By Guy Ikokwu
DEAR Nnanna Ochereome,
I read your article in Vanguard of 8th September, 2016 on the issue of Dr. P.D Cole’s article with regard to the Ibos, Ijaws and other Ethnic Nationalities in Nigeria and anthropological records showed clearly that the routes of immigration of people from the hinter-land towards the riverine areas or the ocean have not been reversed.
Even as of today people from the arid areas of the savanna are still migrating downwards towards the greener areas of Northern Nigeria and further down to the Middle Belt and onwards to Southern Nigeria in search of greener pastures of Southern Nigeria in search of fertile soils for agriculture and rivers for aqua culture and water.
This is why there is more population density in the Southern parts of the whole of Africa than the Northern arid areas where the atmosphere is hotter for habitation. In Nigeria, Ibos claim to have migrated South-wards from outside Nigeria in the mythology until they arrived in the South-East. They had migrated further to the East through Akwa Ibom to Cross River and to Southern Cameroun.
From the South-East also they have migrated West –wards to Delta, Edo even to the neighbouring Yoruba territories they have also migrated South-ward to the riverine areas of the coast of Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers State.
You rightfully showed that the commercial slave trade of the foreign powers of Britain, France, Spain and Portugal was used to induce the Ibos who were very tenacious when it comes to trading activities to participate in that odious transaction but the trading propensities and the sagacious republican character of the Ibos to this day continued to propel their tenacious instincts to survive even in very harsh conditions and environments. They always work hard and always add value wherever they inhabit. It was their distinctive characteristics that made the emperor slave merchants to shackle them as much as possible so that they do not escape or drown themselves in captivity.
Records show that most Ibos and slave merchants took their captives to the West Indies where they added much value to the plantation work in the Carribean and Jamaica, where they were very much sought after by the merchants.
From Jamaica and West Indies they were sent to Haiti, and then to Virginia in the East coast of U.S.A. In Haiti the Ibos learnt the art of warfare at sea and gun both fire power and diplomacy. It was not surprising that they were the first to outsmart their Spanish ship masters by overthrowing them with their weapons and setting up the first black independent Republic! It was this Republic of Haiti under President PapaDoc Duvalier which recognises the Republic of Biafra in a matter of few days during the Nigeria Biafra civil war. The cemeteries of Haiti are still littered with the names of Igbo military personnel.
It is well known that Yorubas were sold by slave merchants to Brazil in South-America and to Cuba, from where some of them were repatriated to West Africa and Nigeria. Like some Ibos their cultural marks are still in these distant lands while many has been assimilated and remain distinct .
Modern scientific researchers of the human DNA such as we find in Sweden and other advanced countries like America can tell the distinctive biological ancestries of ethnic nationalities in Nigeria and Africa just as they have been able today to show that human beings or the homo-sapiens originated from Africa especially East and Central Africa from where human species migrated North ward through the river Nile to North Africa and beyond. Claims by other races in this world have been scientifically proven to be absolutely fault.
Humanity originated from the African Tropics and migrated upward to the temperate and very cold and icy climate in the North and South wards the African homo-sapiens migrated to the Southern-most part of India and the pacific and on through the seas as aborigines to India, China, Japan, Indonesia and further down to Australia and New Zealand. The Caucasian, German, Russian, Icelandic, North and South America claims of originality has been shown scientifically as unjustified by scientific data to a large degree of commonality amongst the Ethnic Nationalities of not only Nigeria but the rest of West Africa.
Therefore, we should understand that there is a hereditary bondage between our various people which with the commercial and modern drift from the rural to urban areas has continued to generate a mixture of our people through Trade, Habitation, Marriages and other social factors. We should therefore try to behave as a people and tolerate each other for the purpose of our own existentialism and abhor ethnic abnormalities but continue to advance our unusual prodigies.