and the god of rain.

Agricultural Rites in Ika CultureIka people are essentially agrarian and they spend most of their days in the farm with the exception of the native Sunday, Eken day, on which they rest. Consequently, they observe a lot of rituals and taboos in respect of their main occupation which is agriculture. At the end of yearly cycle and at the beginning of a new one, every village has shrines and oracles to which rituals are made before they start brushing new farms. They do this to inform their ancestors that they are about to start another yearly cycle of farming and solicit for their help.

These rituals are performed by the elders or any age grade that may be assigned to do so. Prayers such as the following are said to their ancestors. “You once came and farmed in the portions of land, on which we intend to farm this year, and you left them for us your children. The Ali on whose soil we are going to farm has come round; and we are going to cultivate it. When we work, let a fruitful year come upon us; do not let trees fall upon us; do not let snakes or any harmful creatures bite us; let us not receive any injury throughout the year; keep us alive to be able to farm during the next farming season,” and so on.

There are obvious signs of bad farming year in Ika community depending on the different towns. In those days, in some Ika villages for instance, if a tortoise (mbekwu or okpoikpo) was picked on the first day of brushing in the new farm, it was regarded as a sign of bad farming year for the man. So also, if a Puff-adder was killed on the first day in the new farm, etc. The ancestors and the gods had to be appeased to ward off the evils intended by these happenings. For this reason, farmers do not keep long, brushing in the farm on the first day they go to locate the portions on which they would farm for any year. They only clear a small area (igbuye mkpara) and return home. (See the mystical four-day native week in Ika culture below).

The blessings of the ancestors are sought when the earth is tilled and crops planted. The same thing happens when the crops are ripe. There are many important ‘first fruit’ ceremonies, not just the harvest. The different quarters and villages offer sacrifices to their Ali Ozugbo and other gods before the first fruits of their farms are eaten. These sacrifices which were so important in the olden days were based on the belief that the spirits must eat of the first fruits before human beings could partake of them. The rite was ‘that of primogeniture’, since the spirits, if deprived of their priority in the hierarchy, could take revenge by threatening the harvest.

The yams are offered to the ancestors and divine spirits first through mashed boiled yam, ewuwu, which are thrown at the shrines of the ancestors and gods by the elders and the Umuadan in the different families or lineages in a town. The spirits are asked to come and eat; and requested to continue to protect them, their children both at home and away and against diseases and misfortune.

The most important sacrifice offered by the Ika people in respect of their farm is that to Ifejiokun, the god of the farm. In most of the towns, sacrifice to Ifejioken is made during the Iwagi festival. The Iwagi festival is an occasion of great joy and happiness among the Ika people for it marks the end of the period of famine, ogen onwun/ugari and the beginning of the season of plenty of food.

The Ika people have a lot of regard for farming and they detest any act that may offend the gods and spirits of the farm. This is the reason why many taboos are observed in respect, and honour of the gods and spirits that guard the farm, such as:

Going to Farm on Eken DaysIka people have four days that make up the native week called izu or azun Eken. They work for three days in their farms and rest on the fourth day, which is Eken day. There is a strong belief that evil spirits and fairies move along the farm roads on Eken days. However, if anybody is pressed with shortage of food items, he may go to collect them. Such a person will not work or cook or roast yam and eat in the farm on that day. The same permission holds for the palmwine tappers and those who may want to go to farm roads to look after their traps. The spirits are said to understand the truth.

If anybody goes against this belief, sanctions and fines are imposed on him by the elders for attempting to bring the wrath of the spirits on them. The elders also believe that going to farm on Eken days angers their ancestors and results in unproductive farm labour.

Several men who went to farm on Eken days had different bitter experiences to give. There is an example of a farmer who lost his hearing sense when he was returning from the farm on Eken day. The legend had it that as the man was returning from the farm on that fateful Eken day, he had the voice of strange people behind him. When he turned to look at them, he had a slap and that deafened him.

Another instance was a man who went to farm on Eken day. He had strange voice of people singing and dancing behind him. He turned and his neck remained like that until he died.

Yet, there was a case of a man who went to the farm on a fateful Eken day. As he was returning home along a lonely farm lane, he met the spirits in session. Because the spirit were aware that he had been warned before, they got annoyed with him and slapped him. The man became blind and deaf and could not find his way home. The villagers conducted a search for him before he could be rescued. He did not recover until he died.

