1.1  Statement of the Problem

       Itu Mbonuso is one of clan in Ini Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. There is no people without history of real origin, otherwise bowed to ignorance. The origin, migration and settlement of Itu Mbonuso like early history of any other non-literate society has been a matter of speculation and controversy.

Many traditions explain the origin and migration of the Itu Mbonuso people, but the varied nature of these traditions has made it difficulty to arrive at definite conclusions, yet the history and origin of the people of Itu Mbonuso hold concrete facts collected from aged long custom from ancestor. The origin and history of the people of Itu-Mbonuso is not from a formal written records, but  oral evidence, rehearsed through the past aged elders and royal fathers. On this note, this study is set to examines the origin, migration and settlement of Itu Mbonuso.


1.2  Objectives of the Study

       This study has the following objectives:

  1. To trace the origin, migration and settlement of Itu Mbonuso people,
  2. To present a brief history of Itu Mbonuso
  • To highlight the post-colonial developments of Itu Mbonuso in Ini Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
  1. To highlight the selection, installation and crowning of kings in Itu Mbonuso
  2. To examine the geography, the people, religion, cosmology and political organization of Itu Mbonuso.



1.3  Significance of the Study

  1. it is hope that the findings of this study will be of immense benefit to the people of Itu Mbonuso and Ini Local Government at large, since the work trace the origin, migration and settlement of the people of Itu Mbonuso.


  1. The study will also be of immense benefit to historians that did not have a clue about the people of Itu Mbonuso in Ini Local Government Area.


iii.    The study will form a very useful information resource base for future researchers on issues bordering on migration, origin and settlement in Akwa Ibom State.


  1. Finally, the research work will add to already exceeding literature on the research area.



1.4  Scope and Limitation of Study   

The origin migration and settlement of Itu Mbonuso from 1800 – 1960 explains the scope of the study. Although there are other clans in Ini Local Government, but Itu Mbonuso is chosen by the researcher to carry out this work for an easy attainment of the aims and objectives of the study.

Lack of access to information at the specified time limits the researcher to information available and accessible. Also, apart from tight schedule of most of my informants which make it difficult for them to keep to appointments, resulted in repeated visit to certain areas of the researcher. The researcher is also exposed to some financial problem as self sponsoring student. Some informants also refused to talk about certain area. Others, who agreed to talk, related their informated in a fragmented manner, and thus posed a problem to the researcher.

1.5  Methodology

       On the whole, the origin, migration and settlement of Itu Mbonuso can be written mostly from oral tradition and written documents. Oral tradition can defined as all verbal testimonies which are reported statement concerning the past.1

From the above, it could be seen that material for the project were collected from oral and written sources. Oral tradition has to do with literature including myth, poetry, epic, folklore, legend, eye witness account. Great wisdom is however contended in oral tradition if carefully analysed, can provide materials for the reconstruction of the history, origin, migration and settlement of Itu Mbonuso people.

Written material were also collected from public and university libraries this research project. The study adopted inter-disciplinary approach to historical writing.


1.6  Literature Review

       This section will critical examine views of various scholars and writers on the history, origin, migration and settlement of the people of Itu Mbonuso. David Ukpong  et al in their book “Ikono: The cradle of Ibibio Nation (Historical origin and cultural Heritage); posited the area now known as Bende, a Local Government Headquarters in Abia State was part of Itu Mbonuso clan up to the middle of the 20th Century.2 The original name according David Ukpong et al was given to them (Bende) by the Itu Mbonuso people of Mbenteuwa3. Mbenteuwa was a meeting point of the people of Ukwa Ibom, Idere, Ito and Ibworo with their kin from Nkari and Itu Mbonuso, Itu Mbonuso playing host.4

       According to David Ukpong, to ensure that there was no intrusion from these considered enemies especially the Inokon itinerant traders, it was usually asked Esimme? Meaning, where are you from? The usual response would be Nsi Ukwa ( I am from Ukwa/Sinie Ukwa (Ukwa Ibom) was an identifying name for the people of Ibibio race especially the Itu Mbonuso people.5

In other to ascertain that the first reply was correctly heard, the Itu Mbonuso people would ask the visitor again, Ebidie (Abodie)? (What are you saying?); the correct reply would be mbe-nte-ukwa (mbo-nte-ukwa). That was how mbenteukwa derived its name.6

