Obiaruku town is the headquarter of Ukwuani Local Government Area (LGA), Delta State, Nigeria. It is one of the major homeland of the Ukwuani speaking(akashiada) people. The Okpala-Ukwu of Obiaruku is the oldest male in the town.
The name Obiaruku is derived from two Ukwani terms "Obi" and "Aluku" corrupted in this case to "aruku". In Ukwuani language, Obi could mean a number of things including the heart, the center, the point, the main, a settlement or hamlet, while Aluku is the name of a tree that was predominant in the area now known as Obiaruku. The tree, which produces a large crown provided a canopy under which initial settlers rested. Thus, the name means a settlement under aluku trees.
Obiaruku is principally a cosmopolitan town with the two major migrant groups (Okuzu and Umuebu people) tracing their origin to Umuebu, an older community south-west of Obiaruku. Oral history has it that the Okuzu people migrated en masse from Umuebu to the north-eastern banks of River Ethiope in a place that was called Obi-Ubo within what is called Obiaruku today while Morka, an indigene of Umuebu and a hunter arrived at the same River Ethiope at a more westerly position, which was called Obi-Ofingo at some later time and settled his family on the bank of the river. There is controversy on which of the two groups arrived the area now know as Obiaruku first and the point at which the two settlements became amalgamated to become Obiaruku. However, it is important to note that the common ancestral festival "the Ikenge" festival celebrated throughout the town was always initiated by Okuzu, as the elder of the community after which all other quarters, as they are known would join the celebration. Other member communities of the town who are considered later settlers include the Umuedede now known as Umu-Ogwezi who are believed to be migrants from Aboh town, a more southly community on the creeks of the River Niger, the Umusume people made up of a mix of migrants from different communities including Ezhiokpor, Umukwata, Ezhionum, etc., and the Obi-Ugbe people principally from Ezhiokpor. Over the years, migrants from neighbouring Urhobo communities, far away Yoruba communities, Igbo communities and nomadic Hausa/Fulani people have settled in the town.
The Original Quarters of Obiaruku:
Until very recently, there were five major quarters and one smaller entity "sub quarter" in Obiaruku. These were, from the west of the town to the east, Ogbe-Obiaruku, Umuedede, Okuzu, Obi-Ugbe, Umusume and the smaller entity, which is often described as Obi-Jehovah or Obi-Edike with a very mixed population. This configuration of the town has changed considerably over the years with some of the quarters changing names and even splitting up into a number of quarters mostly for political reasons.
The population of Obiaruku, as at 2005 was 687 310, with 33 090 males and 35 620 females. The town has 16,205 households, and the population density of 168.
- Amaize, Emma (2005-05-28). "Story that touches the heart: Families rendered homeless as youths set villages ablaze". Online Nigeria (Devace Nigeria). Retrieved 2007-10-07.
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Most of the information provided here comes from oral history of the people of Obiaruku.