There was an instance of a man who went to the farm on a certain Eken day. He felt like doing a little bit of work and he had hardly started working when he had strange voice of people singing and dancing in his farm hut. He became apprehensive and moved near the hut and quickly asked who they were. As he was trying to peep into the hut, thick cloth of smoke puffed into his face. But for the passers-by who heard his shout, and who came to his rescue, he would have died in the farm. He was rushed home; and when he managed to get well, he swore never to go to the farm on Eken days.

Another man went to the farm on a fateful Eken day. He cooked his meal and as he was eating, he noticed very many strange hands rushing the food, but he could not see anybody. The spirit of one of his ancestors, who wanted to save him pushed him aside. He fell and became unconscious. His kin organized a search and brought him home; and he could not narrate his painful experience with the spirits until he got well.And yet, another middle aged man went to cut palm nuts on a fateful Eken day. He climbed a palm tree that had three ripe bunches. When he cut the last bunch, he traced his eye down to see how it would fall. To his dismay, he saw strange figures carrying away the bunches and packing all the fruits that fell off from them. He became terribly feverish. How he was able to climb down from the palm tree and how he got home was a miracle. When he was hurrying to narrate his ordeal with the spirits, he was prevented from doing so until after a day, etc.

For fear of seeing spirits, people do not go to farm on Eken days. When people have encounter with spirits or fairies, the Ika elders advised that they should keep sealed lips until the next day.

In the olden days, people never moved along the farm roads during a certain period in the afternoon referred to as ogen ogogode or efinai gedenge, which is the period between the hours of eleven O’clock in the morning to about two O’clock in the afternoon. These hours were regarded as a dreadful period during which spirits and fairies trail the farm roads and lanes. To be continued…
The post SOME IKA CULTURAL MATTERS appeared first on IKA Mirror Newspaper Online.
Source: Ika News Agbor


Tattoo is a cultural practice of facial, chest and body marks known in Ika as Igu or Egbugbu. Many Ika people who did not know its origin took it as mere body beautification.

The facial marking of an Ika citizen was at times distinct, but resembled Bini and Ishan designs. Ika used uche-knife to cut lines about 1” and 3” on each check and one on the forehead. Some men like the Edos had longer and wider ones as some had several lines on the forehead only, while women had marks on both the forehead like men and women in Ishan.
Facial marks were designed for the slaves in the early days; but after sometime, a free-born of Ika was difficult to know or discover when kidnapped or killed at war, while a slave with marks was easily traced by the master. By this tragedy, Ika freeborn began to have marks except the prince for any nwa eze must not be deformed.

However, Ika people inherited the culture of tattoo from Benin civilization. Tattoo originated in the reign of Oba Ewuare the Great (1440) who wrecked his misdirected anger on Benin people. This was because of the tragic death of his two sons Ezuwaha and Kubyawa in one day. In his grief, he instructed the Osiwu/Osigwu (women perfected in tribal marks) to tattoo all Benin young men and ladies for identification purposes in any part of the world they got to. This was because Binis who had attained the marriage age fled Benin. He further decreed that no married couple would have sexual intercourse; neither should any marriage take place for a period of three years, which he declared for the mourning of his two sons. He also decreed that nobody in the land of Benin should take his or her bath during the period.

Since young men and ladies could not afford to brook any insolence of remaining for three years without having their bath, without marrying and getting children, they started to flee the kingdom.

Thus, the Ika people of the olden days inherited the culture of tattoo as passport to move freely as those untattooed stood the risk of being kidnapped.

As time went on, Ika people adopted tattoo for the body beautification and traditional permission of newly married couple to begin to have sexual relations, but never before then. When an Ika girl was mature, she was given marks on the belly below the navel. If not marked before joining her husband, she was subjected to penalty by the Osigwu-markers’ guild. If she had any sexual intercourse with any man not her husband, she was considered defiled and her child would not be circumcised until she paid the penalty. Nowadays, tribal marks are no longer of useful purpose in Ika community culture. Things are changing and people don’t want to have marks again.

In Ika, the first make-up and skin care materials were obtained from camwood (ufie). Hausa call it lali. Then, Ika maiden adorned their bodies with the camwood and uri (the black tree) body care mixtures. Camwood was also the main ingredient used in the fattening room of women.

The Ika people with black skins and fair skins showed good portray of high art and delineated Ika cultural backgrounds. Then, many had the notion that fair skin colours were better than dark complexions. As a result, a lot of women used ufie products to lighten their skins, sometimes at a high health cost.

TaboosTaboos are prohibition of religious or social or the use or practice or mention of something or contact with someone. They are things forbidden among some tribes or ethnic groups and put the people in bondage of fear of these taboos,that says or touch not, taste not and handle not. Ika community taboos evolve under the strict influence of religious beliefs. Many Ika taboos are cultural issues of religious beliefs which forbid people to do or say.

