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IGUANI

Iguani (Igu wani, Igu of the Wani River) is a rural community on the fringes of the Niger Delta. It is
located at the confluence of two streams, the Orubosa and Wani.

Etymology: Iguani derives from igwu eri, meaning literally ‘four relatives’. Another name for Iguani is
Ogugbolo or Oguboro, from Oguo te Ogboro (Ogborro) ‘Oguo of Ogborro’.

Composition: Iguani consist of 14 quarters and neighborhoods, arranged into seventy-two family
compounds. They are:

1. Ozoba Quarter, which includes the following nine families and their compounds:

Ule Uti-Atabo (Atabo or Tabor younger generations may use Uti), Ule Mezichi, Ule Amachere (or
Amachree), Ule Ogbagagara (Ogba), Ule Okarro (Okaro), Ule Osada, Ule Chukwe, Ule Anikpa-Oloza
(Ani), Ule Anikpa-ku (Ani).

The Atabo, Anikpa, Ogba and Okaro were the oldest families of the ward. They still form its four
sections, with Okaro to the westward, Ogba in the center, Atabo to the southeast, and Anikpa in the
north. Atabo begat Uti, the first-born, and his brothers Mezichi and Amachere. Anikpa compound
became split recently, with a portion of them being the first to buy lands in New Igue Quarters and
move there. They’re called Oloza “those abroad”. Ogba have largely remained united and bear the name
Ogbagagara with pride. The Okaros retain the homestead, the Chukwe are descendants of Ochu-Okwe,
the greatest hunter of the Okwes who preferred to live aside and his descendants with him, the Osada
are descendants of Osada whose grandsons felt cheated by their second cousins and founded Osada,
the smallest family in Ozoba. Most of the concentrated compounds in the core of the quarter are
arranged according to the compounds. Beyond the core however, the arrangement is very different.
Apart from small chunks of satellite compounds, houses are built individually and pay no recognition for
familial affiliation.

In the core, Ozoba consists of a group of 4 important courtyards laying to the north of the Ozoba Rd.
Houses are arranged around these courtyards with narrow roads, lanes and paths between them. There
are 3 minor squares that don’t it into a particular pattern. Between the clusters of houses are plots
occupied by orchards and gardens. Two important roads run through the core to the periphery. Some
backyards are fenced, but rarely whole houses (yards).

In the periphery there are no squares and the houses are less clustered, with wider streets and roads.
There are some satellite compounds made up of cul-de-sacs lined by houses. Areas of orchards, farms
and gardens surround and separate houses. Whole houses (yards) are fenced.

2. Azanga Quarter, which includes the following seven families and their compounds:

Ule Chuka, Ule Amegoronwe-igoro (Amegor or Igoron), Ule Atti-Obriko (Hart-Obriko), Ule Deko-Obriko,
Ule Obrike-Okworosa (Obri), Ule Suruka, Ule Darodagban (Daron or Darod).

Azanga owns Old market and family compounds don’t follow a pattern as in Ozoba. The families live in a
patchwork of small compounds, each with its own house affiliation. However there is a marked
distinction between the core and the periphery, as well as between the Darods and others. The Darods
live in a section of the quarter across the farm road. The others live on the east side of the farm road.
The core area consists of long courtyards that double as streets and cul-de-sacs, houses built lineal along
them with orchards in the often fenced backyard; while the periphery consists of normal streets with
walled yards.

The Darods, who own the land on which Old Primary School is built are said to have descended (like
other Darons) from matrilineal descendants of daughters who had children in their paternal homestead
or returnee daughters of failed marriages who brought back their children. Thus they are matrilineal
Azangas and in modern times often don’t bear the Darod surname. The old families of Azanga are:
Igoron and Obriko. Igoron begat Amegoronwe-Igoro (who reside in the old homestead) and Chukama-
Igoron. Obriko begat Obrike-Okworosa (who live in the homestead), Atti-Obriko (whose descendants
Anglicized as Hart) and Deko-Obriko. The Suruka are classed among the Sowun. They were guests and
in-laws of the Azanga Obri who allowed them to keep the land in perpetuity after the Sowun were
reassigned land north of Iguo.

3. Ekugbo (or Ekurugbo) Quarter, which includes the following five families and their compounds:

Ule Omassaki-dokpa (Omassa), Ule Dappa, Ule Dagbomarom (Dagbom), Ule Wemekerekpa (Ekere), Ule
Ikinakpa.

