History Of Bayelsa State: Full Geographical Map, Culture & Belief…
Overview of Bayelsa State
Bayelsa is a state in southern Nigeria in the core Niger Delta region, between Delta State and Rivers State. Its capital is Yenagoa. The main language spoken is Ijaw with dialects such as Kolukuma, Mein, Bomu, Nembe, Epie-Atisa, and Ogbia. Like the rest of Nigeria, English is the official language. The state was formed in 1996 from part of Rivers State and is thus one of the newest states of the Nigerian federation
History Of Bayelsa State Full Geographical Map, Culture & Belief | Local Government historical Background,Population and languages.
History Of Bayelsa State
Between 1941 and 1956, many nationalist movements were formed mainly to establish ljaw political sovereignty. They pressed the issue of separate political sovereignty before the Willink Commission 1958. In order to allay the fears of the ethnic minorities, the Willink Commission recommended the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Board (NDDB) to tackle the problems of underdevelopment of the area, environmental neglect and political domination. Despite the establishment of the Board, the agitation for state creation, based on the above stated problems, continued until the military wrested political power and control of Nigeria from civilians on 15th January 1966.
In February 1966, Isaac Boro, an ljaw man from Kaiama town in Bayelsa State, with Sam Owonaro, Nottingham Dick and thousands of their supporters unilaterally proclaimed a “Niger Delta Peoples Republic.” But the Federal Government brought the rebellion to a sudden end. On May 27, 1967, the then Rivers State (which was made up the present Rivers and Bayelsa States) was created.
Bayelsa State was created on October 1, 1996 out of the old Rivers State. The name, Bayelsa, is an acronym of three former Local Government areas – Brass, Yenagoa and Sagbama – in the then Rivers State, which had earlier on comprised the entire area now constituting Bayelsa State. The then Brass LGA is what makes up the present Nembe, Brass and Ogbia Local Government Areas; the then Yenagoa LGA consist of the present Yenagoa, Kolokuma/Opokuma and Southern Ijaw Local Government Areas and the then Sagbama LGA is what makes up the present Sagbama and Ekeremor Local Government Areas.
According to the 1952 Census Report, the ljaws of the Niger Delta region have been recognised as one of the ten major ethnic groups with a population of 0.9 million. During the colonial administration, a separate province was created for them. The amalgamation of Southern and Northern Protectorates in 1914 triggered the fear among minority ethnic groups of political domination; hence their agitation for a distinct state comprising the old Brass, Degema and Western ljaw Divisions, under the umbrella of ljaw National Group, started in earnest. During the colonial period, Britain signed many treaties of protection with the chiefs of many coastal communities, especially the ljaws, with the hope that at Nigeria’s independence in 1960, a nation state would be created for them.
The tradition in the old Rivers State, which is still the norm in Bayelsa State now, is the use of acronyms for local government areas. People referred to Brass Local Government Area as BALGA, for short; Yenagoa was simply YELGA, while Sagbama was SALGA. Since personalities from BALGA, YELGA, and SALGA made up the State Creation Movement prior to the 1996 exercise, the proposed name agreed upon was BAYELSA.
Bayelsa State Full Geographical Map
Below is Bayelsa State Map Which comprises of Different Local Government Areas of the state:
Bayelsa State Local Government Areas
Bayelsa State consists of eight local government areas:
Bayelsa State cultural practices
Although the Ijaw are now primarily Christians (65% profess to be), with Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism and Pentecostal being the varieties of Christianity most prevalent among them, they also have elaborate traditional religious practices of their own. Veneration of ancestors plays a central role in Ijaw traditional religion, while water spirits, known as Owuamapu figure prominently in the Ijaw pantheon. In addition, the Ijaw practice a form of divination called Igbadai, in which recently deceased individuals are interrogated on the causes of their death. Ijaw religious beliefs hold that water spirits are like humans in having personal strengths and shortcomings, and that humans dwell among the water spirits before being born. The role of prayer in the traditional Ijaw system of belief is to maintain the living in the good graces of the water spirits among whom they dwelt before being born into this world, and each year the Ijaw hold celebrations in honor the spirits lasting for several days. Central to the festivities is the role of masquerades, in which men wearing elaborate outfits and carved masks dance to the beat of drums and manifest the influence of the water spirits through the quality and intensity of their dancing. Particularly spectacular masqueraders are taken to actually be in the possession of the particular spirits on whose behalf they are dancing.
The Ijaw are also known to practice ritual acculturation (enculturation), whereby an individual from a different, unrelated group undergoes rites to become Ijaw. An example of this is Jaja of Opobo, the Igbo slave who rose to become a powerful Ibani (Bonny) chief in the 19th century.
There are also a small number of Converts to Islam the most notable being the founder of the Delta People Volunteer Force, Mujahid Dokubo-Asari. Jeremiah Omoto Fufeyin comes from the Ijaw ethnic group.
Bayelsa State languages
The Ijaw speak nine closely related Niger–Congo languages, all of which belong to the Ijoid branch of the Niger–Congo tree. The primary division between the Ijo languages is that between Eastern Ijo and Western Ijo, the most important of the former group of languages being Izon, which is spoken by about five million people.
There are two prominent groupings of the Izon language. The first, termed either Western or Central Izon (Ijaw) consists of Western Ijaw speakers: Tuomo Clan, Ekeremor, Sagbama (Mein), Bassan, Apoi, Arogbo, Boma (Bumo), Kabo (Kabuowei), Ogboin, Tarakiri, and Kolokuma-Opokuma. Nembe, Brass and Akassa (Akaha) dialects represent Southeast Ijo (Izon).. Buseni and Okordia dialects are considered Inland Ijo.
The other major Ijaw linguistic group is Kalabari. Kalabari is considered an Eastern Ijaw language but the term “Eastern Ijaw” is not the normal nomenclature. Kalabari is the name of one of the Ijaw clans that reside on the eastern side of the Niger-Delta (Abonnema, Buguma, Bakana, Degema etc.) who form a major group in Rivers State, Other “Eastern” Ijaw clans are the Andoni, Okrika, Ibani (the natives of Bonny, Finima and Opobo) and Nkoroo. They are neighbours to the Kalabari people in present-day Rivers State, Nigeria.
Other related Ijaw subgroups which have distinct languages but very close kinship, cultural and territorial ties with the rest of the Ijaw are the Epie-Atissa, Engenni (also known as Ẹgẹnẹ), and Degema (also called Udekama or Udekaama). The Ogbia clan, as well as residents of Bukuma and Abuloma (Obulom).
It was discovered in the 1980s that a now extinct Berbice Creole Dutch, spoken in Guyana, is partly based on Ijo lexicon and grammar. Its nearest relative seems to be Eastern Ijo, most likely Kalabari (Kouwenberg 1994).
Bayelsa State Clans
The Ijaw ethnic group consists of 50 loosely affiliated clans. These clans are based along kinship lines and/or shared cultural and religious traditions.
|Tuomo||Delta / Bayelsa||T.T Clan|