By Adiele Samuel
Ikwerre youths has said that according to history, the people of Ikwerre are actually Igbos. The youths, in an epistle signed by one of their leaders, Adiele Samuel said that the reason why they were forced to deny their Igbo roots was to avoid being shortchanged in Nigeria during and after the Civil War.
Read for yourself: “We the youths of Ikwerre extraction, Elele, Ubima, Isiokpo, Ogbakiri, Omademe, Obiri Ikwerre, Rumuigbo, Rumuola, Rumukurushi, Rumuokoro, etc wish to make known our position as regards to Biafra movement.
The Ikwerre is a sub group of Igbo in the Niger Delta headquartered in Isiokpo Ancient Kingdom, we are some time classified as a separate ethnic group in Rivers State, if you call us Igbo you are not wrong and if you call us Ikwerre you are equally not wrong.
There are reasons behind the creation of Rivers State, one was to frustrate the Biafran dream and two was to divide the Igbo ethnic group being regarded as separatist tribe.
The division of old Eastern Nigeria no doubt was based on popular demands by the non Igbo speaking communities due to fear of marginalization, loosing their identity and other lies peddled by Nigeria Government.
When Rivers State was carved out from the east, there was need to divide the Igbo, on the process, part of Igbo communities were carved into Rivers State which resulted to identity crises, as some started rewriting the Ikwerre history to please the North.
The name Ikwerre is as if you are asking a question and then someone from Imo State replies you “Nkwerre” which is an LGA in the State.
The problem of most of our youth is that they rely on what their grand fathers told them without studying wide. In Eli kwerre, if you have not married from Imo you are not in line, most Ikwerre wives are Imolites and we speak Igbo even more than some Igbos who claims to be original Igbo.
The identity crisis in Rivers State started immediately after the war, some claim Bini origin, notable of them is Elechi Amadi the author of the Concubine, in all his books has promoted the Igbo culture but in a surprised move denounced his Igboness before Justice Oputa who reminded him of his Igbo names and Igboid language, No Igbo speaks the same. We can not admit our Igbo identity except during elections like Amaechi”. Ikwerre Meka