The Dagbom are a subgroup of the Daron (like the Darods of Azanga quarters.) They are descendants of
a female named Omaramo who is said to either be an old spinster, an only daughter (albeit of her
mother), or a Returnee. They live on what used to be Ikinakpa homestead (it is said the Family Head of
Ikinakpa had been Omaramo’s lover and fathered her sons, hence why the Ikinakpa at least among
Ekugbos don’t marry Dagbom.) Ekurugbo the eponymous ancestor is said to have had one son Akpa.
Akpa gave birth to several sons and one daughter through his three wives. His fist son Odia-Akpa
(Dappa: as Anglicized by his descendants) was the only son of his mother. His full sister Omasaki was
Akpa’s only daughter and never married, getting a share from her brother. Her descendants are the
Omassa family. Owekere was the last wife of Akpa. She raised the Anyie-Keni brothers when their
mother died. Her sons became the Ekere family. The Anyie-Keni brothers were sons of Akpa’s first wife
who was barren until his second wife gave birth to her children. Their mother died young so they were
oppressed by Odia’s mother creating lingering resentments. They became the Ikinakpa. The Ikinakpa
don’t live in Ekurugbo anymore.

These 3 –Ozoba, Azanga and Ekugbo- are regarded as the Iguo. Sometimes the Darondagba are
included. Historically the Egere were part of the Iguo. However they are now separate. While leadership
was rotated among the families of the quarters, the Darondagba and the Dagbom families, as well as
the Sowun were excluded from leadership but otherwise they were not ostracized or discriminated
against.

4. Ewereku Quarters, which includes the following fourteen families and their compounds:

Ule Meberem-eta (Meberem), Ule Meberem-Osaiju (Osaiju), Ule Shawuniyi (Shawun or Shaun), Ule
Aradayi, Ule Omini, Ule Osani, Ule Osada, Ule Oniokaramasekara (Onioka or Oni), Ule Yewehewehoro
(Weho), Ule Aderelubo (Adere), Ule Osonoyiwo (Oso), Ule Okwuruoyibo (Okwu); and the Agbere who
include: Ule Ogbere, Ule Oguekojema (Ogue), Ule Ogwoagalara (Oguaga, Ogwoagara, Ogwara, Alara
or Ogu).
Ewereku history has it that they were the aborigines of Iguani. This fact is accepted by all the Iguanis.
They are said to have lived on the banks of the River Wani for 9 generations until severe flooding
destroyed their fishing settlement several years in a row. As a result a section of the community
migrated upland to the Iguo side, while the other smaller section migrated to the Ossa side. The Iguo
brothers were said to have been friendly with the Eweres who gave them land in New Quarter/New Iguo
Layout area. The return of a mixed Ewere-Ossa group to the Iguo bank caused conflict between the
newcomers who claimed the land and the Eweres (who became known as Ewereku, the Ewere
Remnant). During the course of this conflict, Iguo tradition has it that they offered the Ewere to wipe out
the Ewerosa for which reason they moved their settlement closer to the Ewere, however the Ewereku
rejected the offer because the Ossas might get involved too. However the Egere version has it that the
Ewere didn’t trust the Iguo for moving their settlement so close and decided that having the Ewerosa
around might be good for an alliance in case they needed allies against the Iguo. The Ewere are silent
about this, essentially saying they made peace and because the tutelary deity of the Wani told them to
do so. They were given a corridor to the riverside by the Ewerosa and own Riverside market which is
located in Ewerosa. Otherwise they own no agricultural land blocs and depended on lease-lets and
share-cropping before the advent of land selling. The Ewereku have bought a lot of land and there is a
law against an Ewereku selling land to a non-Ewereku.

Ewereku quarter is densely settled and compounds don’t usually have proper demarcations, hence each
backyard is walled or fenced, with family members often sharing the same walls. The Ewereku despite
beign aboriginal don’t have farmlands and are forced to buy or lease lands. However they have managed
to buy a lot of land all over the community and never sell land except to an Ewereku. Most Ogwogalara
live in new quarters on Ogwoaga Street, as do other Ewerekus (Ewere sector is named after them).

The original houses were the Ewere of Meberem, Shawun, Adere, Osonoyiwo and the Oni; and the
Agbere houses of Ogbere and Ogue. Meberem begat Osaiju, Osani and Osada. Shawun beget Aradayi.
Oni begat Weho and Okwu. Ogue begat Oguagalara. Rulership was rotated.

5. Ewerosa Quarters, which includes the following five families and their compounds:

Ule Chukata, Ule Chukere, Ule Osejuwodo (Oseju) the ruling family, Ule Osamoru-keni (Osamoru or
Osa), Ule Osamoru-ejua (Osamoru or Osa). The Osamorus are priestly families.

