Tuesday 9 August 2022

FRIENDS IN ELEME CULTURE By Chief Osaro Ollorwi The Eleme Culture recognises different types of friends. These friends are categorised based on their types, purposes, number, commitment of those involved, the types of bonds between them and the type of thing and love that brings the fellows together. Friendship Defined Friendship is two or more people coming together to rely on each other, especially when the need arises. They treat each other with respect and being around each other makes them feel good and complete. They are expected to always have each other’s best interest at heart; to feel comfortable being with each other, sharing and trusting. Types of Friend A friend is known as Ekόo in Eleme. The types of Ekόo in Eleme includes but not limited to the following:-  Ekόo Ogbe  Ekόo Echalasi  Ekũrã  Ogbo Ekόo  Akaga Ekόo  Ekόo Otό  Ekpọrọ Ekόo 1. Ekόo Ogbe (also known as Ekόo Osũna). This is Covenant Friend, the type of friendship that existed between King David, the son of Jesse and Jonathan, the son of King Saul of Israel in the Bible. It involves an agreement on oath to do or not to do particular thing(s). It is a relationship between two partners who make binding promises to each other and work together to reach a common goal. It is often accompanied by oaths, signs, and ceremonies. They are usually defined by obligations and commitments. Ekόo Ogbe is always relational and personal. The partner’s feeling for each other is mutual and their friendship benefits the entire society. Those who practice Ekόo Ogbe are expected to tell each other the truth privately and publicly for mutual benefits and for societal good but that lofty expectation has gone with modern civilization and rush for wealth at all cost. This type of friendship is almost nonexistence in Eleme today. Where they exist, it is perhaps for evil purposes and at the detriment of the society. The reasons of almost total extinction Ekόo Ogbe are not farfetched; they include high level of deceit and insincerity prevalence in the society, influence of western civilization, impact of religion, mad pursue of money which allows people to do anything, including selling out their friends for money, and our legal system that is filled with loopholes for escape when brought before it. 2. Ekόo Echalasi. This is friend of compromise and favouritism. Your Ekoo Echalasi does everything to please you not minding the society perception or approval. He is only concern with the well-being of his friend even though it involves telling lies, cutting corners or doing any type of unimaginable thing to drive home the partners end. He does everything to keeps you happy, comfortable and on top. He never tells you the truth and never advises you rightly. Whether your opinion is right or wrong he supports you. He is protective and partial in all his dealings and judgment. Most times he speaks from the two sides of the mouth when faced with pressing challenges. Those who practise this type of friendship support each other without minding whether the other friend is right or wrong or whether the society approve of the outcome of the action or reaction or not. If the interest of one of the partner is at stake the other partner does everything to justify it not minding its merit and truth. Ekόo Echalasi must support, protect and promote the interest of both partners no matter whose ox is gored. Ekόo Echalasi really advises rightly or tells each other the truth; he supports every opinion, idea, actin or stance of the partner on issues no matter how parochial or detrimental to others or the society. This type of friendships is common in Eleme today, accounting for the reasons we have more divisions and factions in every form of leadership institutions across Eleme 3. Ekũrã (Best Friend). This is like the Ekόo Ogbe but did not involve covenanting or any form of agreement. It is friendship that is built on or rooted in mutual trust and understanding. He is your root and your stay, hence Ekũrã. He is the friend that shows signs of a sense of humour, great advice, and honesty. He forms your backbone and support system when you face obstacles that are tough in your life. He loves and comforts you through hard times, showing respect, honesty, loyalty and care. He knows more about and supports your personal life, fears, hopes, endeavours, etc. He is complimentary and give honest feedbacks. His advices are always honest and his opinions on issues concerning you are always sincere and undiluted. You can confide in him about anything and he knows everything about your life: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Loyalty, honesty, and commitment are the top priorities of a growing Ekũrã. 4. Ogbo Ekόo. This is a group of friends numbering three or more people who associate for common good, goal or philosophy. It can also be a group of friends for anti-societal activities such as cultists, gangsters, hooligans and so on. Age and status are no barriers. It can be drinking partners, hunting or fishing partners, or foodie partners, etc. For instance, during Ogbo Nja festivals in Eleme Ogbo Ekόo usually move freely from one community to another community eating, drinking and rejoicing together, displaying their latest fashions and passions, etc. Ekόo Ogbo Nja cut across all ages and social status and can be joyful. This group of friends’ conversation during the celebration of Ogbo Nja in Eleme revolves around food and the types of fishes used in preparing them; how rich and delicious or otherwise each friend’s food taste as well as the way and manner they enjoyed the foods and so on. 5. Akaga Ekόo . This is good friend). He is an honest and straightforward friend that provides unconditional friendship. He may disagree with you on issues and in his opinions but will make sure that the truth is made known to you. You can always depend on him for direction and guidance. Sometimes he could be harsh but gives clarity on issues. He don’t believe in embellishing the facts and will tell you straight up what you want to hear no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient it is. Akaga Ekoo is usually brutally honest because your well-being is a priority for him and not your approval. This type of friend although in existence is hard to find in Eleme today 6. Ekόo Otό. This is a trusted friend, adviser and mentor. The Eleme culture recognises the importance of both friend and mentorship and introduced a system of friendship known as Ekόo Otό. In this type of friendship one of the partners is the experienced and trusted adviser, who advises, guides and trains the other partner. Every- body need a mentor to guide him in the right direction. The mentor or Ekόo Otό can be anyone (a colleague, neighbour, relative, etc.). It is a thing of joy to have Ekόo Oto in Eleme. He will encourage you to expand your horizons and introduce you to new opportunities, ideas, perspectives, peoples and places. He listens to you and gives best advice. He or she helps you to think positively and keeps inspiring you to do great things. He helps open your mind and challenge you to think out of the box. Ekόo Otό will guide and counsel you to keep you on the right track. He is super knowledgeable about most things; and he cares for and protects you at every step. Finally, Ekoo Oto acts as a shield for you and is truthful and dependable. 7. Epọrọ Ekόo. This is opposite of all other types of friends. It is a type of friend that is bad, fake, deceitful and pretentious. Epọrọ Ekόo will pretend to love you but is secretly against everything you stand for or represent. His hate for you is trickily clothed in fake love which he displays to deceive you. He is never happy of your progress and can do anything to frustrate you and stop your success in life. He wants everything good that is yours to be his own. This type of friend is widespread in the society; exhibiting the following characteristics: a. They like seeing you in tears, complaining and sad. b. They do not support you in your time of need. c. They envy your success. d. They are jealous of your possessions. e. They leave you feeling tired and drained out. f. They don’t talk well about you. g. They always want to gain something from you. Osaro Ollorwi E-mail: ollorwiosaro@gmail.com Website: www.ollorwi.com.ng +234 8036694027

