The Traditions of Origin of Ndoki People in Abia State | Interesting Facts

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‘’A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots’’. – Marcus Garvey

Ndoki People Image
Ndoki People

The History Of Ndoki People in Abia State

Ndoki is a community located in the Ukwa East local government area of Abia state. Situated in the tropical rain forest of Nigeria, the community and its people have rich traditions which make it outstanding in the entire Igboland.

Historically, Ndoki people trace their migration from the ancient Benin Kingdom after a strong civil war that broke out in the ancient Benin kingdom. The people were said to have left Benin and passed through the course of Imo river, in the creek of Bonny river to their present location. They are geographically located in a vast area around the southern edge of the Imo River and stretches into three states of Nigeria – Abia, Akwa-Ibom, and Rivers. Ndoki people are mainly traders, farmers, and fishermen.

The cultures and traditions of the Ndoki people mark their origin as a clan in 1992 and by extension, the creation of the Ukwa East local government area in Abia state. Several primary sources have it that the introduction of certain cultures marked the origin of Ndoki land.

These cultures include;

Egwu-Onwa

Naturally, children are given to playful activities, and this has been right from the dawn of civilization. In fact, every civilization handed down to its offspring from one generation to another, different types of traditional games. Of course, play itself helps to develop the brain. It is an important activity that children use to interact with their world, explore, make friends, and prepare themselves for adult roles so as to be useful to society.

In Ndoki land, just as it is obtainable in other climes, the chanting voices of children are heard occasionally re-echoing from the streams as they jump and swim in the water. The girls are always fond of splashing water and chase about one another in the shallow areas while the boys, in the normal display of valiance maneuver different tree branches, just to dodge being jammed. At home under the shade of a giant tree, just around the neighborhoods, children always gather to play and have fun.

Apart from this play children indulge in the day time, there are also interesting ones they engage in at moonlight. Here, the children within the age range of fifteen converge for play activities like singing, tongue-twisting, storytelling, dancing, hide-and-seek riddles, and lot’s more.

To begin the activity, the leader of the play usually shouts ‘’ota-e, ota-e’’! and the response will be ‘’uwuu’’! At this time, all the children will rush out of their houses and abandon whatever they were engaged in. They will all head to the square where they will either squat or sit, depending on what their leader may require them to do. Usually, the leader may be the eldest among them or the most domineering.

As part of the tradition, moonlight play in Ndoki land is carried out at night when the moon is full, or when it gives more light for clear sight. It is usually played during the dry season.

Apart from the normal moonlight play which children indulge in, there are other entertainment activities of moonlight which go on. For instance, Eru-Onwa, or Oku-Kpum masquerades of the Azumini areas, speedily jumps and tumbles. Another traditional entertainment activity is the Ari-ada which expands and contrasts in size while it performs.

Play activities by moonlight are known as egwu-onwa in the Ndoki tradition.

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Akwete Weaving

Cloth weaving formed part of the traditions of origin of the Ndoki people right from the mid to late nineteenth century. Over time, it became a full-time occupation among the Akwete women. During this period, Akwete weavers responded to the regular patronage of the neighboring Ijaw people of the Niger-Delta by creatively designing their choice patterns in new textile materials.

It is worthy of note that the in olden days, only royal families could wear one of the special designer apparel known as the ‘’Ikaki’’ motif, and if a common individual tries to wear it, he could be given out to slavery. This is so because the weavers claim that certain motifs were revealed to them in their dreams.

Apparently, the pattern of dressing reflected the traditions in Ndoki land. This is evident as the women usually tie the cloth as a wrapper with a piece of lightweight blouse fabric. Normally, the cloth is woven in pairs and the Akwete women appear this way during public occasions.

The men Ndoki people on their part, use the textile to sew traditional shirts generally known as Etibo, jumper, or Wokor. They wear it over trousers during special public occasions. The fabric can also be woven in smaller versions that could be used as cushions, tables, curtains, beds, or table covers.

Kingsley Okezie is an experienced Web Content Writer and a commentator on social and political issues. He believes that writing is a tool for social change and mental development.  He is a graduate of History and International Relations from Abia State University, Uturu, Abia state. He currently lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

Twitter: @okezie_Kingsley

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