History of the Ibibio People
The Ibibios are a group of people primarily found in the state of Cross River in southeast Nigeria. The average Ibibio village has about 500 residents. Each hamlet or village is made up of a group of rectangular complexes with many rooms that are placed around a courtyard.
The most significant ethnic group in Akwa Ibom State is known by the moniker “Ibibio,” which is widely accepted and used for both linguistic and ethnic classifications.
The lineage head, who may also be the secular leader, is a moral figure with ritual obligations who guards ancestor shrines. The traditions of descended from a single parent village or village group and the possession of a common tutelary spirit and totem bind groups of villages to form bigger geographical groupings.
It is worthy of note to state the striking similarities between the Ibibio people and the Anaang, Oron, and Efik peoples; they are said to be connected. This is because they share the same personal names, culture, and traditions as the Ibibio. In addition, the sub-clans including Anang, Efik, and Oron are thought to have originated as a result of the Ibibio’s early occupation of the region.
Meanwhile, history also has it that the Ibibio people’s current country of origin (Nigeria) is not where they originally came from. The information at hand points to Usak Edet (Isangele) in Cameroon as their native country.
In this piece, Naijabiography explores the history and culture of the Ibibio people, including their traditional beliefs, their political structure, and their trade and economic potential.
The Ibibio people, according to history, are thought to have been the region’s first occupants. They are thought to have arrived at their current location at approximately 7000 B.C. It is unclear when the Ibibio entered the state, notwithstanding the historical evidence revealing their dwelling in the state.
However, some researchers speculate that the Ibibios may have originated from the central Benue valley, namely from the Jukun influence in ancient Calabar. The extensive use of manila, a common form of currency used by the Jukuns, is another telling sign. Along with this, there is the Jukun drive to the shore in the south, which resembles how Akwa Ibom communities came to be where they are today.
The Ibibio migration story will be more succinctly explained by Cameroon, according to the most widely acknowledged account of Ibibio history. Oral testimony from field workers who claim that the core Ibibio people belonged to the Afaha lineage, whose ancestral home was Usak Edet in the Cameroons, supported this claim. The Ekoi people consist of the Usak Edet (Isanguele) as a subgroup (the Ejagham). This was based on the assumption that Usak Edet, a member of the Ibibio people, was known as Edet Afaha (Afaha’s Creek), reflecting the fact that Ibibio people descended from Usak Edet.
Following their initial arrival in what would later become Nigeria, the majority of the population first resided in Ibom. The Ibibio are thought to be the original inhabitants of the Ibom settlement, which was established by their Ibom ancestors and named Ibom in their honour. At Arochukwu, where they lived for a very long time and bowed down to the Sky God known as Abasi Ibom enyon.
Ibini Ukpabi was likewise revered by them (Ibritam). They abandoned the Ibom Kingdom and went to the modern-day Ibibioland due to conflicts with the Igbo people who were migrating south, which culminated in the Ibibio War that occurred between 1630 and 1720 A.D. In their current location near Ibom, a few villages have already been built.
The Ibibio people travelled south after the Aro-Igbo-Ibibio battle in 1550 A.D., where they discovered their current location, a virgin and unoccupied area. The Ibibio initially made their home at Ikono, from which point they migrated or dispersed to other locations, eventually becoming the indigenous people of the current Ibibio territories.
Ikono Ibom, a clan that was separated from the main Ikono Ibom, went to Ikot Oku Ikono village, which is presently in the Uyo Local Government Area at this point. Nsit Ibom relocated to Afia Nsit, now in Nsit Ibom, and Iman Ibom moved to Ekom Iman, now in Etinan Local Government Area. The three consider themselves to be Ibom offspring and blood brothers.
Ikot Oku Ikono, the main character in the Ikono Ibom Uyo clan, moved to Ikot Oku Ikono and formed the Ikono Anyaan and Ikot Ekpeyak Ikono. As stock and descendants of Ikono Ibom, the three offspring of Ibom have a common social, traditional, and cultural milieu.
The Ekom tree (coula edulis), which Iman Ibom, one of Ibom’s sons, planted there and gave the settlement its name. Ekom Iman is a native of the area where Iman Ibom settled. Iman had children, and some of them moved away to create new villages for the Iman Ibom clan, including Ikot Obioinyang and Afagha Effiate.
Ebre is the totem of the Ikono Ibom clan, who forbids the killing or maiming of this mythical animal. Upon the death of Iman Ibom, his spirit transforms into the Iman Ibom clan deity, “The Itina Iman deity,” and since oyot is the clan deity – totem, it is forbidden to kill or eat such mythical beasts. Water attracted Nsit Ibom to Afia Nsit, where he settled. His offspring then expanded to Mbak Nsit and other locations of that tribe. Iyak Anyan, the Anyan Nsit deity, is the totem of the Nsit Ibom tribe. They served as the focus of this study and had similar social, traditional, and cultural milieu traits in common.
The Ibibio People
In the 1963 census, the Ibibio were counted at over two million and were divided into the following six main regions: the Riverain (Efik), Northern (Enyong), Southern (Eket), Delta (Andoni-Ibeno), Western (Anang), and Eastern (Ibibio proper). These primary divisions are subdivided further into groups that can be distinguished by their geographic location. The Enyong (Aro), Calabar, Itu, and Eket groups of Efik are primarily found in the Calabar Province.
The Enyong (Aro), Calabar, Itu, and Eket groups of Efik are primarily found in the Calabar Province. The Kumba and Victoria ethnic groups live in the Cameroons, which are part of the Riverain region. The Enyong (Aro) and Ikot Ekpene of the province of Calabar, as well as the Bende division of the province of Owerri, are divisions of the Eyong. Within the province of Calabar is the Eket division.
The province of Calabar divides the Adoni-Ibeno into the Eket and Opopo. The two groups of Anang are the Abak and Ikot Ekpene of the province of Calabar, and the Aba of the province of Owerri. The Uyo, Itu, Eket, Ikot Ekpene, Enyong (Aro), Abak, Opopo, and Calabar groups comprise the Ibibio proper. They also comprise the Owerri Province’s Aba division.