Little Known Facts About the Ijaws #10

THE IJOS – THE ORUS – ORUBO

1898 Map of the Niger Delta

EXTRACTS

1.“…ORU is another name of Ijo. The Abohs call Ijos “Indo ORU”, and as living traits of this, the title of the members of the Andoni native authority is known as “Andoni ORU” which is the same as Indo ORU…”

2. “…The king of Aboh received them and gave them their present site to settle. This settlement is known among the Abohs or Ibos as “Umuoru” meaning the people of ORU (or Ijos)…”

UMU-ORU means CHILDREN OF ORU

3. “…The Abohs call the Ijos ‘ORU’…one of the names of Ijo; while the Benis [Bini] call the Abohs and Kwales ORU, presumably from the fact of Abohs’ original connection with the Ijos or the ORUS…”

4. “… The early British explorers applied the curious name “ORU” to the Ijo west of Brass from the Nun entrance to Taylor creek, Dr Baikie said of them in 1854. ‘From the mouth of the river (NUN) up to this point (TAYLOR CREEK), the country on either side is named ORU. The people are of the same tribe as who inhabit the tract of country up to the Rio Formoso where however they are called EJO or OJO by which name they are known at Abo, at Brass and even Bonny, by English palm oil traders. They are often termed Jo-men. Throughout this district but one language is spoken with but little dialectical difference….. Records as Enugu show that certain peoples in the Orlu and Okigwi areas are called ORU, a name applied in Ibo to waterside people….”

5. “…The ORU or Ijo or Udso of Koelle [Kwale] are identical with Brass, at the mouth of the Nun on the coast, otherwise called Hebu or Nempe by their Ibo neighbours. This language is spoken to the extent of 100 miles from the mouth of the Nun, to the boundary of Abo territory: how far inland towards Benin, on the right and towards the Ibo country on the left is yet unknown…”

6. “…About three hours from Sunday Island, we came to inhabited villages; we induced two canoes to come off, from who we learnt that the people between Brass and Aboh are called ORU…”

7. “….July 2:…Some of the neighbouring chiefs of ORU came off, with whom we had conversation about legal trade…”

8. “…November 3: weighed early this morning, and anchored of Agberi, the first ORU village below the Aboh district…”

9. “…The country around Ekow is flat and swampy, and for miles to the westward is intersected by innumerable small creeks or streams. Numerous villages are scattered about this uninviting district whose semi-savage population belong chiefly to the ORU or IDZO tribe, speaking the same language as the people of Brass… “

THE ANCIENT ORU ALSO INTERACTED WITH NEIGHBOURING HINTERLAND OR UPLAND PEOPLES, SUCH AS THE PEOPLES NOW KNOWN AS THE YORUBA, BINI, IGBO AND NUPE. IT IS CLEAR THAT THE ORU REFERRED TO HERE ARE THE SAME ORU THAT FORMED ANCESTRAL IJO PEOPLE.  REGARDING THE ORU ASSIMILATION INTO THE UPLAND IGBO WE HAVE THE FOLLOWING:

10. “…There is a distinction within the Igbo speaking people between ORU-na-Igbo. This distinction has also its implications in political organisations. The origin of these words is still problematic…. ORU referred to the “riverine or riverine-derived, slave dealing, kingdom associated peoples; Igbo meant upland, slave producing, kingship-lacking populations.” The ORU has a well-defined kingship structure, which moves from the Obi, Ndi-Ichie down to the titleholders. The saying Igbo enweghi eze (the Igbo lack kingship institutions) is accredited to the ORU, in contempt for the Igbo (Agu 1989: 216–217). Nevertheless, it is still said that ORU na Igbo bu nwanne (ORU and Igbo are siblings).….”

11. “…it is a common belief in ORU-Igbo that they migrated from a place called Ado naIdu1 in the 15th century. The paper also investigates the essence of ORU or why the people of Oru-Igbo pride themselves as Oru-Igbo instead of strictly identifying themselves as Igbo without the “Oru or Oruness” appendage as they often do when the need arises or when it becomes necessary to accentuate their peculiar culture such as the kingship institution…”

 “…The ORU-Igbo people are part of an Igbo stock with riverine culture (Odili, 1985:3). They live close to the river with a very rich history (Eyisi, 2010:6). Traditionally, their main two occupations are fishing and farming which take place all through the year. All the communities that make up ORU-Igbo are covered in lush green vegetation. The water body that enhances rain falls in turn flourishes the vegetation. Therefore, there is no shortage of water in ORU-Igbo. (N.A.E:5). They do not lack food or fish because their fertile lands produce bountifully while the river serves as the source of fish….”

