Efik Eburutu of Nigeria    
 
Edidiana Edi Uforo
 
     
THE EFIK PEOPLE; ORIGIN, MIGRATION
AND SETTLEMENT

THE ORIGIN

The Efik people, as hinted on by the early Scottish missionaries and early Efik balladists, came from the Orient. Our indefatigable historian the late Elder Chief Efiọñ Ukpọñ Aye Eyo Nsa in his book “The Efik People”10, tried to demystify this “Orient” and pointed quite specifically and intelligently too to Nubia; one of the ancient outgrowths of Egypt peopled by the Falashas. The Falashas have been identified by world historians as black Jews who, feeling disenchanted by the inhuman treatment of the Israelites by the Egyptians of the time, moved out to establish on their own 10, 11. From Nubia, movement reached ancient Ethiopia which at some point in time became a world power. The birth, death and resurrection of Christ ushered in a new world view and religion called Christianity and the Ethiopians and Egyptians both went that way. At a point in time another religion, Islam, was born out of Arabia, a religion which sought to take things by force. It swept through Egypt and conquered it, with lots of death on its toll. When the Ethiopians (the Falashas) heard of the intention of the Muslims to invade Ethiopia, majority of their ancestors pulled out and thus begun the famous migration story of the Efik people. These migrations took them through Sudan to Lake Chad where the group became fragmented and went into different regions 27. The peoples now called Oron and Uruan went into Cameroun. Some went into Ghana while others went into Congo and Equitorial Guinea. Another group entered present day Nigeria through Adamawa plains where a few settled in the Igbo country of the Aros in a village called Ututu and majority at a place they named Gibbom (now corrupted as Ibom), after their God Almighty (where they placed their God basin) in the early 13th century AD. Here they told their hosts, when asked, that they were Hebrews. By the Igbo reference to the Falasha fragment among them as Hebrew Ututu, the name Eburutu was derived as we have it today 2, 3, 4, 5, 8. The tribal name was Eburutu and Iboku, its people 29.



MIGRATIONS

  • EVENTS IN AROCHUKWU

History is not certain whether Iboku was the leader who brought his people into Nigeria or the one who actually led them out of Ethiopia. What is certain is that he was so important a personality that the group (majority of whom were his descendants) accepted him as their father. At least the first six Ndidem of the Eburutu tribe were named after him and his name adopted for the group 10. Some claimants who wish to trace the origin of the Efik people to the Igbos have tried to create a meaning for this name as quarrelsome Igbos, but Efik is Efik. History gives the number of children derivable from this man to be two and we know for certain that he never lived in the Igbo country of the Aros, except of course, through his children. There was a son named Eno who settled at Gibbom or Ibom as we know it today, and was referred to as Eno Ibom, Ibom Eno or Ibom Iboku 10. The alternative name, Ibom Iboku, was not his personal name as erroneously believed in most circles but referred to the Iboku group who lived at Gibbom. Edidem Ibom Eno or Iboku is regarded as the first Edidem of the Eburutu tribe. He had two children namely Abatim Ibom Eno and Atai Ibom Eno (known simply as Atai Iboku). The Efik talking drum reminisces their relationship as ‘Idibi aman Abatim enye aman Efik, Efik Ete Ete nditọ Atai Ibom Enọ’ (The man that begat Abatim begat Efik, Efik are descendants of Atai Ibom Enọ) 22, 31, 32. There was also Ọtọñ, the leader of the group that settled in Ututu village. His children were Ikpoto, Ama and Ebughu. Ama was the father of Ọtọñ Ama of the famous Amaku story for school children. Ikpoto and Ebuhu became the ancestors of Efiat and Ebughu respectively, now domiciled in the Oron region of Akwa Ibom State 19, 36. Ọtọñ Ututu, popularly called Ọtọñ Iboku was the second Edidem of the Iboku people 10, 27, 35.
Disagreements over objects of worship caused a lot of problems between the Iboku people of the Eburutu tribe and their Igbo host and Iboku people left Igbolands in families. Foremost on the migration road were the Ọtọñ Iboku descendants, at least the ones who did not get themselves muddled up in marriages with the host. Secondly, there were the descendants of Abatim Ibom Eno who founded the various Eniọñ sub-clans including Asañ, Obio-usiere and Atan 22. Thirdly, some older children of Atai Ibom Eno or Atai Iboku broke off from their father to found places like Itu which first settled at an Igbo village called Mbauzo, hence the name Itu Mbauzọ 10, 20. Traditional history posits that from Itu-Mbauzọ, some adventurous families sailed down to present day Itu Township and the surrounding towns of Obot-Etim, Akunakuna, Umọn and Ikot Ana 24. Others include Ito and its offshoot like Idere; Eki and Ukwa. Finally Edidem Atai Iboku, the third Edidem of the Iboku people, left the Igbo country for Uruan with two sons and a daughter namely Ema Atai, Ekpe Atai and Ekei Atai Iboku in the last quarter of the 13th century AD 10, 22, 23.

