Ufuma

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Ufumaland (Ana Uvume)is one of the 16 major towns that make up the geo-political area called Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra state, Nigeria. Ufuma has the geographical coordinates of 6° 5' 0" North, 7° 11' 0" East .

Origin[edit]

Around the early thirteen century a man named OOLUCHUO was known to have had a son named NGADA who fathered an only son named EGBE popularly called DIJI. EGBE on his part had two sons named NKWERE and UVUME in that order. It is likely that EGBE (aka DIJI) might have had other children outside these two. EGBE was nicknamed DIJI because he was a famous farmer and was said to have had large barns of yam.

In addition to farming, he was known to be a good hunter. He engaged in hunting mostly after planting season and before crops were ready for harvest. During these periods, food was usually scarce and there was always need to look for other food sources beside farm crops. Hunting for wild animals and fishing especially in the famous MMAMU River were easily the major engagements.

According to Nze Patrick Okeke, in an interview conducted in 1978, the two sons of EGBE namely; NKWERE and UVUME continued like their father to move from place to place in search of fertile land for agriculture. While UVUME was tall and heavily built like their father EGBE, NKWERE his brother was more like their mother. Their life styles were also said to differ a lot. UVUME was good at farming while NKWERE preferred hunting and fishing. –

It was the search for habitable and arable land that brought them to the present day EKEAKWA where they finally settled. Before this time, they had tried settling down at different times and places but found the places hostile. At one of those places UVUME was said to have lost his most loved wife during childbirth. The baby, a male child also died. UVUME was said to have had several children who died in infancy. This was one of the reasons that set them perpetually on the move until they came to EKEAKWA. At this place, one of his wives who had been carrying a baby gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. Before then, UVUME had two daughters. The baby boy was named EHIRIMOBU.

By this time DIJI, their father had become very old and not long after he died and was buried there. With the death of their father, cracks began to appear in the relationship of the two brothers and their children. UVUME had four wives while NKWERE had only one. It was said that DIJI their father had a warmer relationship with UVUME to the anger of NKWERE. Not long after the death of DIJI, relationship between the two brothers became so frosty that NKWERE decided to seek another place of abode for himself and his family. Today the descendants of NKWERE live on the other side of MMAMU River close to the people of Orosiama in Oji River LGA of Enugu State.

The descendants of UVUME form what is today known as Ufuma town in Orumba North LGA of Anambra State.

Ufuma is particularly famous for several reasons;

    • It served as sanctuary for Biafran Warlords towards the terminal stage of the Nigerian-Biafran war.
    • Ufuma is also renowned for its agricultural sector, especially with respect to yam, cassava, palm oil, cocoyam and rice.
    • Ufuma is also sometimes referred to as Holy Land by followers of Ekpere Ufuma, because it is the place where the controversial sect had its origin. The name, Ekpere Ufuma, translates to ‘Ufuma Prayers’ or ‘Prayer Band’, is more of a derogatory appellation used by followers of Orthodox churches (Catholic & Anglicans) in Igboland to address members of the ALL CHRISTIANS PRACTICAL PRAYING BAND movement founded by Papa Eleazer Nwokolo, a former Anglican catechist, and his wife, Sophie, in Umunebo-Ufuma around 1957. This movement is commonly known today as UKA Madam Nwokolo (Church of Madam Nwokolo).

The evangenlical works of Mr. Eleazer and his wife Sophie easily made the name Ufuma a household name especially in Igboland and even beyond so much so that when the name Ufuma is mentioned, what comes to peoples mind is Uka Madam Nwokolo.

Ufuma is an educational, commercial, green and holy land. It is located in Orumba North LGA in Anambra State of Nigeria. It has a thick population which stood at 750,000 by 1963 census period. It is bounded by eleven towns namely; Akpu, Ajalli, Nawfija, Ogbunka, Awlaw, Inyi, Akpugoeze, Awa, Omogho, Ndikerionwu and Ndiowu.

It has three political wards; I, II and III. Ward 1 comprises Umuagu, Umuenebu/Ozegu and Umunebo. Ward II comprises Umuonyiba, Umuaguosibe and Enuguabo; while ward III is made up of Umuogem, Umueji and Umuonyiuka. The three wards are aligned to the three family blocks namely Umunebonato, Okpuno and Umuehi respectively that make up Ufuma town.

The traditional head of Ufuma is called the Diji. The last occupant of the stool was Igwe E E Okoli and after his death and following the observation of full traditional right, Ufuma people are in the process of electing and installing a new Igwe. It is noteworthy that the Igweship in Ufuma is not hereditary but is rotated among the three main family blocks. The next Igwe is expected to come from the Umunebonato family. Ufuma was once the headquarters of Orumba Local Government in the early seventies when it was first caved out from Aguata. Educationally, Ufuma hosts a campus of Oko Polytechnic and has three secondary schools namely; Community Girls Secondary School Ufuma, Ufuma Girls High school and Enuguabo Boys High School, Enuguabo. Ufuma also boosts of many private secondary schools like the Virgin Covenant College and fifteen primary schools.

