If Anioma is not Igbo but are Igbo speaking in all its dialectical variants, WHAT ETHNIC GROUP THEN IS ANIOMA?
If a conference of ethnic nationalities of Nigeria were to be convoked as has been advocate continuously for the restructuring of Nigeria, which group would Anioma come under?
Would they come under THE EDO NATION, since many claim they migrated from Benin ? So the larger Benin of the old Mid West, Bendel and now Delta and Edo states would now be under your BENIN REPUBLIC ?
The Anioma is the Igbo speaking areas in Delta State. They are also called Delta Igbos or Western Igbos. The Meaning of Anioma is Good land. Anioma region in Delta State
This, centuries worth of migration, mixing and consolidation, was anything but harmonious or planned. However, further research has shown that some of what I wrote then was incomplete, but I will refrain from saying “wrong”, because I am unfit to untie Elizabeth Isichei’s shoelaces, and it was from her 1976 work, A History of the Igbo People, that I drew heavily for that piece.
In the last few days there has been a lot of argument about whether the Igbo speaking people of Delta State in Nigeria are Igbo, or something called Anioma. Some people from this area have pointed out that they have been victims of taunts by some Igbos from the East of the Niger, who have themselves said that Delta Igbos are not Igbo.
The words used for the various peoples of the former Bendel are as follows — NdË Ika to describe the Igbo speaking peoples of the Midwest; NdË Idu to describe the Bini people; NdË ohu (a slur) to describe the Esan people (and the history of this is actually linked to Benin); NdË Usobo to describe those in the “proper Delta”, that is the Ijaw, Ijekiri, Isoko and Urhobo.
Now, the problem with most of Nigeria, is that we do not know where we are coming from. Generally, if you do not know where you’re coming from, it’s kinda hard to know where you’re going to.
Too many Igbo people both East and West of the Niger, do not know where they are coming from. Referring back to the piece I highlighted earlier, I pointed out that, “ The Anioma sub-group is divided into two, Enuani and Ukwuani. Enuani and Onitsha people migrated from Igala along with Ishan.” This is incomplete.
Anioma social structure is dominated by the use of lineages which are based loosely on the concept of umu, eboh’, and idumu.
The distance between Asaba and Owerri is just 102km. Asaba to Enugu is 125km, while Asaba to Umuahia is 142km. All of these places are closer to Asaba than Warri, which in modern Nigerian geopolitics is in the same state as Asaba. Warri is 176km from Asaba.
The Asaba man, when he arrives in either of Enugu, Owerri or Umuahia, speaks the same language as the people in those places, barring the normal dialectal differences that occur in languages that are spread over large geographical areas. This same Asaba man, would arrive in Warri, and would be at a complete loss as to what the native in Warri is saying…
Once your name is Emeka, or Chike, or Nnamdi, or Uju, or Chukwuma, or Obi, or Ogechukwu, or Ekwi, or Azuka, or Ike, or Nonso, or Ifeanyi, or indeed Cheta, the day will come, when Nigeria will tell you who you are. Don’t be caught flat footed.
How else do you explain that the dialect of Igbo spoken in Asaba, and that spoken in Onitsha, are the same language? In the end, the Anioma man, because Biafra lost a war 50 years ago, may deny his identity all he wants, but it will not change the fact — in the Byzantine politics of Nigeria, the day will come when Nigeria will tell you who you are.
BEFORE THE BENIN ESCAPEE MIGRANTS WERE THE IGBO SPEAKING PEOPLE
What happens to the Igbo speaking people as all Igbo are, that fought or amicably gave accommodation, land, language and home to your migrating Benin escapees from tyranny as is almost the same story of all diasporic Benin that now forms your Benin Republic of today’s Edo and Delta states? Why was Benin not the language of communication as the migrating ones from Benin joined in?
Why were they not bearing Beni names if they met empty lands as they migrated from Benin? Why do they continue to bear dialectical variants of Igbo names such as Chime in the Igbo West of the Niger, and Chima in East of same ? Why has the common Igbo culture still dominant till this day in spite of the dominating military and cultural tyranny of old Benin kingdom?
The answer is that the escapees met a people whom they only added themselves to either amicably, or by force. As in all cases of such contacts, the bigger winner is the triumph of number; and this is long before they ever knew the democratic mathematics of democracy.