 

  • EVENTS IN URUAN

In Uruan, an important event occurred viz the entrance of a personality by name Efiom Ekpo into the history of the Iboku people. The story of his entry is laden with a lot of romance. Ekei Atai Iboku got married to an Uruan Chieftain by name Ibaña Ñkanta and a son Ekpo Ibaña was born out of the union 5, 20, 22. His Efik contemporaries or cousins at the time were Odo Ema Atai, Atai Ema Atai and Inyañ Ekpe Atai Iboku 20, 22, 24, 31. Ekpo Ibaña Ñkanta married Ema Atai’s daughter, Odo and fathered Efiom Ekpo by her 22. This Efiom Ekpo became the 7th Edidem of the Iboku people 10, 27. His genealogical chart traces him to Iboku by maternal connections 20, 22, 30.
While Edidem Atai Ema Atai had four men namely Ukpong Atai Ema, Ema Atai Ema, Atai Atai Ema and Adim Atai Ema 17, Edidem Inyañ Ekpe Atai had Ekpe Inyañ Ekpe, Ndem Inyañ Ekpe and Osukpọñ Inyañ Ekpe 10, 22. The summary of these events is that the two (2) males of Edidem Atai Iboku, namely Ema and Ekpe produced eight (8) grand children in Uruan; Ema Atai having five (5) and Ekpe Atai having three (3). These became the ancestors of the proverbial ‘Esien Efik Itiaba’ (seven Efik clans) in Uruan namely Iboku, Obutọñ, Adiabo, Mbiabo, Eñwañ, Abayen and Usukakpa 22, 23, 24. Table 1 below simplifies the seven clans and their founding ancestors.


Table 1: The seven Efik Atai clans from Ema and Ekpe Atai Iboku

S/No

Major Lineage

Clan

Founding Ancestors

1

Ema Atai

Iboku

Eyo Ema Atai/Oku Atai Atai/Efiom Ekpo Efiom

2

Ema Atai

Obutọñ

Oso UkpọñAtai/Eso Adim Atai

3

Ema Atai

Adiabọ

Ukpọñ Ukpọñ Atai

4

Ema Atai

Mbiabọ

Etọn/Efiom/Edem Ukpọñ Atai

5

Ekpe Atai

Eñwañ

Anantigha/Esu Ekpe Inyañ Ekpe Atai

6

Ekpe Atai

Abayen (Obomitiat)

Esien Ndem Inyañ Ekpe Atai

7

Ekpe Atai

Usukakpa (Idua)

Ntekim Osukpọñ Inyañ Ekpe Atai

The deductions to be made from the table above are that while Ema Atai Iboku descendants were responsible for the founding of four (4) Efik clans, Ekpe Atai, the younger brother was responsible for founding three (3), and that about three of the four Ema Atai clans were founded by descendants of Ukpọñ Atai Ema Atai Iboku.