Sunday 31 October 2021

Youths Unemployment and Insecurity in Eleme

Youths Unemployment and Insecurity in Eleme By High Chief Ollorwi Osaro Introduction Unemployment is a term referring to people who are employable and actively seeking jobs but are unable to find jobs. Included in this group are those people in the workforce who are working but do not have an appropriate job - underemployment. Usually measured by the unemployment rate, which is dividing the number of unemployed people by the total number of people in the workforce; unemployment serves as one of the indicators of a country’s economic status. On the other hand insecurity is the state of being unsure. It is period of constantly expressing fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. It is a time of thinking, and some of these thoughts can be filled with doubt, hopelessness, fear and anxiety. When there are no jobs and the hope of meeting the basic human needs are far from realization frustration sets in; evil thoughts override reasoning, and the individual explores several avenues including criminal means to put body and soul together, and make ends meet. The population of Eleme is estimated to be about 304, 608 as at 2020, out of which the youth population, (15 – 35 years of age) is said to be 75%. It is also estimated that about frightening 60% of Eleme youth population is either unemployed or underemployed, a situation that possess great danger to the society in terms of crimes and assorted social vices. Such a large population of unemployed, unengaged, angry, sullen, unproductive youths in any society will constitute a menace and security risk because their lives appear hopeless and yet they are full of youthful energy. For a long time probably since the creation of Eleme Local Government Area in December, 1996, the Eleme youths have been on bondage as a result of unemployment caused by faulty institutional structures, corruption, illiteracy and poor management of resources. Though unemployment is a national phenomenon, the situation in Eleme has reached the crises state, Insecurity in Eleme is characterized by cultism, gangsterism, violence, kidnapping, assassinations, armed robbery, vandalism, theft, environmental insecurity and other vices in the area. Youths form the bulk of unemployed and are burden to the local government. Before now agriculture is the mainstay of Eleme people. Eleme has topography of flat plains netted in a marvellous web of rivers, creeks, streams and swamps including the Bonny River, Nololo Creek, Gberekpii Creek, Okulu Creek, Ochani Creek and Wamba Creek, among others. A good climate with many rivers and creeks and vast areas of arable land make the people of Eleme predominately farmers and fishermen. But the oppressive and forceful acquisition of their lands for multinational and national companies and oil exploration and production activities and mindless pollution of the environment has robbed the people of agricultural activities and afflicted them with severe pains including food insecurity and poverty. Yes, unemployment is responsible for food insecurity and has caused majority of Eleme youths to develop the feeling of inadequacy and uncertainty; they see themselves as not good enough. Unemployment produces high degree of anxiety about ones goals, relationship, and ability to handle certain situations. Youth unemployment have significantly contributed to the dramatic rise in criminal activities such as armed robbery (Salami, 2013), cultism, prostitution, theft, civil unrest, abductions and kidnapping of persons irrespective of status, religion or age. Youth unemployment is a major challenges facing Eleme today. Admittedly, the problem of youth unemployment is a national problem due to corruption and the high poverty levels requiring all of us to work in order to ensure not only survival but security. Again, Eleme youths are linked to violence, cultism, kidnapping and sometimes robbery by unemployment. Unemployment in Eleme has given to rise street crimes such snatching of motorcycles, handsets and other valuables at gun point. We have witnessed slightest resistance resulting in shooting the victim to death and carting away the items. Really, the rate of youth unemployment in Eleme has reached crisis point requiring consistent government urgent action to create jobs and prosecute all individuals who have corruptly enriched themselves thereby denying Eleme youths the opportunities of being employed. The Eleme youth has become more disillusioned by the day, especially with the strong feeling of frustration about his inability to be employed when he is capable, willing and qualified to work and especially the realization that active companies are dotted here and there around him and he sees vehicles railing thousands of people to and from work on daily basis. Emphatically, the increasing rate of unemployment amongst Eleme youths has increased the wave of armed robbery, prostitution, kidnapping, cultism, illegal oil bunkery, and on-going abductions of citizens and residents with reckless abandon as well as the popular street crimes. During the courtesy visit on the Executive Chairman of Eleme Local Government Area, Chief Hon. Obarilomate Ollor (JP) in his office at Ogale by the Executives of KAGOTE led by its President, Emmanuel Deeya the Council Chairman expressed displeasure over the attitude of multinationals operating in Eleme cosmopolitan area when it comes to employment of Eleme youths.. He observed