Eket Local Government occupies the South Central portion of Akwa Ibom State territorial expanses spanning Northwards between Latitudes 4°33’ and 4°45’ and Eastwards between longitudes 7°52’ and 5°02’. Eket is bounded on the North by Nsit Ubium Local Government Area, on the East by Esit Eket Local Government Area, on the West by Onna Local Government Area and on the South by Ibeno Local Government Area/Bight of Bonny. Eket is popularly known as “Idong Mfianwe.” This name anchored on two major reasons: first, there is a town in Switzerland called “Eket.” This buttressed the fact that the first person to write on Eket was a Swiss national. Second, Eket was the hub of political and economic activities just like Calabar and Lagos. This led to the heavy presence to white colonial administrators and businessmen in Eket. There is an elevated land inhabited by the whites which is still referred to as “Abod Okokoro” or “Abod Afianwe” located at Ikot Ibiok. Because of this long interaction with the white men, Eket people always look neat and knowledgeable and thus attracted the name “Ndito Mfianwe.” Besides, Eket people are very enterprising, sociable, accommodating and hospitable. They are a special breed of people imbued with love and bounded by strong ties of common aspiration.
Eket Local Government is an offshoot of the Qua Iboe District of 1885 administered by vice consul White House. The Qua Iboe District embraced what is today most part of Akwa Ibom State including Esit Eket, Onna, Ibeno, Nsit Ubium, Etinan, Abak, Etim Ekpo, Oron, Mbo, Okobo, Urue Offong/Oruko, Udung Uko, etc. Between 1893 and 1899, Eket became one of the consular posts with the first District consul appointed in 1898. By 1905, the area was reduced to Oron, Eket, Esit Eket and part of Nsit Ubium. Although the British signed a treaty with Eket people on September 1884, British Administration really started in 1885 by the vice consul White House who later became consul in Calabar.
Eket continued to be a District Council until after the Second World War, when it was made a Division with a wide area of authority. Eket has existed as an Administrative Headquarters for more than one hundred (100) years, when the then Head of State, Col. Yakubu Gowon created 12 States in 1967, Eket became one of the ten (10) Divisions in the then South Eastern State. With the 1976 Local Government Reforms, Eket became one of the then 301 Local Government Areas in Nigeria.
Eket is blessed with the rich and enviable cultural heritage. “Ekid,” the language spoken by Eket and Esit Eket Local Government Areas conveys a unique culture and identity to the people. Eket has a plethora of cultural display such as Ekong, Eka-Ekong, Mbok, Obon, Ekang, Ibang-Isong, Akata, Nnabo, Ibem, Ekpe-Obon, Nkuho, Ekpe, Ntok Unaidi. There are also many cultural practices and ceremonial prevalent in Eket and which have a defined pattern. These include burial ceremony, coronation, marriage, status initiation, land-holding, extended family system, harvesting of palm fruits, births and child-naming ceremony. Although Eket is one of those communities that embraced Christianity early, traditional religious practices are still prevalent such as the Supreme God (Abasi Anyong), some people believe in and worship deities (Edoho – “Abasi Isong”.)
The physical relief of Eket Local Government Area is basically flat, though with some marshy river-washed soils around the banks of Qua Iboe River. Eket Local Government falls within the tropical zone wherein its dominant vegetation is the green foliage of trees/shrubs and the oil palm tree belt. The Local Government has two seasons: the wet season and the dry season.
There are tourist attractions In the local Government Area that are privately managed. They include hotels gardens and parks, these and many more has made the area to play host to the international oil giants, Exxon Mobil.
Abundant deposit of crude oil and clay. Forest resources include timber, palm produce while the area is also noted for sea food production. Farm crops range from yam, cassava, coco-yam, plantain to maize and vegetables.
Traditionally, Eket people are fishermen, hunters, farmers, weavers
The people of Eket are believed to have migrated from Cameroun during the Great Movement of the Bantu Stock of Africa. The migration brought the people to the location around the mouth of Cross River, which they claim as their first settlement with Oron people along the estuary of Cross River. The movement continued along the coast into the Qua Iboe River Territory, their present location.
Eket people had early contact with the outside world long before the slave trade era. In 1850, European trading companies like UAC, PZ and GB Olivant, French and German trading stores were established in Eket. And in 1887, Rev. Samuel Alexander Bill landed at Upenekang (Ekang’s place, which was then a fishing settlement in Eket) by sea and established Qua Iboe Church of Nigeria, and converted Eket people to Christianity.
|Source: Office of State Surveyor – General, Uyo.|