The important factor in the moral life of the Ika people has been strict observance of taboos and time – honoured usage. These are the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ regulating every human behaviour. In Ika people’s thought, taboos have collectively taken one special significance by assuming a quasi-personal character in consequence of which it has been given the name, aru-u or nso ali. Ika people believe that in the face of baffling crime or offence, Mmo will judge (track down the offender), which is as much as to say that sinners will not go unpunished.

Ika Myths on TaboosIn the beginning, and in order to live, man adapted himself to his environment. Experience soon taught him what could be done and what must be avoided. His life revolved around taboos consisting in deeds, to abstain from things not to be eaten, acts of breach of moral or spiritual laws, breaking covenants, repeated ablutions before taking part in rites, etc. In other words, taboos refer mainly to forbidden human behaviours. Man found it necessary in an imperfect society, to introduce these elements of subtle ‘coercion’ in order to strengthen his ‘weak will’ in the performance of the ethical duties. These elements are governed by codes and conventions defining man’s relationship, which have to be maintained with spirits, mmo; medicines (ogun), and all creatures, in order to avoid confusion, and to maintain peace in the community.

It is believed that those who broke taboos were, therefore, considered as accursed, who would be liable to bring disaster upon the whole community. By and large, it was also believed that each divinity would punish ritual or moral offences committed within its province; that each aggressive ancestor would reprimand his own people for dereliction of filial duties; and that it is God who judges men pure for what they are in consequence of their character.

Ika myths on taboos are varied, and myths of abstinence which take their roots in totems and creatures (animals and plants) considered by the community to have a close connection with a family group, village or community. This relationship is often in the form of favour or protection, which this group of people may have received from a totem in the past and thus hold it sacred. Ika people believe that it is unkind to kill or eat totems; hence it is a taboo to do so. This belief has imposed upon those involved to avoid or respect these totems. In some areas, sorts of rites are accorded to a totem killed mistakenly. To be continued…
The post SOME IKA CULTURAL MATTERS TATTOO appeared first on IKA Mirror Newspaper Online.
Source: Ika News Agbor



The Reformed Ogboni Fraternity is the best known Secret Society in Ika. Its members are drawn from all walks of life, and they are found in every part of Ikaland. The membership of the society is for life. A respondent said that the number of members has been thin until about the 1980’s when the number snowballed. Many people, especially males started to patronize the cult about this time. Some men joined with their wives. The society, according to the respondent exercises a form of social control by laying down certain rules of conduct for its members and prescribing certain forms of behaviours which are considered unworthy of a member. The cult takes active interest in what goes on in Ika society. In other words, he said that the Society seeks for the welfare of not only the members, but also of the community in its doings. “We are co-workers and seek progress of, man”, he said.

An initiate into the Society pays a heavy initiation fee which is shared according to a laid down custom among the members. In effect, the cult serves as mutual insurance, enabling the socially ambitious to invest the savings he accumulated in his youth while guaranteeing him continued economic support and prestige during his old age. Another respondent informed this writer that it is their tradition to assist their fellow members. The membership of the Society is helpful. It provides assistance in troubled times. If a member is wrongly punished, or if he lacks anything, brethren will rally around him. Again if a member is wrongly punished or afflicted, it is normally the duty of the members to collectively ensure that the person is not arraigned. And thirdly, members are always favourably disposed to helping each other first before helping a non-member. And of course, members provide necessary funds for the successful prosecution of the business of the Fraternity, the respondent said.

One other important function of the Reformed Ogboni Fraternity is the burial of its members. Usually, the group takes complete charge from the digging of the grave to the dressing of the corpse of a member who fulfilled the Society’s rules before his demise. Just before the interment, non-members, including the relations of the deceased are prevented from seeing the corpse. This has given rise to speculations that parts of deceased members’ bodies are tempered with before they are interred. But this was vehemently denied. “It is entrenched in our constitution that members should see to the mortal remains of any deceased member by providing coffin, or financial assistance up to a reasonable cost, and to give his or her remains a decent deposit in the bosom of the mother earth. And we do this in the presence of the family of the deceased brethren”. “If what they are accusing us of is the oath that we take before being initiated, all state governments have their way of swearing to oaths, all top civil servants also do. What their problem is, is that we don’t allow the non-initiates to witness all that we do. Such things are practised in the Churches. Mosques do it too. All societies including government have their constitutional rights to choose venues and mode of their meetings”, a respondent said.The Society gives its members elaborate and expensive burial which perhaps, accounts for the popularity of the Society in Ika nowadays since burials are becoming highly celebrated affairs.

