A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and door-to-door censuses (to be taken every 10 years according to United Nations recommendations)
Population censuses have been taken in Nigeria during colonial time in 1866, 1871, 1896, 1901, 1911, 1921 and 1952. The censuses covered only the southern part of the country except for the 1952 census which was country wide, and the censuses before 1921 were based on administrative estimates rather than on an actual enumeration.
Censuses after independence were taken 1963, 1973, 1991 and 1993. The results from the 1973 exercise were highly disputed. The preliminary results for 2006 indicates a population of over 140,000,000. A total of 700,000 enumerators were engaged in this operation. Statistical study of human populations occurs within the discipline of demography.
The last but one head count in Nigeria was done in 1991. The very last one was done in 2006. That makes the interval between the two censuses fifteen years. From Independence it was meant to be every ten years but trust Nigeria, you cannot put a finger on the regularity of anything.
But the essence of this article is not to prepare lecture notes for students of geography. It is to do some more serious work of x-raying the population figures of all communities in the Ika nation using the last gazetted census figures of 1991. The 2006 census figures are partially out to the extent that the national total is known, the state totals are known even the local government totals are also out and known. But the missing part is the figures of localities making up each local government e.g. Agbor and its component parts, likewise Owa, Umunede etc. They are not released yet, so we would do our analyses with the 1991 figures and revisit this subject when the 2006 localities figures are released.
Table 1 is the census figure for Ika South in 1991 head count showing population of males, females, total for both sexes and what the National Population Commission projects that the population of the areas counted would be five years after 1991 i.e. in 1996. In all, 29 separate communities were identified and their inhabitants counted. A thorough scrutiny of Ika South figures shows that there is no clear identification of Boji Boji Agbor as was done for Boji Boji Owa in Table 2 where the later was isolated as a distinct territory with a population of 33, 101 persons of both males and females. What we have on Table 1 for Ika South is Agbor (item 6) with a total population of 45, 820. Is that Boji Boji Agbor or Agbor Obi? Item No. 22 on Table 1 is labeled Obi Agbor. Could that be Agbor Obi? Is Agbor Obi’s population that small (just a little over 1, 000?)
IKA SOUTH FINAL RESULTS OF 1991 POPULATION CENSUS
3. ALISOR (AGBOR)
4. SUBERU CAMP & OTHERS
8. ALIAGWA AGBOR
9. AGBOR ALIHAME
13. ALIHAGWU AGBOR
15. OKI I
16. OKI II
17. AGBOR NTA
18. EKUKU AGBOR
19. OBI EDIHON
20. AGBOR ALIDINMA
21. OWA ALIDINMA
22. OBI AGBOR
23. OBI ANYIMA
25. ABAVO (OYOKO)
26. OZANOGOGO (EVBO-EBJ.)
27. OZANOGOGO (ONUNU)
28. ALIOKPU AGBOR
29. ALIFEKEDE/ALIHAGWU II
LGA TOTAL =
Source: National Population Commission, Asaba.
If we take Agbor as recorded to be Boji Boji Agbor, let us attempt a comparison of the figures of both Boji Bojis i.e. Boji Boji Agbor and Boji Boji Owa. By 1991 head count, Boji Boji Agbor had a population of 45, 820 while Boji Boji Owa had a population 33, 101, a difference of 12, 719. The second point to make is that Boji Boji Agbor is a more homogenous entity of brethren related by ties of consanguinity as against Boji Boji Owa that is more multi-ethnic, being a melting pot of many races. There you have a distinct Hausa community, also Yoruba and Igbo communities. Our brothers from Aniocha/ Oshimili have also settled on the azu owa in good number, even fellow Ikas. Statistically, it may be fair to say that Owa indigenes constitute no more than 30% of the 33, 101 population of Boji Boji Owa making foreigners account for the rest 70%.
Still dissecting the bowels of Ika South population, let us tease out the component parts of what make up the populations of the two kingdoms of Ika South LGA. The whole of Abavo and all her dependant communities (see Nos 24 and 25 of Table 1) add up to
22, 019 people. In a local government with a total population of 109, 204, that is just 20% of the population of the local government. That leaves the rest of the local government (80%) to Agbor. There are only two monarchs in that LGA- the Dein of Agbor and Alhaji Mustapha of Abavo. But when you juxtapose the above demography on the distribution of electoral wards you cannot help but wonder what must be amiss. Abavo has 7 wards while Agbor has 11 wards giving a total of 18 wards. Statistically, that translates to 40% of the wards for Abavo while Agbor has 60%. There is something that is not exactly right in this demo-political calculus. In terms of land space, the Agbor kingdom is very vast.