12. “….Though there are other ORU-Igbo in the South South and South East of Nigeria but Oru-Igbo as an umbrella name for sub-cultural Igbo group predates the colonial era. Tracing the exact date of its adoption would be a difficult task. The word “ORU-Igbo” is an embracing name for all the riverine Igbo with a similar culture. Generally, Oru-Igbo people are referred to as Oru-Igbo in Igboland not because they are not Igbo but because of their rich ecology and culture. The riverine Igbo distinguish themselves from the other Igbo….When an assemblage of Igbo is being addressed, it is addressed as Oru-na-Igbo: Oru and Igbo. Oru-Igbo distinct ecology establishes in Oru-Igbo the familiarity with fresh water (riverine terrain) and humid tropical rainforest environment. One could deduce from the foregoing that the meaning of ORU connotes a mark of identity promoted by ORU-Igbo with the sole aim of announcing their riverine culture….”

13. “…the ORU-Igbo in Oguta L.G.A. understand the Onitsha and central Igbo saying, dalu, i.e. thank you, the Oru-Igbo themselves say mbuana, instead, a phrase not immediately understood by those from other parts of Igboland…”

Note: the term ‘mbuana’ or ’mbana’ Imbana, Imbanua, is also understood in Ijo language to mean ‘thank you’, demonstrating that the ORU-Igbo are indeed ancestrally related to the main ORUS or Ijos.

The rulers of Atani (now a part of Oru-Igbo) were at one time referred to as the ATANI-ORU, just like ANDONI, where we had the ANDONI-ORU, and the main Ijo in the central delta where we have the INDO-ORU (ONDO-ORU). For the Oru, ORU is also the title for King, just like the Nile Valley (Ancient Egypt) HORU (HORUS) or HERU and also Nubia (Ancient Sudan).

14. “…Those Nubian text which make any reference to the monarchy are conspicuously lacking in the magniloquent protocols of earlier times; they employ simply the Greek title Basileos (‘king’) or its Nubian equivalent, Ourou [Oru]...”

15. “…Egyptologist Richard H. Wilkinson comments on how “HORUS was one of the earliest of Egyptian deities. His name is attested from the beginning of the Dynastic Period and it is probable that early falcon deities such as that shown restraining the `marsh dwellers’ on the Narmer Palette represent this same god” (200). Rulers of the Predynastic Period in Egypt (c. 6000-3150 BCE) were known as “Followers of HORUS” which attests to an even earlier point of veneration in Egypt’s history…From the Early Dynastic Period (c. 3150-c.2613 BCE) onwards, HORUS was linked with the king of Egypt…” 

16. “…According to Olumide Lucas in his book The Religion of the Yoruba 1948, on p168 he states “…The Oru(n) is derived from the Ancient Egyptian word Horu, which was the old name of the Sun-god in Ancient Egypt…” and on p393 he states “…Ijaw (ie Ijo), Oru (land spirit) – Horu = An Egyptian god, Orau (sun) – Ra = Sun-god….”

OTHER RELEVANT INFORMATION

Meaning of ORU in Ijo language – Other pronounciation is ERU.

ORU – GOD, DEITY, ANGEL, DIVINE, DIVINITY

ORU – ANCIENT, VERY OLD

Meaning of HORU (HERU, HORUS) – GOD, DEITY, DIVINITY, ANCIENT TIME

ORU is the same as HORU (HERU, HORUS) without the H

Meaning of ORUBO and the many ORU names in Ijo culture, such as ORUKARI, ORUBEBE.

ORUBO means AN ORU PERSON, A FOLLOWER OF ORU (HORUS),

UMUORU (UMU-ORU) means CHILDREN OF ORU one of the names referring to Ijo people by Aboh (Kwale) in old times.

The name URHOBO derived or is a corruption of ORUBO. Some other variations are URIABO. Some traditional Urhobo historians state that the Urhobo descended from Prince URIABO, i.e. ORUBO of the ancient ruling caste of Ancient Egypt. The Urhobos share fraternal and maternal relationships with the Ijos. Their other name SOBO is equally derived from the term, UZOBO, which was derived from UZON-BO, OR IZON-BO, meaning a PERSON OF IJO. The Ijos retained the name ORU on account of being the descendants of the ancient Followers of ORU (HORU, HORUS).

EXTRACTS TAKEN FROM THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTS

Adams W Y (1984) p450, Unesco General History of Africa vol 2, Edited by G Moktar (1981), p303.

Alagoa E J (1964) The Small Brave City State, p7.

Crowder S (1970 2nd Edition) Journal of an Expedition Up the Niger and Tshadda [Benue] Rivers undertaken by Macgregor Laird in 1854 – Missionary Research and Travels no.15, p10.

https://www.ancient.eu/Horus/

Mockler A F (1897) From up the Niger, Narratives of Major Claude MacDonalds Mission to the Niger and Benue Rivers West Africa. p13

Njoku U J (2005) Nordic Journal of African Studies 14(1): 99–116 (2005) Colonial Political Re-Engineering and the Genesis of Modern Corruption in African Public Service: The Issue of the Warrant Chiefs of South Eastern Nigeria1 as a Case in Point

Onumonu U P THE DEVELOPMENT OF KINGSHIP INSTITUTION IN ORU-IGBO UP TO 1991

Owonaro S K (1949) The History of Ijo (Ijaw) and Her Neighbouring Tribes in Nigeria, pp



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