that lack of job creation, skills and vocational training of the teeming youths of the land by these companies results in increase criminality and heightened the insecurities suffered in the area in recent past. Again, during the courtesy visit by the leadership of Ogoni Ethnic Nationality to His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, on Friday, 22 October, 2021 it also re-echoed that the provision of gainful employment for our teeming youths will “check restiveness” in the area. The impact of unemployment in Eleme is being felt by both the rich and the poor. In fact, unemployment has made it impossible for many couples in Eleme to face the challenge and crisis of marriage necessitating high level of divorce. The ripple effect of unemployment in Eleme can better be imagined than felt. It is a serious social and economic issue that results in a tremendous impact on everything but is often overlooked. The presence of numerous multinational and national companies operating in Eleme, and the high level of unemployment among our youths in the area calls for concern by all. A stronger system of assessing unemployment in Eleme should be put in place in order to determine its causes and how to address it better. The problem of unemployment in Eleme is further compounded by some chiefs and leaders turn contractors who sell jobs openings and opportunities to strangers, and/or pay Eleme indigenes enslavement monthly salary of 20% or less of their total entitlement. This is demonic and acute wickedness. Instead of selling job opportunities to strangers, please declare them for sale to Eleme youths so that they can buy, work and grow on the job. Similarly, the war against unemployment in Eleme cannot be won with the existing narrow, myopic and selfish definition of host community. Distinction has to be made between immediate landlords (landowners) and the community at large. The definition of host community needs to be broadened to encompass the whole of Eleme that suffer the impacts of environmental pollution and degradation arising from the operations of these companies. The impacts of pollution does not know Ebubu person neither does effects of environmental degradation recognize Ekporo person. All those within the radius suffer equally. Also, efforts should be made by governments at all levels to create jobs and strengthen job market regulation in Eleme so that Eleme youths with education or skills can live a meaningfully and contribute to the development of the area. Government and policy makers should strengthen the local content/host community regulations relating to employment of citizens of the host communities in order to give job chances our youth with the relevant skills and education. Government should build strong economic institutions and those already in place, be strengthened to create jobs for the youths for Eleme youths. The power sector in Eleme demands immediate attention for power is the heart-beat of the local informal and formal sector to drive the economy. Efforts should be made to encourage vocational, technical and entrepreneurial education in Eleme for self-employment; while corruption and mismanagement of our resources ought to be dealt with vigour. Eleme people in Diaspora with capital should be encouraged to come home and invest. Education should be made free and compulsory in Eleme, at least to secondary school level. Heads of schools that levy pupils/students unnecessarily or make one illegal monetary demand or the other should be fished out and brought to book. Finally, the Eleme Local Government Council should strengthen and empower the Eleme Employment Bureau (EEB) as an Agency of the Local Government, to update its Unemployment Data Base (UDB) and seriously scout for jobs from all the multinational and national companies operating in Eleme as well as Federal and State Governments establishments, ministries and agencies, etc. for the teeming unemployed youths of Eleme extraction. As KAGOTE President, Emmanuel Deeya said, “Eleme is the hub of the petroleum industry in Nigeria…..People cannot do business in an unsecure environment” Of a truth, it is the corporate social responsibility (CSR) of organisations doing business in Eleme to employ Eleme citizens. The host community philosophy upholds that; the local contents legislation supports that. Even the much talk about immediate catchment area guideline adheres to that. Eleme has given more, Eleme deserves more! Eleme is the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy! If the employable Eleme youths are taken off the streets and properly engaged in gainful employment, and companies in Eleme regularly pay relevant revenues instead of hiding under Abuja cover, and execute their corporate social responsibility as demanded by law, the attention of the Eleme Local Government will not be diverted to insecurity, but concentrate and devote all its efforts and resources towards the development of the area, and in no distance time Eleme will see what is called real development and transformation. High Chief Ollorwi Osaro

Monday 13 September 2021



The caption might have provoked several thoughts in you. Perhaps wondering who died, where the death occur and the cause of death, etc. Don’t panic! The issue under discussion here is not about who died but how we, the people of Eleme take care of our relations while living and how we cater for them when they died; i.e. how we provide for their lifeless body; corpse or dead body.