  • EXODUS FROM URUAN; IKPA ENE AND NDODOGHI EVENTS

Disagreements and disenchantments in Uruan over objects of religious worship as in the country of the Igbos generated a lot of bad feelings between the Iboku people and their Uruan host which came to a head during the famous axe story 10. There were skirmishes which led to a war and the Efik people had to leave Uruan in their clans led by Edidem Ukpọñ Atai Ema Atai Iboku in the second half of the 14th century AD. All seven clans went to Ikpa Ene from where Mbiabọ left to establish on their own. So Mbiabọ clan left from Ikpa Ene in two groups, one heading up and the other down. The one that headed up is Mbiabọ Edere and the one that headed down is Mbiabọ Usuk. The name Ikọt Ọfiọñ is a more recent name for the Mbiabọ group who specifically derive from Ani Etọn Ukpọñ Atai Ema. While Etọn Ani Eton is reputed to have had many children notably Ukpọñ and Okonañwan, Ọfiọñ Ani Etọn is said to have had none 1, 6, 22. Out of courtesy, the children of Etọn Ani decided to name the colony after their great uncle, so that his name may be remembered for ever 5, 6. The grandson of Etọn Ani Etọn called Oku Ukpọñ Etọn Ani Etọn was Jean Barbot’s 1698 William King Agbishera of Mbiabọ Ikọrọfiọñ and the founder of Tom Curcock House in the 1690 Efik House system 10, 24. Efiom Ukpọñ Atai Ema had a grandson Añkọt (Ñkọt) Odo Efiom who had two children; Eniañ and Eseku. Eniañ Ñkot Odo had two sons (Ani and Añwadet) and a daughter. The daughter, Añwaret (Arit of today) was given in marriage to Etinyin Oku Abasi Oku Atai Atai Ema and the union produced a son (Ekpe Oku) and a daughter (Ibọk Oku). Eniañ Ñkot Odo’s son, Ani Eniañ Ñkot Odo Efiom was Jean Barbot’s 1698 slave trader for Mbiabọ Ikoneto referred to as Robin King Agbishera and the founder of Ikọt Ani and Robin Curcock House of the 1690’s when the Efik people established the house system 10, 24.
The other six clans moved out of Ikpa Ene to create some distance between them and their Ibibio and Uruan enemies. They got to Ndodoghi Island. At Ndodoghi, three unfortunate events occurred. The first was the great malaria epidemic which nearly wiped out the entire race. The second was a disaster that befell two of the three Ekpe Atai clans namely Abayen and Usukakpa. It is said that one day, at a meeting under a large cotton tree, a branch of the tree fell on the Abayen and Usukakpa clans and greatly depleted them 23. Notable among the surviving children of those clans were Esien Ndem Inyañ for Abayen (now Obomitiat) and Ntekim Osukpọñ Inyañ for Usukakpa (now Idua) 21, 22, 36. The third disaster was the appearance of the Harley’s comet ‘Akpan Ntafiọñ’ in 1378 AD which claimed the lives of Ema Atai Ema Atai and other nobles as recounted in the Efik ballad of 1910 by Princess Ebi Etim Añwa Añwa (Adiaha-Akpan) of Ikoneto 7.

 

SETTLEMENTS; THE FOUNDING OF CALABAR AND CREEK TOWN

As stated earlier, six Efik clans went to Ndodoghi and suffered a whole lot of mishap there. The Ekpe Atai clans of Eñwañ and their grossly depleted brothers in Abayen and Usukakpa left the Ema Atai clans in Ndodoghi for Calabar and thus became the founders of the region called Calabar today in the 3rd quarter of the 14th century AD. They therefore did not witness the disaster of the Harley’s comet of 1378 AD 10, 31. The Eñwañ clan spread out by reason of their numerical strength to live in two villages. Anantigha Ekpe Inyañ had obtained two deities from God-knows-where, a male and a female. He named the male after himself as Anantigha Eñwañ and the female after his only sister Anansa Ekpe Inyañ. This man built a shrine for the male deity at Iyonde which is present day ‘Esuk Anantigha’ (Anantigha beach) and a similar shrine at Eñwañ spring head where Calcemco is today, his female deity, Anansa. He placed his nephew Esemin Esu Ekpe Inyañ in charge of Anansa as her first priest and taught him the esoteric rituals, while he tended to his male deity at Iyonde 10, 15, 22. The Abayen survivors (Obom-itiat) stayed at Afia-Obom; a place named after their deity obtained by Esien Ndem Inyañ Ekpe Atai Iboku. That place is the famous NPA cat-walk disaster or what some people call Elder Dempster today. The Usukakpa remnants (Idua) stayed at present day Tete Street. These were the formative years of the great historic city of Calabar 22, 24.
The three Ema Atai clans of Iboku, Obutọñ and Adiabọ founded Creek Town in the late 14th century AD 20. In Creek Town Efiom Ekpo Efiom Ekpo settled where Adak-ukọ is today while Edidem Eyọ Ema and his people stayed where Otuñ is still. Obutọñ occupied where Mbarakọm Ekpe lodge is and Adiabo stayed in the region of Idim Mbe, Ndomndom and Idim Esa 22.
All Efik clans were arranged in family units and each unit had her own trade canoe 20, 32. Only blood descendants of founding ancestors had the privilege to own such canoes and negotiate trade. The trade canoes in later years, especially during the trans-Atlantic slave trade, evolved into family groups called houses which grew naturally from the patriarchal character of the Efik social system. Below is a table of Efik house arrangement as documented by the Dutch slave merchant of the late 17th century, Jeane Barbot and presented for posterity by Prince Magnus Duke (Ekpenyong Efiom Edet Nsa Efiom) on 12th June, 1890. An Efik person is therefore defined as anyone who can trace his genealogy paternally or maternally to Iboku 23, 24, 33, the founding ancestor of the Efik kingdom, through the various major ancestors and founders of the twelve Efik ancestral clans, houses or family units.


