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THE HISTORICAL ANTECEDENT OF UZERE PEOPLE

  • Type:Project
  • Chapters:5
  • Pages:95
  • Methodology:Descriptive
  • Reference:YES
  • Format:Microsoft Word
(History Project Topics & Materials)
THE HISTORICAL ANTECEDENT OF UZERE PEOPLE
CHAPTER ONE

Introduction
    Uzere formerly  known as “Uzei is located in lsoko South Local Government Area of Delta State of Nigeria – Uzere is a clan of its own with about 9,613 inhabitants according to 1991 population census. It is one of the earliest clans that constituted the nineteen clans in Isoko land. While some people believed that the Uzere people originated from the Benin kingdom, others disagree1.Obaro Ikime, Professor of history at the university of Ibadan, state “if there is any aspect of the history of the various peoples of Nigeria about which no one can speak with any exactitude, it is that which deals with the origin of our peoples”. The belief that most of the Isoko groups of which Uzere is a part are of the Benin origin were view held and expressed in the 1960s and 1970s. These views were “decidedly simplistic and were based on British intelligence.
    It was also believed that Uzei, the founder of the clan migrated from Benin and that Uzere is said to have been founded in about the mid-15th country or before that time. Uzei had three surviving sons, Uheri, Ezede and Uweye.
    Geographically, Uzere clan falls within the evergreen fresh water swamp forest of Southern Nigeria, it lies between longitude 60 10 East and latitude 5012 North2. It is located in the South East part of Isoko South. It is about 12.5 kilometres, from the Local Government Headquarters in Olen, and six kilometers, from Asaba Ase which is located on the bank of the Ase creek of River Niger3.
    The clan is bounded in the North- West by Aviara and her villagers, in the West by Ibide, in the South by Asaba-Ase while in the South-West by Erowa and Abari Village4.
    The clan has three major quarters namely Uheri, Ezede and Uweye. In each of these quarters are streets such as Oto-Uheri and Obughe in Uheri quarter, while Araya, Uruse and Enye in Uweye quarters, and Urueche, Abo-Ezede and Eteri in Ezede quarter5.
    Uzere is identified for its well-defined administrative set up, the Ovie is at the top with the nine edios, three from each quarters and others arms of government which protect or represent the interest of the clan and the common man in general. Offences consider to be too bad, were given capital punishment during this period.
    The Uzere people are mainly fishermen especially the men folks. There is a saying in Isoko that “If you love fish, then marry an Uzere man”. One the other hand, the women are farmers. The land is not that fertile base on the fact that the area is subject to flooding, farming became hazardous. Yet the people depend on it for fishing, farming and palm produce for exports. Fish were for individual consumption but in the case of surplus, they were sold in exchange for other products that were not produced in the locality6.
    The Uzere people are worshippers of African traditional gods or deities. There is a festival they normally do, which is known as “Eni Festival, is the most celebrated festival in the history of Uzere kingdom. The Eni deity was the most powerful. Eni deity is a “water spirit” who was said to have accompanied Uzei and his people from Benin. It had the power of detecting watches7.
    There is no doubt that the coming of the Europeans did change the culture of the people of Uzere. The young men of Uzere to day have one way or the other abandoned the cultural and traditional ways of live of their ancestors and adopted the white man culture that is Christianity, which to a very large extent presented them inferior in the eyes of the white man.
    Although, inspite of the overriding acceptance and influence of Christianity around the clans, series of customary rules and regulations which mainly emanated from the early disposition or displacement of the clan still subsist and revered as the early times.
Justification of Research
    This project essay will serve as a spring board to younger generations and researchers in further constitution of the history of Uzere. It will also enhance policy makers understand the complexity of organization of the people they formulate policy for. This project essay will create a way for proper understanding of the history of the people being reviewed, and by extension, help other group appreciate the importance and relevance of inter-group relations in all ramification of life of the people.
    It also examined the impact created by the colonial authority and the re-assessment of the general development and population growth of the Uzere kingdom in future.
Aims and Objectives
The aims and objectives of this study include:
To uncover the truth about the actual tradition of origin of Uzere kingdom.
It aimed at exposing the conflicting versions given by different researchers.
To educate people about the correct traditions of origin of Uzere and the traditional cultural heritage of their ancestors before the advent of the Europeans.
It tends to highlight the various ways by which the Uzere people were involved in trade with their neighbours through their products such as fishing, farm produces, palm produce etc.
