Delta state of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is made up of 25 Local Government areas (LGAs) and like every other state, she is represented in the Nigerian Senate by three senators. Delta state is thus carved up into three senatorial districts…Delta Central, Delta South and Delta North (Aniomaland).
Delta Central comprises eight LGAs and is inhabited by the Urhobos while Delta South also comprises eight LGAs and is home to the ethnic Ijaw, Isoko and Itsekiri while Delta North is home to the Ika, Enuani, Ukwuani sub-groups who are spread across nine LGAs.
The principal towns of Delta North are Agbor, Asaba (the Delta state capital),Ogwashi-Uku, Issele-Uku, Ibusa, Ubulu-Uku, Obiaruku,Kwale, Ashaka, among others. Her peoples are predominantly farmers, fisherfolk, businessmen, academics, bureaucrats and members of the defence and security forces. It is on record that at the dawn of Nigerian independence on 1 October 1960, nine(9) of the fifty-eight(58) indigenous commissioned officers of the Nigerian Army were from Delta North alone. Most famous of these was Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu who led the first military coup d’etat in Nigeria in 1966.
As of April 2010, the Chief of Defence Staff of the Nigerian Armed Forces and the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service both hail from Aniocha North LGA of the said Delta North.
It is also on record that the Ekumeku peasant rebellion against white domination (akin to the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya) mounted by the people of Delta North under Agbogidi Oligbo, the Issele Uku monarch and against the British colonialists ensured that Aniomaland was arguably the last part of Nigeria to be completely subjugated by the British colonialists! The Ekumeku War spanned the period between 1898 and 1929. Even the Sokoto empire fell in 1903,the defiant people of Delta North were still at the barricades.
Today,the predominant spoken language in the area is a hybridized dialect of Igbo but the people somehow do not refer to themselves Igbo for the simple fact that over eighty-five percent (85%) of Anioma people are said to have emigrated from Bini empire during the 14th and 15th century reigns of Obas(Kings) Ozolua, Ewuare and Esigie of the Benin Empire which lies immediately to the west of Aniomaland. The festivals, language, kingship systems of the people of Delta North appear to bear testimony to this fact even to this day. Possibly, they may have lost their mastery of Edo language on account of long separation from the Benin Empire and became subsumed in the dominant Igbo culture as a result of the fact of greater proximity to Igboland.
But Delta North also has, albeit unbelievably, an indigenous and living community of Yoruba and Igala speakers.
Aniocha North Local Government Area is the smallest, most northerly and most rural in the Delta state. It consists of 16 communities grouped into the three clans of Ezechima, Odiani and Idumuje.
Odiani clan comprises 8 communities which are said to have historically migrated emigrated from the Akoko area of Yorubaland during the wars which raged in that part of pre-colonial Africa during the 18th century. When they arrived at their present place of domicile in the Far North of present-day Delta state, the Edo(Benin) emigres and Ibos from the east of the Niger river had been on ground for a minimum of three centuries. Unable to communicate with the hostile people all around them,they courtesied all and sundry who they came into contact with“Olukumi” ,a word in the Akoko dialect of Yoruba language which means “my friend”.
To this day,the variant of Yoruba language spoken by my people is called Olukumi by neighbouring communities. Further east at Ebu,a migrant community of Igalas who came from central Nigeria in search of prime fishing grounds had developed and to this day,the people of Ebu still speak Igala language.