Anioma is an Igbo word which means, The Goodland. Anioma is strategically located from the serene banks of River Niger to the inland stretching to Agbor. Anioma consists of nine local government areas with four dialectical groups in the Delta North Senatorial District – there are Aniocha/ Oshimili, Ndokwa, Ika and Ukwuani. The name Anioma was coined from the first alphabets of these groups i.e. A for Aniocha, N for Ndokwa, I for IKA and O for Oshimili, MA was added to form a complete meaning. It is the land that gave birth to some of the most notable sons and daughters of Nigeria who had contributed and still contributing to the upliftment of humanity.
Anioma people are peace loving, with a unique cultural heritage and very passionate with their traditional attire, dance/music and arts. Each dance rhythm expresses the way the people relate to particular events, or simply, their aesthetic way of life. The people of Anioma are known for their peaceful disposition in life. They are unarguably agrarians because of the lush arable lands nature has bequeathed to them. A large number of communities found along the coastal line of River Niger and Ase Creek, from Aboh through Oko to Illah thrive on fishing. Anioma people are found in nine local Government Areas of the present day Delta State which make up the Delta North Senatorial District. Although, Anioma people are also found in some part of Edo State (Igbanke), Anambra State (Ozubulu, Onitsha etc.) and in Rivers State (Ndoni) among others, the unfair boundary adjustment as in the case of Igbanke and Ndoni accounts for this physical separation of our kith and kin.
The Anioma people had early contact with Western Civilization. This attribute is reflected on the general level of literacy in the area and its resultant level of enlightenment. Anioma is blessed with abundant natural and human resources. Besides, the people are known for their rich cultural heritage, which is seen in their way of life. The diverse cultural richness of the Anioma people distinguishes the people from the rest of southern Nigeria. From the unique dance types such as Egwu Oshushu, Olingba, Amala, Agwuba Royal dance and other dance forms performed by well costumed men and women, both young and old during high society or royal ceremonies are some of the cultural dances that stand out the Anioma people.
The energetic and creative dance style of the Aniomas fires passion and spontaneity, drawing attention towards the dance art. And with striking charisma and stunning appearance of the dancers in their immaculate traditional dress of Akwa Ocha, the Anioma dance art is an award winner any day and has become one of the most sought after cultural dance in Nigeria and beyond. The dancers are always elegantly and flamboyantly dressed in such a way that the thrills and frills of the performance will leave a long lasting impression on the audiences and spectators.
Godfrey C. Osakwe & Michael Brian Onyekali Odiakosa.