Aboh is a town located in Delta State of Nigeria. It is located on an elevation of about 24m above sea level. It is the location of the headquarters of Ndokwa East Local Government Area in Delta state. It is situated on the bank of the River Niger and has two lakes namely Owoli and Okili. Its major languages are Aboh dialect; which draws similarity from the dominant Igbo language, Nigerian pidgin and English. It has a major market, a government secondary school, two government primary schools, two private basic schools, and an ongoing polytechnic being built by the Delta State government. It has a government general hospital, a government health center, an educational board office. Christianity is the dominant religion and the town has a presence of over fifteen churches, a mosque and few traditional shrines. It is accessible en route via water through Rivers and Bayelsa states. It is one of the few villages with a 24/7 electricity supplied by Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and continues to serve as an economic link between hinterlands and other urban areas. There exist a traditional authority headed by an Obi and the chiefs in council otherwise known as Olinzeles.
By oral history, Aboh indigenes are Binis by origin. In 1480 AD Obazoeme, otherwise known as Esumei-Uku, the son of Oba Ozolua of Benin migrated with some of his followers from Benin to found the town of Aboh. Obazome alias Esumei Uku was the founder of Aboh. He had two sons, Ogwezi and Ugbo. Ogwezi had many children, three of whom in addition to himself, became the heads of the four quarters in Aboh. They also constitute the ruling houses in Aboh up to this day. They are Ojugbeli, Ogwezi, Ossai and Ozegbe. The kings of Aboh, unlike the tradition in Benin, retain their names after ascending the throne. Succession to the throne also does not follow the rule of primogeniture. During the immigration movement from Benin to the present day Aboh, two major oppositions were encountered during the course of establishing the town. First was the Iwele people who were of the Itsekiri stock and the Akarais. After overcoming the challenge of opposition through fierce battles, the Benin immigrants took possession of the land, blessed with the knowledge of Benin architecture, they built Benin-like houses and constructed roads in the new town. They also took advantage of the nearness of the River Niger to practice swimming, canoe paddling and fishing. The Aboh kingdom is divided into two distinct race. The UMUDEI who descend from Ogwezi, the son of Esume and first Obi of Aboh and the NDICHE who are considered the ” non royals “. The Ndiche are of mixed origin. They include the aboriginal ” Idumu Iwele ” people who were of AKRI origin. Many of the Ndiche were of Igala origin, some came from the Eatern Igbo country just as some arrived from neighbouring Anioma communities. It should also be noted that many of the Ndiche were of ex-slave origin but Aboh assimilates ex-slaves easily. The large settlement of Abalagada north of Aboh main town came originally from Anam ( in Anambra State ) they are therefore of Ndiche stock. Since its inception, the town has been ruled by ninetees Obis and is of the recognized towns whose traditional leader and authority is recognized by the State government. It is also recognized as a host community by the oil & gas exploration companies.
There are no accurate figures as to the figures of Aboh population.
The people of Aboh are predominantly farmers who engage in subsistent and commercial farming, their farm produce include plantain, cassava, yam, palm oil, groundnut, potato, etc. Fishing is another aspect of the economy which is controlled by the males. There exist small units of manual palm oil processing plants and cassava processing plants which are used to process cassava into garri and oil palm into palm oil. It has a bakery that has ceased to function. Other sources of income for the residents includes timber sales, transportation (speed boats by water and bike and cars by land), sale of sand by truck to construction sites, and by private entrepreneurial services and products. There are over five restaurants, two cement stores, three computer centers, several cloth stores, several provision stores, over six male barbing salons and several female salons, one sport betting shop, a match viewing center, over three movie rental shops, three major metal fabrication shops, several bars, etc. Also, the town has a number of skilled personnel in carpentry, electrical works, metal fabrication, block moulding, etc.
Aboh has a major link road, a jetty and a total of sixteen streets (ogbes); nine of which are tarred, three others are under construction and four untarred. It has a major market, a government secondary school, two government primary schools, four private basic schools, and an ongoing polytechnic being built by the Delta State government (now abandoned). It has a government general hospital, a government health center, a private health center, an educational board office.