Ewerosa origin is often traced either to Ewere or Ossa depending on who is asking and who is talking.
According to the Ewereku, some of them left Ewere due to incessant floodings to settle across the river
on higher ground. These ones soon intermingled with the Ossa but feeling homesick they returned
home. By that time the intervening generations had died out and no one in Ewere knew these Eweres
from Ossa. At this point the story splits in two versions. Some say the Ewere had also left the riverside to
settle on the higher ground. Others says the Ewere and the newcomers fought over land and that either
the new comers defeated the Ewere by getting help from Ossa (resulting in the Ewere getting help from
the Iguo) or that the Ewere simply sued for peace and moved away from the riverbanks. These
newcomers were also Ewere but were called Ewerosa, the Eweres of Ossa.

These two (Ewereku and Ewerosa) are the Eweres. The Ewereku Joined the Iguo and share in the
rotational leadership, while having their own internal leader (a dual government). The Ewerosa
remained independent, sometimes claiming to be Ossas but with their own leadership. When the Eso
came, they initially controlled Ewerosa in a form of indirect rule, before extending their control over all
Ogwari. The Ewerosa rulership was retained in the Oseju family.

6. Egere Quarters, which includes the following seven families and their compounds:

Ule Ogogo, Ule Osamakwe (Osama, Sam or Osa), Ule Fasimbenyi (Simby or Fasimby), Ule Ekulaetu, Ule
Amadeletu (Amade), Ule Awaké-Uge (Awaké, Akegé or Ekegé), Ule Awaké-Ali (Awaké, Akali or Ali). Ali
compound is located in New Quarters behind New Market. They’re the last Egeres who domicile there.

7. Darandagba Quarters, (they hate being called Darodaran) which includes the following four
families and their compounds:

Ule Ogogo-Odagba (Odagba), Ule Ogorongonro (Gorgon), Ule Awake-Ule (Ekule), Ule Aludaran (Dara or
Daran). The Odagba live in Old Daradagba Quarter along with some of the Gorgon and Ekule. The Udara
live in New Daradagba along with remnants of the Gorgon and Ekule. New Daradagba is on the Sogboro
side.

8. Ikpein Quarters, (they refer to themselves as Okwowowuru, the Egere refer to them as Orule, a
term they accept) which includes the following four families and their compounds:

Ule Okwowowuru-Osi (Okwo), Ule Okwoworokereta (Okwo), Okworo-Ule (Okworo), Ule Aderule
(Adelu). The Okwos live in Ikpein with the Adelus, but the Okworo live in New Quarter between the New
Primary School and the New Market.

These three (Egere, Darandagba and Ikpein) are, sometimes along with the Sowun, regarded as one
larger unit. The Egere were the ruling group but ran the community openly. While leaders were Egere
(and sometimes Ikpein) the Darondagba and Sowun elders sometimes sat in council. Egere leadership is
rotational with the Ikpein compounds included in the ballot.

9. Sogboro Quarters, (Eso Ogboro, meaning the Warriors of Ogbollo), which includes the following
seven families and their compounds:

Ule Ojimoro, Ule Ojiovoh, Ule Ovimaseojoh (Ovi) the ruling famiy, Ule Owani, Ule Nkwoh, Ule Osugbo
the priestly family; and the Gbagbero of Ule Gbagbero (Baber or Gbaro).

The Ojimoro, Ojiovoh and Ovis are warrior families. The Osugbo are blacksmiths, they serve as priests of
igungu (god of hunters and warriors) in the senior line and igwin (god of smiths, patron-deity of
Olorogbo) in the junior line. The Owani and Nkwoh are farmers, the Gbagbero are potters, weavers and
traders. It is not a caste system.

The Sogboro are descendants of warriors who encamped here and introduced the dog craze. They had a
strictly regimented organization with an Osiso (Guard Commander) as leader nd an Oshorissa (Divine) as
priest. They ruled over Ewere and Iguo but not Egere. The British appointed the Osiso as paramount
chief of Iguani, subject to the Ewe of Igu. The Ossi is presently under the Igumu of Iguobba. The Sogboro
were devotees of igugun the god of warriors and hunters, whose animal was the dog. So they ate dogs
as part of a ritual. Men ate female dogs sacrificed, women ate male dogs. It was said the dog is the only
suitable equivalent for a human sacrifice.
They were said to have originated in Ribechi among other places. The rulers of Ribeche wanting to
protect themselves from slave traders trained an elite force of young men, many of them former slaves,
as sentinels and warriors. They would require their wives and daughters to visit these men during
campaign times and give them whatever they desired (even sex) to ensure that they would be happy
and do their job. Many of the young ladies came back pregnant, and the descendants of such unions
were automatically Esso. Sometimes these women don’t get to marry and some of them became female
esso, also many daughters born through such unions became esso.

