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A street in Aba
|• Governor||Theodore Orji (PDP)|
|Elevation||205 m (673 ft)|
|Population (1993 est.)|
|• Ethnicity||Igbo, others|
|• Ethnicity density||18/km2 (50/sq mi)|
|• Religion||Christianity, Omenala|
|Time zone||WAT (UTC+1)|
Aba is a city and a big trading center, upon the creation of Abia state in 1991, Aba was divided into two local governments areas namely; Aba south and Aba North. Aba south is the main city center and the heart beat of Abia State, south-east Nigeria. It is located on the Aba River. Aba is made up many villages such as; Umuokpoji Aba, Eziukwu-Aba, Obuda-Aba, Aba Ukwu and other villages from Ohazu merged due to administrative convenience. Aba was established by the Ngwa clan of Igbo People of Nigeria as a market town and then later a military post was placed there by the British colonial administration in 1901. It lies along the west bank of the Aba River, and is at the intersection of roads leading to Port Harcourt, Owerri, Umuahia, Ikot Ekpene, and Ikot Abasi. The city became a collecting point for agricultural products following the British made railway running through it to Port Harcourt. Aba is a major urban settlement and commercial center in a region that is surrounded by small villages and towns. The indigenous people of Aba are the Ngwa. Aba is well known for its craftsmen. As of 2004 Aba had an estimated population of 1,020,900.
Aba as a City is made up of many villages namely; Umuokpoji-Aba, Eziukwu-Aba, Obuda-Aba and Aba-Ukwu but the villages in Ohazu have been merged with Aba so as to achieve administrative convenience. Hence the owners of Aba are often referred to as Aba la Ohazu indigenes. It eventually became an administrative center of Britain's colonial government. Aba has been a major commercial center since it became part of the old Eastern region.
The Aro Expedition, which was part of a larger military plan to quell anti-colonial sentiment in the region, took place in the area of Aba during 1901 and 1902. During this military action, the British easily beat the native Aro people with an unknown number (presumed to be heavy) of casualties. In 1901, the British founded a military post in Aba and in 1915, a railroad was constructed to link it to Port Harcourt, which transported agricultural goods such as palm oil and palm kernels. In 1929 Aba was the site of a revolt by Igbo women, historically known as "The Aba Women's Riot"[nb 1], a protest of the colonial taxation policy. The riot started first as a peaceful protest against the initial census of women in the region, and subsequent assumed taxation of the women based upon rumor. The protests spread throughout the palm oil belt, but remained peaceful until a pregnant woman was knocked over during a "scuffle", and the lady losing her child. The news of this "act of abomination" spread rapidly and violent reactions ensued. After more deaths, some accidental, some not, occurred, a mass of 10,000 women marched on Aba. Sources dispute the numbers of dead, with 55 to over 100 being reported. During the height of the Nigerian Civil War in 1967, the state capital of Biafra was moved to Umuahia from Enugu. Aba was devastated during the Biafran War. By the 1930s, Aba was becoming a large urban community with an established industrial complex.
Aba is the home of many distinguished families such as the popular Emejiaka Egbu family of Aba la Ohazu, Ogbonna family of Eziukwu-Aba, the prestigious Ichita family of Umuokpoji-Aba,the Omenihu family of Obuda-Aba, the Ugbor family of Aba-Ukwu, the Ugwuzor family Umuokpoji Aba, the Ukaegbu family of Aba-ukwu and so forth.
Aba is surrounded by oil wells which separate it from the city of Port Harcourt, a 30 kilometres (19 mi) pipeline powers Aba with gas from the Imo River natural gas repository. Its major economic contributions are textiles and palm oil along with pharmaceuticals, plastics, cement, and cosmetics which made the Ariaria international market to become the largest market in west Africa seconded by the onitsha main market . There is also a brewery and distillery within the city. Finally, it is famous for its handicrafts.
The city has played a lasting role in the Christian evangelism of the Southeast of Nigeria since the British brought the Church Missionary Society (CMS), an evangelism vehicle of then Church of England used to plant what today has become the Anglican Church of Nigeria. In 1923, the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA Church) was established . The Seventh-day Adventists are well known for their Biblical faith, quality hospitals and good educational institutions.
St. Michael's Cathedral Anglican Church was founded in the late 1920s although St. James Parish on the city edge (Umule) is arguably the oldest church because the diocese's first mass was celebrated in 1916. Most of the Primary and Secondary Schools mentioned above were founded by the CMS along with each of their Churches.
The Catholic Church was to follow and also created many churches; Christ the King Church (C.K.C), which for a long time was the biggest church in the city became its bishop's seat and its now known as Christ the King Cathedral.
With the arrival of the Pentecostal brand of Christianity (the evangelicals) in Nigeria, the city got an enormous share for itself. The Assemblies of God Church, being among the earliest, the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Living Word Ministries Inc. had massive following in the early 1980s, following The Refiner's House International Church one of the newest and fastest growing Christian ministry in the city. African Gospel church was founded by Bishop Ogudoro the Founder of African Gospel church. African Gospel church is divided into 10 districts. The present Bishop of African Gospel church is Bishop Uzoaru (2009).
In the late 1960s, a group of Nigerians discovered information on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and established branches, but the Utah based church did not establish any official presence until the late 1970s when blacks were allowed to hold priesthood authority. Aba has several congregations and a temple.
Muslims and mosques are also present in Aba; the largest mosque is the Hospital Road Mosque. A Chief Imam is resident among the Hausa-speaking settlement in the heart of the city itself.
The city has well over 90 primary schools, most running two sections of morning and afternoon. These sections, which are individual schools by themselves, operate 07:30Hrs - 12:30Hrs and 12:30Hrs - 17:30Hrs, all local time.
Aba is served by a station and a halt (mini station) on Nigerian Railways. Aba is also a major hub for road transport in the region - a large number of transport companies operate coaches that transport people daily to various parts of the country. The city is second only to Onitsha in mass transportation daily volume in the eastern part of Nigeria. Commercial motorcycles ("Okada") have been banned - replaced by commercial tricycles ("Keke NAPEP").
Enyimba International F.C., popularly called The Peoples Elephant, is the town's most popular football club. Enyimba FC's winning track-record is among the richest of all Nigerian football clubs. With 2 CAF Champions League Trophies, six Nigeria Premier League titles and a pair of Federation Cup trophies, the club is currently ranked 2nd in the CAF Club Rankings.
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- General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist (2014). "Aba East Conference". adventistyearbook.org. Archived from the original on 22 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
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- Jordan, Mary (2007). "In Nigeria, the New Face of Global Mormonism". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 22 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- Lemberg, David S.; Courtlandt, Canby (1984). Encyclopedia of Historical Places. Facts on File Library of World History 1. New York, NY: Facts on File. ISBN 978-0871961266.
- Munro, David, ed. (1995). "Aba". The Oxford Dictionary of the World. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-866184-3.
- Opia, Eric Agume (1972). Why biafra? Aburi, Prelude to the Biafran Tragedy. San Rafael, CA: Leswing Press.
- Oriji, John N. (2011). Political Organization in Nigeria since the Late Stone Age: A History of the Igbo People. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-62193-0.