History is a very essential part of any community, person or organization. In Yakurr community, a story is never complete without a story divulging how they got to where they are and the struggles which some individuals must have made to ensure that it happened.
History reveals the identity of a people. It gives a detail narration of the past events that occurred leading to the present day.
Cicero rightly put it this way and I quote ” the more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future “.
That is why this post has been aimed at giving us a brief insight about the history of the great Yakurr community, a community in Cross river state, Nigeria.
The Yakurr community comprises of nine clans which include: Assiga, Inyima, Ugep, Idom, Ibami, Agoi, Ekori, Nko and Agoi Ekpo.
These clans or settlements and were formerly known as Umor, Ekoli, Iloli and Yakurr Ibe. There were problems with the Europeans who visited in the early days with pronouncing these names that in turn led to the adoption of the present day clan names.
Historians have not been completely able to pinpoint the exact location in which the Yakurr community sprouted from. Noble Professors have given their views as to where they believed was the first location of the people of Yakurr.
A fellow Captain Chessmab when giving his assessment on the Yakurr community stated that ‘ it was fairly certain that the Yakurr people first lived near Okuni. Another astute individual Dr. Otu Abami assserted that the Yakurr people’s ancestral home was located at ‘Lekanakpakpa'(quite a tongue twister right). The Ikomites however helped and confirmed his assertion that the Yakurr people were their neighbors at that point in time.
However another historian by the name Enang Basset agreed with Dr. Ubi’s assertion that the Yakurr’s first home was Lekanakpakpa.
However due to heated conflicts in matters relating to serious violation of burial rights, the Yakurr people were left with no choice than to migrate from their ancestral location to their present location.
Their migration was believed to be the done in a number of phases. The first phase was believed to have been constituted by Ugep, Mkpani and Idomi.
While the second phase was carried out by Ekori and the third phase by Nko. The Yakurr people have definitely been around for ages past. Their migration was estimated to have occured around AD 1617.
The migration period was believed to be within 1617 and 1670. The migration was decided after they had lost a war. However, their migration from their ancestral homes had been attributed to quite a number of the reasons and not just limited to the mere conflict regarding burial rites.
Other reasons which contributed to their migration include: competing demands for land resources and also the swift increase in which their population was rising. AD 1660, some Yakurr migrants had already started establishing their homelands in their present locations.
The first clans to establish theirs were Idomi and Ugep. Not too long after, between the year 1677 and 1707, two other Yakurr migrants had established their clans at present day Ekori and Nko. Mkpani settlement also founded their clans between the period of 1707 and 1737.
Historians were able to discover that Yakurr was founded by a woman called Obia, a princess from Abiriba in igboland. She was believed to have had a conflict with her father over the administration of the palace system which in turn led to her leaving the land.
It was on her journey that she encountered a hunter in a town called Akpa and explained her ordeal to him and not long after they got married.
The name ‘Yako’ was gotten from a contest in which they achieved together. She formed the first dynasty of Yakurr. It was later concluded at a Council of chiefs meeting held at the Obon palace that she shouldn’t continue as the Obol of Yakurr.
This angered Princess Obia but she had no choice than to surrender her throne. She passed on the title of Obol kingship to her son Ibe.
Obol Ibe began the second Yakurr dynasty and he was a ruler greatly loved by his subjects. He was able to prove himself as a great leader with lots of charisma and a valiant warrior.
He proved his valor and strength in battle with many victories he gained during various wars which he fought. The towns he conquered during battles were brought into his community and treated as part of his family.
The love his subjects had for him endeared the name “Yakurr be-Ibe” which he was called by his admirers and subjects. He lived a full life but on his sick bed he had a misunderstanding with some of his neighbors which led to an attack on Yako and not long after that period he died.
The people of Yakurr will forever be grateful to the Princess Obia who named them and through her battles with her husband was able to bring these clans together.
Without her glorious efforts and that of her son Ibe who followed in the mother’s footsteps to ensure that the Yakurr legacy stood strong through its trying periods.
They might have not been indigenes of Cross river state but their triumphs have led to the creation of the biggest ethnic group in Cross river state.
This is the brief history of my community, a community that sprouted from nowhere, battled wars and still stood strong and can now boast of being the largest ethnic group in the state and a host to one of the largest festivals in Africa.
I am definitely proud to be associated with such a rich history. If you have not discovered what the history of your community is, you probably should.
It is good to be enlightened about some of these things, you just never know who could be curious about it, could be your child, your loved one or even in an interview(that’s a long shot though) but still having the knowledge is key, know your history.
Share your love and comments below.