Cultural Heritage Of Ogu People

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Ogu Community is the second largest town among the Wakirike Be Se communities (i.e. Okrika nation) in Rivers State. It is about 45 minutes drive from Port Harcourt. A chieftaincy community with respectable chieftaincy institution that binds the community together. It is one of the 24 designated Urban Areas carved out in 1987 by the Rivers State Government, and a Local Government Headquarters in the State created on 1st October, 1996 by the Late Sani Abacha’s Military Regime. Kudos to that regime!

Ogu with her satellite settlements is surrounded by Eleme LGA in the West, Tai LGA in the North, Bonny LGA, Wakama Ama and Bolo communities in the South and Okrika LGA in the South-West. It could be reached by sea and land. It has well over 50 satellite villages and fishing settlements that could be reached through sea on Ogu creek and the Bonny River, while others by land through Eleme and Tai LGAs, Some of the satellite villages and fishing settlements include: Tende Ama Ada Ama, Tamuno Ama (Ofunguru Ama), Yude Ama, Kporo, Chuku Ama,. Nemieboka Ama, Iga fe Ama, Tende fe Ama, Olobulo Ama, Brown Ama, Afaka Ama,Agakien Ama, DasoAma, OwukiriAma, OmodaraniAma, PiriAma, Ogobo Ama, Iwomabie Ama, Ogweinbie Ama, Owupele Ama, Fombo Ama, Siere Ama, Ogugu-ChukuAma, Igbikiyemieari Ama, Tububie Ama, Orubie Ama, Anigoboka Ama, Atubonacheofoin-a Ama, Nyanabo Ama, Ogonotoru Ama, Ilanga/Yikabo Ama, F ebie Atna, Amabara Ama, Adu fe Ama, Chuku Ama II, Ikika fi piri Ama, . Olomusoko Ama, Ikpokiri I, Ikpokiri II, Ikpokiri III (Wharf), Tombikuku, Owugono, Ibiorika Kiri, Ibiebele Kiri, Orabere Kiri, Yikabo Kiri, Gream Kiri, Odo Kiri, Abereniboye Kiri, Adokiye Owuapuigbiki Kiri, Kulo Kiri, Sani Kiri, Apanatibo Kiri, Ipiangba Fibumo Kiri, Bumo Kiri, Semenibipi/Iyo Kiri, Ichi Kiri, Adolphus N emieboka Kiri, Niniapu Kiri boko, Agakien Kiri, Otobipi Kiri, Mbi Kiri, Fulobele Kiri, and so many others which are doted all over the scape of the Eastern Niger Delta. Because the people of Ogu are metropolitan in outlook, settlements taken as villages are actually big towns in other places.

Ogu also has neigbouring communities such as Sime, Barale, Barayira, Norkpo and Nonwa, all in Tai LGA. While others are Eteo and Onne in Eleme LGA, Mgbemgbe Boko in Okrika LGA, as well as Bolo and Wakama Ama communities in Ogu/Bolo LGA that share boundaries with her.

Ogu Community is economically viable. Fishing and peasant farming are the main economic activities of the people. Trading is principally with our contiguous communities of Tai, Eleme, Bonny and Andoni. The lntroduction of “legitimate” trade by Europeans at the middle of the last century increased the volume of commercial activities in Ogu as more and more people from near and far came to Olobulo market, Adu fe, Olomu Soko and Tende fe to carry on the “large trade” which Consul Ralph Moor spoke about in 1896.

With the penetration of the missionaries came Christianity and Western education, and the people embraced both. Thus, in 1966, the magnificent St. Martins’ Anglican Church was completed and dedicated to God in Ogu. Even today, the church stands, not only as a marvelous architectural edifice, but also, as a monumental and durable evidence ofa peoples’ ancient devotion to progressive thought and action. In 1973, Government Secondary School, Ogu, the first post primary school in Ogu/Bolo LGA was established. For many years, this college remained distinguished from others by its priority. By the mid 70, Ogu could boast of a modern hospital, good drinking water and tarred road.

In any event, the civil war, the creation of LGAs in the country and the great expansion of oil exploration and exploitation activities have had their effect on the people of Ogu. There is no doubt that there is some evidence of development all around. There has been, for instance, a significant increase in the number of educational and health institutions in Ogu as well as connected to the national grid.

Yet, Ogu that is one of the early participants in the march of civilization and progress, a lot more profound evidence of development must be demanded from it as the 21st century rolls to a close. Ogu has within its territory three oil wells known as Ikpokiri Bie called Ogu I, Daso Ama called Ogu II and Agakien called Ogu III as proved by seismic surveys under the supervision of Alakiri oil field that started production in 1970.

In addition to this, Ogu hosts several strategic establishments of National interest such as the Federal Lighter and Ocean Terminals, Onne/lkpokiri Oil and Gas Export Free Zone Authority, “the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Intel Nigeria Limited and several service companies. They are located on the left bank of Ogu creek, from Bonny River. In spite of all this, Ogu people, to use a cliche, have nothing to show for it. What gains they have had is only in the form of the devastation of the land and sea-scapes with the attendant health harzards.

The people of Ogu Community have a culture that is distinctive, impressive and to a large extent without influence. Featuring prominently in the culture of Ogu people are the Iria puberty and marriage ceremonies, wrestling, traditional plays, burial rites, installation of chiefs and traditional rulers ceremonies and many other rites and plays connected with the day to day life of the people.

Masquerades, some of them colourful and artistic in either their make-ups or paraphernalia, are a common sight throughout the community and the entire Local Government Area, especially during festive occasions.

In concept, these are either religious or historical or personifications of the rich legends of the people. And their classic performances, backed by the refreshing poetry of songs and music, bring to focus the high sense of drama and entertainment of the people.

A variety of dances, each unique in its form, also abound. Musical instruments include pots and drums, wooden gongs, horns and xylophones. All these are made locally by experts with an ancient tradition behind their craftsmanship.

Carving of masquerades and ceremonial canoes is a revered art and carvers have greatly improved the quality of their work over the years. Gradually, the purely functional forms of these carvings are being given new dimension and finish that reflect the people’s innate respect for aesthetic values.

The dances, plays and masquerades depict the religious, social and working life of the people. In turn, the life of the people has been greatly influenced by their culture. Thus, a spiritually ennobling circle has been set up. The Ogu man’s (Okrika-Ijaw) confidence, his love of truth, fair-play and wholesome dealings can all be traced to the influence of his unique cultural heritage.