Social ClubsA more recent phenomenon is the development of Social Clubs or Associations all over Ikaland. Unlike secret Societies, Clubs are social groupings consisting of a number of persons whose relationships are based upon a set of interrelated roles and statuses. They interact with one another in a more, or less standardized fashion, determined by the norms and a standard acceptable by the members. They are united and held together to a greater or lesser extent by a sense of common identity, or a similarity of interest which enables them to differentiate members from non-members. The memberships of a Social Club often cut across towns, villages, age and sex boundaries. The Clubs ensure social security for their members both in material and social terms. Their system of contributions and benefits is carefully spelt out; thus members know beforehand, exactly what to expect. The affairs of the Clubs are conducted in the open, and they have none of the mysteries and suspicious ritual characteristics of the Secret Societies. In some moment of crises, the members receive not only material benefits, but also solace and companionship.

Some Clubs are registered under the Land Perpetual Succession Act (cap. 98) by the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs. Some are registered under the State Ministry of Social Welfare. The Clubs are usually open to anyone who can afford the entry fees and meet up with the other demands. In exercising their insurance functions, they provide members with protection from the hardship caused by death and other disasters. They arrange befitting burial ceremonies for their deceased members, and pay out money to support their dependants. The Social Clubs have their codes of conduct apart from their constitutions. Prominent in such codes are the stipulations that members should show kindness to one another, and that member must not behave in any manner that will disgrace the Club and its members. To be continued…

08033866719Chief (Dr.) Onyekpeze JP
The post THE REFORMED OGBONI FRATERNITY appeared first on IKA Mirror Newspaper Online.
Source: Ika News Agbor


IKA GREETINGSThe Ika people have many concepts of goodness that are almost peculiar to them. Some of these concepts are an automatic invitation to a stranger to share in a meal, the respect for elders, and above all, the exchange of barrage of greetings in the streets, which tend to ease the pressure of living considerably. These are some of the ways through which the Ika people maintain good relationship with their neighbours. Convention demands that younger people show their respect for superiors or elders by greeting them first whenever both meet. The respect for elders is considered very important; and a child who does not observe this cardinal article of code of behaviour is not likely to turn out well. In the first place, his parents will practically disown him; and in the second, the children of the elders to whom he shows disrespect will make life extremely difficult for him.

As a mark of respect, the young calls the elders not by their names but by the pseudonym, diokpa or idioma or baba (aba) for the elderly males and edede or odede or iye or nne for the elderly women, before greetings. Refusal to exchange greetings indicates a strained relationship.Ika people have very many greetings suited for various people, time and occasion.

A. Greetings to the Traditional Rulers:(i) The Dein of Agbor is greeted Do-Dein.(ii) Agun or Agu is the greeting to other Obis in Ikaland, exceptthe Okparan-Uku of Idumuesah, whose greeting is Okparan. Agun is a name of powerful animal in the forest, Tiger. By the greeting, an Obi is adulated as a Tiger in strength. Agu is a short form of prayerful greeting. The greeter fervently prays that “this throne shall never terminate”, meaning that Ukponi-agu.(iii) Domo is a Bini greeting which some subjects, especially the elderly ones in Abavo, often times greet their Obi.

In greeting, one stands in an upright position and says, Do-Dein or Obi Agun or Obi agu or Obi Domo or Okparan, with a genuflection, with the right fist held set in the form of a bow; or put at an upright angle towards the king, firmly supported by the left hand below the elbow. The greeting could just be made with a bow. In the olden days, people prostrated on the floor when they greeted the king. Also, the king can be adulated with such forms of greetings like Agadagidi, Agwo Ekika, Eka Oghai, Agbogidi, Tutu, etc. In response, the king prays for the greeter.

B. Morning Greetings:Abavo, Idumuesah and Owa kingdoms have common morning greetings for males and females differently.(i) Lie is the morning greeting of the males to their elders of both sexes. Lie is a short form of prayer to an elder, ni toru nka ni hun onye eli ni, meaning may you live long and may you have who will give you a befitting burial at death. This greeting can also be interpreted to mean, eli-ye nimi meaning “I doff my hand for you”.(ii) Layu-Uwe is the morning greeting of the females in Abavo, Idumuesah and Owa to their elders of both sexes. Layu-Uwe is a short form of prayer to an elder which wishes him or her to live up to the ripe age (Laru-Uwe)(iii) Legite is the morning greeting for the females in Okpe village in Abavo to their elders of both sexes. The greeting is of Bini origin, and it is fast dying away.(iv) Labo is the morning greeting of Oza-Nogogo people in Agbor Kingdom.