The phrase, “My Relation Died” is common in Eleme today not because of the negative impact of pollution necessitated by the activities of oil and gas exploration and exploitation companies but by the way and manner we provide for ourselves. Do we value the person or his corpse? Do we do everything humanly possible to give our relations comfortable/acceptable standard of living, just as we do when he died, to give him a befitting burial?

The Eleme man is proud to announce the dead of his relation and to broadcast the type of burial arrangements put in place for him to show how wealthy he is but never bother under the condition in which the man lived and died. However, when the person was living nobody helped him; he was like someone without relations. He was jobless, helpless and hopeless throughout his lifetime but have relations occupying managerial positions in various organisations; he lived a poor man with a dilapidated building that must be renovated and painted to make it look nice and lay him in state in the house that he never enjoyed while living. A well-furnished bed was provided for his corpse, his corpse is dressed nicely and a female relation sits closely to dry away flies. Worst still, the parcel/piece of land(s) he refused to sell and use the proceeds to rehabilitate the dilapidated house or build a new one and live comfortably with perhaps family, hoping that things will change for better will be sold at giveaway price just to raise money for his burial. What honour for the corpse.

His relations, paternal and maternal, (egbá nsĩ bãrã egbá nnwɛ) that neither helped him nor care for him during his lifetime now surfaces from all nook and craning of Eleme to put things in order to give him a befitting burial. They will end up singing his praise. After all, don’t talk bad of the dead!

During the burial of this man who probably was killed by severe frustration, hunger and lack of care, his rich relations will gather to provide enough food and drinks for the whole community and celebrate his death for at least seven days unending. What a people we have turned out to be. How did we get here? Elemes hitherto were their brother’s keeper, showing genuine love and hospitality. Help is given even without asking. Elemeness was uppermost in the mind of the Eleme Man.

What is Elemeness? Elemeness is the Eleme man concern for the good and welfare of fellow Eleme man. It involves brotherly love. It is Eleme man doing everything humanly possible to put smiles on the face of fellow Eleme man. Yesterday, building of house was through communal efforts, food was an element of hospitality. Owe nja was common; that is, invitation to eat food was a practice across Eleme. The rich helps the poor get rich. Friend encourage friend to take yam title. Ndele is a standard that all women aspire to reach in their lifetime. It is a title of fame and honour. Ndele is a requirement for the conferment of the prestigious title of Emere Owa. The people of Eleme rejoice together and mourn together. They share their feelings, hopes, and fears together. They keep each other’s back.

All these uniting factors have been eroded by the flood of distrust, disunity, hatred, individualism and greed. These factors have alienated us from our roots, culture and tradition; and alter our value system for the worse.

The fear that helping your relation get gainfully employed will jeopardize you at your place of work does not hold water. Again, the fear that extending golden opportunity to your relation will provide him avenue to gossip you or reveal your personal or family secrets are all fallacy. A tree can never make a forest.

Let us learn from the Ibos who have a universally acclaimed special way of empowering youths; or the Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba who understand how to plant their people here and there; or the Ogonis who know how build communities wherever they find themselves. In fact, once an Ogoni man enters a place and finds it good, he builds a community by planting his people all around there. Why can’t Eleme man help Eleme man instead of waiting for the day to say, “My Relation Died”

Saturday 7 August 2021

Importance of Childhood Life Celebration in Eleme Culture


Importance of Childhood Life Celebration in Eleme Culture


Celebration is a special enjoyable event that people organize because something pleasant has happened or because it is someone's birthday or anniversary. The celebration of something is praise and appreciation which is given to it. In Eleme culture, all of a child’s milestones and major accomplishments are celebrated and this gives the child a sense of achievement, and offers a widow for rewarding the child for a job well done. The life of the Eleme child is eventful. The Eleme culture have a process to carefully recognise each of the events, identify it, appreciate it, celebrate it and award it from cradle to grave. The people of Eleme celebrates birth, naming, sitting, crawling, talking, teething, dedication, walking, hunting, socialisation, graduation, marriage, coronation, conferment, promotion, anniversary, death, among others.  

The people of Eleme also celebrate and shower gifts on their family member and friend who join association (ogbo) and unveil/launch their group (chusɛ ogbo), song and dance, clothe, masquerade, and so on. This is captured in the adage, “Ɔnɛ Osila aka nyɛ nje rēɛ je Èkpété. Someone without mother’s first daughter will not dance Èkpété. Èkpété is a special musical presentation and energetic dance that brings people together from far and near. The style is exciting waist and footwork danced bear footed. It attracts presentation of different types of gifts to the celebrants (who are members of the group) by family members and friends.   The reason for this proverb is that if you have no relations no matter how good your dance steps are no one will be at the town square, venue of the celebration, to present you gift.   

In fact, since the beginning of time, the people of Eleme have given high priority towards the commemoration of special events in the life of the child. Every major events and achievements in the life of the Eleme Child is celebrated and is culturally designed to appreciate and reward the child. Each event or achievement offers the Eleme Child an opportunity to be treated to showers of gifts for accomplishing something challenging in life and it enables the adult family and friends to share in the joy of that accomplishment.

