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(Isi-Ile-Uku) Issele-Uku an Anioma town is the headquarters of Aniocha-North
Soon after its foundation, Oba Eweka 1 crowned Prince Uwadiaie, his second
son as "Ogie" (King) of the newly founded Isi-Ile-Uku outpost in the
same year the Kingdom was established. For easy administration and perhaps
safety of his son, Oba Eweka 1 sent groups of warriors, royal princes,
administrators, chiefs, local geographers and slaves to accompany his son. The
Also worthy of mention is that subsequent monarchs who ruled Isi-Ile-Uku for many centuries traditionally bore the "Ogie" title traceable to Prince Uwadiaie, the Ogie of Isi-Ile-Uku until the era that "Obi" as a title for traditional rulers within the region became very prominent. The influence of groups may have led to the importation of such words as "Idumu" and "Ogbe" in the lexicon of the people even as it defined the socio-traditional organization of the community. Subsequent incursion of migrants from the eastern region is believed to be the reason behind the change in the title of traditional leadership of the community. It is also a system that has endured, making Issele-Uku royal family one of the oldest in the Anioma nation.
The relationship between future Obis and the Oba of Benin continued in later
centuries with the Oba of Benin approving and crowning future Obis of the
community until Issele-Uku became reasonably independent of the Benin Empire, a
situation that ensured that the Oba merely delegated his high chiefs to
represent him as against the physical appearance he put up in the past. The Obi
of Isi-Ile-Uku Kingdom on receiving his symbol of
Issele-Uku with its corporate existence owed to Benin supports the argument
that not all Anioma are Igbo by origin and not all Igbo are Anioma by origin as
the Kingdom is traditionally believed to be the head of the Ovbi Ikhime (Ezechima)
descendants which includes Onicha-Ado (modern day Onitsha in Anambra State). A
well known oral account of the people also believes Oligbo, the first son of
Ovbi Ikhime popularly referred to in history as Ezechima to be the founder of
Today, however the influence exercised by
Amazingly, in the past, the Obi performed certain festivals in Issele-Uku as
was done in
The Ine festival is gestured with the sound of gunshots which in effect ends the 7-day Iba Nzu observation thus opening all roads that lead to the palace of the Obi, an obvious commencement of the Ine festival. Every traditional chief in the town is also expected to fire his own gun which usually follows with hearty shouts of joy charging the air. The atmosphere becomes further charged up with the emergence of the King's mother and wives all coming out in a single file with hairdo styled in Ancient Benin manner. The King begins by doing the royal dance after which his traditional chiefs are expected to dance to the King and also pay their royal homage which is expectedly occurs once every year. The "Ina-Aka" ceremony was lastly performed by titled chiefs in respect to the Obi who appreciates every bit of the homage paid to him.
The Issele-Uku people today speak Enuani which ethnographers say is a mixture
of mainly Igbo with Ika and
Like many other Anioma towns and communities, Issele-Uku is a self-developing town wit near absence of government presence in the community. Its neglect and proneness to erosion is well known. With erosion scourging the town, indigenes have been left to their fate battling the natural disaster to no end. Internal acrimony and internal feuds have also combined to wreck the havoc underdevelopment on the town even as foreign based association of the town's origin makes impervious efforts and contributions towards the development of the town.
In 2007, the Government of Delta State proposed the Issele Uku - Onicha Uku - Ukwu Nzu - Obamkpa Idumu road in the list of roads to be constructed in the state. However, in a dramatic twist, a the Vanguard newspaper of Thursday, May 29, 2008 on its page 12, gave a report claiming that the Governor of the State was taking steps to complete the Issele-Uku Obamkpa road. The report was welcomed with protest among prominent indigenes of the town as the people wondered what had happened to N200 million earmarked for the project. In another statement signed by Hon Solomon Arenyeke, the state chief of staff, a message was published congratulating the Governor of the state, Dr Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan for commissioning stree-lights in Asaba and Warri and Issele-Uku - Onicha-Uku- Ugbodu Obamkpa Idumu Ogo road.
The vanguard of June 23, 2008 would also report the setting aside of N1 billion By the State Government for the completion of the Issele-Uku Ring Road and the towns already mentioned here. The people like their other Anioma towns and community has really never had it good with developments coming from the State Government not even as the headquarters of Aniocha-South Local Government thus prompting the indigenes to further calls on illustrious sons and daughters of the community to come to the rescue of the town. Although giant strides have been made by such indigenes in almost every facet of endeavour in the life of the town but developments remain to be seen in the town once in the fore-front of development of nearby small Anioma towns and communities in the colonial era.
In 2007, Ex-Governor James Ibori announced his intention to relocate the
National Youth Service Corp Orientation
The history of Issele-Uku cannot be complete without the mention of Rev
Olisemeke, Samuel Martin Wadei. He was one man that prominently contributed to
the growth and development of Issele-Uku and put the town in the heart of
After the civil war, he was said to have handed over all the schools without asking for compensation from the Government. Olisemeke, an illustrious son of Issele-Uku stands as one of the greatest Anioma indigenes with his contributions towards the development of the Anioma region.
Dr. Victor Chukwudi Ukponu (1927-2001) born in Ogbeidibo village was another
distinguished personality of Issele-Uku extraction. He was a dogged-fighter,
idealist and above all a peacemaker that vigorously pursued the development of
Issele-Uku through the setting up of community projects in the town and beyond.
He contributed to the setting up of the Nigerian Police Station in Issele-Uku (1968); The New Nigeria Bank (1978) Bendel state Library; Issele-Uku Branch; The magistrate's Court (1987) The High Court of Justice (1987) among several others. He also contributed to the making of Issele-Uku as the headquarters of Aniocha-North and became its chairman 1982-1993. Dr Ukponu headed the Issele-Uku Development Committee for twelve years. He brokered peace between individuals and villages within the Issele-Uku society and drew the pleasant attention of other ethnic-groups to the Anioma nation. Dr Ukponu, in fact is regarded as one of the Issele-Uku society builders in modern times
The Roman Catholic Diocese known in Latin as isseleukuanus is a diocese
located in the town Issele-Uku in
By Emeka Esogbue
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