Akpan Nteoeng et al in their book The Origin, History and Cultural Heritage of Itu Mbonuso, is of the view that the history of the origin of the Itu Mbonuso people is essentially a part of the history of migration and dispersal of the “Efik-Ibibio” people which resulted from the series of wars fought during the ancient time? According Akpan Nteoeng et al, before the 16th century, there were series of wars which prompted a band of people to take refuge in Ibibioland for fear of losing their lives. A large number of these migrants settled at Uruan in Ibibioland, but this band of fugitive were after some years forced to move further following the evoke of renewed hostilities8. This stemmed from refusal of the fugitives to worship deity (Ata Okpo Ndem, Uruan) and migrants intention to  introduce worship of their original native deity, Ndem isong (god of their land).9    

According to Ekong E. Ekong in his book entitled Sociology of the Ibibio, posited that the conflict that generated from the controversy over the worship of Uruan Deity ended in the fight of the migrants from Uruan, whereby a set of the fugitive settled at Ukwa and at Obot Etim in Ibibioland of Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, while some of the migrants settled Okopedi Okobo in Oron and others fled to other parts of Ibibioland10.

Obot Ndem in his book History of Itu Mbonuso Clan states that the history of Itu Mbonuso like the Israelites, there were twelve original ancient towns with over 75 sub-villages making up the clan11. According to him these sub-villages were merged up in the name of towns according to the then administration of the colonial masters who were directed by the Igbos. These sub-villages were partly autonomous in some areas of administration in their respective towns.12 The had the sub-village halls aside from the General Town Hall.

Their cultural societies such as Ekpe, Ekang, Iso-isong, Ubaa with exception of “Obon” which exclusively owned by the Town Authority under the administration of the Head of the town (Obong Obio) and his elders.13

Ndarake Eyike in his book entitled Important Deities of Itu Mbonuso, asserts that the people of Itu Mbonuso have their cultural and traditional religion according to traditional beliefs and days of worships which were set aside as sacred Days as the Efiks: Those deities are:

  1. The great Ndem Isong which is the chief/deities to all deities, while they have to submit before they can operate effectively, centralized at Ekwere Ukwa Mkpong of
  2. Ekuri Enang
  3. Ediene Ayama
  4. Ekandem Hob
  5. Inyang
  6. Nkangi or Nkani and Isua.14


According to Edet Udo in his work entitled Who are the Ibibio? posits that the Ibibio speaking people belong in the central Benue valley15. To this group belong to Boki, Gayi, Yakoro, Akunakuna, Abine, Yakor, Asigna, Ekuri, Ukelle, Opoto, Mteze, Olulomo, and Ibibio, with its sub-groups Efik, Oron/Ibeno, Eastern Andoni, Efiat, Eket, and Annang16.

In my own view to attempt to write the history of a non-literate society is by no means an easy task to undertake. To arrive at a conclusion. I have studied the origin, migration and settlement of the Itu Mbonuso, their pre-colonial political, social and judicial system, their social organization and their pre-colonial economic system and their traditional religion and beliefs and their various dialects. In other word, their traditional culture shows differences from and similarities to the central Ibibio.








1 Jan Vansina, Oral Tradition: A Study of Historical Methodology. (London: Reutledge and Kegan Paul, 1985), p.19.


2 D. Ukpon et al, Ikono: The Cradle of Ibibio Nation – Historical Origin and Cultural Heritage.  (Uyo: Dorand Publishers, 2001), p. 28


3 Ibid, p. 29.


4 Ibid, p. 31.


5 Ibid, p. 32.


6 Ibid, p. 44.


7 B. Akpan, History and Migration of Ibibio People (Calabar: Wusen Publishers, 1986) p. 2.


8 Ibid, p. 3.


9 Ibid, p.4


10 E. E. Ekong, Sociology of the Ibibio (Calabar: Scholars press (Nig) Ltd, 1983), p. 14.


11 O. Ndon, History of Itu Mbonuso Clan (Calabar: Paico Publishers, 1989) p.5.


12 Ibid, p. 6.


13 Ibid, p.7.


14 N. Eyile, Important Deities of Itu Mbonuso. (Uyo: Modern Business Press, 1989). p.16.


15 E. Udo, Who Are the Ibibio? (Onitsha: Africana–FEB Publishers Ltd, 1983) p.9.


16 Ibid, p.10.  


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