Table 2: Efik Eburutu Houses of the 1690s 10, 14, 22, 36

S/No

House

Founder

Clan or subclan

1

Eyo

Eyọ Nsa Eyọ Ene Eyọ Ema Atai Ema

Otuñ, Iboku

2

Duke

Efiom Edem Efiom Ekpo Efiom

Ntiero, Iboku

3

Henshaw

Efiom Ansa Efiom Ekpo Efiom

Henshaw, Iboku

4

Nonaw

Nneneñ Esien Ndemndem Esien Ndem

Obomitiat, Abayen

5

Ndem

Ndem Esemin Efiom Esemin Esu

Eñwañ

6

Offary

Ọfiọñ Ọkọhọ Efiom Ekpo Efiom

Eyamba, Iboku

7

Ephraim

Efiom Ọkọhọ Efiom Ekpo Efiom

Duke, Iboku

8

John

Ekpenyong Efa Otu Meseme Ukpọñ

Adiabọ

9

Robin

Asibọñ Esọ Asibọñ Akabom Oso

Obutọñ

10

Robin Curcock

Ani Eniañ Ñkọt Odo Efiom Ukpọñ

Ikoneto, Mbiabọ

11

Tom Curcock

Oku Ukpọñ Etọn Ani Etọn Ukpọñ

Ikọrọfiọñ, Mbiabọ

12

Ambo

Ekpe Oku Abasi Oku Atai Atai Ema

Mbarakọm, Iboku

  • NOTABLE EVENTS

It is imperative to write briefly about a certain man Asibọñ-Ekondo by virtue of the key role he played in shaping Efik history. This man was born Asibọñ Anatiñ Ekpe Inyañ Ekpe Atai Iboku from Enwañ clan. His mother was Uyi Ntekim Osukpọñ Inyañ Ekpe Atai Iboku of Usukakpa (Idua) clan. He preferred to join forces with his mother’s depleted clan Idua and so his children know themselves today as Idua sons and daughters 22, 23.

As a fisherman, Asibọñ sailed in his canoe to the large waters of Usakedet where he met and married a certain Mutaka of Efut Usakedet. His father in-law, Ekondo, gave him a form of Usakedet mystery to protect his family. It was his long stay in the home of Ekondo that made people come to refer to him as Asibọñ Ekondo, a name that has found a pride of place in Efik history, yet complicates it by making many think of Asibọñ as an Efutman. Well he could not have been an Efutman because the name Asibọñ is wholly Efik as Mutaka is also wholly Efut. Besides, about 60% of Idua kingship revolves around his descendants. Upon the death of his father-in-law Ekondo, Asibọñ returned to present day Tete Street where Idua people were. Here he learnt that the descendants of Ema Atai had reached Creek Town and Asibọñ decided to go to them in the 1st quarter of the 15th century AD, with his wife Mutaka, three sons namely Mba, Ndem and Ebito, and some Efut Usakedet in-laws 22. These Efut inlaws constituted the very first set of Efut who lived in Creek Town.