Special events like childbirth, naming, teething, walking and so on do lead up to/with great gusto. The Eleme culture and tradition developed its own unique ways of honouring special occasions in the life of the child from the beginning of time. These are direct products of our cultural background, history, and even religious beliefs. Few among these celebrations are discussed below:

1.     Childbirth Celebration

In Eleme culture the birth of a child is greeted with jubilation. Childbirth is considered the most important event in family life. Experienced traditional midwives are responsible for delivering babies. They help to deliver the baby. After delivery, the birth of the baby is celebrated. Family members, friends, well-wishers, men, women, boys and girls from far and near join in the ceremony that followed the birth of a baby, and the child’s father was expected to give a feast for all members of the clan in recognition of the powers of womanhood. This celebration is known as Birth Celebration (Agba Emásã). It entails drinking, singing and dancing. Some family have also added music and foods to solidify the birth celebration. Powder is also shared and rubbed freely by all. The women usually grace the day with the following song and dancing:

Seɛ onwi nje, amɛ ɛka nɛɛ (chɛrɛ) poida onwi?

This, when interpreted into English Language means:

If the child is not there, who will give (rub) child’s powder? 

Rubbing of the child’s powder is the climax of the childbirth celebration. This is usually extended to outside the immediate compound to include neighbourhoods.

2.     Naming Ceremony

Eleme tradition vests the responsibility of naming a child on the father. Where the father is deceased, his next-of-kin takes over the responsibility. Eleme father don’t just get up one morning to name his child. He contemplates for months, trying on different names to see which one will suit the child’s purpose, bundle and dreams. This is because the Eleme father knows that in traditional Eleme culture names have real meaning and power. Eleme names are not mere tags to distinguished one person from another or labels to define, classify, or compare persons or things but an expression of the nature of what the entity represents or stands for. They tell the family stories and exhibit the hopes and expectations of the parents concerning their children’s future. Every child in Eleme has at least a native and a Christian name.


Because it is generally believed that names are like spirits which would like to live out their meanings, parents do a thorough search before giving names to their children. Naming ceremonies are performed with the same meticulous care, generally by the father. Symbolic of the hopes, expectations and prayers of the parents for the new baby, drink (mmi), food (nja), water (mmu), palm oil (nnɔɔ Eleme), salt (nlό) each have a place and special meaning in the world-view of the people of Eleme. For instance, drink (mmi) represents celebration, and the prayer of the parents is that their baby’s life will be celebrated in the world and beyond. Drinks are usually served, singing and dancing rends the atmosphere as people from far and near are invited to participate in the naming ceremony. Some families are known to have brought life band to entertain guests; others use deejays (DJs) while others hire the services of local singers to grace the occasion. 

3.     Teething Ceremony

It is a time honoured tradition in Eleme culture to throw a party for your little ones as soon as they cut their first tooth. When the baby shows his first teeth, his parents, relations and well-wishers will gather around the baby as he sits in front well dressed to celebrate the milestone. Each person will struggle to see the baby’s teeth, enticing the child with gifts of all sorts so that he will smile for his teeth to be seen and admired. Hence, it is generally known in Eleme that “You cannot see the teeth of a child with an empty hand”. Baby will be encouraged to walk in front of someone who wants to see his teeth while holding baby’s hands. As the baby is cheered to laugh and expose his teeth there will be loud ovation and offer of lots of encouragement and praise.  

4.     Walking Ceremony

Walking is a major developmental leap for babies, and parents are often anxious about when it will happen. Every baby learns to walk at his own pace.  When the parents watch and see that the child has make few steps unaided, it is assumed that the child has walked and fit to be celebrated.  The parents will procure three or more heads of coconut, depending on the number of children invited, two big rackets of Awala and four or more sticks of dried Obĩi (Mudskipper). The coconut will be shelled and cut into small pieces. The Awala and Obĩi are cut into small pieces and mixed with the pieces of coconut. These will all be put into a basket. By this time the whole children in the neighbourhoods, as many as is possible, are assembled with the celebrant.

The elder of that compound who has been briefed beforehand will carry the basket with both hands and addressing the toddler who is standing in front of him, recites the following:

Èbé era nninini  chãa  ochɛyo tãmarũ.Ka chãrĩ wɛ oju obãrãrũ okuũ

Chã sigwã ɔka, chã sigwã echii. Ebo akɔrɔrũ ɔmɛ.


This, when interpreted into English Language means:


“As from today you should walk steadfastly. Do not walk and relapse to creeping again.

Walk to the farm; walk to the market. Enjoy a long life.”


After this recitation, the elder will then turn towards all the children who are now standing expectedly and tell then to widen the circle and prepare to pick the contents of the basket. He will raise the basket up and down a number of times saying:

Ɔnɛ Ebu, abu chue!

(“Who struggles to pick, pick and take!”)

And the children will respond, “Aaye!” (Yesoo!)


After ensuring that the children attention has been obtained the elder finally throws out all the content high up so that when they fall, each child will struggle to pick as much of the contents as he can. The agile ones gather so much of the fish and coconut while the weaker ones pick whatever may be left on the floor. This ceremony is known as Obuenu O'o Onwi.

