What's really Goodluck Jonathan's ethnic group..... ijaw or Ogbia??


the answer is given below. taje your time to digest it.

I have seen a growing tendency in Nigeria to call him “a Niger Delta,” “a Niger Delta man,” or simply “a Niger Deltan.” That is a farrago of nonsense. There is no Nigerian ethnic group called “Niger Delta.” That’s the name of a geographic region, and it is peopled by a multiplicity of ethnicities. To describe someone’s ethnicity by a facile geographic label is to partake in a thoughtless erasure of that person’s elemental identity.


People who don’t suffer the lack of cognitive complexity that makes it difficult to imagine a Nigeria outside the three major ethnic groups know and say that Goodluck Jonathan comes from the Ijaw ethnic group, reputed to be the most populous ethnic and language group in Nigeria’s deep south. But is President Jonathan really Ijaw?


Well, he is not. He comes from an ethnic and language group called Ogbia (also sometimes referred to as Ogbinya), that numbers a little over 266,000, according to the 2006 census. The Ogbia people are found mainly in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. The headquarters of their local government is also called Ogbia, which was built from the scratch by the Ogbia Brotherhood in 1972 as “a centre to unify all Ogbia people.”


The Ogbia language, apparently, isn’t a dialect of Ijaw, as many people have been misled to suppose. It is, in fact, mutually unintelligible with Ijaw, according to Professor Mobolaji E. Aluko, Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Otuoke, whose mother is Ijaw. (Otuoke is President Jonathan’s hometown).


While Ijaw belongs to the Atlantic-Congo branch of the Niger-Congo language family, Ogbia belongs to the Central Delta subphyla, but historians say the ancestors of the Ogbia people most likely migrated from present-day Edo State. Plus, Ogbia has its own dialects, which are all mutually intelligible, according to Ethnologue. They are Agholo (or Kolo), Oloibiri, and Anyama. As anybody who’s familiar with Nigeria’s oil exploration history would know, Oloibiri is the location of Nigeria’s first ever commercially viable oil well in 1956. Isaac Adaka Boro, the originator of Niger Delta militancy, was also from Oloibiri. It seems like, in this part of Nigeria, place and language names are one and the same.


Anyway, all evidence points to the fact that Ogbia, President Jonathan’s native language, isn’t Ijaw, nor is it even Ijoid, that is, it is not like, derived from, or related to Ijaw—like Kalabari, Dame Patience Jonathan’s language, is. It also turns out that some Ogbia people resent being classified as Ijaw. I recently happened on an online rant by a person named Agoro Eni-yimini that captures this sentiment. In a short post titled “EPIE AND OGBIA ARE NOT IJAW AND CANNOT BE IJAW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!,” he wrote: “The diversity of languages spoken in Bayelsa State is an indication that it is a state composing of [sic] many nationalities. It is a falsehood of the greatest order for anyone to claim that Ijaw is an umbrella body of so many languages.” He said Ogbia and Epie people (apparently, Epie is another Edoid language in Bayelsa) are “miles apart in culture and language” with the Ijaw and concluded that “any Epie or Ogbia man that [calls] himself an Ijaw is a fool and his ancestor will be sad.”


Well, if President Jonathan is Ogbia, why is he often called an Ijaw? I don’t know for sure, and no one seems to have grappled with this question. But I suspect that we can blame it on the lingering legacies of colonialism. It’s a well-known fact that because British colonialists couldn’t deal with all the labyrinthine messiness of our ethnic complexity, they arbitrarily grouped divergent people and encouraged them to cherish a fictive collective identity. This was done purely for colonial administrative convenience. That’s how the Yoruba identity was born. That’s how notions of Igboness as a collective identity emerged. That’s how Hausa became the lingua franca of the north. And that’s how Nigeria’s tripodal ethnic reductionism came about.


Of course, we all know that unlike northern and western minorities who accepted Hausa and Yoruba as their lingua franca (with the exception of Benue and Edo people who resisted Hausa and Yoruba respectively), ethnic minorities in Nigeria’s deep south resisted learning or identifying as Igbo. So the colonialists chose to construct a hitherto non-existent collective Ijaw identity and encourage smaller, even if unrelated, ethnic groups to belong to it. That’s how Ogbia, an Edoid people, became Ijaw.
But as we saw from the online rant I quoted above, Ogbia people are now asserting their identity. They are calling attention to their ethnic and linguistic singularities.

For instance, in an August 8, 2009 lecture titled “Need for a Renaissance of the Contemporary Ogbia Society” at the Annual General Meeting of the Ogbaka Club of Ogbia, a Dr. Edmond A. Allison-Oguru who teaches agricultural economics and rural sociology at the Niger Delta University, recalled the struggles of early Ogbia nationalists whom he said worked hard to compel colonial administrators to excise Ogbia-speaking people from the then Southern Ijaw Native Authority to the Ogbia Native Authority in 1951, a mere 9 years before independence. He also lamented the loss of pride in and ownership of Ogbia language and culture in contemporary times.


Now, here is the rub: in spite of all the struggles for Ogbia self-definition and reassertion, in all of his official documents, including his CV

(culled from facebook)

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Replies to This Discussion

The oba title was a recently coined one in ogbaland the original title was (obi) frank akokwu dickay introduced the oba title while he was crowned in omoku inb1928,he introduced oba as a title instead of (obi) as in
1obi nwigwe
11.obi okoya
2.obi ajie
3.wokoma silk obi
4.obi nwa chukwuma father to the present oba of ogbaland chukwumela nnam obi 11 jp oba of ogbaland kings bore the name and title of their ancestors since obi didn't occur in the name of akokwu Frank dickay and he was not a direct descendant of of the first obi of ogbaland,he was ousted in court and replaced by obi nwa chukwuma cos the the kingship of ogbaland is hereditary within the linage since then the title (oba) has been preserved to dis day..,

General summary ..,
If an Igbo or ekoi was sold into slavery into ijawland, his head shaved and given an ijaw name taught ijaw culture and language altogether,what are u going to call his descendants,will u still call his descendants Igbo efik or ijaw, this question must be answered ?

Ekpeye and Ogba migrating from Benin doesn't make them benin anymore cos they bear Igbo name eat Igbo foods and practice igbo culture speak a dialect of igbo language and share similar gods with igbos..,

Ijaws and igbos must intergrate and avoid their differences,just like benins are brothers to oduduwa, so is fulani brothers to hausa,edos coming to preach southern unity is very laughable because they maintain deep alliance with the north and west, and are paid agents by yorubas and hausas to cause disaffection and disunity in the south south,as evidence in the recent uprisings in warri were they are instigating istekiris against ijaws,instigating ekpeye ogba and ikwere against igbos, this exactly shows that they are agents of hausa fulani and yorubas who by the mention of the name igbo or ijaw becomes hindrance to them

The benins are recently laying claim to ijaw enclaves of epie,attissa,degema,usokun,ogbia,engenni and the rest of them also laying claims to igbo enclaves of onicha,anioma,igbank,ika,ukwuani,ekpeye ogba and ikwere before i take them serious they should first of all tell us how igbo language and culture got to igbanke in edo state and ika because igbanke and ika are very old and long established in their present abode, until they establish their claim to this i wont take them serious ?

Edos beware ..,no part of igboland and igbo enclave we be seeded to benin it would be defended to the last drop of it from igbanke to ukwuani to anioma in delta state to ekpeye ogba ikwere in rivers state i rest my case.........,

Like i earlier promised bye too facebook and Igbo's living around the world..,god bless Igbo nation..

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