Ikot Abasi Township, a historical port and melting pot of economic and cultural influences, is today known in Nigeria as the Alu (Aluminium) City. It is the current focus of modern industrial development in Nigeria. Its rich cultural traditions, varied historical past and tremendous economic potentials, presently harnessed by ALSCON, chart the trail to a viable future, while demanding a balanced development and prudent management from everyone involved.
This web site aims to provide background facts and information on Ikot Abasi: its physical and social environment, its people, their culture and historical experiences, which have collectively shaped the area into what it is today - the host community to the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria Ltd. (ALSCON).
The web site also discusses the advent of ALSCON to Ikot Abasi as well as ALSCON's impact on the Ikot Abasi area, community and environment. The study does not presume to be exhaustive, but it is rather intended to serve as a reference and a stepping stone for further inquiry.
Ikot Abasi has also been the headquarters of successive local administrations, during both the colonial and post-independence eras. Accordingly, this work treats Ikot Abasi in the dual sense as an urban centre, as well as an administrative division/local government area since both aspects were closely linked together. As both the Township and the administrative area changed their boundaries, names and ethnic composition over the years, these changes have been reflected in the web site.
The division was first created in 1892, with the name, Opobo Vice-Consulate, since it embraced the basin of the Opobo River, and was administered from Norah Beach located in the Opobo (Town) Island. Later, the administrative headquarters was transferred to a more convenient place up river, commonly called Egwanga, which was the property of Ikot Abasi Village of the Ibibio Ibekwe Clan. The administrative division, however, continued to bear the name Opobo; and Egwanga itself similarly thenceforth bore the name, Opobo (Township), or Egwanga-Opobo as well.
As a result of the local government reforms in 1977, and the transfer of Opobo Island (Town) and Western Obolo areas to Rivers State, Opobo Township (Egwanga or Egwanga-Opobo) was rightly renamed Ikot Abasi and made the headquarters of the new Ikot Abasi Local Government Area. Thus, for the purposes of this study, the names Egwanga, Egwanga-Opobo and Opobo Township all refer to Ikot Abasi, the indigenous name for the location of the present Ikot Abasi Local Government headquarters.
Similarly, at its creation in 1892, the Opobo Vice-Consulate/District extended over both sides of the Imo River and included the Opobo, Obolo (Andoni) and parts of Ijo, Ogoni, Ibibio, Anaang and the Igbo ethnic groups. As from the 1930's, however, as a result of successive and inter-divisional boundary adjustments that resulted from far-reaching administrative re-organisation, Opobo Division gradually contracted in size, losing some sections - the Anaang to Abak District; Obete to Aba Division; the Ogoni to Degema Division; Opobo Town and Western Obolo to Rivers State; some Ibibio clans to Mkpat
Enin Local Government Area; and recently, Eastern Obolo to their own local government area (1996), leaving Ikot Abasi LGA much smaller in size than ever before and made up entirely of the Ibibio.
In most cases, the conventional spelling of indigenous place, personal and other names in current use, such as Ikot Akan and Ibeno have been retained. Ibibio and English glossaries, a list of abbreviations and name and subject indices are included at the end of the book. Newcomers to the area might also find the Visitors' Guide quite useful.
The contributors to this web site had to grapple with the comparative dearth of historical and statistical records, the unavailability of research publications on Ikot Abasi history and culture, coupled with the frustration factor in coping with poor record keeping facilities and the seasonal accessibility of the Ikot Abasi roads, including the back-breaking and tyre-bursting Ete-Ikot Abasi portion of the road. In view of all this, the contributors appreciate the assistance of many enlightened indigenes of the area, who readily made available relevant information, documentary and photographic materials in their possession, or provided valuable leads, openly demonstrating their support for, and interest in, the project.
Among those who need to be mentioned specially are Sir Udo Udoma - the Ikot Abasi political and legal colossus, Dr. Akwaowo Essien, Chief E. S. Etekpo (who was the late Chief Ntuen Ibok's Secretary), Chief W. E. Uffot and Chief U. U. Afia of Ete, Chief C. J. John of Amangbauji, Dr. Aman Essen (son of Chief Aman Umo Essen), Sir. L. U. Etuko, Elder V. I. Okpokpong, Chief H. Uko and Innocent Usoh of Essene, Lawrence Udoiwod of Okon, Mrs. Eno Etete of Edem Aya and many others. Obong and Mrs O. D. Etukafia and Rt. Rev. Em. E. Nglass and his wife, Mrs. Adela Nglass, were a constant source of enthusiastic encouragement, specific information and personal reminiscences on colonial Opobo/Ikot Abasi, Eastern Obolo, and on prominent historical personalities in the area. Practical advice and unflinching support came from Dr. A. U. Ekpo, who often served as a guide, negotiator and organiser in the field; and Mrs. Affiong Abasiattai, who shared her experiences of the condition of Ikot Abasi Township soon after the creation of Akwa Ibom State.
Sources of information and illustrative materials are acknowledged in the web site. Special thanks for their assistance go to the National Museums at Calabar and Uyo; the National Archives at Calabar, Enugu and Ibadan; the Research Library of the University of Ibadan; Miss Irene Brightmer, Dr. and Mrs. Nicholson (now in Britain), Chief Ntuen Ibok's family, chiefs from Ikot Osukpong, and Chief J. E. J. Asuquo of Calabar.
Illustrative drawings were produced by Mrs. V. I. Ekpo and Mr. G. Ukim, and illustrations on the fauna were supplied by the National Conservation Foundation (NCF), Akwa Ibom Chapter.
Dr. Eno-Abasi Urua took enthusiastically the computer typeset and layout, while Mrs. E. Archibong, I. Khaizer, Mr. J. Ekim and Mrs. Joy Ansa Ulaeto provided secretarial assistance.
Our greatest gratitude is to ALSCON; its General Manager, Mr. Peter Waschka; the Deputy General Manager, Chief С. C. Okoye; and the Assistant General Manager (Administration), Elder O. U. Ekpo; and their staff, who wholeheartedly supported and assisted this project in many ways.
Monday B. Abasiattai
Violetta I Ekpo
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