HISTORY OF ORON NATION - (THE ORO PEOPLE)

ORON NATION

HISTORY OF ORON NATION – (THE ORO PEOPLE)

HISTORY OF ORON NATION - (THE ORO PEOPLE)

Oro was in existence in the pre-colonial period in Nigeria and was formerly a part of the province called the South-Eastern state. Natives of this area speak the dialect also known as Oro. Most Oro people also speak and understand the Efik language fluently. The Oro also has some dialectical similarities with the Ibibio and Annang people, hence their communication in Ibibio and Annang languages is very proficient.

History has it that by 2370 BC Oro also known as {Oro Nation} had already been settled down in the present location known as Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria on the West Coast of African Sub Region, Akwa Ibom Gulf Line to Gulf of Guinea Atlantic Ocean South, after the Great Flood (Noah’s deluge). The Community as at then and up until this moment still uses their dialect Language originated by them as far back as 2370 BC.

The mass movements raided by Bantus the warriors, into many Communities did not mean that Oro people migrated from the Bantus, the Cameroun or Palestinians. Neither the Bantus attire nor any other cultural equivalent anywhere portrays that of Oro language or names. None of Oro Nation culture of names was derived from Bantu or any language elsewhere as immigrant. The Oros are peculiar people, strong contenders in nature wherever they are found, with the accolade `Oro Ukpabang Okpo`. Oro man complexion is not reflecting other ethnic nationalities or immigrant somewhere into Oro Nation. Their complexion is not as fair as the Palestinians or of the Israelis nor as dark as people residing around Cameroon mountain when Oro Nation had already came into being after the creation of the world, even before pre colonialism came to being when Nigeria and Cameroon did not come into existence as Countries. Oron folklore tells of “Abang” who was a powerful warrior and the Chief wrestler of the art-form known as `Mbok’. The wrestling known as (Mbok) was originated by Abang and later spread in popularity through African slaves into the New world. Abang the warrior with his group gallantly fought against the slave traders who were in the area for the slave trade business. One day, he was overpowered and captured with few of his group and were taken to the present day Israel of what was then Egypt. This is perhaps why it may be more than a mere coincidence that the only two nations on earth with places named “Oron” are Israel and Nigeria.

Later, he escaped from Egypt during the Moslem celebrations period through River Nile with few of his men. He sailed down to Sudan, made his way to Lake Chad and settled within the region now known as Jigawa State, Nigeria. Abang named this area `Oron` which was written and pronounced as `Oronny` in line with Oros` phonemes migrations. As he was not comfortable with Islam, he escaped to a place call Usahadit area in the present-day Cameroon. There, Abang begot Do, Do begot Doni, Doni begot Oro and Obolo. That is why there is a prevalence of Cameroon names as Akan, Ekang, Abang, Etong, Osung, and Etang in Oron today. Among the Oronians, there is a saying that the farthest point in the world is Usahadit which is in the Cameroon. He did not know that other people were already established on that land and due to dispute over farmland, the group later returned home to their original homeland of Oro Nation.

It is this return of Abang that has made some historian believe that Oro Nation is one of the Palestinian and Bantu ethnic nationalities that migrated from somewhere around Israel through Egypt (North Africa) to North Eastern Africa through Ethiopia (Abyssinia) to Central Africa (around the present-day Congo Republic & Democratic Republic of Congo) and through the southern Cameroons to the present-day Niger Delta region of South-Southern Nigeria. On their return, Doni moved to establish the present-day Andoni in Rivers State while Obolo established the present-day Eastern Obolo of Akwa Ibom State. Oron people own up to the fact that the Ibeno, who dwell among the Ekids share similar ancestral history with them.

One controversy says that the relationship of Oron with Ekid is said to have gone sour when the Eket under the regime of Brigadier General U.J. Esuene declared and agreed to be called a subgroup of the Ibibio nation to gain political relevance and advantage. U.J. Esuene was also said to have denied the Oron people of the opportunity to site the Exxon Mobile’s first terminal in Mbo and Effiat Oro areas of Oron.

Another common controversy that describes the worsened relationship between Oron and Eket is the accusation that General Esuene was the one who ordered the bombing of Urue Oruko, a region at the heart of Oron where several hundred of Oron people (mostly traders and women) were killed during the Nigerian Civil War in the late 1960s. This unfortunate event has been observed in Oron to be the most tragic in the history of the Nigerian Civil War.

NATURAL RESOURCES 

Oron is rich in oil and natural gas. Most of its oil reserves are off-shore. There are 25 corked oil wells. Oron is presently rated as having one of the highest supplies of natural gas deposits in sub-Saharan Africa with large amounts of untapped natural gas and oil at Ukpata, Udung Okung, and Edik Ekpu.

The region is extremely fertile and is known for its topographical Oil Palm Belt, tropical rainforest, swamps, and beaches. The mangrove forests also provide timber and raw materials for medicinal purposes. There are also deposits of solid minerals such as iron, free silica or glass sand, and gravel. Seafoods such as crayfish, snipers, oyster, and periwinkle abound richly in all coastal areas.

KINGSHIP

Traditionally, the Oron people have one king that rules over the land. He is known as the ‘Ahta Oro’. The Ahta has all the Ofong (Ivong or Ifong) afaha and the paramount rulers as members of his traditional rulers’ council. Some high chiefs (for example, Ikpoto, Akpaha, and Okete Okete) are also recognized by the Ahta’s council. The President-General of the Oron Union worldwide is regarded as the administrative head of the Oron nation and second-in-command at the Ahta’s traditional rulers council.

Culture and Tradition

The Oron people have a unique culture and tradition. The Ekpe Society, which was shared with the Efiks and the Southern Igbos as well as the Ibibios, is used throughout Oron Land as the authority. There are other traditional cults and societies which include the Ekpo, Abang, Edeme Awan Ñkwuho, Ekong, Afiakegit, Kongoma, Mbok, Ababa, Nnabo, and many others. All these societies, in addition to the unique hospitality of the Oron people, their arts, rich diet, Oil and Gas minerals, have been known to attract tourism and commerce to the area and Akwa Ibom state in general.

The Oron people have a very colourful mode of traditional dressing, especially with an Iyara (which is red in colour). The red Iyara is usually worn with a white tailored traditional shirt and a wrapper (large fabric wrapped around the waist) to match. This wrapper is commonly worn by several peoples of southern Nigeria. Sometimes it can be combined with the rich Efik native piece of cloth (tie), usually a colourful silk material. Recently the Oron people have been known to tie a piece of cloth usually in form of a handkerchief on the neck. This cloth could be white or coloured depending on the user and his combination intent. A blend of the neck handkerchief and the Efik native tie is also very common among the Oron people. Generally, apart from the distinction of the red Iyara, it is not easy to distinguish an Oron man or woman from an Efik person in terms of attire and the culture. These attires are also sometimes used by the Ibibio and Annang groups of Akwa Ibom state; except that the Annang and Ibibio people will not put on the red Iyara of Oron people because of its political implications and consequence.