Health[edit]

There are many health clinics and cottage hospital in Ufuma that serve the health need of the people along with those of neighbouring communities. Ufuma has produced many renowned medical personnel like Late Dr. Okonkwo, Dr. H. C. C. Nwankwo, Dr. Mba, Dr. Nwajagu, Dr. Dim, Dr. Nwannadi, Dr. Onyekwena, Dr. Achugbu, Dr Francis Okechukwu Ohanyido world-renowned Public Health specialist and Chair, International Public Health Forum (IPHF). Dr. Okoli among others as well as many nurses and medical technologists.

Security[edit]

Ufuma is well secured with Ufuma police post centrally located. There exists local vigilante security outfit in all the villages Ufuma and these groups work with the police to ensure effective security for the community.

Roads and public utilities[edit]

Ufuma has good road network traversing all the villages and the major roads are tarred with asphalt. The major roads include the federal road that runs from Ekwulobia through Ufuma to Umunze. Another major road is the state road that runs from Ufuma Junction through Ozegu and Enuguabo leading to Inyi in Oji River Local Government in Enugu State. There are public boreholes located at different parts of Ufuma. There is a post office which is centrally located for easy access and several postal agencies in most of the villages.

Agriculture[edit]

Ufuma is well known for agriculture. Major food crops include yam, cassava, cocoyam, plantain, banana, and maize. Ufuma also boosts of major agricultural projects like World Bank rice project, Anambra fishing project, ADA palm to palm project and Kpokobros rice project. There are several private farms, Garri Processing Plants, Poultry and cattle rearing projects in Ufuma. Cash crops include rice, cocoa, cassava, etc.

Commerce and Industry[edit]

The Afo Ufuma market is one of the largest markets in Orumba and it is popular for agricultural products. The market now operates as a daily market, however the highest number of visitors to the market usually come on Afo market day. Afor Ufuma was known as far back as the pre-colonial period as Afor Ufuma. It was originally hosted on Afor which is one of the days in traditional Igbo week of 4-days. Afor is also considered one of the two major market days. The other being Eke. Banks and community banks are springing up. As a matter of fact, one of the key players in Nigeria banking industry, Mr. Raymond Obieri, is a proud son of Ufuma. Small scale industries abound. These include; bakeries, oil mills, agro industries, etc.

Justice[edit]

Ufuma has a Magistrate court, a High court and a customary court. She has produced many lawyers who have made their mark in their chosen field as SANs and senior advocates. These include prominent lawyers eg. Barrister Johnny C. Okonkwo (SAN) who was the first lawyer in Ufuma and one of the first three SANs in Anambra state and also was an attorney to people like former Vice President of Nigeria, Alex Ekwueme, Barclays Bank, Chief Chris Uba, Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu, Shell Petroleum,President Bush amongst other big names in Nigeria and beyond. He even has trained other successful legal icons like Chief Tagbo Ike, Justice Donatus Okorowo and the rest of them.

Sports[edit]

Ufuma has produced various sporting individual who went on to achieve national and international honours. In boxing, Mr. Ngozika Ekwelum became national heavy weight champion. Enuaguabo Boys Secondary School won the Anambra football cup for secondary schools in the early eighties.

Airports close to Ufuma in Nigeria[edit]

In terms of proximity, the closest airport is ENU - Enugu, located 60.2 km north east of Ufuma. Other airports in Nigeria that are not as close as Enugu Airports include Owerri Airport, abou 80 km east, PHC - Port Harcourt International 120.9 km south, BNI - Benin 177.2 km west, CBQ - Calabar 177.8 km south east, and MDI - Makurdi 239.0 km north east.

Closest towns to Ufuma in Nigeria[edit]

Within the Orumba North structure, the closest towns bordering Ufuma are Akpu Ajalli is a tenant to Akp (see Supreme Court of Nigeria judgment Muo Okafor &ORS V. Sylvanus Ifionu & Anor (1978) LPELR - SC. 307/1975. which is the closest at 5.2 km from Ufuma. Others are Ndikelionwu 5.5 km, and Ndiokpalaeze which is 5.9 km, Awa about 6 km, Akpukoeze which 8 km as well as Inyi and Orosiama both in Enugu State and approximately 14 km and 10 km away from the heart of Ufuma.

Financial Institutions[edit]

The major financial institution in Ufumaland is Ufuma Microfinance Bank Limited MicroFinance Bank registered since 1/2/2008. It was formerly known as Ufuma Community Bank Limited .Its ownership is community -based (domestic).

References[edit]