The problem arose as a result of 1) the Esso and the non-Esso components of Ribeche became rivals and
although the non-Esso were larger, they feared the Esso. 2) Their neighbors were either ganging up
against the Ribeche because of esso predations or buying the esso as mercenaries 3) an esso is said to
have slept with his mother without knowing it. As a result the Ribeche people were said to have joined
forces with their own enemies against a common plague. The esso allied with their clients. The esso side
lost. The esso fled into the igun forest where they adopted igungu as their deity in a form of monolatry.
They returned as masked warriors who captured slaves for the slave trade and sold them to the coastal
people in exchange for firearms and European goods. Those who couldn’t fight became traders while
their domestic slaves cultivated the land. Soon they dispersed from the igun settlement and pacified the
whole district before moving into the nearby tribes. Their most famous age grade was the egbo-oro (the
terrible clade) a name which was used by neighbors to refer to the Orugbo people who thus became
egbe-oro = Ogbollo/Ogboro, meaning tribe of villains. The town of Olorogbo (meaning house of
Orugbo) still retains the name and old people still use it.

The fall of the esso was as a result of leadership disputes as well as the fact that their monopoly on trade
and their vengeful predations were resented. As a result the seventh and last unified Onashogu (War
commander) disbanded in 1835. Some groups refused to be disbanded and continued on a more limited
scale. In 1865 the Isule war resulted in the end of slave trade with the unrecognized Onashogu of the
victors declaring the esso an anti-slavery force once more. The esso however received little support or
recognition and they still had succession issues. One of the two factions was kicked out their last domain
in Oguodia and established a stronghold on the Wani River. They became the Sogboro. They settled
south of the Iguo and Ewere in the 1870s and by the 1890s were ruling the two communities with their
Ossi (osi-eso or osiso) being the ruler de jure and de facto.

Sogboro families used to live along the Sassa road. The shrine of igugun and the old court of the Ossi are
located here. However the area has become commercial with lines of shops, some schools, a hospital
located there. The families generally lived in two compounds, one close to Sassa road and the other
farther from it. Many younger son families live in the farther compound while the older son families live
near Sassa road in mostly walled compounds. Sassa road spills over into Waterside where many
individual Sogboro have domiciled.

10. Sowun Quarters, which includes the following three families and their compounds:

Ule Echegu (Chegu), Ule Ekpakpo (Papor) Ule Obaro (Barrow) (many of whom live in Bamboo Grove
Neighborhood of New Quarter).

The Sowun are said to have arrived later than the Iguo sometime in the 1720s. They resided in what is
now New Quarters where their host gave them land. However Suruka’s in-law invited him to live in Iguo.
The Egere left Iguo in the 1780s and asked the Sowun to leave new quarter to a place they will be
shown. It was Bamboo grove where they dwelt. But the bamboo refused to be killed off so they moved
further west to Sowun.

The Sowun quarter lies to the north of Egere and Ikpein which lay by the Govt. Rd. there are two main
compound families, the Echegu living in the east and Papor living in the west. The Barrows also live in
the east, but one extended family moved to Bamboo grove since after the War. They are called
Bamaram.

Suruka is also a Sowun family but they moved into Iguo and have since domiciled there.

