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Iganishu Ubulu-Ukwu: Aka Anyi Ka Odi


Ubulu-Uku: A Hilly Town Steeped in History

Ubulu-Uku or Ubulu-Ukwu, is an Igbo town boasting the largest population in Aniocha  Local Government Area, Delta State, is located roughly 30 kilometers west of the Niger River. It borders Ogwashi-Uku to the east, Obior to the west, Issele-Uku to the north, and Ubulu-Unor to the south.

Ubulu-Uku's landscape is defined by rolling hills. The Enugu-iyi and Abuedo areas sit atop a long stretch of these hills, while the town center, spreading outwards from the Ubulu tree towards Isho, Akwu, Ogbeofu, and Idumu-Osume, occupies a valley. Rivers born from these hills flow through the entire clan, eventually reaching the sea by way of neighboring clans.

Despite the challenges of erosion caused by its hilly terrain, Ubulu-Uku offers breathtaking scenery, especially at night when viewed from a vantage point. The town boasts a vibrant history and a close-knit community.  


Waterways and Transportation

Traditionally, the town relied on the Iyi-Agor stream for water. Today, there's pipe-borne water, but several smaller streams like Nkpitime-Isho, İyi-Nta, İyi-Eko, and İyi-Ozala continue to serve various parts of Ubulu-Uku.

Three major roads provide access to the town. The first runs from Asaba through Ibusa to Ogwashi-Uku, then through Ubulu-Uku to Obior and Umunede. The second branches from the Ubulu-Uku to Umunede road at Idumu-Osume village, passing through Akwu village and on to Issele-Uku. The third branches from the Ubulu-Uku to Umunede road at the post office junction, running through Akpama, Agbonta-Udogwu, and Isho village to Ubulu-Unor.  


Lively Culture and Rich History

Ubulu-Uku is known for its skilled weavers, both men and women. They produce textiles admired by both local and international visitors using traditional hand looms.

The town's rich history centers around King Ezemu, a renowned hunter and herbalist whose fame extended far beyond Ubulu-Uku. Legend has it that the Oba of Benin invited him to prepare special herbal remedies, and Ezemu's descendants continue to be recognized for their herbal knowledge.  


Founding of Ubulu-Uku

Ezemu was an extraordinary hunter and herbalist, known far beyond the boundaries of Ubulu-Uku and its surrounding areas, reaching every corner of the former Benin Empire. His herbal prowess was so renowned that the Oba of Benin summoned him to prepare a special remedy, "Izo-Idayi," which successfully extended the Oba's life. Following this, the Oba instructed his successor to continue seeking the services of Ezemu or his descendants.

Before establishing Ubulu-Uku, Ezemu and his brothers initially settled in Ubulu-Unor. The name "Ubulu" refers to a significant tree still standing in the center of Ubulu-Uku, despite severe burns, while "Uku" means large. Ezemu chose to settle at the base of this tree, next to a deep gulley with a water source that attracted wandering nomads.


From Afor to Ubulu-Unor

According to Ubulu oral tradition, Ezemu's grandparents migrated from Ife. Ezemu, often referred to as the king with long hair, "Ezi Isi Iyomiyo," moved with his relatives from Ife to Afor, a village in today's Ndokwa Local Government Area of Delta State.

  After a prolonged stay in Afor, Ezemu's parents instructed their five sons—Obodo, Ezemu, Alibo, Aniga, and Ekelie—to migrate and establish new settlements. They were given a pot (Ududu) filled with herbs and told to settle wherever the pot fell. This led them to Ubulu-Unor, where they first settled. From Ubulu-Unor, Ezemu moved to found Ubulu-Uku.


Ezemu Moves to Ubulu-Uku

Ezemu decided to settle in Ubulu-Uku and invited his sister Obodo to join him. She declined, stating that since Ezemu had founded a new and larger Ubulu (Ubulu-Uku), their initial settlement should remain their home (Ubulu-Unor). While Obodo and her descendants, known as the Okpalas of Umuata, never ruled Ubulu-Unor, Ezemu's lineage continued to lead.

  Ezemu had two children: a son, Ijedinka-Jezie, whom he groomed to succeed him, and a daughter, Ozim, intended for marriage.


Ezemu Becomes the first King of Ubulu-Uku

Recognizing the growing community, Ezemu proposed unifying the three founding groups under a single leader. After both Ekei and Anugwe declined the role, Ezemu was unanimously chosen as the first king of Ubulu-Uku. He then traveled to Ubulu-Unor to receive a formal coronation from Obodo.

Ubulu-Uku's story is one of nature's beauty, a deep connection to its roots, and a thriving community.   


Ubulu-uku Traditional Festivals

Ubulu-Uku celebrates throughout the year, marking various agricultural and social milestones. Here's a glimpse into some key festivals:


Ubulu-Uku Ine Festival

The Ine Festival is a multipart celebration with elements of satire and social commentary.


Obi's Purification and Atonement


Isho Iwu and Igba Iwu


Ekeonugbo, Mooukwu, and Ine Ubi

These events mark the conclusion of the festival cycle, involving offerings, sacrifices, and the disposal of festival materials.



This year-end event signifies the conclusion of the traditional festival calendar.


Obi Ofulue (1964 – Present Day)

If any period can be termed the Modern Era of Ubulu-Uku, it is the era beginning with the reign of Obi Ofulue I. Ascending the throne on September 4, 1925, Obi Ofulue I reigned until 1964. His significant contributions were in the fields of education and religion.

