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Historical Profile of the People of Oku

Oral tradition has it that the Oku people and their Nso brothers originated from somewhere around Eygpt. Due to harsh climatic conditions, they left and settled in Belbele, where they lived a wandering life of hunting. Later on, the Oku people and their Nso brothers moved and settled at the savannah land of Tikari in an area called Rifem as one family where their population grew tremendously. The united family at Tikari later broke up as a result of a succession dispute. Nso, the elder brother left with some traditional belongings of his father to the other side of the river with his supporters where they found a new home. Furthermore, Nso and his wandering party moved and finally settled at kovifem where he was officially crowned the fon of kovifem. At kovifem, Nso had four children with his wife Yeafon, the first Tatah who is the founder of Oku.  The second son is the founder of Nso, the fuonded  Takum in Nigeria and the last, a lady who was to put to birth the future fon of Mbiame. As the fon grew older in his fondom, conflict arose as who will be the next successor to the throne and so he presented two life plants, one  to the hunter (Tatah)  and the other to the younger brother  (the musician) to plant. The one that had grown taller than the other should be crowned as the Fon. Since the elder brother was always doing hunting in the forest, his own life plant was tortured to death and during inspection after the death of their father, it was discovered that the elder brother’s life plant was dead, while that of the younger brother is thriving. Accordingly, the throne was passed to the younger brother. Later on, Tatah who had been duped of his birth right went and settled in the Ngongba forest, found between Oku and Nso today. Tatah′s mother Yeafon went in search for Tatah in the forest and finally died at a cave where she was buried by other hunters. When Tatah got the information, he rushed and saw the grave. He took from the grave a plant called Nkeng in Oku, a stone and some soil which he went and reburied in a more ‘befitting’ way. Tatah and his family mourned for four weeks, and it is still the tradition in Oku today that the fon′s mother′s death is usually celebrated for four weeks.  In his wandering profession of hunting, Tatah discovered to his greatest surprise that there are people living in scattered settlement of huts called the Ntul people who were on the present site of Lui village in Oku. Tatah was welcomed and properly taken care of as he was given kola- nuts, water and food. From then up till today it became a custom in the Oku village that the first thing a host offers his guest is kola -nuts. Tatah was later introduced to the fon of Ntul where he used to pay regular visits and usually went alongside with bush meat. The fon of Ntul was very impressed with him as a personality of great responsibility, and called all his subjects and introduced Tatah to them as a capable man who can lead the people in his absence. That is why up till today no body objects whatever the fon says in Oku. With Tatah’s advice to the fon of Ntul, the palace was removed from Tangkoh to Ebkem. Finally when the fon of Ntul died, he was succeeded by Tatah whose nick name was fon Nyanya meaning to be on the move. That finally marked the end of the Ntul dynasty because Nyanya′s was succeeded by his son. The name Oku was given by a man from Nso because, Oku people were invited for a plastering project in Nso and when they were not fed after the work, they removed all the mud so the name was given Veku in Lam Nso meaning ‘plaster removers’. Later on English corrupted it to Oku.