Politically, Agbor alone with the level of discontent amongst her citizenry which translates into unanimity of purpose, should have electoral victories go the way they want. In other words, Agbor can contest and win Chairman of Council, House of Assembly seat and House of Representatives seat (when it is zoned to Ika South) at every election, if she decides to be insensitive and unfair. Even if she had so desired in time past, this has not been so because of bare-faced rigging and thwarting of the will of the people. My article titled "How elections are rigged in Ika land" (Ika Weekly of May 15 2010, page 14) reveals what has been happening all along in Ika land. So many people and organisations are involved the bare-faced robbery and these include local government officials of INEC, DSIEC, political big wigs across the two local government areas, top government officials and the security organizations. Please get that article and read it.
Lastly, the 2006 census figure for Ika South as already released and gazetted is a total of 167, 070. This is 57, 866 people more than the 1991 total of 109, 204. Where will this new addition pop up? Let us just wait and see.
Let us turn to Ika North East and dissect her population figures as shown on Table 2. There are 26 communities listed by the National Population Commission in their head count. But all the 26 communities can be grouped under their monarchs for clearer picture. In that local government, there are 8 autonomous monarchs as against two in Ika South. The 8 monarchs head their various kingdoms or clans. One or two communities are already expressing autonomy for example Idumuesah. Table 3 is a condensate from Table 2, aggregating all the 26 communities to just 9.
IKA NORTH EAST FINAL RESULTS OF 1991 POPULATION CENSUS
1. BOJI-BOJI OWA
3. MBIRI FARM SETTLEMENT
4. ISAIAH CAMP
8. AKUMAZI UMUOCHA
9. OWERRE OLUBOR
10. UTE- OGBEJE
11. ALI NWACHOKOR
13. OWERRE UTE OKPU
16. OWA ALERO
17. OWA EKEI
18. OWANTA ALIOSIMI
19. OWA OFIE
20. OWA ALIZOMOR
21. OWA OYIBU
23. ERUMU UTE OKPU
25. OWA ALIDINMA
144,267Source: National Population Commission, Asaba.
Owa is clearly the largest community in the local government with a population of 48, 880 people. Upon closer analysis however, it will be seen that Boji Boji Owa alone contributed 33, 101 out of the 48, 880. As was analysed above, Boji Boji Owa is not inhabited by Owa people predominantly. If the population of Boji Boji Owa is taken away from the entire total for Owa, the pure Owa communities all put together will be just 15, 779. If as posited above we can claim that the population of Owa people in Boji Boji Owa is just 30%, then we can add another 10, 000 people of Owa origin to the 15, 779 above to give 25, 779. That still makes them the most populated in the local government by 1991 census figures. But this is not with the kind of numerical dominance that Agbor has over Abavo.
So where does Owa derive the strength with which she oppresses the rest of the local government like a conquered territory. Owa has 8 electoral wards while Umunede is one. Owa and Ute-Okpu have monopolised over 98% of all elected/political appointments in the LGA since 1999, while the rest of the LGA have shared 2% in silence. What is worse is that Owa and Ute-Okpu control the levers of power to decide who gets what even within other clans. Question: From where have they derived such enormous powers? Certainly not from population.
TABLE 3: SUMMARY OF 1991 POPULATION FIGURES IN IKA NORTH EAST
S/N Clan Population In 1991
1. Akumazi+Ekuoma+ Owerre = 12, 368
2. Igbodo+ Isaiah Camp = 9, 074
3. Mbiri+ Settlement = 4, 875
4. Ute-Ogbeje = 4, 278
5. Otolokpo = 4, 990
6. Owa Oyibu+ 7 Others = 48, 880*
7. Umunede = 21, 611
8. Ute-Okpu+ 5 Others = 15, 832
9. Idumuesah = 5, 652
LGA TOTAL IN 1991 = 126, 560
NPC Projection for 2006 144, 267
LGA TOTAL IN 2006 = 182, 819
*Boji Boji Owa alone has 33, 101
Source: Summarised from Table 2
They have garnered such enormous powers by finding effeminate men from the various other clans, even from the ranks of royal fathers. Such effeminate men who are not men of character and strong moral principles have easily succumbed to the power of money. And no matter what doctrine of liberation is preached, those who have sold the zone out just think of what they will lose if our oppressors were to stop giving them money. Talking for where I come from, i.e. Umunede, the man who should feel outraged that the kingdom he inherited has not shown growth since his ascendancy but rather has been on a progressive decline on all fronts, is not in the least perturbed. As you read this piece, I heard on good authority that a document was circulated to Obis in Ika East to support the creation of the Ika East local government area with headquarter at Ute-Okpu and some of our Obis have signed. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that except the secrecy that surrounds the whole scheme. Every day we see communities led by all their royal fathers go to State Houses of Assembly or the National Assembly to present their demands for local governments or states with a known headquarter/ capital agreed by all of them. In our own case, there are smart communities that know how to tiptoe at night to outsmart others. And a royal father that should be the rallying point for his citizens with red eyes just feels okay.
