Obolo Brief History


The OBOLO (Andoni ) people are a distinct tribe Living in the Niger Delta region of Rivers (Andoni L.G.A) & Akwa Ibom State (Eastern Obolo & Ibeno L.G.As)

Prior to the British Colonial Era the Obolo’s were among the first to come in contact with the Europeans and traded mainly with the Portuguese. 

They Worshipped a national diety (god) called Yok-Obolo , Who is the founder /Spiritual head of the Obolo people elevated to a god upon death.

Christianity was already Accepted in Obolo land long before 1699 ( As recorded when John Barbot visited Dony Town (Andoni) in 1699, he observed that the King of Dony Town accepted Christianity and Priests were regularly sent in from Sao Tome and Brazil, to minister to him, The king of Dony town also spoke Portuguese )

Despite Christainity The Yok-Obolo was still feared among neighbouring tribes (Bonny, Opobo, Ibibio/Efiks, Ogonis e.t.c ) Which made them to spread terrifying news about the Obolo people to the British Colonial masters.

In 1869 King Jaja had to enter an oath of Allegiance with the Yok-Obolo before he was allowed to establish his new town opobo (1970) in the Andoni territory .This was against the wish of Bishop Ajayi Crowther who lamented that King Jaja was entering the “Heart of Darkness” when he came to Obolo (Andoni) is 1869 for a treaty with the Obolos

When the ugly stories against the Obolo (Andoni) were so much the British Colonial Authorities decided to send a Punitive Expedition against them in 1904, Which was led by Captain A.A Whitehouse with the sole aim of destroying Obolo ( Andoni) as a political entity and reducing there influence among neighbouring tribes in the Niger Delta.

On arrival A.A Whitehouse and his military team went straight to Alabie Town (Agwut-Obolo), burnt and destroyed the high altar of deity of the Obolo Monarchy, (Yok-obolo) and the site of the House of Skulls with over 2,000 skulls of Obolo (Andoni) Enemies killed in wars.

The British destroyed the House of Skulls and the Shrine of Yok-Obolo in 1904, and split Andoni into six parts, each attached to one of the six Native Courts in the Niger Delta with the aim of destroying Obolo Politically. 

Some of the Bronze Arts & Crafts Collected by the British from Andoni (Obolo) during this Expedition are currently on display in the British Museum.

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Mike jacob Ubokineme
Mike jacob Ubokineme
2 years ago

Indeed, am really pleased read that brief history about yok obolo. i could remember few years back i was surfing the net for this same word and i could not find it. I want to encourage you to keep it up. we need more of this cultural documentation about obolo nation.