In Creek Town, Asibọñ lived among the Obutọñ people where ‘Idim Mbarakọm (Mbarakom spring of today)’ is, with his bossom friend Ñkọk Ofuta; a name derived from the nickname ‘Ñkọk, afo ata’. It was in this context that the late Esien-Ekpe Edet Okon Itam came to write in the third paragraph of the 94th page of his Uyi Efiọñ Esien that “Iboku Utan, Eñwañ, Adiabọ and Obutọñ, nte mbufo ema ekefọfiọk, kpukpru ekeduñọ mi ke Akwa Ekot Etoñko, ebuaha enyuñ emana” (Iboku Utan, Eñwañ, Adiabọ and Obutọñ, as you know, all lived here in Creek Town as one family) 23. The Efik people of those days knew Asibọñ as an Eñwañ man, so he and his house represented Eñwañ clan in Creek Town even though he preferred to associate with his mothers in Idua 22, 23. Asibọñ revealed the secrets of Mbọkọ Ekpe to Ema Atai people of the time, prominent among whom was Eyọ Eema (the Priest-King at the time) and the secrets were entrenched in the sanctum of Ekpe Efik Iboku. His wife Mutaka unarguably knew about Mbọkọ since it was a very common thing among Usakedet women. And so when the Ema Atai people found her invoking Mbọkọ one day, they decided in the narrow-mindedness of the time that she should die so the secrets would remain. Asibọñ permitted them to kill his wife, only to have himself killed by the same people afterwards, so that his wife’s death would be kept secret and Mbọkọ secrets would not be revealed to other people. His children knew what went on and so fled Creek Town with their Efut maternal cousins back to Tete Street in Calabar 22, 23.

The exit of Obutọñ and Adiabọ from Creek Town is said to have occurred in the 1st quarter of the 15th century 8. The story goes that there was a wrestling contest between the Iboku clan and the Obutọñ people in which an Iboku son was killed. Iboku demanded his replacement from the Obutọñ group, who stealthily withdrew from Creek Town to Calabar to settle with the Eñwañ group at the Calcemco area. Adiabọ of the Ukpọñ Atai group left immediately after to where they now are, for fear of transferred aggression from the Iboku clan since they descended from the same mother as the Obutọñ people 1, 10, 23. By the exit of these clans, unoccupied territories were created in Creek Town. Edidem Eyọ Ema Atai sent for his cousin Oku Atai Atai in Ikoneto (Mbiabọ) who moved over to Creek Town with his descendants and became the ancestor of the Ambos (Mbarakọm) where Obutọñ, Eñwañ and Adiabọ had once occupied 10, 22, 23. Edidem Eyọ Ema and Etinyin Oku Atai died in the same year (1454 AD) after the appearance of the Harley’s comet “Akpan Ntafiọñ” 7, 31.

Events in Adak-ukọ saw some children of Efiom Ekpo Efiom Ekpo break off to found New Calabar or Kalabari in present day Rivers State, in about 1640 AD 10, 24, but Efiom Ekpo Efiom Ekpo Efiom Ekpo of the second half of the 16th century had no child to succeed him. This was a source of worry for the entire Iboku clan. An informant persuaded him to visit Anansa who, said he, was responsible for the numerical strength of Eñwañ and Obutọñ clans. Efiom Esemin Esu Ekpe Inyañ was the then priest of Anansa and before him Efiom Ekpo presented his request for a child. With the passage of time Efiom Ekpo had a son whom he took back to Eñwañ for naming. The priest named the child after the giver as Anansa Efiom Ekpo Efiom, contracted today as Ansa Efiom Ekpo Efiom or simply Nsa Efiom 22. A second male Edem and his sisters, Ọkọhọ and Odo, were also born, albeit by another woman. Ọkọhọ Efiom got pregnant for an Efutman and had her twin children of Ọfiọñ and Efiom. The three were supposed to be killed as was the fashion then, but their uncle Edem Efiom saved them by smuggling them out into Nsutana where the young lads grew. From Nsutana they crossed over to the present Marina where the Eñwañ people were. The Eñwañ people fled the beach for fear of reprisals from the gods saying “Mbiomo oduk ine (evil has desecrated the fishing port)”10, and sank into the forests where Nsiduñ, Hope Waddell Training Institute and West African Peoples’ Institute are presently located. The famous ‘diamond hill’ (on which the Union Jack was lined in commemoration of one of the diamond jubilee celebrations of Britain) still connected them to their Anansa shrine at Eñwañ spring 10, 15, 22. Their inward movement brought them very close to the Idua people at present day Tete Street 15, 24 with St. Margret’s Hospital on its hill. Ọfiọñ Ọkọhọ, Efiom Ọkọhọ, Edem Efiom and his son Efiom Edem Efiom spread over the abandoned area and brought in Ọkọhọ Efiom. These became the founders of Duke Town in Calabar in about the middle of the 17th century 20, 24. Calabar or Old Calabar therefore was not founded by the twin children of Okoho Efiom as misconstrued by a lot of historians, otherwise it would be a younger town than New Calabar (Kalabari) 24. The twins only erected their huts as part of a town that had been founded about 300 years earlier.

