Ubulu-Uku – Ndokwa Relations In Pre-Colonial

Project and Seminar Material for History

Ubulu-Uku – Ndokwa Relations In Pre-Colonial


This work seeks to examine the relationship between the Ubulus in Aniocha and the various Ubulu Communities in Ndokwa in pre-colonial period, tracing their origin to the same ancestor (Ezemu and Obodo). Emphasis would be made on the unique features of their relationship in terms of political, economic, diplomatic and socio-cultural relations.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

The history of the Ubulu communities in Ndokwa East Local Government Area and that of the Ubulu’s in Aniocha South Local Government Area both in Delta state could be said to be intertwined. Though by virtue of ethnicity or nationality, they differ. The Ubulu Communities in Ndokwa belong to the Ukwuani nation, while Ubulu-Uku belongs to Aniocha nation, but there exist a high degree of socio-cultural similarities between these people. For instance their linguistic similarity cannot be overemphasized, the presence of the “shi” sound in their dialect make the Ubulu in Aniocha different from all other Aniocha speaking people.

Records from existing literatures show the link between the movement pattern, trade, marriage, culture, traditions, etc. of these people. Traditions trace the origins of these people to an ancestral link or some founding fathers (Ezemu and Obodo) who left Afor in Ndokwa East Local Government Area of Delta State with an instruction from their parents to settle down wherever the pot of power which they carried along with them fell. They passed through Abbi, Amai, Ogume and finally settled at a place called Ubulu-Unor. Today Ubulu-Unor is seen as the ancestral home of the Ubulu people, while Ezemu is seen as a deity and worshipped in Amai, Afor and Abbi and Obodo worshipped in Onicha Ukwuani.

Evidence also has it that the Ubulu-Uku people and the Ubulu in Diaspora leaned towards each other to solve common problems such as warding of infiltrators from their territories, an example could be seen in the case of Umubu in Amai who sought the help of Ubulu-Uku, Ubulu-Unor and Ubulu-Okiti to fight against their enemies and regain their territory. According to an existing work on Ubulu Communities, Ubulu-Uku, Ubulu-Unor and Ubulu-Okiti are three fingers of one hand sharing most things in common, ranging from culture, traditions, religions, etc. They share the same root path in ancestral origin and no matter where their fruits are found, no matter the conflict, the value are from the same ancestral root.

Until recently, not much had been written on the various Ubulu-Uku Communities in Ndokwa and the Ubulu-Uku People in Aniocha and this has sustained the peoples belief that there seems to be no relationship between the Ubulu people in Aniocha and the Ubulu in Ndokwa except in language.

1.2 Statement of Problem

Ubulu-Uku relationship with her neighbors has not been put in a proper historical perspective thereby, underestimating the impact of interaction between them. The questions therefore are:

  1. Did the people see themselves as different people in terms of culture, politics and social aspects?
  2. What is the evidence of their relationship from a common historical experience?

These questions are the basis of the problem in this essay.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

This study seeks to examine the relationship between Ubulu-Uku people and Ndokwa people in pre-colonial period. The project essay also seeks to establish, the historical link in terms of origin between Ubulu-Uku and Ndokwa. The research will also show the socio-political and economic contacts between them.

1.4 Significance of the Study

This study apart from unifying Ubulu-Uku and Ndokwa people, will draw attention to the similarities between the various traditions and origin of the people. Thus, it will help educate and enlighten the indigenes of Ubulu-Uku in Diaspora who have lost in touch with their Paternal or maternal homes, to get acquitted with their origin, culture, norms and values to include their traditions and festivals heritage even when they are far away from home. This is also applicable to Ubulu-Uku neighbours, particularly the Ndokwa people.

The study will also serve as a pioneering work on examining the relationship between Ubulu-Uku and Ndokwain the pre-colonial period. And give some basic information which will be of immense advantage to future researchers on this topic as it will be of great academic benefit to academicians and researchers who which to delve into this research.

1.5 Scope of Study

The scope of this study was strictly based on the relationship between Ubulu-Uku and Ndokwa in the pre-colonial period.This work will examine the relationship between the people of Ubulu-Uku in Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State and their kins in Ndokwa towns of Okwelle in Abbi, Ndokwa West Local Government Area, Amoji in Onicha Ukwuani, Ndokwa west Local Government Area, Obetim in Afor Ndokwa East Local Government Area and Umubu in Amai, Ukwuani Local Government Area respectively from their origin of migration to their political, socio-cultural, diplomatic and economic aspect of their relations in the pre-colonial period.

1.6 Research Method

The research method adopted for this research work is the descriptive method which involves using ethics and codes in deducing facts to bring out concrete facts from the interviews which was used in writing this work. This project essay will make use of both primary, secondary sources. The researcher will rely on oral interviews and archival sources for primary sources, while the secondary sources emphasizes with be made in textbook, journals, internet sources, published and unpublished articles.

1.7 Limitation of Study

In the course of this study, problems were encountered. Material sources such as printed and non-printed material as well as text books, articles, journals, newspapers, etc.were limited.

There was also the reluctant attitude of respondents to give out certain information.Also, due to distance factor and insecurity in the area, adequate data could not be gathered directly, as affected indigenes and non-indigenes were respondents used in gathering data, also unofficial discussion by the second in command of the palace of Obi Akaeze (Obi of Ubulu-Uku) and interviewers who had detailed historical background of the history and origin of Ubulu-Uku and her relations with Ndokwa make up the remaining parts of information collected for this study.

Finance, academic stress, language and communication barrier, inability for the researcher to access remote areas were among other challenges encountered in this research. Despite, the aforementioned shortcomings, challenges and hindrances, this research study no doubt turned out to be successful as the limitations did not hinder the researcher from achieving the main aim and purpose of the study.

Chapter Five


The assumption that inter-group relations in pre-colonial times were more efficient between or among monarchies or centralised states as shown in the well-chronicled Benin/Yoruba relations for instance became weakened by the evidence in the Ndokwa episodes here-presented with evidence that some of them like the Ųmụbụ/Ubulu-Uku relations have continued to thrive even in a post-independent Nigeria. Due to their stateless or fragmented nature, the Ndokwa as a people did not wholly go into “international” relations like the Oyo or Benin did for instance, rather, we saw individual Ukwuani clans or towns relating with their proximate neighbours. The important thing to note here is that such dealings were not in any way inferior to.

Though the Ubulu Communities trace their migration to different route, they all accept Ezemu and Obodo as their forefathers, Ezemu is seen as an important deity in the lives of the Ubulu people both in Aniocha and Ndokwa. The presence of the Ezemu and Iyi-Agor shrines, festival, songs are all in the praise of Ezemu as the great one, giver of children, preserver of lives we all found in the Ubulu communities in Ndokwa with the exception of Onicha-Ukwuani who worshipped the deity Obodo, shows the link between the various Ubulu Communities in Ndokwa and Ubulu-uku who see themselves as one from one lineage and are welcome in any part of Ubulu they find themselves.

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