C. Evening Greetings:(i) Enyase is the greeting for all in Abavo, Idumuesah, Owa and Mbiri kingdoms. It is a short prayer to an elder wishing him or her very fruitful old age. Ni uwe enyasi bo-i or ni uwe enyase re ima or laru uwe enyase.(ii) Ogbe-e or kaa-ra is an evening greeting for the people of Oza-Nogogo in Agbor kingdom.

D. General Greetings:(i) Uwe-Oma is a general greeting for many kingdoms in Ika. Notably the greeting is most popular for Agbor, Umunede, Akumazi, Mbiri and Ute kingdoms, at all times. Uwe-Oma is a prayerful greeting wishing the elder a blessed and fulfilled living. Baba (aba) or (Nne) is added as a suffix to distinct the greeting between a man and a woman. The greeting is Uwe-Oma Baba shortened to sound Ma-aba for a male and Uwe-Oma Nne shortened to Ma-nne for the female.

(ii) Isichei or Isicheri is a greeting of both sexes to very elderly people in all Ika kingdoms, especially those in the highest age grades in life or the retired people. Isichei is prayerfully wishing the ‘elder’s head’ to continue to survive or live.

(iii) Okpa is the greeting to elderly males at all times for Igbodo and sometimes for Akumazi people.

(iv) Omu is the greeting for elderly females at all times for Igbodo, Owa and Akumazi people.

(v) Omodi is the greeting for the younger ones in Igbodo and Akumazi at all times.

(vi) Ndo or Ndo-o is greeting expressing sorrow to somebody who is hurt, or who has suffered something which needs sympathy. It means sorry, and age or sex do have any barrier in the greeting.

(vii) Alua or Alua-o is a greeting expressing welcome from any journey, visit or outing.
The post IKA GREETINGS AND NUMERALS appeared first on IKA Mirror Newspaper Online.
Source: Ika News Agbor


In Ika, an Obi is regarded with religious awe. “He forms yet another link in the hierarchy of society which passes from men to Obi, to ancestors, to gods and up to the Supreme Being.”

In the olden days, the Obis of Ika guarded their supremacy very jealously. No one within the kingdom was allowed to rival them in prestige or pomp. For example, it was a crime for the ordinary mortal to wear clothes resembling any of the Obi’s, build a bigger house than his, use his medicines or watch him eating. He had great magical power and was feared by all his subjects. The Obi was supreme. His decisions had a divine authority, and there was no appeal. He had the power of life and death. He would order the deposition or execution of Chiefs. He would command his people to till the royal fields and repair, or rebuild the palace and his commandment was urgent. He could appropriate the major game animals killed by hunters, and he exacted a penalty from any household, a member of which had been responsible for causing a virgin girl to become enceinte. He could take as a wife, not merely any unmarried girl he pleased, but the wife of any of his subjects. If two suitors quarrelled over a girl, the Obi might settle the matter by appropriating the girl himself. His servants bared their shoulders, and women, their breasts before him. His wives were guarded and attended to by castrated domestic men. Offenses against him were punished more severely than those against ordinary people. People never spoke to him without going down on their knees, and at times touching the ground with their heads.

He was said to be confined to his palace. His subjects treated him with differential respect. He ate alone. The parings of his hair and nails were secretly buried, for if some evil-minded medicine-men were to get hold of them, they might work them into a charm against the Obi’s health or life. He appeared attended to by a crowd of naked serving boys, some carrying ada, ebeni and other insignia of royalty; the greater part of the nobility and gentry also followed in the train. In those days, such public appearances were on rare occasions during important ceremonies when the people rejoiced at his appearance.

Like in the olden days, the Obi is not merely the head of the kingdom but he is the symbol of its unity. In him is unified all aspects of political system and the tenets of his kingdom’s religion. He is the head of the Idibie; he controls the diviners, the Iheren, the Omu, the priests, the witches, the magicians and all cults in the kingdom. As he is believed to be the nearest to the spirits, he is believed to have more powers than anyone else in the kingdom. His political superiority is emphasized in many ways, one of which is through praise names. He receives all the great praise names to which no one else in the kingdom is entitled. These praise names include Agu (Tiger is the king of the animals’ kingdom), and the Obi is the ruler of men in an Ika kingdom. He, whose power is likened to the Great One above; one whose will must be obeyed in the kingdom; he, who owns the kingdom; he, who has the last word; Obi Okusi-ogu; Obi tutu, and so many others. These praise names indicate the notion of the king of a kingdom, and he is the most feared, reverend and adored leader to whom all powers are attributed. The king is never judged but, if his advisers are warned to be careful, then he knows he is guilty.

