Origin of Ban Ogoi
Between 12th and 13th Century, there was a crisis somewhere in Gold Coast which led to the emigration of three brothers namely Khana (perhaps Ghana but differed by pronunciation), Eleme and Gbere Tutu through the sea to a safe location in the rich mangrove area of Niger Delta. Gbere Tutu settled at Ban Tutu, the foremost name of Ban Ogoi. The word Ban is translated as I have arrived at a safe place. The Ogoi which was later replaced Tutu, the founder of Ban Ogoi is translated as hide me or I am hiding. Literally, Gbere Tutu was shielding himself from crisis. These three brothers were later referred to by the Igbanis as Igonibo – strangers; when some early sojourners arrived at the shore and found their lights burning in the hinterland. That word Igonibo was later coined to Ogoni and that name is not acceptable to the Ban Ogoi people. The Ban Ogois refer to the Igbanis as Bani – beggars. History has it that the Igbanis would ask the Khana, Eleme and Gbere Tutus for food in the ancient times since their main occupation was crop cultivation.
Gbere Tutu had seven sons which later resulted in the formation of seven mini-communities but later there was a formation of the eighth mini-community. These eight (8) clans that make up Ban Ogoi Community are:
- Bala Ban
Muolu clan was said to have been founded by an indigene of Kuete clan who moved to that part of Ban Ogoi.
Ban Ogoi and its Borders
Ban Ogoi is bordered by Ebubu and Eteo in Eleme Local Government Area.
Sime, Nonwa and Bun in Tai Local Government Area,
Egberu and Ayama in Oyigbo Local Government Area, and the Imo river.
Traditional Administration of Ban Ogoi
The Ban Ogoi traditional administration is hereditary and the governing council is headed by:
Mene Bon which serves as the Paramount Ruler,
Mene Nkporun which serves as the Peace Maker
Mene Sisan/Kiken which serves as the Land Priest.
By hereditary, Bala-ban produces the Mene Sisan, Ngoro produces Mene Nkporun while Kuete produces the Mene Bon.
Wherever there is dispute or crisis in the land: between two persons or among people, when once the Mene Nkporun steps in with the Nkporun (staff) and in the midst of the Council of Chiefs the crisis is ended. The trio together with other Mene (chiefs) from the eight communities being the Mene Bon, Mene Nkporun and Mene Sisan and Elders constitute the Ban Ogoi Council of Chiefs and presided upon by the Mene Bon. At the demise of the Mene Bon the Mene Sisan takes over the leadership of the community pending the installation of his successor. This scenario is replicated in the eight communities making up the Ban Ogoi Clan.
Names of Successive Paramount Rulers of Ban Ogoi
- Gbere Mene Ndikarabe
- Mene Nwiyowa Karabe
- Mene Nwikpigi Nwiyowa Karabe
- Mene Ogolo Nwiyowa Karabe
- Mene Peter Nwiyowa Ogolo
- Mene Gabriel Ndi Ogolo
- Mene Peter Saagbe Ndi
At present, the traditional ruler of Ban Ogoi is Mene (Chief) Geoffrey Nwakor who is serving as the Regent pending the installation of a substantive Paramount Ruler. Mene Peter Nwiyowa Kalabe is the Paramount Ruler in waiting.
The main language of the people of Ban Ogoi is called Ban and it only spoken by the indigenes of Ban Ogoi although it was casually said to be spoken at an unknown part of Ghana. The other languages spoken by Ban Ogoi people are: (1) Khana language, (2) Eleme language and Gokana language. However, Ban Ogoi people also speak fluently Igbo and Akwa Ibom people. It was said that kindergartens in the place understand both Igbo and Akwa Ibom language and in later years could speak fluently.
How was this possible? It was said that people from Ban Ogoi often marry from Igbo and Akwa Ibom and many times their brides would come with an in-law which stayed and sometimes remained in the land and over time, they could speak those languages. Today, the people speak them effortlessly to the astonishment of the neigbouring communities.
Week Days in Ban Ogoi
Ban Ogoi has a five-day weekly cycle and they are:
1.) Dee Zua
2.) Dee Sor
3.) Dee Kor
4.) Dee Maa and
5.) Dee Bon.
Traditional marriage at Ban Ogoi is usually done at nights. At this time, customary rites must have been completed. This event takes place on the market day of Dee Bon. The family of the bride made up of married women and the friends of the bride would sing songs in celebration and accompany the bride to the bridegroom’s house. On that night the bridegroom provides food for the ceremony and he would be in the company of his invited friends and family. Usually, dowry similar to the practice in Eleme land is sent along with the bride to her spouse’s house. Final marriage can be done in 20 – 25 years when the couple has been blessed with grown up children and have lived happily. Ban Ogoi culture does not allow a married lady to be buried at her father’s house. This means that when once married she would be buried at her husband’s place.
Political Administration of Ban Ogoi
Ban Ogoi is located at Tai Local Government Area of Nigeria. It is one of the ten (10) Electoral Wards that make up the Tai Legislative Assembly. Specially, its Counselor represents Ward 10 in that Assembly. The current Counselor is Hon. Betty Chukwu.
Ban Ogoi Farm Settlement.
There are Seven Farm settlement at Ban Ogoi and they are:
- Gbakon 1
- Gbakon 2
- Kaani Ban
Educational Institutions at Ban Ogoi
Community Secondary School, Ban Ogoi was founded in 1982.
Its first primary school, St. Andrew’s Primary School, Ban Ogoi was founded in January, 1956. There are currently seven Primary Schools at Ban Ogoi and are located at the farm settlement.
Christianity at Ban Ogoi
St. Andrews Anglican Church, Ban Ogoi was the first church that was established at Ban Ogoi in 1927 at the reign of Mene Nwiyowa. It was said to have been brought from Aba in Abia during his business trip to Abia State.
Other Institutions at Ban Ogoi
Ban Ogoi has a market, NYSC lodge and a Clinic. The clinic was built during the Sir Dr. Peter Odili’s Administration.
Ban Ogoi is a co-host community to:
- Rivers State Power Plant, with Mirinwayin being managed by First Independent Power Limited.
- Rivers State Cassava Processing Plant, with Okoloma Afam.
- Songhai Farm, with Bunu.