11. New Quarters, is essentially the old quarter. The early Iguo settlers are said to have domiciled
here as neigbours of the Ewere who granted them the land where the Iguo now stands.
According to some, the Sowun met them there, while others say the sowun were allowed to
settle there by the Iguo ‘to keep the house fires burning’. When the Egere left Iguo, it was one of
the places they considered settling at, and some did move there, only rejoining their kinsmen
later. They took the land back from the Sowun tenants but allowed them to keep a lot of land to
the north. Today it is what its name implies. It has only one indigent family, but the land belongs
to the Egere and some extended families have more or less moved and founded new
compounds there. Still it composes mostly of individuals who buy land and build here. The
houses are a motley mix of differently styled houses. The following families domicile here in
whole or in part:
Sowun: Bamaram (Obaro) of Bamboo Grove.
Egere: Awaké-Ali (Akali, Ali, Awaké) last indigent family.
Ikpein: Okworo-ule (Okworo) also indigent, but by the turn of the twentieth century they had
moved to ikpin, only to return starting from the 1950s. By the ‘80s all Ikpein resident in New
Quarters were called Okworo-ule.
12. Ikinakpa Road: settled in the ‘40s. The ikinakpa left Iguo in the early 1900s and first domiciled in
Sogboro before moving en masse to Ikinakpa road. Since ikinakpa is just one compound family
living alone, there’s only one big square –which is the road. They live in a semi-linear pattern
along the road, with cul-de-sacs and short streets extending from it, mostly to the north. Each
corresponds to an extended family or a branch of an extended family. They simply keep
extending the side streets and building to the north as newer generations emerge, or they
occupy the many empty plots and orchards along the road.
13. New Iguo Quarters: lay to the north of Ozoba and Azanga. The areas close to these old quarters
are often considered part of these quarters. The part lying on the south side of the government
road (Farmside Estate) is considered distinct enough and is often seen as part of New Quarters.
Housing styles are contemporary, settlement having started in the ‘80s. Farmside is a 2000s
settlement.
14. Waterside: first settled by the Sogboro in the late 19 th century. It was abandoned by the turn of
the 20th century. In the 1940s it was settled from 3 different directions: 1) the Ewere from the
north, 2) the Sogboro from the west, and 3) fishing folks and agents of 2 trading companies on
the riverside.
By the 1980s it was becoming a desirable settlement and its extensive colanut and raffia
plantations began disappearing. Now, buildings reach to the edge of the teaks. The southern
part still retains the old pattern but with contemporary bungalows.
Familial affiliations are not so apparent, instead people may be identified more as Sogboro,
Ewerosa etc.

The Ogbolo/Orugbo People

The Orugbo are an indigenous people who inhabit the fringes of the Niger Delta. Their land
Alegbolo/Alerugbo constitutes one local government area, Ogbolo LGA.

Ogbolo LGA: the headquarter is at Idu and consists of the entire land of the Ogbolo/Orugbo. There are
23 settlements in Ogbolo namely:

The 14 Igu communities:

1. Iguobba (Igu Obba)


2. Indigu (ine Idu n’Igu)
3. Idumigu (Idumu Igu)
4. Igumalo
5. Igonoro
6. Iguedo (Igu Wedo)
7. Iguane (Igu Ane)
8. Atah
9. Ibedere
10. Oruge
11. Oruta
12. Oruwa
13. Odawa
14. Olomosho (Ule Amo esho)

The 23 Ogbom communities

1. Beni (Ibe eni)


2. Ogbomagbo
3. Ekinetta (Ekini ne eta)
4. Ekinebi
5. Idu
6. Idagho
7. Idumu
8. Ominidu
9. Idu Amalo
10. Ogbomalo (Ogbo Amalo)
11. Rebice (Ire ibe-ichi)
12. Wemo
13. Ogwo
14. Sassa
15. Iguodia (Igu Olodia)
16. Aringba
17. Aolo
18. Awodo
19. Ibaga
20. Ibudosa
21. Essossi
22. Ishin
23. Rara

The 8 Osugbo communities

1. Olorogbo (Ule Orugbo)


2. Ossa
3. Oro
4. Osogu (Osa ogu)
5. Ossasin
6. Poto
7. Ira
8. Osin

The 9 Esso communities

1. Igunmagu (igungu magu)


2. Essossa (eso osa)
3. Ishingun
4. Ishin Ogaga
5. Ogumalo
6. Oguoro
7. Ishin Oligun
8. Esoza
9. Oshin Esanju

The 6 Esso diaspora communities

1. Essossi (of Ogbom)


2. Olomosho (of Igu)
3. Esondu (of Idu in Ogbom)
4. Esossa (of Ossa in Osugbo)
5. Idunajha (of Idagho in Ogbom)
6. Sogboro (of Iguane in Igu)

Ogbolo is divided into 5 “kingdoms” namely:

1. Idu: traditional capital of the Orugbo. It held no special place till the British appointed the chief
of Idu over the Ogbolo. After the British left, the other kingdoms were carved out, with each
community having its own Paramount Chief. It is ruled by the Ewe of Idu. Under Idu kingdom
are:
2. Ogbomalo: broke out much later from Idu kingdom. Ruled by the Ogbologbolo of Ogbom (thus
laying claim over the Ogbom, which is erroneous). Under Ogbom Kingdom are:
3. Iguobba: Was the first to break away from Idu. Ruled by the Ewe of Igu. Under Iguobba are:
4. Iguedo: Broke out from Iguobba kingdom. Ruled by the Ewedo of Iguedo. Under Iguedo are:
5. Igunmagu: Broke out from Idu Kingdom. Ruled by the Osshor Of Igunmagu. Under Igunmagu
I.