He is a ruler and law giver, war leader and source of wealth. His person is sacred, his subjects remove their caps and bow their heads before him in adoration and flatter him with adulations.

He is called the father of all the indigenes. He is not a despot, but a constitutional monarch whose office brings privileges and responsibilities.

He is the custodian of the custom of his people. The whole kingdom is his own possession, and his welfare is believed to be vital to all. The Obi does not necessarily administer all justice, or perform ritual sacrifices; but while he can delegate these powers to officials, he is the final source of law and leadership. The Obi cannot, therefore, be scolded in the public or blamed. The blame is levied on his advisers.

To be without a king is regarded as disastrous. And for that reason, immediately after the death of an Obi of a kingdom, a new Obi is enthroned according to the tradition of the kingdom. A lot of guided rituals are performed before the heir apparent is coronated. The rituals include a symbolic ‘meal made in respect of his predecessor’s head’ known in Ika as iri eze, ‘eating king’. A nonagenarian responded told this author that in those days, ritual human sacrifices were offered to protect the Obi from bad spirits, witches and wizards and to cleanse the land. Nowadays, cows, goats, dogs, fowls and rams are used for these sacrifices.

The purity of the Obi is protected by elaborate rituals and taboos, which were very many in ancient times. It is certain to judge from the general trend that some of them were designed to ensure good moral behaviour. The values of the Obiship are reaffirmed and consolidated by periodic ceremonies, the most important of which are ‘national or yearly festivals’, which focus on various aspects of the social and economic activities of a kingdom. During these festivals also, the Chiefs and subjects pay homage to the Obi and renew their allegiance.

To be continued…
The post THE IKA KINGSHIP CULTURE appeared first on IKA Mirror Newspaper Online.
Source: Ika News Agbor



Ika community had a glorious and rich cultural past in games and entertainments. The adults as well as the children were always fully occupied. There was hardly any time when people were not occupied in those days. On the days when people were not in their farms, they engaged in one craft or the other. Eken days were religiously observed. It was on Eken days that Ika people abstained from going to their farms. It was on Eken days that children and even adults who had no domestic assignments, engaged in a lot of games and entertainments which abound in each clan in the olden days.

In the evenings, the men engaged in discussing, contemporary issues smoked their pipes which was very popular in those days, and relaxing with their kindred on kegs of palmwine. Some of them moved out to visit or join relations, in-laws, friends and well-wishers. The women, in most cases, engaged in moon light tales and feebles that touched exemplary characters and sex education to the young ones and the fairly grown up children, respectively.

The stories told were of varied types. They included legends, allegories, myths, folktales, folk epics, wonder tales, fictions, riddles, rhetoric proverbs, proverbial songs, maxims, aphorisms, anecdotes, euphemisms, humours, dialogue, jokes, banter, folk songs, rumour, gossip, wonder-land, folk music, lyrics, greetings, wise sayings, etc. These stories which in some cases, involved very elderly members of a family, supplemented in-door games like itan ise and igho ise, which occupied the adults and youths at their homes when the moon was not on.When the moon was on, the children often went out for the moon light plays. The children of the ancient Ika had more avenues of entertainment than their present day counterparts. This might be the reason why, in olden days, the children hardly had time for any mischiefs. The youths of the then Ika were very truthful and law-abiding. The games and entertainments that occupied them were many, and only a few present day youths may remember them. Some may not have even heard about many of the games.

This calls for concerted efforts to rediscover Ika glorious and rich traditional games and entertainments that are in danger of extinction in the face of modern civilization. Discussing them may certainly bring their existence to the knowledge of our youths. It may also assist in reviving interest in an aspect of entertainment of the community that is fast dying away. Perhaps, they could once again form part of education and training of Ika children.

To be able to treat these games sufficiently, they are grouped into five different headings: Indoor games, games solely played by boys, games solely played by girls, games suitable for both sexes and games for the very young ones in Ika society.