5.     First Market Ceremony

The first day that a child walks unaided to the village market unaided is celebrated. This ceremony is figuratively called, Oke Enu O'o Onwi. The Eleme culture acknowledges the significant of this milestone achievement of the child and celebrates it. 

When the child walks to the market unaided his mother makes him to sit at a comfortable in the market while she buys something for the child to eat. She buys a big fish like dried barracuda, catfish, snapper, or Tasty-Shynose and other ingredients which she hides.

At home, the fish will be brought out and showed to the child as his Prize for walking unaided to the market and back. The fish will be used to cook Loloo Mbalo and the entire head of the fish will be given to the child. Family and friends are given pieces of the fish and the Loloo Mbalo as they eat and drink to the child’s achievement.          

6.     Hunting Celebration

The Eleme child is taught the use of bow and arrow and latter catapult and animal traps.  He begins by shooting lizards and fixed targets like oranges and pawpaw fruits. He is taught fishing by his friends. When the male child kills his first bird or animal, it is cooked and cut into small pieces which are distributed to family and friends, distance relations and people far and near. They are informed that this is the bird or animal, he has killed. His parents will give him one piece of nice cloth each; while other persons will give him gifts of clothes, money and so on. The day is usually marked with singing and drinking to celebrate the attainment of the milestone.

7.     Food Celebration (Ogbo Nja)

The people of Eleme don’t just eat food for eating sake. Food must be of the right quality and quantity; it must result in a stable and adequate nutrition for proper growth and development. The Eleme culture has developed a system known as Ogbo Nja to build oneness among the Eleme people and promote proper feeding and ensure communality. Ogbo Nja is food carnival.  Most Eleme festivals revolved around foods because they are fulfilled farmers and they use food to build bridges of relationship, cement brotherliness, encourage socialisation, enhance cooperation and enhance communality among others.  Other prominent food celebrations in Eleme include but not limited to Agba Esaa Otɛbɛ Enu and,Okor Esaa..

When a child grows to the age of seven (7) years and beyond, he is encouraged to participate in the Ogbo Nja ceremony in which small groups of children from within and outside ones immediate community are brought together as friends that have to cooperate with one another as they grow up.

Ogbo Nja is one of the most popular festivals celebrated across Eleme. Although people of all ages, sex, social status, or religious inclination do participate; the festival is met for children and new brides. It is celebrated annually on Ͻkͻͻ between 13 and 17 July, depending on the position of the Moon. The feast is celebrated in two phases. Phase one is called Ͻkͻͻ Obibai Etoo and is celebrated by female.


The second phase which is marked by male the next day is known as Mma Agba Okundo.

In Eleme, yams, cocoyam and other foods items are reserved after planting for the Ogbo Nja festival. It is believed that only very good farmers can reserve the quantity and quality of yams, cocoyam, etc. that is required for Ogbo Nja at the time of the year. The fish used for preparing Ogbo Nja meal are those valued by people of Eleme for major entertainments and they include: Obui (Catfish), Nda (Tasty-Shynose), Njijoi (Snapper), Omεε (Barracuda), Ekoko (Stingray), among others.


Ogbo Nja is specifically dedicated to children and new brides. It is celebrated with friends in pair. Children arrange for their friends to visit them to participate in the annual celebration. New brides also seek for their partners to take active part in the occasion.


The occasion provides an avenue for clearing the house of old yams and cocoyam in anticipation of new ones. It also affords parents and in-laws opportunity to present gifts to children and new brides in appreciation of their assistance during planting and weeding. To be counted as good children and be presented with varieties of gifts and words of blessings, children exercise maximum obedience and discipline in anticipation Ogbo Nja festival.


In the morning of day one occasion, children usually wake as early as 4.30am to clear the compounds and town square in readiness for the celebration. The children will also fetch water into all available pots and containers. The atmosphere is usually charged as evidence of Ogbo Nja festive period.


Parents will assemble their children and present them with gifts of clothes and wrapper. Gifts will also be sent to children of extended relations and friends to commemorate the year’s Ogbo Nja.


The recipients of these new clothes would wear them and go visiting friends and relations to display their gifts across Eleme. As the children move from compound to compound and from community to community filled with happiness, they receive words of encouragement and praise for being obedient and hardworking; and promising them of greater gifts next year. The new brides are also presented with new dresses and wrappers by their husbands, father-in-law and mother-in-law, etc.


That evening the women will gather at the town square dressed in their best and newest attires to make a feast, singing and dancing to Egbe Mba music till night falls. By 6p.m. or thereabout, the women will return to their various houses to dish out food to their visiting guests and family members. The food for this day is cocoyam.


The celebration is designed in such a way that children move from compound to compound and from community to community, eating and rejoicing. At the end of the day, they will return home with wrapped fish as proof of participation in Ogbo Nja feast of that day. The new brides will also do the same.