Ansa Efiom in Creek Town had children late and by the time they grew up, they found one Nsa Ekpenyọñ, whose mother was Efiom Ekpo’s second daughter, Odo, in control of their father’s house. Internal wrangling ensued and the Efik people judged the case in favour of Nsa Ekpenyọñ (Nsa Odo Efiom Ekpo) 18, 20, 22. In anger, the children of Ansa Efiom left Adak-ukọ for Nsa Odo Efiom Ekpo and his descendants. The exiting children included Efiom Ansa Efiom, Ansa Ansa Efiom, Ekpo Ansa Efiom, Ewa Ansa Efiom, Efaña Ansa Efiom, Ñkoro Ansa Efiom and Ekeñ Ansa Efiom 24. They first dwelt with their cousins in Duke Town at a place they called Okopedi Ewa Nsa, and as their population grew, Efik people decided to give them all one separate Ekpe lodge to make of them an autonomous Efik settlement. Establishment of Ekpe Efik lodge in a territory by the Efik people of those days was synonymous with the hoisting of flags by nations in today’s world 4, 22. Problems ensued at the point of erecting the pillars of the Ekpe shed. Ansa Efiom’s children thought they should do the honour since they descended from Efiom Ekpo’s first born, but the Efik people judged the case in favour of the twin children of Okoho Efiom and their uncle who established the town 20. Ansa Efiom’s children pulled out in disgust and went to dwell among the Eñwañ people. These events were those of the late 17th century AD, the period of intense slave trade in Calabar.

The close proximity of the Eñwañ people with Idua earlier hinted on brought problems in later years, the cause and nature of which we are unable to trace. War broke out between the two in the last years of the 17th century and many Idua sons were killed. Prominent among the survivors were Etinyin Umo Atiñ-Ita Atiñ Ndem Asibọñ Ekondo who had married Ñkọrọ Ansa Ansa Efiom Ekpo Efiom 22, 24, 28 and had a son Etim Ñkọrọ as Idua remembers him 22, 24. This man, with a few others, left present day Tete Street for the Akpabuyo area. A few of them went to Eket and constituted Idua Eket. Eñwañ clan spread over Tete Street and the other Iboku people taunted Eñwañ clan in the saying ‘Nduñ ndiana ama owot Idua ke Efak Tete, Owot ama, ada obio oduñ ete ke imọ inyene” (a neighbor killed the Iduas at Tete street, then took over his land and claimed it to be his own) 22, 23.

Of the proverbial seven Efik clans mentioned earlier, only Usukakpa (Idua) was left out in the house system. This could be attributed to the constant mishaps that came their way which left them always splitting until they found their ways to the Oron region from Akpabuyo in the 1st half of the 18th century. While still in Akpabuyo, descendants of Esañ Abatim Ibom Enọ of Eniọñ clan arrived and realizing their kinship, settled down and both grew into one large community. The community later broke up into three groups namely Idua-Asañ Abatim, Bukọñ Abatim and Abatim Akani Obio 22, 24. By reason of the hemmed-in geographical location of Akpabuyo, Idua-Asañ Abatim moved out to the shores of the Oron region in those years of peak slave trade, led by Etinyin Osukpọñ Inyañ Atiñ Esu Mba Ntekim Ntekim Osukpọñ Inyañ Ekpe Atai Iboku. They established the port now called Oron Port 36 in the 1st half of the 18th century so as to partake in the slave trade business of the time 22. Bukọñ Abatim and Abatim Akani Obio eventually returned to Eniọñ to establish the famous slave market in Efik history and Akpabuyo was left unoccupied but for the frequent visits by Idua fishermen notably Aya Iyọ Aka Nta Nya Ntekim Nta Ntekim Osukpọñ Inyañ (Ayaiyo), Atu Iyọ Aka Nta Nya Ntekim Nta Ntekim Osukpọñ Inyañ (Atu Iyoka), Oboyo Ntekim Esu Mba Esu Mba Ntekim Ntekim Osukpọñ Inyañ and Osukpọñ Ntekim Esu Mba Esu Mba Ntekim Ntekim Osukpọñ Inyañ Ekpe Atai Iboku 9, 22, 23, 24, 36. It was from one of these visits that Aya Iyo Aka Nta Nya met his death in the last quarter of the 18th century as captured in a popular Efik saying “Mfon okowot Aya Iyọ” (generosity killed Aya Iyo).