I am not going to wash our dirty linen in public just yet because we have a wardrobe full but let me allude to why our position gets worse every year. (The other clans of Ika East have repeatedly accused Umunede of being the spoiler in all that our zone does.) The Obi has his limitations educationally. But that ought not to be a problem if he had brought around him men and women of means, honour, integrity, and achievement. If an illiterate Obi has the sagacity to bring professors to attend to him in his palace, he becomes a professor. Similarly, if he assembles doctors, lecturers, retired business moguls, accomplished business men and women, and politicians with integrity around him, he becomes all of them. His profile grows; so too the profile of his community and citizens. But when he assembles little men and women of little means and gives them bogus chieftaincy titles and they help him avoid high profile outings where heavy weight citizens from other clans will feature, his level will ever remain low. Which Secretary or Honourable will Professor Ajabor or Professor Akumabor or Mr Osifo all of Umunede call on phone to say, ‘I am broke, I need money?’ That is what the little men in and around the palace including royal mothers, subject us to daily. And as long as such pittance flows in, they will do anything, even wish death for "trouble makers" that will stop that money from flowing in.
Secondly, our people say that "someone’s mother’s food is never bad to him". It may consist of only crayfish while another person’s mother cooks with turkey meat. A situation where a royal father puts his citizen’s on an endless scale of competition with outsiders who have been in government for decades, and have good access to free funds, he can never have the sobriety of mind to appreciate his citizens and cherish them. No matter how much his people give from their hard earned resources, a royal father is quick to tell them with scorn that he is living well courtesy of outsiders. He even tells you that part of his palace was renovated by that honourable and that secretary, etc. A situation where a royal father has pathological hatred for men of achievement in his kingdom, he will continue to surround himself with little men who our competitors get to their side with "kobo kobo". These saboteurs (chiefs he may call many, with very few exceptions like Ojekpolor) are errand boys and spies of our enemies. Enough said for now. We will revisit this subject.
Back to the issue of modest population but landslide electoral victories which is the kind of politics that Owa and PDP in general play in Ika land- this can be nothing else but manipulation of votes against the wishes of the people. When the people who have "voted overwhelmingly" persist in condemning the votes, what else can one make of it? The pure Ika East towns of Akumazi, Igbodo, Mbiri, Ute-Ogbeje, Otolokpo, Umunede, Ekuoma and Owerre-Olubor have a total of 57, 196 people while the total of pure Owa (25, 779 excluding foreigners in Boji Boji Owa) and Ute-Okpu put together are just 41, 609. If we can stop rigging and every persons vote counts in one-man-one-vote-election, is it difficult to see that the days of stolen victories are over? Umunede like Boji Boji Owa is to some extent multi-ethnic but Umunede has been so marginalized that unity is easily struck when the chips are down.
Lastly, the 2006 census figure for Ika N E as already released and gazetted is a total of 182, 819. This is 56,259 people more than the 1991 total of 126, 560. Where will this new addition pop up? We can only wait and see.
This article has been written to show to Ika people in general that it is the fear already created in us of the political mastery of some clans that makes us succumb to victories declared from stolen votes. No one single clan should sit down alone or with one other to divide what belongs to all of us, then chose 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 even 7 before they look around to hand out crumbs to the rest of us before we begin to complain. Agbor should please wake and take its place on Ika soil.
To all Ikas, follow the political enlightenment that our series of articles will bring and know that for the first time we can very easily install any candidate we collectively endorse. Chief Tony Anenih, the famous "Mr. Fix it" cannot fix anything in Edo State anymore. All the Ogidis and the Ekuemes will soon realize they are humans after all once we can all open our eyes like Anambra people did during their last governorship election and stop massive rigging of votes in our WARDS. Yes, I mean OUR WARDS. We can only wish Acting President Jonathan well in his electoral reforms.
To all Ikas, read and tell others about what you read. Make photocopies and take to your meetings and read it to members. For the first time, you will not need anybody or group to bamboozle you that this candidate is endorsed. In fact anybody that comes to us with confidence that he has been endorsed should not get your vote. That way we can show that our vote has counted. It is for us that can network at the top to stop rigging and I assure you that we will come 2011.