INDOOR GAMESItan Ise This is one of the most popular games among Ika people in the olden days. It is generally played by two persons, one on either side of a board. The board itself, commonly hewed out of a solid piece of wood, contains six holes, Okwa, on the either side with two bigger holes, one at each end. These are called Ulo/Olo. Each of the side holes, Okwa, contains four seeds (also pebbles or cowries). Sometimes, children play the game by digging similar holes on the ground in their compounds.The game has some rules:

It is played by two persons. The strategy is one person to attempt to capture as many seeds as possible from the other person. The winner is the person who has captured the greater number of seeds. The winner should capture at least 25 seeds since the total number of seeds in the holes is 48.The seeds are placed, according to the rules of the game, in clock wise direction.If the seed placed by one player falls on the seed in the side hole of the other player, the latter seed is capture and both seeds are removed by the first player and put in his store for seeds, Olo/Ulo.The same is true if the seed falls on a hole containing 2 seeds. But if the hole contains 3 or more seeds, the new seed cannot capture the ones already there. It simply increases the number of seeds in the hole.Any seeds in a hole, which are more than 3, form Odin. The seeds cannot be captured by any new seed placed in the hole.The Odin is said to die if:(a) The number of seeds in a hole is so many that the seeding (placing of seeds in a hole) does not terminate on the side of the opponent.(b) The seeding terminates on another Odin.(c) The seeding terminates on an empty hole.The players play in turn. Under no circumstance can one player play consecutively.If a faulty play is detected, the game is cancelled and a fresh start made.The winner of the game is the person who has captured the greater number of seeds.If before the completion of the game one player anticipates defeat and concedes victory, then the other player becomes the winner.
The post IKA CULTURAL GAMES AND ENTERTAINMENTS appeared first on IKA Mirror Newspaper Online.
Source: Ika News Agbor


Like was mentioned earlier on, the distinctive sub-cultural traits of Bini and Igbo find expression in their manner in economic activities, religious belief system, settlement patterns and linguistic variation. In short, these sub-cultural traits affect, in no small measure, the Ika culture and cultural heritage, and hence a succinct discourse on the’elements and admixture of the Igbos and the Binis.’

Elements of admixture of the Igbos and the Binis can be found today in Ika people’s features, language, religion, customs and indeed, the culture of the Ika people. The physical characteristics that distinguish the mainland Igbos and Binis are visible on the Ika people. This is because this mixture of Igbo and Bini people in Ika often meant that Ika laws and customs vanished and a new law and order evolved based partly on the invaders’ precedent and experience, and a little after, partly on the contact with the British.

Although the Ika-Igbo factor may not have preceded the Bini factor, yet it has assumed a greater pervading influence and has even become embedded in the subconsciousness of the Ika people. Hence overwhelming influence of the Igbos in Ika language cannot be explained strictly on the basis of this founding role.

The Igbo influence on Ika nowadays is all permeating in all spheres of human endeavour. For example, these are seen in commerce, where the Igbos are present in Ika towns and villages as traders and businessmen; or with the Ikas travelling to Igbo towns and villages to transact business. For most Christians, the texts for worship (Bible, Prayer Books, Hymn Books) were written in Igbo Language, which had been more accessible to greater majority than English. Even the early preachers, church workers, carpenters, interpreters, teachers, brick layers, etc., were mostly Igbo and Igbo-speaking. The young ones in schools were exposed to the Igbo Language as one of the major Nigerian Languages recommended in the school curriculum. Moreover, on the political front, the Ika-Igbo solidarity was fostered and sustained by the equation of the issue of Anioma Movement. These phenomena constitute effective linguistic bridges between the Ika ethnic nationality and the Igbo-speaking people of Anioma extraction of Delta State. Therefore, contrary to the Bini situation, here, the elements of mutual comprehension seem to have played heavily in favour of the Igbos and thereby creating favourable conditions for the establishment of affinities between Ika and the Igbo.On the Bini side, it is instructive to note too the similarities between some common Bini and Ika names such as Amenata, Agbogun, Adagbon, Obazuaye, Igbenije, Igumbor, Igbenigun, Igbenedion, Igbenehi, Osunde, Igheghe, Okundaye, Igbenoba, Aghede, Imudia, Isibor, Iyama, Ihator, etc. Also, it could not have been by accident that many common place names and quarters in Ika bear Bini names such as Ogbeisere, Ihogbe, Ogwaide, Ogbeiwase, Ogbe-Isogban, Idumu-Oza, Iregwa, Ogbe Akina or Ogbeleka, Alizomor, Owuwu, Ozara, Ogan, Idumu Agbado, Idumu Iwase, Alisogbe, Ibiegwa, Ukpeworo, etc., found in Agbor, Abavo, Ute-Okpu, Umunede, Owa and in other kingdoms in Ika. In addition, as in Agbor tradition, the Idumu-Oza quarters in Benin has the traditional function of fabricating ceremonical copper anklets for the members of the royal family. There are similarities of other cultural ideology which are not lost among the Ika people.