Also to expose the power of Eni the “water spirit which brought so many other ethnic group such as Urhobo, Ijaw, Kwale, Aboh, Itsekiri and a host of others into Uzerewhich increased their fame and prestige, among its neighbours.
And finally, to highlight the various ways by which the Europeans presence affected the total ways of life of the Uzere people.
Scope of the Study
    The scope of this study shall cover the history of Uzere traditions of origin, the coming of the European, their impacts and influence on the once thriving kingdom. It geographical location, the socio-economic and political institution of the clan, military and wars of expansion cum expansionist policies, intergroup relations with her neighbours.
Research Methodology
    The methodology to be employed in the acquisition of materials for this project shall be through critical analysis of sources such as primary source in the form of oral interviews aims the use of secondary materials like books, journals articles, chapters in text books and unpublished materials. Information obtained from these sources helped to guide and supplement the materials obtained from primary sources. These sources helped to provide data for historical analysis of the impact of colonial rule in Uzere land.
Literature Review
    As a matter of fact, much work had not been done in Uzere history. There are however, certain literatures that deal on relevant aspect of the history of Uzere people. Other works on Uzere are those of ethnographic and anthropological survey, where Uzere loss partially touched to this extent, it therefore becomes imperative to review this available literature for this study. J.W. Hubbard, in his book, The Sobo of the Niger Delta, gave 1593, as the founding date when the first settlers arrived at Uzere clan, thus making it one of the oldest clan. It is the apostle of those who believed that Uzere migrated from Benin. He suggested that the distinctive characteristics of the Isoko people which Uzere is one are as a result of the super-imposition of neigbouring Ibo, and later Edo immigrants upon aboriginal strata who were already Edo type dialect. He also further stated that, the over little is said to have been institute originally by the Oba of Benin but later to have been conferred within the tribe.
    Whitney P. Foster, in his book Pre-twentieth century Isoko ascribed the migration of Uzere from Benin to the refugee theory which explains the founders of the clan as those seeking to escape socio-political oppression from Benin. What he meant by this is that, the Niger Delta are ripped and physically improvise to escape trouble in their homeland. Once there, the physically barriers seems to have proven sufficient to provide the refugee the independence they sought both from each other and their homeland.
Furthermore, within a short generations, the fear causing their fight probably had worn off, but by then other areas of refugee had become a familiar, it difficult environment for the refugees descendant to live and multiply8.
    Actually the dominant theme of the traditions today that goes on within the Isoko clan pertaining to the reasons why a specific individual or group came to the area would agree with the refugee theory.  Prominent in this case is the geographical factors in an analysis of the Isoko” as they were to be founded in the early twentieth century.
    Chadwick in the 1932 Ughelli Records, states that the Uzei got to the Niger and local South-in the testimony obtained, the elders said that due to Eni “the powerful water spirit” Uzere stay near the water, Ase Creek  Parallels to the Niger, and seems a possible route into the area Uzei settled9.
    Obaro Ikime, in his book, The Isoko people pointed out categorically that, the tradition of Uzere claims, that the clan founded by Uzei, son of an Oba of Benin who had to flee Benin because he committed incest spread after founding of what is usually described as the parents town or clan centers.
    R.E Bradbury traced the origin of Uzei people to Benin10. Also he claimed that Oleh clan and Irri came from Uzere but he refused to point out the reasons why the two clans became largely independent. He also stated that the Uzere people are noted as fishermen and he described the Uzere as a “reservoir” of fishers. He also pointed out the different ways for methods by which collection of fish were done.
    In an edited book of O.S. Akorah, Uzere: A Kingdom of the Niger Delta, he stated two versions of Uzei decision to leave Benin. The first was Uzei fled Benin City after committing adultery with one of his father’s wives while the other is attributed to the actual cruel activities of a giant called “Oguara”. He refused to agree with one particular reason out of the two given above. He stated that, after the movement from Eruke, majority of the people migrated to Uzere present site while the minority moved along through the Onise Creek on the River Nun to settle at Odi. With this emphasis however, one should be able to conclude that, Odi is an offshoot of Uzere kingdom11.
    P.M. Peek, described the Benin migrations, it appear to have been due to civil wars and personal discontent in Benin City. He also state how the first son of Uzei called Okugbo was sent to Benin and when he was returning he stopped at Aboh and slept with one of the Obi of Aboh’s wives which resulted to a war between the Uzere people and the Abohs. He also talked about how the Uzere people were able to rule themselves12.
