INTRODUCTION Before 1960, the region now known as Nigeria was made up of independent kingdoms. While some were large, others were small. The small ones tend to take shelter under the big kingdoms for protection and security as well as free trade. This reliance on bigger kingdom is due to territorial closeness, tribal connection and trade relations. Oza-nogogo, a small kingdom in today’s Delta State of Nigeria, had at one time relied on great Benin Kingdom for security and trade connection. Furthermore, these kingdoms from the North to South, West to East of Africa lacked written source and their personal record because they saw the important of education at the eleventh hour. The Ika community whose origin and culture as well as the political system is traceable to Benin. The Oza-nogogo in particular, was under the guidance of the Benin kingdom before colonial rule, however, after being made a village that constitute the Ika community under the Agbor clan, she created a language known as Ozara or Oza which was a mixture of Edoid and Ika languages.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
The aim of this research work is, first, to make know what constituted the origin, nature and activities of the people of Oza-nogogo in the pre-colonial times. Secondly, it aimed at realizing the socio-economic and political life of the people before the advent of colonialism in Nigeria in general and the Oza-nogogo people in particular, thirdly, it tends to provide answer to popular questions ask by people such as ‘why do Oza-nogogo claimed Delta instead of people’.
SCOPE OF STUDY
This research work will cover the historical background of Oza-nogogo people dating from early times to in the pre-colonial period, their settlement pattern as well as the socio-economic and political life in general to the era of British conquest of Nigeria through signing of treaty.
In the course of research of this project, relevant and essential data and information was gotten from two main sources, which are primary and secondary sources.
The primary sources: This project largely rest on oral interview. This is so due to lack of written record or literature, as a result this work lies largely in oral traditions. Oral interviews were conducted with intellectuals and experience individuals whose personalities are of high esteem, who hold the history of Oza-nogogo at their memory bank. Those interviewed included title holders, chiefs, clergymen, farmers, as well as the Ogisi of Oza-nogogo. They all answer all the questions relevant to this work.
The secondary source: This sources stem from the village youth and libraries in Benin and Delta states. Information from this source helped to guide and supplement information obtained from the primary sources.
Among other books reviewed, the following books proved useful to the success of the work:
First, Oza United Forum, ‘The History of Oza People in Edo and Delta States in Nigeria’,1 is a book that dealt about the people of Oza-nogogo political, cultural and economic structure in pre-colonial times, and provided names of the pre-colonial Ogisis. Moreover, it provided the historical origin of this village. However, it failed to acknowledge the fact that the Oza-nogogo people are now under Ika community of Delta states. This book reverence and wished to be rejoined to the Edo states.
Obaro Ikime, ’Groundwork of Nigerian History’2, was another book reviewed that deals with the history of Nigeria. It exposes the political and economic system of the Nigeria people, but made mentioned of the popular ethnic groups in Nigeria.
Furthermore, P.A. Igbafe, ‘Benin Under British Administration’3, speaks of the pre-colonial marriage and slave trade in the Benin kingdom. It to an extends present the similarities of the Benin people to the Oza-nogogo people in others things notably of the marriage right. It only generalized it without been particular. Thus, this project will be specific as it approach the Oza-nogogo marriage system
Prof. E.A. Oyelade, ‘Readings in Religion and Philosophy’4, generalized he African belief in a supreme Beings as well as deified of precious object. Furthermore, it made known the sacred institution in Africa and their belief in life after death. However, it failed to acknowledge that this deified object varies with environments.
Lastly, Basil Davidson, ‘The Growth of African Civilization: A History of West Africca 1000-1800’5, explains the use of weapons in subjecting kingdoms as well as rise and fall of kingdom. The rise of warrior kings in the Great Benin Kingdom whom embarked on conquest of kingdoms as tribute states such as Agbor.
This project is divided into five chapters, which are as follows:
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
It introduced what this work tends to focus. Hence, this chapter encompasses the aims of the work, the era to discussed, the sources the work depended on and departmentalization of the project for easy comprehension.
CHAPTER TWO: BACKGROUND TO THE IKA COMMUNITY
This chapter brings to our understanding what constitute or made up of the Ika community. It also reveals the geographical location and as well as the political structure of the Ika people, which then introduce the Oza-nogogo people location in the Ika community. It further exposed the oral tradition of the Oza-nogogo people as distinct from that of the Ika Oral tradition origin.
CHAPTER THREE: POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT OF PRE-COLONIAL OZA-NOGOGO
It shall expose the unique odionwere system of the Oza-nogogo people, unlike the other Ika villages which have clans. It shall deal with the historical political origin of the Oza-nogogo as well as their structure and the reasons for the political system and its consequences on the Oza-nogogo people.
CHAPTER FOUR: SOCIO-ECONOMIC LIFE OF PRE-COLONIAL OZA-NOGOGO
It traced the socio-economic practices of the people. It shall expose the social activities such as festival, marriage system, and evening gatherings as well as the dynamic of their economic activities such as trade.
CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSION
This chapter shall conclude or summarizes what the preceding chapters have revealed. Also, I will be revealing what this project has taught me.