Oguta is one of the most popular and prominent Oru (Riverine) towns.
It is located at the Northern Banks of a Lake known by the same name
The Oguta lake is a natural trough that drains the Njaba and Awbana river and through which the Orashi river slips in an ox bow formation
The Lake is known traditionally as Ogbuide or Uhamiri
Oguta traces it's origin to Ameshi clan through one of their ancestors Ekenyi.
According to tradition, Inyi and Ekenyi were brothers.
Oguta was the son of Ekenyi, Inyi and Ogwuma a son of Ekenyi lived up river in illah, Ogwuma was Ezeigwe of the Ameshi people as at the time meanwhile Idah and Aboh were embroiled in a war, both sides tried to court the help of Ameshi but the Ameshi King accepted gifts from both parties but helped neither... in retaliation, Aboh and Illah jointly attacked Illah which resulted in Ameshi people fleeing down River. Inyi branched off to settle in their current location.
The Oguta first went to Ase down in Ndokwa East where they resisted Aboh in proceeding wars.
These wars with Aboh necessitated their migration inland (as would be seen with many other Oru clans)
From Ase they passed through Ogwu where they were joined by people from Akri Ogidi to settle at Iberu but had to move again following protracted wars with Egbema people.
They settled inland in a place called Obodo Akpuruekwe along the banks of Orashi River.
A more detailed oral tradition which emphasizes Oguta relationship with Benin insists that the Ameshi were part of the Onicha groups which lived at Ado n'Idu(Benin) and they had left at the same time Onicha people left following the Oba Gbunwala /Asije wars however they migrated and settled at illah first.
The story of how Oguta got to their current location is complicated and intriguing...
According to their oral tradition at Obodo Akpuruekwe
A fisherman called Eneke Okitutu discovered the Lake at where Orashi and Njaba joined it... he sailed up the lake to the Northern banks which was already Inhabited by the Obutu people in which he subsequently became aquainted with their chief priest Ogini.
It was from Obutu that he crosses over to the present location of Oguta which was inhabited by Awa people and their King and the neighbouring Obe-Agwa and amozua people
The Awa, Amozua and Obe-Agwa were Southern Igbo autochthons who lived in the vicinity of the Oguta before the entrance of the Oru.
They seem to have developed cordial relations exchanging fish for farm produce
Eventually making a pact with Oguta allowing them to settle alongside them
But Oguta did not keep the pact, they prepared for war and in the skirmish that ensued the Awa King was killed and his head buried which led to the migration of the Awa to their current location.
Inyi and Oguta form the Ameshi clan,
in the course of their journey to Ase there were Oguta/Ogute settlements that broke off to settle around Ndokwa.
Oguta comprises of 27 villages, those villages are: Umudei, Umuokwokomoshi, Umuorima, Okeichi, Umunnebukwu, Obe-Agwa, Umuammam, Umundanike, Umutogwuma, Umuajoma, Obutu, Umuigbo, Ajoma, Amaozua, Umunsoha, Umuoyata, Ishibe, Umuenemanya, Umunkwu, Umuosuma, Umuoriukwu, Umundorowoku, Umuachishi, Umuopu, Umunnariukwu.
Oguta combines a constitutional monarchical system of government with a gerontocratic system common amongst the ukwuani.
It has a tripartite leadership at the head of which is the Ezeigwe who is the Obi, the Ezeukwu who is the King maker and the Iyasara who is the war leader
The Ezeigwe cabinet is made up of titled chiefs known as Oririnze.
In Oguta, the council of chiefs right in rank next to the Ezeigwe were greeted as follows
A regent in Oguta is known as Udom
The two highest and most expensive titles taken in Oguta are the Ogbuefi and the Igbu.
Prestigious women of high achievement were allowed to take the Ogbuefi title.
The three most popular deities were Igwe, Orashi and Uhamiri.
Other Oru towns that make up the Oguta clan are the Oru towns which subsequently settled around the Lake
They are: Nnebukwu, Ezi Orsu, Orsu-Obodo, Nkweshi, Mgbele
Owu masquerade according to legend originated in Orsu-Obodo
Orsu-Obodo was always the first town to dance owu season followed by Oguta.
The head of the owu is the Osere
The Osere presides over the installation of Nze
In 1885, the royal Niger Company discovered Oguta lake as a preferred base of operations for palm oil trade which led to their rapid increase in popularity and economic importance.
The Aro too established trading posts around Oguta both during the era of slave trade and during the palm oil trade. Oguta also maintained good trade relationships with Owerri, Isuama, Ossomari, Ndoni and Onicha
The doggedness and resilience of Oguta Ameshi coupled with economic success they soon rivalled and even overshadowed Aboh
Aboh failed to vanquish them.
Cc Charles Kelechi Alozie