Under Obi Ofulue I, religion flourished. He actively encouraged missionaries, embraced Christianity, and became very involved in the church. During his reign, Christians were allowed to enter the palace and remove many works of art previously used in animal worship. Most of these items were burned, while several priceless ones were sent to the British Museum. It was also during his time that the current Anglican Church in Ubulu-Uku was constructed. Obi Ofulue I, a devout Anglican, played a direct role in its building, along with others. Despite his Anglican devotion, he supported the growth of other Christian denominations as well.

With the establishment of churches came the introduction of formal education. The Anglicans, followed by the Catholics, were the first to introduce formal schools to Ubulu-Uku during Obi Ofulue I’s reign.


Ubulu-Uku Royal Kingdom Installs New King

In the wake of Obi Edward Ofulue III's tragic death, the Ubulu-Uku community in Aniocha South local government area of Delta State has celebrated the installation of a new king after the former monarch was abducted and murdered on January 5, 2016 along Igbodo-Obior road in Delta State for a ransom of N100 million . His decomposed body was discovered in Umunede, Ika North East LG, 15 days later.

The newly crowned king is Chukwuka Noah Akaeze I, son of the late Obi Edward Ofulue III., adhering to the customs and traditions of the royal lineage of Ubulu-Uku people.



Ubulu-Ukwu Quarters

  Ubulu-Uku home town is divided into several quarters:

Enugu Iyi





Illo Akwu



Idumu Osume

Ani Janet





Onicha Okpe

Onicha Uku



Ani Ekei

Agbonta Udoogwu


Idumu Udala

Ogbe Etiti





Idumu Ishonu

Idumu Ugbo



The Colonial Era

By 1884-85, during the Berlin Conference, European powers divided Africa among themselves. The British, who conquered this part of West Africa, operated primarily through seaports where earlier European traders had established posts. Initially, Europeans were content with coastal trading, leaving influential African chiefs to act as middlemen in the slave trade and later in the palm oil trade after the abolition of slavery.

By 1857, the Church Missionary Society (C.M.S), aided by some ex-slaves under the leadership of Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther, had brought the gospel to Onitsha. From there, they began to spread both eastwards and westwards into the hinterland. Before this, they operated mainly along the routes of the Royal Niger Company (R.N.C), which had significant bases in Lokoja and Asaba.

As the Europeans and their West African Frontier Force advanced westward from the Asaba end of the Niger River, news reached Ubulu-Uku that many towns and villages had fallen to the white men, causing widespread concern.


The White Men and Ubulu-Uku Ekumeku Organization

In Ubulu-Uku, the Ekumeku organization was led by figures like Idegwu (Ogbu-Okpukpu) Osu, Unegwu Eze Alume, and Nwiwu their mother. They prepared charms, known as Okili, believed to be capable of making the white men turn back. These charms were buried at the four cardinal points from which they expected the white men to arrive.

Despite these preventive measures, the Ekumeku leaders did not rely solely on charms. They trained militarily and devised a method to detect when the white men had defied their charms and entered their territory. They prepared herbs and fed them to a cock, which was then suspended in a palm tree with instructions to crow daily unless it saw a white man. The cock was not fed anything afterwards. It remained strong until one fateful morning in 1904 when it did not crow, indicating that the white men had entered Ubulu land. The Ekumeku members, rallying under their resolution "Onye azokwana ka anyi kwu" (Let no one retreat, let us stand firm), prepared for battle.

The Ekumeku ambushed and massacred the British forces in large numbers around the forest near Alumu village pond, known as Enugu Ogodo Alumu. A native flutist, positioned atop a palm tree with an opening in the center, used his flute to signal his men whenever he saw the British forces. However, the British eventually located and killed the flutist. Without his guidance, the previously invincible Ekumeku forces of Ubulu-Uku were eventually defeated.

With the defeat of the Ekumeku forces, the entire Ubulu-Uku fell under British rule.


The Arrival of St. Anthony’s College and Anglican Grammar School in Ubulu-Uku

In 1955, the Anglican Mission announced on June 31st at Egbu – Owerri that they intended to establish a grammar school west of the River Niger. The town or village that first deposited 8,000 naira with the mission would be selected. Ezekiel Afamefune Mordi, attending the Synod, quickly informed His Royal Highness Obi Ofulue I. Together, they mobilized the community and gathered contributions from Ubulu-Uku residents and those living abroad.

Meanwhile, the Roman Catholics in Ubulu-Uku, feeling overshadowed by the Anglicans, sought to secure their own educational institution. They appealed to His Lordship, Bishop P.J. Kelly, who graciously approved the establishment of a Roman Catholic grammar school in Ubulu-Uku without requiring any financial contribution from the locals. This decision was met with great joy, and in 1956, the first batch of students commenced their studies at St. Anthony’s College, Ubulu-Uku.

The swift establishment of St. Anthony’s College prompted the Anglican Mission to hasten their own efforts. By 1957, the Anglican Grammar School was opened with Mr. E. Afam Mordi as the first principal. Thus, within just two years, Ubulu-Uku saw the establishment of two grammar schools, fulfilling a long-held aspiration of the community.



Have a link you think we should add here? Send your email to:-


Ubulu-Uku USA

Ubulu Ezemu

St Anthony's College, Ubulu-Uku

Ekumeku War

Jesus Sanctuary Ministries

Kardinia Hope Orphanage, Ubulu-Uku - The Royal Kingdom of Ibusa

Ubulu-Uku.Com - The Kingdom of Ubulu-Ukwu


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