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Ibusa: The Multiplicity Of Names, Identity Crisis Creation And The Way Forward - Culture - Nairaland

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Ibusa: The Multiplicity Of Names, Identity Crisis Creation And The Way Forward by Peppermaster(m): 9:11am On Apr 18
Ibusa: The Multiplicity of Names, Identity Crisis Creation and the Way Forward
- Emeka Esogbue
As I write this article, my community does not only remain colonially tied to the British administration but suffers a terrible 'identity sickness.' No one has seen any community with as many conflicting pronunciations, claims, facts, and spellings of its name as my community and a rise by the leadership to invoke a symmetric correspondence among these constituent components and immediately involve the government of the day-to-gazette it seems more difficult a feat to achieve in the present era. It stands to the truth that a name is the first characteristic by which a person, thing, or place is known, and where a name carries crisis, everything soon goes wrong. The identity of a people begins with the name that they bear.
Ibusa is located in Delta State and is one of the important communities in the state due to its human resources, population, and strategic location within the state capital territory. In recent times, the population has increased with the presence of different ethnic groups coming to settle in the community owing to its capital territory location. Consequently, other notorious variables have become present with the immigration of people of different ethnic groups coming to settle in the community and the people are almost on the verge of the loss control of their communal hold.
19th century was a colonial appeal to the Europeans though such visits were not made to the community as early as expected perhaps because it was not much of a coastal settlement. The Ibusa closeness to Asaba, a more coastal settlement has also always invited the Europeans to the community as virtually, every European visitor to Asaba also found their way to the Ibusa community over one imperialistic reason or the other. One can remember that Rev Carlo Zappa who was to establish a Catholic mission in Asaba also established St. Augustine's Catholic Church in Ibusa. On the other hand, St. Thomas College found a twin school in St. Patrick's College, Asaba. It suffices to say that while the Majestic River Niger invited the early European travelers to Asaba, Asaba invited the early European travelers to Ibusa and from Ibusa; other adjoining communities accessed missionary benefits.
It is the same way the British colonial administration anglicized the names of both communities. Asaba was native "Ahaba" and "Ibusa" was native "Igbuzo" but the British administrators were to later make English appearances of both names. Ahaba or Ahaba Ujom became Asaba and Igbuzo or Igbuzo Isu became Ibusa; near English auditory but completely meaningless in either English or Enuani language, from which both names of the people were etymologically derived.
This Asaba-Ibusa relationship continued even after the nation's independence down to the civil war, seven years later. The Nigerian Troop that perpetuated the infamous Asaba Division Massacre in the Asaba community also attempted it in Ibusa but for the efforts of Rev Fr. kunirum Osia, the Parish Priest of St. Augustine's Catholic Church, Ibusa who stood between the soldiers and Ibusa and the rurally organized guerilla-fighting group of the fearsome Oliewunaji. The Oliewunaji irregular fighting force that kept harassing the Nigerian Troop, constituted the strong conceptual demarcation that prevented the reverberation of the magnitude of Asaba and Isheagu annihilation of the Ibusa community.
For the administrators, the newly imposed names (Asaba and Ibusa) were better acts of assistance to the colonial masters than the actual native bearers because it enabled an easy pronunciation for them. Despite this, both communities had lost ancestral correlation with their forebears who never heard of these names. Standing inside the people's Ogwa, in time of worship and mentioning a name up till then unknown was unworthy of religious veneration. Unfortunately, both Asaba and Ibusa have allowed the colonial names to stick even when they run contrary to the inspiration of traditional and spiritual essence. However, for the Ibusa community, the "Ibusa" colonial name has given birth to other versions often written on social media by indigenes of the community which is quite unlike their Asaba counterparts who have remained with Asaba as the community's official name. It is equally hard to believe that these different names have equally factionalized the people depending on the conviction of the users, eliciting emotion.
Interestingly, a departure is being recorded from the known "Igbuzo" which was inherited from the community's parents to historical or descriptive names. Although every living indigene of the community inherited the name "Igbuzo," from his parent, nicknames, historical and descriptive names are becoming prevalent, especially on social media. Names such as "Ibuzo," "Ibuzor," "Igbuzo," "Igbuzor" and "Ibusa" have started to compete among themselves. While it is understandable that "Ibusa" is the official name of the community, it becomes difficult to understand the introduction of other names from archival boxes. One wonders how a single community can be answerable to several versions of names without troubling the identity of the people.