In the last quarter of the 16th century, Adiabọ clan was visited by their share of internal wrangling. Descendants of Ukpa Otu Meseme and Mbọ Otu Meseme had lived peacefully together at Adiabọ Ikọt Mbọ until descendants of Mbọ Otu’s daughter (Abasi Mbọ Otu) established a rival Ikọt Otu Ibuot group which brought a lot of disenchantments over royal supremacy. Ukpọñ Mbọ Otu descendants moved down to Obutọñ in Esuk Utan where Otu Asiya, a son of Edak Efefiọñ Otu Meseme of Adiabọ Ikọt Mbọ Otu and Asiya Andem Asiya Esọ Adim of Obutọñ was born to salvage the dwindling fortunes of Obutọñ Ikọt Adim 1, 22. This Otu Asiya is therefore the ancestor of Obutọñ Ikọt Otu family. His son Prince Mbọ Otu Asiya was decapitated by Willy Eyọ Honesty (Eyọ Nsa) in 1767 during the Duke Town-Old Town war 8, 23. His daughter Princess Edak Otu Asiya was married to King Mettinon of Eñwañ (Atiñ Añwa Efiom Esemin Esu or Siñkañwar Sindam circa 1690) 10, 12, 14, 22. It was through her marriage that Obutọñ clan got integrated into the esoteric rituals of Anansa deity, albeit at the cost of life of her father.

In Adak-ukọ, Creek Town, Nsa Odo Efiom Ekpo Efiom had two sons namely Ekpenyọñ Nsa and Eyo Nsa. Waddell reports that there was a third male called ‘Tom Honesty’, the descendants of which have defied all tracings 38. Eyo was the famous warrior who emerged on the side of Iboku people during those turbulent years of trade piracy in Efik history 23. He is remembered for slaying the lead pirate of the Uruan people, Uko Akpakpan Uko, who menaced the trade business of the Efik people of those days. He returned to Creek Town to a warm reception and Etinyin Esien Ekpe of the Ambo ward redeemed his promise by giving his daughter Inyañ Esien to him in marriage. Apart from the Ambos, the Eyo Eema group also gave him Ọkọhọ Ibitam Eyọ Nsa Eyọ Ene Eyọ Ema 22, 24. Adiabọ gave him Nyomoañwan Asido Efa. Obomitiat gave him Añwatim Ukpọñ Ukpọñ Nneneñ Esien Ndemndem, and Mbiabọ Ikoneto gave him Ako Eniañ Añwadet Eniañ Ñkọt Odo Efiom 22. So the purported annoyance and grudge by the Cobhams that Etinyin Esien Ekpe Oku had given Inyañ Esien in marriage to Eyọ Nsa was not a group feeling but an entirely personal one, at least at that time. This fine man brought sanity to that part of Creek Town abandoned by his kith and kin and completely rebuilt it to the envy of other wards 20. He is variously referred to as Eyo Nsa Ekpenyong 20, 24, Eyo Nsa Odo Efiom Ekpo Efiom 18, 20, 22, Eyo Willy Honesty 12, Willy Eyo Honesty and Eyo Honesty I 24, 34. It must be stated here that if it was the grudge borne by Akabom Ene over the honour done Eyo Nsa in the 1760s that saw to the founding of Cobham Town in Calabar, then this segment of the Iboku clan would have been founded in the 2nd half of the 18th century AD, and the founder who died in Creek Town in the first quarter of the 19th century was Akabom Ene Akabom Antigha Akabom Akabom Ene Eyo Ema Atai Ema Atai Iboku and not Akabom Ene, the grandson of Eyo Eema who must have died since 16th century AD.