Whereas the Obiship and traditional chieftaincy titles are essentially of Bini institution, some recent chieftaincy system follows Igbo line. The Ikas bear names similar to Bini and Igbo. Indeed, the Ika people do not have any shared physical characteristics distinguishing them from the Bini and the Igbo. The strongest cults in Ika are Olokun, of Bini origin and Ikengan, Uzun and Ehi (Chi) of Igbo origin. The Ofo (a patrimonial instrument of authority, which represents continuity) is also of Igbo origin.

This dual mode of origin, Bini and Igbo, of the Ika people has influenced them in many ways. For example, the older generations of the Ika people had tribal marks (Igu or egbugbu) of Bini origin, which the younger generations have discontinued due to Western civilization, and so on. This situation, however, tends to pose a crisis of ethnic identity of the Ika people being neither Binis nor Igbos. This mixed, but not exactly confused origin and history is evidenced mostly in Ika culture and her cultural heritage.

However, no matter the divergence of opinion and the identified diversities, the Ika ethnic nationality is an identifiable and vibrant entity, whose existence is not in doubt. Ika identification with larger ethnic nationalities should not create any identity crisis, but should rather be seem as a factor for highlighting Ika specificity, their uniqueness and so their autonomy as a group capable of making clear and conscious choice of whom their friends, brothers or sisters are. Ika are neither Igbo nor Bini, but essentially and intrinsically themselves, that is the Ikas.The original language of most Ika people, as mentioned earlier on, is believed to be Bini. But through recent migration from Eastern communities (Igbo) to Ika, commercial, marital and social intercourse, the Igbo language seemed to supersede the language of the former. This situation, perhaps, has also to do with the classification of the Ika with the Aniocha, Oshimili and Ndokwa people in a group dubbed Ika-Igbo in the Nigeria socio-political nomenclature. This taxonomy is occasioned by the scanty information about the Ika people, which gained prominence during the Nigerian Civil War (1967 – 1970).

But the point must be made that in spite of the affinities between Ika and Igbo, Ika language cannot be described as an Igbo dialect. “Ika is an autonomous linguistic entity made up of its grammatical, syntactic phonological and lexical structures. It has its own literature, which is for the time being and for obvious reasons essentially oral. According to the great linguist, Professor Key Williamson, ‘Ika is a cluster of dialects.’ This implies the acceptance of the true status of Ika as a language. For logically, a dialect cannot be at the same time a dialect and a cluster of dialects. Therefore, Ika is a language with its positive political and ideological connotations rather than a dialect which often connotes inferiority. In other words Ika’s interactions with other ethnic nationalities should be seen on the basis of equality and fraternal relationships and not on the superiority equation.”

Indeed, the Ikas are not Igbo-speaking but Ika-speaking people. The truth of the matter should not be lost sight of. Ika in Delta State now have an identity in Nigeria for which they have come a long way in the struggle to position, reconstruct and this way, re-engineer Ika nation. One of the surest ways to achieve these objectives is the development and preservation of Ika language, as language is the vehicle that drives culture. It is the primary identity of a people as it is the key for all their education agenda. Onu Ika Nigeria, the mouth piece of the Ika ethnic nationality is currently addressing this issue. A committee has been put in place for the development of the Ika language and ensuring the practice of Ika language through encouraging its use and learning in established fora. Towards this aspiration, Ika language is taught in educational institutions in Ika Local Government Areas including the College of Education, Agbor. The Ika language autograph approval is seriously on the pipe line. This positive indication suggests the eventual introduction of Ika studies within the academic programme of the Delta State University.

Also, a clarion call has gone to all Ika at home and in the diaspora to speak and teach their children the Ika language. Ika is one of the ethnic languages in which the Delta State News and other vernacular programmes are transmitted in Delta State Radio and Television. In keeping to this aspiration also, the Ika Bible and the four gospel of the New Testament have been translated into Ndi Ozi Eno (Gospels according to Matthew, John, Luke and Mark) by the Ika Bible Translation Project. The translation of the other parts of the Bible has been completed. The first edition of an Ika Dictionary has been published and serious attempt is being made to increase Ika vocabulary in the second edition that is in progress. Many books have been written in all aspects of the Ika language, etc.


Chief (Dr) Onyekpeze .F.A. (JP)
The post ELEMENTS AND ADMIXTURE OF THE IGBOS AND THE BINIS appeared first on IKA Mirror Newspaper Online.
Source: Ika News Agbor