By 1890 the British had arrived in the present Anioma area to introduce the people of the region to Christianity. Nonetheless, the Ibusa elders were resistant, beating every move to become converted to the new religion. Eight years later, the first phase of the Ekumeku War broke out and there was a war between the British and the Royal Niger Company. The conquest of Ibusa soon gave the British the leverage to gain more ground in enforcing their objectives on the trounced people of Ibusa. The Ibusa people, ancient warriors nicknamed "Isu Na Mborgu" and "Isu Fulu Gu Ju Nni" had unconditionally surrendered to the British and agreed to allow the imperialists to establish a mission in the community on a long stretch of land. After an injurious negotiation, marked with subtleness, the Umuafene elders in Isieke leased the land to them for a period of 100 years from 1898 to 1998 in a clearly-written agreement which this author has physically sighted, signed by the colonialists and the family members. It was on that land that St. Augustine's College, the first church in the community with a cemetery for the burial of the church workers was established.
The British had taken a deep administrative interest in Ibusa, amalgamating the Ogboli and Igbuzo settlements and adopting the name, "Igbuzo" to name the community. A Charge Office (now Police Station) was built where the present Health Centre is located along the Umejei Road and a court was also built to try the Ibusa Ekumeku fighters and other minor offenders. As of 1900, the British had resorted to the use of "Ibusa" as a preferred name of the people strategically lying amid Asaba, Ogwashi-Uku, Ubulu-Uku, and Okpanam instead of the Igbuzo, the native name. Consequently, in their dealings with the people, "Ibusa" became the name by which they were officially known. A few Warrant Officers of Ibusa extraction were appointed by the British colonialists but none attempted to get the British colonial masters to revert to the name, "Igbuzo" by which the people previously knew themselves.
There was independence in 1960. The colonial masters left office and the indigenous government took over the government of the young nation, inheriting the anglicized "Ibusa" name and it stuck. Despite having enjoyed various exalted political offices at different times such as the head of federal ministries, Senate, House of Representatives, House of Assembly, the local government, and other sensitive offices, no indigene of the community has been able to initiate a process that would enable the community revert to "Igbuzo" thus, 124 years later, the colonial name is not only in use but now confused with other versions but opportunely, some 'private citizens' and organizations of Ibusa extraction have shown concern in reverting to the core native name of the community. In 2015, the Igbuzo Singles Meet World (ISM), a youth organization of the community decided the use of "Igbuzo" as against "Ibusa," an earlier name of the organization. The members of the group had reasoned that "Igbuzo" was the core traditional name in place of "Ibusa." The name "Igbuzo Singles Meet Worldwide" then came into use. Subsequently, other groups such as "Ndigbuzo and "Umuigbuzo" were to follow suit in ensuring the preservation of the community's original name.
Until his demise, Dr. Benjamin Ajufo, a Medical Doctor cum history enthusiast was known to institute campaigns seeking the return of the community's name to "Igbuzo. More recently, Prof Austin Uwandulu, founder of the Academy for Governance has also been in the forefront of the advocacy for the official recognition of "Igbuzo" as the appropriate name of the community with its people.
In the year 2021, Chief Fred Ajudua, under the auspices of the Umejei Descendants, a WhatsApp platform for the people of the community, initiated an opinion poll in which inquiries were sought from the members of the group on the appropriate native name of the community. The opinion poll showed more than 88% of the members going for "Igbuzo" as against "Ibuzo," "Ibuzor," "Igbuzor" and "Ibusa." Unfortunately, as it turned out, the essence of the opinion poll ended ceremonially on the platform as there were no attempts to initiate the enforcement. The status quo remained. In 2023, the Ibusa Community Development Union (ICDU) Abuja Branch initiated a lecture to celebrate its end-of-year party, eventually; the Guest Lecturer in his keynote address not only recommended but submitted "Igbuzo" as the appropriate traditional name of the community.
Mr. Peter Uwajeh, an indigene of the community from Umueze is not left out in his concern that the community return to its original "Igbuzo" name before the British wore the people the colonial "Ibusa." To many, it paints a picture of discomfiture that the people of the community are writing different names descriptive of their community, which non-indigenes unfamiliar with the community sometimes consider befuddling. A community with different names surely has indigenes with confusing identities in which people will keep asking questions to try to put to right who they are. It is questionable why the people of the community will go resurrect their praise names for compliance with formal rules and retention. For sure, the Ogwashi-Uku people are not gone writing "Ogwa-Nri" just as the people of Okpanam are not writing "Okpam" or "Okpalani."
It is overzealously wrong to resort to the lettering of 'Ibuzor' on official documents as against the government-recognized "Ibusa" and grammatically misleading in English standard to introduce an apostrophe in a name of a community as now seen in 'Ibu'zor." That will make it seem like Ibusa is the only community in existence with an apostrophe in the middle of its name. If the people are confused about their appropriate though because many people are knowledgeable about this, the proper official name of the community is never in doubt as to warrant a replacement with pet names, not known to the government. If on the other hand, the people are willing to have a change of name in which case, they wish to return to their native name, a cultural conference should be convened by the community's leadership to achieve this. They should then make the move to gazette the new name with the government.

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Re: Ibusa: The Multiplicity Of Names, Identity Crisis Creation And The Way Forward by Samesame247: 9:49am On Apr 18
Na same Ibusa wey we know.

Two two sacrifice, every T junction

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