The people of Nkporo originally migrated from Ibibio area in the present Akwa Ibom State to Okpukpu Iyi Aro. Their fore fathers were Okwonkwoghoro or Okwo for short Iwo, and Ezeaja.
Following a dispute between Nkporo people and a neighbouring Ibibio ruler called Afachima Achi, which resultedseries of inter tribal wars with this ruler, the people of Nkporo under the leadership of Ezeaja Iwo moved out on their journey in search of peace, fertile land and water. During the long journey Okpukpu Iyi Aro to the present site they had settled in various places such as Ugwu Isiagha, Elu Ohafia, Udara Ebuo Elu, Afia Nkwo Ochie Abiriba, and Ugwu Agbala.
From here they moved to their present settlement of “Nchara Ifu Nchara Azu”, after consulting an oracle.
The inter tribal wars with the people of Ibibio earned our people the name Nkporo (Nkporo is an Ibibio name for Buffalo) because our people fought like Buffaloes and sent their enemies packing and taking to their heels. The fleeing Ibibio referred to them as Buffaloes. In course of time the name Nkporo became universally used in our people and was adopted. Furthermore the people of Ibibio advised the Aros to befriend Nkporo people or face the wrath of the warfare.
This accounted for the friendship between Nkporo people and the Aros in those days. Notice that Aro people had no stronghold in Nkporo as in other places where they lived and colonized.
Nkporo is bounded on the East by Edda, on the West by Item, on the North by Akaeze and Oso Edda, and on the South by ?
CULTURE AND TRADITIONAL INSTITUTIONS
Culture is the arts, customs, institutions and the basic way of life of a people. It is the people’s identify which every enlightened society must preserve or be forgotten in the near future.
An important feature of the culture of Nkporo is that it is intricately married with religion. You can not divorce culture and religion in Nkporo. Let it be pointed out here that the religion so intertwined with Nkporo culture is not Christian religion. It is what the Christians call “idol worship”. Many
gods or idols are worshiped, depending on what cultural activity is going on.
Cultural festivals in Nkporo can hardly be discussed without discussing god and music because they are also involved in the festivals. I mean, there is a strong link between some of the gods and the festivals of the community.For instance, Iri Ndi festival goes with Figioku’, Arua Agha festival goes with Arua Agha, Iwusi Oji festival goes with Otusi, Ime Ogbo festival goes with Otusi, Igwa Agwu
festival goes with Agwu, and so on.
In Nkporo we have traditional political intuitions, Age grade system, Family system and Inheritance, Traditional festivals, Male initiation into Egbela cult and so on which are hence forth going to form the basis of our discussion.
(A) The Traditional Ruler (Eze) and his cabinet: This is an elective office by the community, based purely om merit. The Traditional Ruler is officially recognized ruler of the Autonomous community. He with his cabinet deals with community affairs on the behalf of the community.Among other duties, the Traditional Ruler encourage developmental projects, prompt and regular payment of rates and taxes, and maintenance of law and order in the Autonomous community.
(B) Council of Chiefs and Elders: The Council Of Chiefs and Elders is presided over by the village Head (Eze Ogo). This office unlike that of the Traditional Ruler is hereditary. The Village Head with his cabinet deals with customary and traditional matters, settles disputes and civil cases, as well as maintenance of law and order in the community. The female counter part of this council is an Association of Respectable elderly women called Itiliabali who deal with matters of welfare, custom, and tradition as it affects the women folk.
(C) Development Unions: The Development Unions are the organs of government and development in the community. The union makes laws for the welfare and progress of the community among other duties. Its female counterpart is women in the Autonomous community. It legislates on matters related to the women and also plays advisory and complimentary role to the Development union.
AGE GRADE SYSTEM
A very important feature of Nkporo communal life is the age grade system. The whole community is made up of the people at different levels of the age grades with chairman, secretary and treasurer as the principal officers of each age grade. Age grade system in Nkporo is organized on the basis of three year age seniority. That is one Age grade is older that the other by three years. Every three years eligible youths of the same age organize themselves and join the age grade system. First, they indicate their intention to the town union with entertainment and then register their name as an age grade. Henceforth their name will appears in the list of age grades of the community, and they will participate fully in anything done on age grade bases.
The eligible age grade due for retirement is called ‘Ukejiagbala’. This particular age grade must be prepared to answer all calls by the Chiefs at any time- day or night. They must be fully prepared to deliever all messages and carry out promptly all duties assigned to the occasionally by the Traditional Ruler, the Chiefs and town union executives. As a matter of fact, the age grade called ‘Ukejiagbala’ is an watch dog of the community until they retire from active sevice through Igwa manwu cultural festival.
The age grade system in Nkporo is by far the most effective, organ of development. It facilities the organization and supervision of communal work and other activities in the community. Through competition and healthy rivalry each age grade tries to do better than its predecessors. Since no member of the age grade likes to be looked down upon by his fellow age mate, everybody tries to do their best in everything the age grade undertakes to do. And since no age will like to be ridiculed by the other age grade, every age grade tries to put in their best in everything they do. In this way the age grade system is unfailing source of rapid development in the community.
FAMILY SYSTEM AND INHERITIANCE
The people of Nkporo inherited maternal family system with all its merits and demerits from their ancestors. This system brings together members of the extended family from far and near under one umbrella and name. Headship of the maternal family system is rotated among members of the family head, who has the responsibility of doing the necessary sacrifice that goes with it regularly. Each family obligations. Some families are large, some are small, some are rich, and some are poor. But what matters most is the contribution of individual members of the family towards the development of the community.
Why the people of Nporo choose to adopt the maternal family system I can not tell. In my own view, whatever family system- maternal or parental- adopted by the people should not bother us since both have merits and demerits. Any family arrangement that attempts to separate father, mother and children is creating problem because both the birth and the up bringing of the child is the collective responsibility of both parents. You cannot therefore incline to anyone of them without being unfair and ungrateful to the other. In the circumstance, the best policy is to balance your inclination and try to bridge the gap between the maternal and parental relations. Many enlightened homes today are moving towards this direction. After all, the Bible tells us that all of us are of a common orgin- Adam and Eve- and therefore belong to one big family. To be on the safe side, we should incline to neither side but love one another to promote peace and harmony through out the world.