The day two celebration starts with the same preparation. It is the men’s turn to present gifts to children and others who were loyal, obedient and hardworking during the year according to his assessments. The food for the second day celebration is yam, which will be cooked and eaten pounded and/or sliced. The women will continue their music, singing and dancing at the town square. Later in the evening, the men will gather at the town square to eat together in groups, thereby bringing the Ogbo Nja festival of that year to an end


These and many other childhood ceremonies which are celebrated on an individual or community basis reinforce and promote sense of community, love, joy, reverence, success, unity and brotherhood. It gives the child a sense of achievement and it is a great way of rewarding the child for a job well done. Besides, it is important that you celebrate your child’s milestones and accomplishments. Significantly too, because most of these celebrations involve almost all the children, their parents and other adult family members and friends in the community they are not just celebrated for the fun of celebrating but to:

1.     Cultivate/inculcate a Sense of Community

They offer opportune times to bond with our families and friends and well-wishers and a chance to connect with those we love and care about on a deeper and more profound level.

2.     Promote a sense of achievement and encourage exploit

These celebrations spur our children to greater achievements and propel them to make positive exploits; to accomplish those milestones worthy of celebration and praise. Then criminality and all forms of anti-social behaviours were frowned at and industry was cherished.

3.     Instil a sense of meaning and significance to our lives as a people

The unique practices that highlight important milestones such as childbirth, naming, walking etc. all serve an important purpose. Participating in the customary rites (rubbing of powder, singing, dancing, drinking or children struggling among themselves to get pieces of coconut and fish during Oken Enu O'o Onwi) connects us to the significance of the role that such occasion plays within the grand scheme of our lives. It instils a sense of appreciation for the gift of life.

4.     Create lasting fond memories 

The human mind tends to recall memories that carry a high emotional charge to them. When we commemorate a special occasion in the life of our baby, we are essentially placing a mental bookmark on the child’s experience, thereby making it easier to remember it in the future. The photos, videos and other forms of memorabilia from those occasions serve as triggers that children can use to re-live those pleasant experiences and achievements in the future.

5.     Add fun and excitement to our lives

These Celebrations can be incredibly fun and provides children and their parents with the perfect opportunity to engage in the joys of life such dance, song, food, play and laughter.

6.     Enables children take their place in the circle of life.

They are not only ushered into the world but celebrated at every point of achievement. Besides, when we take the time to celebrate these events that were cherish and celebrated by our ancestors in the yesteryears we are essentially connecting with our humanity and the commonality that we share with all those who have been long gone before us.

The modern Eleme family’s carefree life of excluding themselves from participating in gatherings that pay homage to the important milestones in their children’s life is robbing Eleme  younger generation sense of achievement, community, love, peace, cooperation and fun that comes with these celebrations.

Monday 1 March 2021



High Chief Osaro Ollorwi

This booklet contains two hundred and ten (210) names of animals, birds, foods, soups, fishes, fruits and other basic things in Eleme Language to aid both beginners and learners in reading and writing the language especially now that the language is at the verge of extinction.    


Goat Mbo (He-Goat – Kpĩ Mbo, 

She-Goat  Okumba Mbo) 

Ram/Sheep Nnarãmbo

Duck Ɔkɔfɛɛji

Animal/Meat Nna (Generic)

Antelope Mgbãm 

Boar (Wild) Nji

Cow Alao

Bull Eduduu Alao

Horse Anyinya/Enyinya 

Donkey Anyinya Ètὸ/Enyinya Ètὸ

Rat Afii

Squirrel Ojai

Monkey Ofini

Elephant Nni

Leopard/Tiger Mpɛɛ

Moon Drake Nchoro

Impala Ɔgbɛgbɛ

Waterbuck/ Oloo

Deer Ɔtɔbɔ

Wolf Ɔkàsí 

Lion Nna'oro

Rabbit Awe

Porcupine Abina

Grass cutter Obibi

Fox Ajija

Dog Mgbao

Pig Oporopo

Bat Ekpɔ

Cat Ekooɛmɛrɛ

Tortoise Ekara'o

Turtle Ojubia

Viper/Adder Abũ

Cobra/Asp Nnarã Nkolo

Bird Enɔ (Generic) 

Fowl Ɔkɔ (Male – Duduu Ɔkɔ, 

Female - U'uu Ɔkɔ)

