MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE IKWERRE PEOPLE OF RIVERS STATE ----Part 2
6. "The Ikwerre added "R" to the names of their communities to make it "Rumu".
This is one of the greatest accusations against the Ikwerre. The Ikwerre are accused of adding "R" to the "Umu" prefixes in the names of communities to make it "Rumu" which is not Igbo. This is fallacious.
First, the word "Rumu" as used means "descendant" in Ikwerre. It has been used in the Southern part of Ikwerre land from ancient times as it is the dialectal variant, in Odegu, Emohua, Akpor, Rumuekpe and Ogbakiri.
In the remaining parts of Ikwerre land, other variants "Omu" and "Ụmụ" (as in Ubimini, Apani and Egbeda) are used. Thus, in Ikwerre LGA, the "Rumu" prefix is totally absent in the names of the communities as that is not their dialect.
For instance, while the man from Ikwerre LGA has the words "Face", "head" and "harmattan" as "Ihu", "Ishi" and "Ogwuru", the Obio/Akpor man has them as "Ruwhu", "Risi" and "Okirika"...
Colonial documents dating up to 1930 records names of the Ikwerre communities with the "Rumu" prefixes such as "Rumuji", "Rumuekpe", etc.
Although those of the former Obia Court Area (Port Harcourt) which had formerly been using the "Ụmụ" prefixing, prior to the war, were later adjusted to "Rumu", to reflect the dialect of the rest of the Southern Ikwerre....
The Ikwerre didn't add "R" to any word!. Any word beginning with an "r" in Ikwerre, is an original Ikwerre word!.
7. 'The Ikwerre have sold and exhausted all their lands."
Ikwerre is blessed with a large land area and much of its land area have been lost to the siting of governmental projects and institutions.
Well, there is still massive unused, virgin farmlands in Ikwerre land, in Emohua and Ikwerre LGA'S.
Land may appear to be scarce in Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt LGA'S
In the early days of the founding of Port Harcourt, some of the Diobu/Rebisi population after their land had been acquired by the British, were forcefully relocated and confined to a smaller area as more lands were acquired for expansion....
In the little land areas of Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt, live over 2 million people, bringing about a very high population density. The bulk majority of the people are not natives. In 1963 according to British reports, the Ikwerre were outnumbered in the Diobu area that they only comprised just 7% of the population...
With this high population density, much pressure is put on land to accommodate the ever increasing populations. The Ikwerre land owners even make adjustments to accommodate this ever increasing population.
Don't forget that in the same Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt LGA'S, massive land areas were acquired for the siting of institutions such as The University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State University, University of Education, Polytechnic, Trans amadindustrial area, Multinational firms, military bases, petroleum firms are sited.
The remaining land space are left pressured by an ever increasing population.
8. "The Ikwerre are a hostile people".
The Ikwerre are one of the most hospitable and most accommodating people on earth. They are also a peace loving people. You would not hear of clashes between the indigenes and the non-indigenous settlers.
9. "The Ikwerre youths are mostly cultists"
Cultism as a social vice is widely spread among youths allover Southern Nigeria. No tribe has a monopoly of cultism. It is widespread. It should not be ethnicized, as it cuts across different tribes and tongues.
Cultism is a feature in most urban centres in Southern Nigeria. Port Harcourt as a city has the feature of cultism too and the people involved in this vice are drawn from the different ethnicities that live in Ikwerre land and not just the Ikwerre.
Cultism is a general vice among the youths in Nigeria today. It should be dealt with as a vice. It should not be given ethnic coloration...
10. "The Ikwerre hate the Igbo"
The Igbo today think the Ikwerre hate them due to the insistence of the Ikwerre on being a distinct ethnic group..
The Ikwerre do not hate the Igbo. A great number of Ikwerre wives and grandmothers, hail from the Igbo heartland and so the Ikwerre man hating the Igbo would mean, hating a part of him. Also, since 1913, a great number of heartland Igbos had settled in Port Harcourt and have a large population there.
Apart from the civil war which seem to have brought a feud between both peoples, the larger Igbo have been in Port Harcourt undisturbed for ages.
Generally, thehe Ikwerre are of one people with the mainland Igbo, although historically, the domineering Aro settlers and the Isoma migrant labourers had been an issue.
The Ikwerre man's request to have his tribe accorded as a distinct ethnic group, isn't out of hatred for any group.
It is borne out of several realities. However, the Ikwerre people should not distort history or bring up lies to prove a point. Nations birth nations.
11. "The Ikwerre seized the property of the Igbo after the war"
The war affected all ethnic groups in the former Eastern Region just as it affected the Igbo. Both Ijaws, Ikwerre, Ibibio, Ogoni, lost properties lives during the war.
Ikwerre lost a lot of people to the bitter heat of war. There were stories of prominent people being beheaded and people being sacked out of their communities. War indeed is a wind that blows no one any good.
As for the abandoned property issue, the Ikwerre didn't come together and collectively seized the property of the Igbo.
The State administration at the helm of affairs at that era, didn't involve the Ikwerre.
In fact, the Ikwerre felt marginalized in the affairs of things in the old Rivers State that had led to the call for the creation of Port Harcourt State.
Even some Ijaws lost properties too.
Chief Frank Opigo who had given Biafra her name, is said to have had his property confiscated too...
Many other Ijaw chiefs who had been part of NCNC, prior to the war, faced bitter fate too.
If at all there was any confiscation by any Ikwerre, which it is very unlikely not to have been, then such must have been an individual action and so no one should generalize or judge the entire Ikwerre tribe, based on the actions of a few who comprise an insignificant minority.
It is expedient to look closer before judging or taking conclusions.
Look forward to my next post where I would debunk the propagated lies, distortions and fallacies in Ikwerre history. We would examine the lies and false narratives some Ikwerre tell themselves.