About the middle of the 18th century, Eñwañ clan and their Ansa Efiom brothers went into a bloody battle over Ekañ, a customary secret cult of the Eñwañ people 10, 22. There were casualties on both sides. Leading the war on the side of Eñwañ was Idem Orok Esu Eyo Efiom Esemin Esu, the maternal great grandfather of Asibọñ Edem Asibọñ Ekpo Efiom and King Duke Ephraim X (Edem Efiom Efiọñ Edem Efiom Okoho). Similarly, on the side of the Henshaws was Ewa Ekeñ Ewa Ansa Efiom Ekpo Efiom, the grandfather of Ekeñ-Ita 22. The Mettinon 6, 12, 16, 18 family of Prince Atiñ Eyo Atiñ Añwa had moved to their mothers in Idua before the war, from where they founded Ikot Esu settlement in Creek Town in 1803 led by the famous swordsman Prince Esu Atiñ Eyo (alias Esu-uko Atiñ Eyo) 22, 25. This settlement was extended to Ikot Esu square (Akani Obio Ikot Esu or Ebiet Ntete) in Leopard’s Town, Calabar by Prince Etim Ntete Ating Esu (alias Obong Ntete or Etim Whyte) and his aged father  in 1891 13, 19, 22. Another Mettinon family of Esemin Esemin Atiñ Añwa had also moved to their mothers in Obutọñ 10, 22, 23 while Prince Ọyọ Inyañ Ọyọ Ekpe Efiom Esemin Esu, the father of the famous Efik warlord, Ọyọ-Ita, moved to his mothers in Duke Town. Quite significantly too, the last Priestess of Anansa of Eñwañ extraction, Añwatim Ọyọ Ekpe Efiom Esemin Esu, before this conflict, had married Prince Ansa Efiom Ansa Efiom of Henshaw Town and Edet Nsa was born out of that union 22, 24. During the war, the young lad fled to his cousins in Duke Town and got christened by the Dukes as Adam-Duke Henshaw as was the fashion then. He became Great Duke Ephraim’s Scribe during his reign. There was also Prince Abia Atiñ Añwa whose mother was Henshaw and his descendants stayed back in Henshaw Town till this day 22. Descendants of Ọkpọ Atiñ Añwa moved to their mothers in Obomitiat Ikoneto and kept the house of Eñwañ as Ndem Curcock House (ekpri ñkọk Ndem House) 14, 22. A combined force of Duke Town and Henshaw Town caused most Eñwañ people to leave Calabar, led by Prince Antai Ọrọk Atiñ Añwa Efiom Esemin Esu (Mettinon V) 10, 15, 22, first to Idua, then subsequently to Esuk Eñwañ in Mbo Local Governement Area of Akwa Ibom State, where they are today .10, 22. It is said that the name Nsiduñ was adopted as an aftermath of that war, and Henshaw Town finally had a place to call their own.
In another development, Prince Etọñ Otu Meseme, nicknamed Antai Ema, constantly lost his children to crocodiles in Adiabo creeks and feeling witch-haunted, sailed out in a canoe to Ọkọbọ, probably by maternal connections, and established a new Adiabọ settlement called Atabọñ, there in the second half of the 18th century AD. The settlement had since survived and blossomed into a large population which had caused some to move to Eket to form another Atabọñ group called Atabong Eket and a fishing port, Ine Atabọñ, in the Bakassi Peninsula 1, 36.
In 1821, Great Duke Ephraim (Eyamba IV) sent out a clarion call to all Efik families to make an effective occupation of Akpabuyo which had been vacated by the Idua-Asang and Asang-Eniọñ groups in the 1st half of the 18th century 24. We had earlier hinted that this region was left unoccupied but for the frequent visits of few Idua fishermen. The entire area is named after Oboyo Ntekim Esu as “Akpa Oboyo (Oboyo’s River)”. Oboyo’s cousin, Aya Iyo Aka was murdered in Akpabuyo by his trusted friend from Duke Town (Iboku Clan) in the 1790s and the place was held in contempt by the Iduas 22. When Great Duke Ephraim heard that an overzealous and adventurous King Akwa from the Cameroons had plans to take over Akpabuyo, he called on Efik gentries of the time to effectively occupy the area. And so Akpabuyo became officially a consolidated group of Efik villages in the 1st quarter of the 19th century AD 9, 10, 24.
In the last quarter of the 19th century, Prince James Egbo Bassey (Okon Ekpo Abasi Ekpo) set sail to found James Town in the Oron region by reason of the kingship tussle of the 1880s. Prince Archibong III (Asibong Edem Asibong Ekpo Efiom) also led his family out of Duke Town to found Archibong Town in the Bakassi Peninsula by reason of the same kingship tussle which King Duke Ephraim Eyamba IX (Orok Ededem Ekpo Efiom) won 24, 36. Prince Esien Etim Ofiong Esien Abasi Ofiong Okoho in the late years of the 19th century also founded Esien Town in Obutong through maternal connections, when there was family disagreement between him and his two brothers as well as with the Coco-Basseys in the Eyamba ward of Duke Town 24.

 

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