Chick   Onwi-nyɔɔ

Bush Fowl Mkpãrã

Sparrow Ogela Akára

Woodpecker Ekikoroeboete

Band Plover Ngelema

Vulture Ɔdɛlɛ

Eagle Ago

Pigeon Èkeekuu

Dove Njuru

Ravel Ekwɔɔɔ

Owl Egbugbuu

Parrot Okolofio

Hawk Nkwikwa

Black Kite Mkpɔɔ

Swallow Mgbamgbakara

Cricket Apĩná  

Insect Ekĩkã 

Ant Nyɔrɔ 

Housefly Nchi

Black Ant O'ĩ

Beetle Ekpã

Termite Ɛjɔbɔ

Locust Egurube

Maggot Ɛlɛ

Bee Nja'o

Bed Bug Mbibia

Lice Èchu

Cricket Apĩna

Butterfly Kpakpagogoo

Scorpion Ɔbɔrɔtɔ

Chameleon Ɔnɔni

Worm Ochumbere

Cockroach Epɔ

Fish Njira 

Kingfish Nkelu

Periwinkle Ochuchuu

Crayfish Esɔrɔ

Tilapia Ԑkpao

Trout Èboekpiná

Whelk Agongoro

Manatee Emei

Barracuda Ɔmɛɛ

Carp Ǹjiraejin

Catfish Obui

Mudskipper Ɔ̀bii

Crab Ɔkɔrɔ

Drum (Crooker) Nworo

Oyster Mba

Sardine Obachi

Shark Ekokoabura

Shynose Nda

Snapper Njijoi

Skate Ekoko

Mosquito Nfife

Centipede Gbãgbãrãrã

Millipede Ɔchuchũa

Spider Njijina

Wall Gecko Ɛnwɛtoo

Crocodile Nchaari/Ncharoo

Frog Ɔkálá

 Toad Ɔbɔɔwa

Boa/Python Ɔjɔ

Lizard Abura

Snake Nnarã

Snail Akpɛ

Electric Fish Egwii

Food Nja 

Cassava Ojaku (Ojakpo)

Yam Esaa

Tree Leaves Yam Ochu

Cocoyam Etoo

Beans Nchichámá

Potato Mgbɛɛ

Plantain Ɔbinɔɔ Eleme

Banana Ɔbinɔɔfa

Ɔbinɔɔ Ɛnɛnɛ (used to 

sweetening things)

Corn/Barley Akukuri

Pawpaw Ɔyáa(Ɔyayáa)

Soup Mbalo (Generic)

Grinded Pumpkin Soup Mbalo Okwoi Nsogu

Sliced Pumpkin Soup Mbalo Osĩì Nsogu

Pepper Soup Lolombalo

Cowpea Soup Mbalo Adɛmkpɔɔ (Popularly 

known as Native Soup)

Bitter leaf Soup Mbalo Oligbo

White Soup I'oro Mbalo

Oha(?) Soup Mbalo Ogon ('Ɔgćn)

Scent Leave Nlorobonɛ 

Pot Etepɔti/Àbã

Charcoal Ebibi

Egg Oki

Oil Nnɔɔ

Palm oil Nnɔɔ Eleme 

Honey Nnɔɔ Nja'o

Mushroom Elu 

Monkey Sugarcane Òkporόjiji 

Onions Ayo

Pepper Okofee

Salt Nlo

Pear Mbɛɛ

Guava Ńgofà 

Avocado Mbɛɛɔfɛɛji

Pineapple Ajo-ɔfaa

Groundnut Asukere

Kola Nut Egbi

Sugar Nlofa

Biscuit Nkĩkã

Bread Ɛbɛrɛɛdi

Bread Fruit Njaɔfa

Wine (Drink) Mmi 

Hot Mmi Ɔkɔri/Mmi Ɔfa

Palm wine Mmi Eleme

Tree Ètè 

Leaf Nsãkɔ/Nsãètè/Nsãe'o bãrã 

nnarã nnarã.

Bush/Grass E'o

Darkness Mmuji

Dust Oburuu

Ocean Ɛhɛrɛ

Cave Ejùjù

Rock/Stone Nnyadɛ/Okpoongo

Kiss Fifɛnɛ

X-ray Okpol-Ɛka

Stool Èkpèté

Rake Ekũrũ

Broom Nsisari

Ship Ɔwaaroo

Book Nsã  

Light/Fire Nsã

Aladdin Lamp Nsãetili 

Lamp Nsãɔfa

Umbrella Nsãètoo

Indian Bamboo Achàrà

Ɔkãni Firewood

Cap Èbétè

Sugarcane Mmimao

Mango Ofi

Coconut Ifa

Orange Oloojã

Apple Ndalo 

Bottle Olilo 

Water Mmu

Water pot Ɛkãrã Mmu

Pond Mmu Ɛbãrã

Palm Fruit Ajo

Ɔfaa Mpo Aeroplane

Xylophon Obaaogolo 

Bicycle/Iron/Rod Ekwerere

Rope Ojiji

Spade Ɛchwa

Nail Echuru (Eturu)

Jar Achũma

Needle Agiga

Cloud Okũa Mmuji

Moon Ɔ'ɛ

Sun Mgbe

Star Èsuri Njira

Sea Mmu Nlo

River Mmu Ɔdɔɔ

Lake Èkèrè Ɔkɛ

Brook Egbaigbai Ajii Mmu

Stream Mmu Ɔcha-ɔcha

Matchet Ɔgɛ

Sword Ajaata

Kitchen Knife Ngũgũá

Mortal Mbuu  

Pestle Èchũ

Thorn Èsũ

Camwood Odo

Seal Ɔdɛɛrũ

Crime Èbũ

Basket Okũ

Fan Ɛpɛɛlɛ 

Telephone Tɛlɛfuu

Teacher Ɔnɛ Otoɛ

Tailor Ɔnɛ Okɛ Enu

Doctor Ɔnɛ Okpaa Mbiɛ/Dɔkita

Judge Ɔnɛ Ofu Ɛbiɛ

Eleme Language must never die. Help the young ones to save Eleme Language from extinction. Teach your children, wards and neighbours to speak, read and write Eleme Language.  

High Chief Osaro Ollorwi

Website: www.ollorwi.com.ng

E-mail: ollorwiosaro@gmail.com

Tel.: +234 8036694027