The town is not connected to the national grid, however, it is one of the few villages with 24/7 power supply which is supplied by Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), an oil & gas exploration company. The palace of Obi Oputa II serves as a historical monument of the town’s past glories. Part of the town is supplied with solar powered street light at night. There exist over ten water tanks scattered across various streets of the village, built by various government agencies. However, only less than three of these tanks are functional and supplies water to its adjourning streets of the village. Clean drinking water is procured in sachet bags while water for other uses are sourced from the Niger River and lakes. Due to improper planning and lack of maintenance, the existing public water facility does not serve the town properly. There is an increase in the construction of modern houses and decline of mud houses, however, there seem to be a shortage of rental houses within the range of single rooms, self-contains and bedroom flats.
The town requires government presence in areas of improve farming, provision of a centralized water system, a centralized sewer system, support for small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs). Its public schools lack efficiency, qualified teachers, and discipline. The general recorded performance of its students in the West African Examination (WAEC) shows a below average performance, especially on English and Mathematics. The economy is majorly agro based, this calls for government support through for improved farming.
The most prominent festival in Aboh is the Oje festival which holds within the first quarter of the year. It is represented by the masquerade called Oje, each quarter has its own oje masquerade. The masquerade is adorned with colourful materials and discharges verve and agility as it moves. A bunch of pod shells called ‘ekpili’ are tied to each of its ankles and produces musical rattling sounds as the oje prances around and while it is dancing. It carries a machete in its right hand and a fan, with which it blesses donors, in its left hand. The Oje is the crown figure of the Alishi shrine. Its head stands vertically pointed to the sky. The Oje masquerade leads the festival parade followed by a procession of men and women, singing and dancing.
The following persons can be contacted for further information about Aboh.
Phone: +234 81 68175932
Name: Hon. Olise Imegwu (Jnr)
Designation: Obi’s Representative
Phone: +234 80 35798322
The Obi of Aboh is at the apex of the administration of Aboh and the overall ruler of the kingdom. His palace is called ‘Uge’ and is the seat of the throne. The Uge provides venue for the highest level of meetings and settling of disputes. The Obi has the sole prerogative to confer titles on deserving persons of his choice. His salutation is ‘obu onwe’. He occupies the throne till death.
The Council of Olinzeles
Olinzele means chief in Aboh. These chiefs assists the Obi. The collection of chiefs form the council of Olinzeles. They meet on Eke-uku days to deliberate on matters concerning the town.
Below the central administration of the Obi and his council, there are other structures down the ladder at the Quarters level, these includes; Ikei obodo (elders), they make peace in the town by hearing and deciding disputes brought to them. Oshi/Agbiko, these also look into and adjudicate on disputes in the first instance. Ikolobia Obodo/Utu Uwai (youths), they are responsible for general sanitation. Umuada and Ndiom Onusa, they take part in dancing procession.
Customary Judicial System
In Aboh every head compound, village, quarter or outpost town may hear civil and criminal cases of a minor nature. Serious criminal and civil cases are usually transferred to the Obi or the Nigerian Police. Most cases brought to the Obi are handled by the council of Olinzele.
In the case of petty family disputes, the head of the compound hears and settles the issue, if the parties concerned are not satisfied with the judgment, the case is transferred to the head of the quarter, and subsequently to the council of Olinzeles.
Trial by Ordeal
Trail by Ordeal is a traditional way employed by native doctors to detect criminals who refuse to own up to their crimes. This method called ‘Idu Ita’ is still in practice and is also used to extract confessions from men and women accused of withcraft.
Aboh Federal Union
The Aboh Federal Union is the most prominent of the associations in Aboh. It is the umbrella body for all Aboh citizens with Aboh and diaspora. The union was formed in 1945 in Lagos and has branches at Sapele, Port Harcourt, Onitsha, Ashaka, United Kingdom, Kaduna, Abuja, Ghana, etc.
MAJOR ENTREPRENEURS OF ABOH
Aboh has a number of existing and new entrepreneurs offering business services in trade, transportation, procurement, haulage, farming, catering, etc.
The major entrepreneurs are;
Name: Hon Olise Imegwu (Jnr)
Sector: Haulage (sand), Transportation, Timber, Cement,
Contact: +234 80 35798322