The Ika people are a sub-Igbo group found in Delta and Edo states of southern Nigeria. The Ika people speak Igbo language. They share borders linguistically in the west with the Edo speakers, in the north with the Ishan speakers, in the East with the Aniocha language speakers and in the south with the Ukwuani speakers.
The Ika people are specifically located in the North-West of Delta State but some of their communities like Igbanke, Inyelen and Ekpon spilled over into Edo State. Ika communities mostly comprise the following: Agbor, Owa, Umunede, Mbiri, Abavo, Orogodo, Otolokpo, Igbodo, Ute-Okpu, Ute-Ogbeje, Idumuesah, Akumazi, Ekpon (Edo State), Igbanke (Edo State), Inyelen Edo State). Other Ika communities found in Edo State are Owanikeke, Owa-Riuzo Idu and Igbogili.
Geographically, the Ika speaking people are found in the north west of Delta State. They share borders linguistically in the west with the Edo speakers, in the north with the Ishan speakers, in the East with the Aniocha language speakers and in the south with the Ukwuani speakers. Politically, Ika speakers are mainly found in two local government areas, Ika North East and Ika South local government areas, both created in 1991 from a single Ika Local Government Area, in Delta State. Ika South and Ika North East local government areas, occupy a land area of 117.45 square kilometres (Delta State Government website, 1999) with a total population of about 240,000 people. There are other Ika speaking people that are political outside the Ika North east and Ika South local government areas. The exact population of speakers of the Ika language or those with Ika as mother tongue is not known since this information was not included in the 1991 census result (1991 census). Ika people do not have any shared physical characteristics distinguishing it from other ethnic or language groups in Delta State.
Ika people speak the ika language which has both elements of benin and igbo, this is what makes the language unique. On delta radio there is now news in ika language as a different language, ikas have commenced writing the bible in ika language and right now the gospel of mark, luke, mathew and john have been published and we have books on ika language right now.
The Ika people do not trace their ancestry to common origin. The various clans that make up Ika have heterogeneous origins. Similarities of the language with Igbo suggests they might be Igbo connections but oral accounts and cultures as well as ancient ika name suggests bini origin. Ika historians have argued that changes in language can occur due to large migrations or trade or due to other factors.
The Ika people are predominantly Christians although traditional worship is still much in progress as ika people have been recorded to have kicked against the white men greatly. Ika people refer to God as Oselobue.
Prominent Ika people
- JIM OVIA, Nigerian business man ; founder Zenith Bank plc
- GODWIN EMEFIELE, Governor Central Bank of Nigeria
- AKPENYI SIMEON, Nigerian business man
- NDUKA OBAIGBENA, Nigerian media mogul
- NDUKA IRABOR, LMC chairman
- IFEANYI OKOWA, Governor Delta state
- GODSON ECHIEGILE, Nigerian ambassador to Sierra leone
- GODWIN OBIMAH, President of the Umunede National Association, Inc. USA
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