Oro

The history  of the Oro People. 

Oron was in existence in the pre-colonial period in Nigeria and was formerly a part of the province called the South-Eastern state. Natives of this area speak the dialect also known as Oron. Most Oron people also speak and understand the Efik language fluently. The Oron also have some dialectical similarities with the Ibibio and Annang people, hence their communication in Ibibio and Annang languages is very proficient.

 

History has it that by 2370 BC Oron also known as {Oro Nation} had already been settled down in the present location known as Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria on the West Coast of African Sub Region, Akwa Ibom Gulf Line to Gulf of Guinea Atlantic Ocean South, after the Great flood (Noah`s deluge). The Community as at then and up until this moment is embedded with their dialect Language originated by them as far back as 2370 BC, not borrowed elsewhere or from the Bantus, Cameroun and/or Palestinian. The mass movements raided by Bantus the warriors, into many Communities did not mean that Oro people migrated from the Bantus, the Cameroun or Palestinians.

Neither the Bantus attire nor any other cultural equivalent anywhere portrays that of Oro language or names. None of Oro Nation culture or names was derived from Bantu or any language elsewhere as immigrant. The Oros are peculiar people, strong contenders in nature wherever they are found, with the accolade `Oro Ukpabang Okpo`. Oro man complexion is not reflecting other ethnic nationalities or immigrant somewhere into Oro Nation. Their complexion is not as fair as the Palestinians or of the Israelis nor as dark as people residing around Cameroon mountain when Oro Nation had already came into being after creation of the world, even before pre colonialism came to being, when Nigeria and Cameroon did not come into existence as Countries. Abang was a warrior so powerful with huge muscles, the Head and Chief wrestler known as `Mbok’. The wrestling known as (Mbok) was originated by Abang the warrior from Africa which was displayed by the African slaves after a day`s job, to the admiration of the Guards who watches over them at work thereby creating relaxation chances for them at work before it spread and developed as wrestling around the whole world today. Abang the warrior with his group gallantly fought against the slave masters who were in the area for slave trade business. One day, he was over powered and captured with few of his group and were taken to the present day Israel of what was then Egypt. This is perhaps why it may be more than a mere coincidence that the only two nations on earth with places named “Oron” are Israel and Nigeria.

Later, he escaped from Egypt during the Moslem celebrations period through River Nile as a strong contender in boat regatta with few of his men . He sailed down to Sudan via Lake Chad and settled within the North East now Jigawa State, Nigeria in a small area and named it `Oron` which was written and pronounced as `Oronny` in line with Oros` phonemes migrations. As he was not comfortable with Islam, he escaped to a place call Usahadit area in the present day Cameroon. There, Abang begot Do, Do begot Doni, Doni begot Oro and Obolo. That is why there is a prevalence of Cameroon names as Akan, Ekang, Abang, Etong, Osung, and Etang in Oron today. Among the Oronians, there is a saying that the farthest point in the world is Usahadit which is in the Cameroon. He did not know that other people were already established on that land and due to dispute over farmland, the group later returned home to their original homeland of Oro Nation. <(BAKASI AND PENINSULA REDRESS/APPEAL; Godwin Ekpo, Crude Formations and Survey Oil Exclusive Worldwide, 2012)>

It is this return of Abang that has made some historian believe that Oro Nation is one of the Palestinian and Bantu ethnic nationalities that migrated from somewhere around Israel through Egypt (North Africa) to North Eastern Africa through Ethiopia (Abyssinia) to Central Africa (around the present-day Congo Republic & Democratic Republic of Congo) and through the southern Cameroons to the present day Niger Delta region of South-Southern Nigeria. On their return, Doni moved to establish the present day Andoni in Rivers State while Obolo established the present day Eastern Obolo of Akwa Ibom State. Oron people own up to the fact that the Ibeno, who dwell among the Ekids share similar ancestral history with them.<http://www.discoveriesofcenturies.com/bakasi-window-2/>()

One controversy says that the relationship of Oron with Ekid is said to have gone sour when the Eket under the regime of Brigadier General U.J. Esuene declared and agreed to be called a subgroup of the Ibibio nation to gain political relevance and advantage. U.J. Esuene was also said to have denied the Oron people of the opportunity to site the Exxon Mobile’s first terminal in Mbo and Effiat Oro areas of Oron.

