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Ethnic Groups in Nigeria: The Adim People

Adim is a cultural community that refers to a set of people that occupy a certain quarter in Biase Local Government area in Cross River State, Nigeria. The Adim people speak Adim and Efik language.  The Adim community is administered by clan heads and are assisted by chiefs.

Historical Background of the Adim People

From the foregoing, it is also founded that the original nomenclature of the ‘Adim’ is ‘Arum’. Adim, being the corrupt form or the colonial coinage of the main word –arum, – is a shortened form of ‘arumerume’. Researchers have also asserted that Arumerume clan comprises originally of 5 distinct groups sharing a common history of tribe, migration and unification.

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There is no general acceptability among the people of Adim as to their historical origin. Some people posit that their ancestors came from Otum Usa. Some others believe that they had dominated the present day location from time in inception negating the stance that they are ancient migrants into the community.

However, after a prolonged attempt, we are able to arrive at the justification that Adim people are indeed migrants. The people of Adim’s initial origin is indeed located around Otum Usa settlement (Abi LGA) in Ebom-Ebijiakara on the Eastern bank of Cross River state. The migrants first settled at Orum-Ugom before finally pitching their tent in the present day Biase LGA.

The Classification of the Adim People

The new abode of the Adim people is Biase LGA and it consists of the 3 basic Adim groups, though the views about their origins differ, the groups are as follows:

The Isobo

The Isobo origin believes that the Adim people were originally Igbo. According to them, Adim people were driven out of their original Igbo home by a more powerful group. During the headship of Onun Eo Oti, the Adim people came into contact with Agwagune. Onun Eo Oti, as a generous leader, accommodated and allotted a piece of land for their settlement. It was then Agwagune gave them the name “Adimi Mo Abba”, which means ‘people pressed to the ground.’ However, based on research, this myth isn’t as solid enough.

The Otum Usa

The Otum Usa group posits that Adim migrated from a place called ‘Otum Usa’ meaning ‘Old settlement’. Otum Usa was situated between Usumotong and Behumono clan in the present Abi Local Government Area.

History has it that suddenly after strained relationship developed between the then Adim people and the Behumono (their host). This situation forced the people of Adim to flee to a small settlement in Inuk Ogama Inamoka, Arummigon, Onolie Ejak and Ogwe in the present-day location.

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The calabar estuary

The Calabar estuary origin revealed that the wars and the search for food and new homes caused them to migrate with the Umon people up to the Cross River. They first lived together with the Umon people before they later moved out as a result of their increasing population with reference to accommodation.

Socio-cultural Profile of Adim people

In Adim the concept of marriage is well institutionalized as a social affair. In those days, parents usually made the choice of who their daughters would marry. These marriages may have been contracted since childhood days. The first approach was for the parent of the boy to present some token, a bunch of indigo, coconut, and a piece of cloth (not more than a yard) to the girl’s parent.

The Girl is then betrothed. They may not have reached school age when the contract was made, but they grow up with this agreement, if the proposal partners had a violent objection to the union, it was possible to break off the agreement. During the period of engagement, the suitors are required to work for a while on the farm of his prospective in-laws, to test his strength and devotion to the intended bride

Farming in Adim is segregated. Although both men and women can engage in farming, men are expected to clear the farm, till the land and other sundry activities that has to do with Farm cultivation, while the weeding of the farms was done by the women. Alongside farming, the people of Adim engage in other economic activities like hunting fishing trapping of animals among others.

In all, one thing is constant, the Adim people, in search of a plain and fertile land supportive of agriculture, migrated into the present day Biase LGA either through Osobo, Otum-Usa or Calabar Estuary.

Religious Inclinations

Religion in Adim is widely traditional as the people believe in the existence of the Supreme Being called ‘Obasi Golok Ekpeyeng’. The belief in the continuity of life and the community of interest between the living and the dead and the generation yet unborn was fundamental to the religious life of the Adim people.

The belief of the people in life after death is portrayed in their burial rituals. They belief in burying some of the properties of the dead with him while is his buried. These properties of the deceased may include matchet, sniff box, sleeping mats, drinking cup, a calabash of wine and some cloths.

The heads of the deceased slaves are also buried with him. The significance of this practice is the belief that they would make use of these properties in their next life. The existence of many gods in the form of stone or trees and other creations were rampant in their culture.

They make sacrifices of goat fowl and yams to these lesser deities from time to time. The spirit of these ancestors was usually evoked by the pouring of oil, in the process prayers and thanks were offered to the ancestors calling on them to the almighty God. But over time, Christianity has accepted.

Artisanship and Trading

The period of informal education in Adim is stretched from the period when work of art favoured among men and women. The men learnt, taught and carved works of art i.e. idols, while the women on their part were setting the pace on decoration.

Before the advent of ‘money’ as proposed by foreign economist, the Adim people also had their own tender for transactions before the early 20s. Unlike the regular barter system in Africa back then, the Adim people made use of copper rods as a medium of exchange.




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Jeremiah Aluwong

Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.

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