IKA WORLD BY CHIEF DR ONYEKPEZE
Ika World is made up of all the people who speak the Ika language, and whose ancestral home lies some 47 kilometres to the North-West of Asaba, the Headquarters of Delta State of Nigeria. It forms a major ethnic nationality in the Delta North Senatorial District of Delta State. It shares borders linguistically in the West with the Edo language-speakers, in the North with the Ishan language-speakers, in the East with the Aniocha language-speakers, and in the South with the Ukwuani language-speakers.
The Ika ethic nationality consists of eleven kingdoms, each of which is a sub-cultural unit and an historical entity that has migrated to, and conquered the territory and environment as a people. The Ika are indigenous settlers with dominant population. Some Ika communities are also found in Igbanke with its federation of six autonomous communities, Ekpon, Idumwagbor in Ewossa, Igbogiri, Owa Iru, Ute-Ohenze, Ogan, Ugo, Otobaye, Ogba, Ebohighai, Urhonigbe, Urhomehe, and in many other towns and villages in Edo State. Ika is also found in Egbudu Akan, Obior, Nsukwa, and in many other towns and villages in Delta State, and the diasporan Ika. Recently, Onu-Ika Nigeria has caused research to be carried by Professor Jim I. Unah of Lagos University and his team to locate the Ika indigenes in Rivers, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Benue and other States in Nigeria.
Ika lies approximately within Latitudes 06°00′ 06°24′ North of the Equator and Longitudes 06°05′ and 06 24’ East of the Greenwich Meridian”. Ika occupies a land area 564 square kilometres (351 square miles), which is a relative vast land area compared to some ethnic groups in Delta State.
The population of Ika according to 1963 Census was 135, 854 as shown:
Population of Ika (5th-8th) November, 1963.
Agbor – 46,290
Owa – 27,223
Abavo – 14,243
Akumazi – 10,503
Ute-Okpu – 9,746
Umunede – 9,330
Ute-Ogbeje – 4,225
Idumuesah – 3,914
Otolokpo – 3,705
Mbiri – 3,402
Igbodo – 3,268
L.G.A. Total – 135,854
But according to the final result of 1991 population census of Nigeria:
Ika North-East L.G.A. 144,267
Ika South L.G.A 124,483
According to the 1991 population census figure, Ika has a population of 268,750 people as against Delta North’s 788,244, which is 33.1% of Delta North population.
The 2006 National Population Census was held between 21st and 27th March of that year after 15 years (1991 to 2006). According to the result, the total of Ika North-East is 182, 819; males is 91, 431 and female is 91 388; the total of Ika South is 167,060; the males is 82, 214 and females is 84, 846. The total population of Ika people is 349, 879, while that of the males is 173, 645 and the females is 176, 234. That of Delta North is 1, 236, 837, while that of Delta State is 4, 112, 445 and Nigeria is 140, 431, 790. The absolute increase change of Ika population between 1991 and 2006 is 81, 129 (349, 879-268, 750). Ika has thus a population of 349, 879 people as against Delta North’s 1, 232, 837, which is 27. 3% of Delta North.
The soil consists of a stratum of “Benin sand” of varying depth, over which is spread a veneer of “black earth”. It is fairly good farming ground, and the whole area is heavily cultivated under the usual shifting system.
Ika is endowed in mineral resources including petroleum and kaolin, and it is rich in timber, palm produce and rubber as cash crops. It is rich in supply of yams, cassava, plantain, banana, corn, etc. Ika is also blessed with a generally good climate and parades a rich variety of flora and fauna. The Ika people are very relevant in various ways in Delta’s scheme of things. For example, Ika is the food-basket of not only Delta, but also of the whole country.
The topography of Ikaland reveals a fairly undulating area with hills scattered here and there. The southwest ends of Ika area are watered by a River, which runs from Mbiri across Agbor, Owa and Abavo, before it empties into a Lake at Urhomehe between Urhonigbe and Umutu. It is called Akwa River at its source in Mbiri, Orogodo River across Boji-Boji urban, Owanta and Ofie stream at Owa, and at Abavo, as Ekuma, Ogbe- Obi and Igbogili stream, according to the villages through which it flows. A confluence is formed near the bridge by the express highway, where lyi Ekpen flows into the Orogodo River. The Ute- Elugu river flows from northeast of Ute-Elugu in Ute-Okpu Kingdom into Aniocha areas. These rivers are perennial sources of water supply to the areas through which they flow.
Ika has two distinct seasons the dry and the rainy seasons. The rainfall throughout the area is almost the same as in Agbor, where in July and September, are the wettest with a daily total of 175cm (70”) and intercepted by the August Break in August. The maximum rainfall for the area is 240cm (96”) November to April is dry. There is harmattan from December to February caused by the northeast trade winds blowing across the areas from the Sahara Desert.
The temperature does not vary much during the year. There is an average minimum temperature of 22°C (72°F), and a maximum of 34°C (98°F). The diurnal variation is less in the wet season than in the dry season when it is as much as 4°C (25°F)20
From the wake of the 20th century AD, Ika area was made one Authority by the steady growth of the British control as stated earlier. Even though each kingdom generally acted autonomously in managing her affairs, they had seen themselves as one lka and more related since 1945. This oneness has built in them, the attributes of employing collective efforts in meeting up with their political demands.
The Ika is politically found in two Local Government Areas, Ika North-East and Ika South Local Government Areas. Both were created in 1991 from the defunct single Ika Local Government Area in the then Bendel State. Though divided into two Local Government Areas, the Ikas are one, pluribus unum (though we are many, we are one). Ika Nation has come this long because the people have retained the spirit, focus and principles of their founding fathers.
It is a nation that epitomises the aspirations of her people. Ika is a nation in evolution from the humble beginning; with a view to establishing her identity in the comity of nations, and to free herself from the bondage of worshipping political heroes from outside her domain. It becomes an umbrella through which to chart path for greatness towards Ikaness expressed in unity, mutual respect and peaceful co-existence driven by enlarged committed and selfless compatriots. Ika is growing to a nation that has all it takes to match strength in the economics of the Western World. The foundation of genuine awareness is already laid as a variety of leaders are emerging there-from. (Ended)