Another common controversy that describes the worsened relationship between Oron and Eket is the accusation that General Esuene was the one who ordered the bombing of Urue Oruko, a region at the heart of Oron where several millions of Oron people (mostly traders and women) were killed during the Nigerian Civil War in the late 1960s. This unfortunate event in Oron has been observed to be the most tragic in the history of the Nigerian Civil War

   Zip Codes;

District: Afaha Okpo

Esin Ufot 523101
Esuk Oro 523101
Eyo Ekung Inyang 523101
Eyo Obiosio 523101
Udung Esien 523101
Udung Ulo 523101
Udung Usotaiudung Ekung 523101

District: Eyo Abasi

Akai – Ikon 523120
Udung Ekung 523120
Udung Ekung II 523120
Udung Osin 523120
Udung Uko 523120
Udung Usotai 523120
Uko Okwong 523120
Uko Uyokim 523120

District: Eyotong

Eyo – Esang – Obisung 523121
Eyo – Esio -Uwak 523121
Eyo – Okpo – Oyo 523121
Eyo – Orokra – Usuyak 523121
Eyo – Otong – Uwe 523121
Eyo – Oyete 523121
Udung – Obisung 523121

District: Uya Oro

Eyo – Atta 523118
Eyo – Esu 523118
Eyo – Ifang 523118
Eyo – Odiong 523118
Eyo – Okpo 523118
Eyo – Uya 523118
Udung – Okwong 523118
Udung – Uwe 523118

The Story of the Oro People

We say now as always that we are not Ibibio.Why can they not live with that?The Aro of Ibom in Abia State,where the Ibibio last settled during their migration, are comfortable with the fact that not every group in their geographical neighborhood,however closely related,can justifiably be claimed as theirs today.They too could lay claim to the Ibibio!

To be sure,Oro does not proclaim ethnic purity.No group can.We acknowledge the presence in our midst of products of ethnic exchanges from earliest times as well as others who arrived through exigences of unfortunate,commercial pursuits of the time.They have over the years never been of a magnitude to change the ethnic configuration of Oro.Oro had similarly played host to other friendly immigrants such as Efik,Ekoi,Usakedit and Ijaw without losing its central core.Would that fact entitle them to lay claims to Oro?Oro has always been at the crossroads of profound social and economic traffic.The cultural consequences may have rendered Oro a bit distinct and its language largely unintelligible to its neighbours.

Oro is Oro and has the Ibibio as neighbours.They need not be Ibibio to have them as neighbours. Indeed,Oro dreams of Akwa Ibom unity as a salad bowl in its diversity and not a melting pot,as the diverse endowments promote strength, beauty and resourcefulness.

It is counterproductive to compel Oro to be Ibibio.They never were,they never will be.A few more illustrations may suffice.

1)The founding of Oron Union(1925) and Ibibio Union(1928) is well known. What is not so well known is that in 1902,Obolo National Union(Idaa Obolo)was inaugurated in Oron.It pooled together Obolo people of Andoni,Ibeno,Oron,Ohafia,Bukuma,Tombia,Ogbolafor,etc, into an ethnic unit.Put differently,Oro already knew where it belonged a long time ago.This explains why Oro did not team up to form Ibibio Union when it was first proposed in 1923.

2)When Ibibio Union sponsored its “Argonauts” (apologies to K O Mbadiwe)to study in the USA in 1938,no Oron citizen was among.On the contrary, Edet Ebito had already graduated in Law in 1928 from Howard University,Washington, DC,the year Nnamdi Azikiwe gained admission there!

3)Could the Ibibio have sited their institutions,school(Ikot Ekpene)and hospital(Abak)without extending one to their “Riverine province”?Or should we uphold this as a cogent evidence that marginalization has a deeper root than previously thought?

4)Some years ago,the Ibibio in a similarly large assembly christined,”Ibibio Converge”, did the honourable thing and admitted that those called Ibibio constituted only 14 LGAs”in Akwa Ibom State.Was this a shameful admission or are the revisionist assuming control?The restructuring (not that term again!) into Ibibio north,Ibibio west,Ibibio south and Ibibio west,sounds like a parody of Prof Alagoa’s perception of the Ijaw in his “History of the Niger Delta.”Moreover,does it not question the validity of the claim on that page that the Ibibio are the 4th largest ethnic group in Nigeria?Why have they been unable to make it count as the Ijaw,their rivals,at the national level in power and influence?Or is it a question of a very big fish being satisfied with dominating a very small Akwa Ibom pond?

5)The Ibibio have curiously appropriated the oil wealth of the State for its own exclusive development.The oil producing communities that bear the brunt of enduring devastation,the coveted “Ibibio provinces”,enjoy no Ibibio sympathy.Or is the latter day ethnic inclusion an afterthought to promote peaceful economic exploitation of the provinces?For those who care to know, unbearable injustice is the visible wound of decades of crippling economic and social emasculation of the minority groups by the advantaged Ibibio.

6)The Ibibio in their self-designed gesture of inclusion and oneness,found not one person of Oron,Efik,Ibeno,and Andoni to include in the planning committee for the grand reception!Our people may have accepted the tag in the past when Calabar represented everybody as the centre of enlightenment and seat of colonial power.Must it remain so after a proper discovery of themselves and their ethnic consciousness?

Oro has paid its dues to Akwa Ibom State in blood,sweat,tears and oil.Oro demands to be left alone.The consequence of adding insult to injury in a mindless pursuit of majoritarian domination and rabid ethnic nationalism which seeks to suffocate others,may,in the long run,be utterly regrettable and,perhaps, too ghastly to contemplate.

Dr Efiong E B Edunam

President General

Oron Union