Holidaymakers, Nollywood celebrities, and journalists who saw the other side of the monarchy were left pondering why Idumuje-Ugboko, the land of great seven kings, seven streams, and seven tombs in Aniocha North Local Government Area, Delta State, has been in the news for off-beam reasons recently.
Unique commodious attractions bind the natives, who are mostly professional farmers, weavers, hunters, and blacksmiths, and make them unique in the eyes of the world.
Mrs. Patience Ozokwor, a veteran actress, and another experienced thespian, Asaba-born Sam Obiago, led the Nollywood clan, which also included Mrs. Rita Daniels, mother of another skilled performer, Mrs. Regina Nwoko, wife of billionaire politician and lawyer, Prince Ned Nwoko, who has greatly aided in bringing to prominence the countless day tripper fascinations that cause Idu.
Of course, this writer, Mr. Norbert Chiazor, former chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Delta State branch, and a close friend of Ned, Mr. Norbert Chiazor, veteran journalist, Mr. Austin Ogwuda, and others from the pen group were on the impromptu expedition.
Without burning, a land that roars with smoke
The Prince Ned was not only the host, but also the tour guide and historian, a position he relished. Ned did not conceal his love for his homeland as he told the joint team of journalists and thespians before the tour: “I am proud of my heritage, Idumuje-Ugboko is the best place to come from in the world, God did not make a mistake in making this place my land of birth.”
He explained that the community, which is about a 20-minute drive from Asaba, the state capital, and an hour from Benin City, Edo State’s capital, is situated on the highest point in Delta State, 1000 feet above sea level, causing fog to envelop the entire village from dusk to dawn all year. The locals refer to the town as Ani ano anwulu mana okwu alina, which translates to “the forest that bellows smoke without f
Eden was recreated by nature. “God created heaven and earth in the beginning,” Ugboko Nwoko noted in the Holy Book. and in Eden, he planted a garden eastward, and there he put the man he had created from the dust of the earth. And the Lord created every tree that is pleasing to the eye and good for food to grow out of the ground.”
“A perceptive analysis of man’s wonderful and beautiful first habitation in Eden is not too far from what nature has preserved for mankind in Idumuje-Ugboko, also known as Mount of Delta,” he says. This one-of-a-kind location is home to an ancient kingdom of wonderful people with seven kings, seven tombs, and seven streams.”
“The weather is incredible, second only to Obudu Cattle Ranch in Cross River State and the Mambilla Plateau in Taraba State. Tropical and non-tropical plants thrive in this ideal setting. He clarified that “early morning and late night dews are an all-year phenomenon that keeps the vegetation permanently green.”
From the tunnel to the spire
With so many sights to see, a visit to Idumuje-Ugboko can take all day, but our host realised he had to hurry due to time constraints, so we moved to the underground tunnels, an Egyptian pyramid-like structure on the surface with a labyrinth of passageways that end underneath. Tourists will enjoy relaxation, entertainment, and fun in the underground tunnels.
As we marched to the stronghold, the wonders continued. A visitor might mistake the tower for a security post at first glance, but it is not. The 100-foot fortification with a 1,100-foot pinnacle, which is a major attraction on Mount of Delta, is actually a residence, with five floors of studio flats that were purposefully finished as part of the castle structure for visitors.
“That is Ubiaja in Edo state, look at Issele-Uku and Umunede in Delta state,” Ned said, pointing to a bearing miles and miles away from the sit-out in the sky with a well-stocked bar and music lounge.
“You can see as far as 35 miles from the last floor of the tower in Idumuje Ugboko since this is the highest building in Delta state,” he says.
It’s a Delta marvel. Morocco’s ex-ambassador
Ambassador Mustapha Cherkaoui, a former Moroccan ambassador to Nigeria who visited Idumuje-Ugboko in 2005 with 15 other ambassadors and diplomats, said:
“There is little that can brace you for the sights in Idumuje-Ugboko. Its relatively temperate weather and lush vegetation liken it to the biblical Garden of Eden, which is located on the plateau in Delta state… One is welcomed into an exotic land with a rich cultural heritage when they arrive in this ancient and historical city.
“The moment one descends into the valley on the outskirts, there is this sign proclaiming – Welcome to Idumuje-Ugboko. The lush vegetation and, between October and January, the fog that falls on the land from dusk to dawn, titillate the senses as one drives along.
“A nondescript sign points out Mount Ned Nwoko as you drive past the new police station. The minaret, which is erected on the highest point in the state, can be seen from this vantage point. A left turn into the short track that leads to this Villa does not offer much in the way of surprises and entertainment.
“However, failing to investigate this Villa would have deprived oneself of what can only be identified as Delta’s Wonder,” he added.