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Culture & Tourism

OROKAM: Land of Culture & Intelligentsia

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Orokam district is located about 140 kilometers south of River Benue in the present Benue State, North Central, Nigeria, West Africa. It is sandwiched by Igbo land to the south and Igala land to the west. Other district like Otukpa and Owukpa share her boundaries to the north and to the east respectively. Both Otukpa and Owukpa speak same Idoma dialect but with little distinct and intonations.

Enumabia Stream in Orokam

Orokam is one of the 22 districts of Idomaland. It is currently under Ogbadibo Local Government Area of Benue State.

The district is made up five clans according to their different ancestors, namely Ai-Inamu; Ai-Oko; Ai-Ona; Ai-Agbo Oriko (popolarly called Ai-Igwu); and .

The Ai-Inamu (Inamu’s children) are progenies or descendants of Inamu the ancestor of the clan. The Ai-Oko are descendants of Oko who is their ancestor as Ona, Agbo-Oriko and Akor are the ancestors of the Ai-Ona, Ai-Agboriko and Ai-Akor respectively.

Each clan has its own settlements but with development and prevalent inter-marriages among the different clans, they now live among themselves. An Ai-Inamu man can live in the Ai-Onah settlement without fears or worries.

Orokam people are very religious. Traditionally, they are pagans but with the advent of civilization and spread of Christianity, the light of the gospel has lit the nooks and crannies of the land so much so that one could sparsely find a shrine in the land. Christianity notwithstanding, the people still hold on to the portions of the tradition that align with biblical teachings and morality.

OCCUPATION

The people’s major occupation are farming and trading. A handful of them are civil servants. Its rich and numerous palm trees make palm wine tapping and palm oil production lucrative businesses in the land. Weaving of rafia baskets and shredding of brooms from palm branches are not left out.

The people are hospitably disposed and honest to a very large extend. They are not naturally extravagant in their lifestyles.

A palm wine tapper

TOURISM

An ancient stream named Enumabia seems to be one of the surviving body of waters in the land. The stream is believed to possess some mystics  as villagers believe it purges itself of defilements and impurities. Tourists have visited Enumabia and still do.

The stream is the villages’ major source of natural water.

There is one Okpogbodo that has dried up many decades ago.

ENTERTAINMENT

Orokam is rich in entertainment. Traditionally, they have such forms of music like Okàngá, Ogrinya, Omábé, Odé among others. Some of these were actually imports from the neighboring Igbo land of Enugu and Ikwo. Okàngá which is the traditional Idoma music could be heard in the village at nights usually at child birth celebrations or chieftaincy coronations. The music is a combination of bass drums, locally made snare drums and flutes.

The people are also very rich in traditional literature of folklore, riddles and proverbs that are handed from generation to generation.

The land has produced very prominent personalities in the country and across the world.

If you are planning a visit to Orokam, there are hotels that you can lodge and there are people who can guide you and make you your stay in the village worth the trip.

Oche Onu writes

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Onoja Sunday

    October 30, 2020 at 4:50 am

    My father land long live orokam, long live idoma, long live benue state

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Culture & Tourism

‘AJOCHE’ PUTTING IDOMA IN BAD LIGHT?

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My attention has been drawn by friends to this TV Series showing on DSTV titled ”Ajoche”. The complain is that the series is putting the Idoma nation in bad light, showing that we are bloody, immoral, dirty and greedy.
Though I have never taken time to watch the said telenovela, my brief research shows that the telenovela, which was set in 1918, tells an epic story of a kingdom that goes on a bloody rampage after an innocent woman is murdered. The story has a theme of war, love and betrayal. It stars talented actors like Hilda Dokubo, Femi Branch, Luci Ameh among others.
It was produced by James Omokwe, and was first aired on April 30, 2018, on Africa Magic Showcase.
My further enquiries confirmed the worries of my friends who are not of Benue origin but have lived with the peaceful and lovable people of Benue over the years and who did not see any of the attributes displayed in the telenovela in the Benue people that they know.
A Scene From Ajoche
Mr. Omokwe is definitely not an Idoma name and may not know much about our culture. If the script writer is truly a proud Idoma son/daughter, they would not have portrayed the godly nation in that light.
In 1918, the ancestral fathers of Idoma land are barely settling down in the present Idoma land after the Jihad led by Otman Dan Fodio in 1900 that deformed the Kwararafa Kingdom, and are not capable of all the ”evil” portrayed in the series. The ancestors were at this time building rapport with their neighborhood and war was not an option here.
A Scene of Violence From Ajoche
Moreover, the land has religious and cultural norms that guarded against sexual immortality, wickedness and unlawful bloodshed.
As a creative writer, I appreciate the effort put in the production of this series, but nonetheless not in support of bad image portrayal or any attempt to put the peace-loving people of Benue in bad light.
I want to declare that, despite the cult activities and political upheavals of the recent past abetted by bad governance, we are not bloody, dirty and greedy as allegedly portrayed by Ajoche.
I therefore call the attention of the well meaning Idoma leaders to review the said telenovela and take necessary action/decision to avoid further damages to our good name and  fatherland if this claim is true.
God bless Nigeria
By: Oche O. Onu

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