ASABA 1900.

Asaba man in what appears to be riding gear or English recreational dress, poses with his wife. Asaba was place of resistance to European invasion by the Igbo in the early 19th Century, so one wonders about how much British influence is on display in this photo. An Encyclopedia Britannica description of 19th Century Asaba States: “Asaba,lies on the west bank of the Niger River (opposite Onitsha) and on the road to Benin City. A traditional market centre (cassava, yams, palm oil and kernels, kola nuts) for the Igbo people, it was the place where Richard and John Lander, the British explorers of the Niger, were taken captive by the Igbos in 1830. It later became a trading post for Sir George Goldie’s National African Company, and from 1886 to 1900 it served as the administrative headquarters of the territory governed by the Royal Niger Company. The town has been an entrepôt for palm produce and other agricultural exports carried by the Asaba-Onitsha ferry. - It seems economics lent to British influence around the time this picture was taken. NNP Historian, Emeka Keazor weighed in: “It would be interesting to know what the brethren in the Ekumeku resistance movement thought of him. They were arguably the most potent and successful military resistance to the British invasion; successfully defending Onicha Ugbo and Ogwashi Uku in 1898 and 1909, as well as applying offensive tactics, sacking and driving out the Royal Niger Company from their HQ at Asaba in 1898. The RNC were so rattled, they had to send for reinforcements from Lokoja. Their secret?
A. United action by several individual states (from Agbor to Onitsha) under the umbrella of the Ekumeku Society; B. Sophisticated military tactics- a combination of conventional and guerilla warfare, night-time raids and the use of intelligence; C. Old fashioned guts. It takes courage and tenacity to sustain resistance for 20 years. They achieved all these inspite of British deployment of the Maxim Gun. - Well, we may never know, what we do know is that this man and his wife cut a very fine picture! Photo: Museum of Fine Arts Boston Editor: E. Eyo Research: A. A.Tewe

TopBack to Top