    I.B. Ifodoh, in tracing the origin of Ozoro-clan, emphasized that the Ozoro people traced their origin to Benin since the accounts are based on the elders of Ozoro. It is believed that majority and every Ozoro indigene knows that he or she is a descendant of Opute and Ozoro. As a matter of fact, however, this case could be compared with the one of Uzere situation. He also talked on the socio-political organization of Ozoro people, which to a large extent, could be compared with the one of Uzere.13
Chapterization
    This topic is divided into six chapters as follows:
Chapter One: Introduction
This chapter provides a brief historical background of the Uzere people. It shows that the people have their distinctive history of origin and that Uzere is said to have been founded in about the fifteenth century. Some persons said that Uzere originated from Benin, why others disagreed with that postulation.
Chapter two: Historically Background of Uzere
    This chapter examines the historical background of Isoko and the Uzere people. Some historians believed that the Isoko people originated from the great Benin kingdoms, why others like Obaro Ikime, believed that the Isoko people did not originate from Benin. And that the views given about the origin of the Isoko people were decidedly simplistic and were based on British intelligence. It was also said that Uzei the founder of Uzere originated from Benin. In this chapter, focuses will also be at the political, social and economic institution. In This chapter, more emphasis we be examine on how the Uzere people ruled themselves before the coming of the European, also how did Uzere people socialize and how they trade with other neighbouring clans.
Chapter Three: Colonial Rule and Political Institutions in Uzere
    This chapter examines the conquest and imposition of colonial rule on the people. It shows the various stages of the resistance mounted by the people against British expedition forces. Within the successful conquest of the people, the colonial authorities set up various form of administrative institutions such as native authorities and native courts. To ensure the availability of funds to run the government, various forms of taxes were imposed on the people. As the people needed money to pay these taxes, they had no alternative but to cultivate cash crops which were said to the foreign trading firms.
Chapter Four: Colonial Rule and Social Institutions in Uzere
    This chapter discusses the social institutions of the Uzere people during the colonial period. For instance, how did the Uzere people change from their mode of worships and started practicing the white man’s doctrine? Also there was the establishment of schools by the missionaries to train teachers, clerk catechist, priest etc.
Chapter Five: Colonial Rule and Economic in Uzere
 Before the coming of the white man, the Uzere people were large in subsistence farming, producing food crops such as cassava, yam etc. With the advent of the European, came the production of palm oil and this help to diversify the economy.
Chapter Six: Conclusion
    This chapter concludes this dissertation; it explained that the colonial rule did not live much legacy in Uzere. Despite the policies, the colonial authorities made, did not impact the people of Uzere positively, but there was the exploitation of the cash crops which was used to developed the white man’s country and living the Uzere people in total destruction. Any progress that may have been achieved by the people during the period, were based on their own initiative and not that of the colonial authorities.
 ENDNOTES
W. Hubbard, The Sob of the Niger Delta, Zaira: Gaskiya Corporation Press, 1948, p. 102.
P.M Peak, “The Foundation of the Isoko Clan of User”, Unpublished, 1964-1966, p.1.
O.S. Akorah (ed) Uzere: A Kingdom of the Niger Delta, A publication of Uzere Dynamic Club Lagos: Solomark Communication 1997, p.15.
Ibid, p.15.
Ibid, p.12.
Ikime. O., The Isoko People: A Historical Survey, Ibadan: University Press 1972, p.85.
W. Hubbard, The Sobo of  the Niger Delta,  Zaira: Gaskiya Corporation
p. 182.
Whitney, P. Foster “Pre-Twentieth Century Isoko: It Foundation and Later Growth”, Africa – Historical Studies, Vol.11, No.11 1969, p. 297.
Chadwick 1932, Ughelli Record.
R.E. Bradbury. The Benin Kingdom and the Edo Speaking People of Southern Nigeria, (London Oxford University Press, 1967, p.132-134.
O.S. Akorah , op.cit, p.10-12.
M.P. Peak, A Kingdom of the Niger Delta, A publication of Uzere Dynamic Club Lagos: Solomark Communication 1997, pp. 1-4.
Ifodoh Imikini “The History of Ozoro from the Earliest Time to 1950” in Isoko Local Government Area, An Unpublished essay submitted to the Department of Humanities History/Geography College of Education, Warri, June 1983, pp.10-14.  


THE HISTORICAL ANTECEDENT OF UZERE PEOPLE

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Details

Type Project
Department History
Project ID HIS0062
Price ₦3,000 ($9)
Chapters 5 Chapters
No of Pages 95 Pages
Methodology Descriptive
Reference YES
Format Microsoft Word

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    Details

    Type Project
    Department History
    Project ID HIS0062
    Price ₦3,000 ($9)
    Chapters 5 Chapters
    No of Pages 95 Pages
    Methodology Descriptive
    Reference YES
    Format Microsoft Word

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