History was made on Saturday, 26th March, 2016 at the Ayuba Wada House, opposite Bayelsa Gardens, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, as a marriage united the family of the Executive Secretary National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Associate Professor Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma of Toru-Angiama in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State and Arugbe family of Agbor in Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State.

It was a remarkable day as Mr. Peter Aruegbe took as wife, in a grand Traditional marriage ceremony, Miss Douyebralador Ayakoroma, Prof. Ayakoroma’s beloved daughter, who recently came back to Nigeria from Ukraine, where she studied and bagged a Bachelor and Masters’ degrees in International Economics.

The Ijaws, like most tribes in Nigeria, are a unique people and their traditional marriage ceremony is not just the coming together of two people but the uniting of both families.

In Ijawland, an Introduction/Traditional Marriage ceremony signifies a formal introduction of the groom’s family and the family of the bride; it is a time both families meet themselves, come together as one in a marriage bond, dine and socialize together; and this marriage ceremony was a typical display of Ijaw Traditional marriage culture.

Everything about it was culture ranging from the hall decoration, songs and dance, costume and other presentation; one need not wonder as the answer is not farfetched – the father of the bride, Prof. Ayakoroma, in whose house the marriage took place, is a passionate and grounded Ijaw man by thought and action; above all, he is culture personified.

The marriage was characterized by series of activities including presentation of items on the bridal list by the groom’s family, traditional songs and dances by other maidens. A major captivating site was when the bride was first brought and presented to the groom’s family which was done in a dramatic display: While they were still on their way even when they were inside the venue, they claimed that the vehicle conveying the bride had stopped because the fuel had finished; hence, they requested for money to buy fuel to which the groom’s family obliged.

Also there was an interesting stage where on the appearance the bride must be made to laugh without which she will not be handed over to the groom’s family, traditionally. It was only when she laughs that the full acceptance is signified. Of course, after a while, the groom joined the roll of those teasing her by spraying naira on her to make her laugh, which made him win the day. This was just as other displays for comic relief, which added colour to the occasion, made it more interesting and entertaining.

The peak of the ceremony was the stage of the couple receiving parental blessing from the bride’s father, Prof. Ayakoroma with his wife, Letty, wished them well in prayers, ancestral decrees and proclamations sealed with divine coverage of their marriage.

The prayers were made to cement the couple’s choice and decision to spend the rest of their lives together, as husband and wife. The prayer was welcomed with thunderous ovation and celebration by the guests.

By this traditional marriage, which was Peter’s celebration of Douye’s birthday, she has been automatically assimilated into the Aruegbe family of Agbor, as a full member of the family and she is accorded same respect and enjoys all rights as any other in the family.

The ceremony was well attended by prominent people in the society and dignitaries within and outside Bayelsa State, the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Real-Admiral Gboribiogha John-Jonah (rtd), represented by his SSA Special Duties, Barrister Ofulu Dede; Chief (Sir) & Lady Stephen Aveke, who chaired the occasion; Elder Comish Ekiye (veteran actor and former Director-General, Bayelsa State Broadcasting Corporation), Mr. Charles Tambou (former General Manager, Bayelsa State Newspaper Corporation); Mr. Ebi Evinson (Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State); Mr. Steve Shaba (Managing Director, Kraft Books Ltd, Ibadan); Mr. Ineye Johnnie-Dudafa (immediate past Executive Director, Bayelsa State Council for Arts & Culture); Mrs. Payeboye Festus-Lukoh (Acting Executive Director, Bayelsa State Council for Arts & Culture); Mr. Nelson Ebi Campbell (Director, NICO South-South Zonal Office); Mr. Law Ikay Ezeh (Special Assistant to the Executive Secretary, NICO), among others.

Clifford Ugwu

Corporate Affairs, NSSZ