Early Oroko history is hard to find in written sources and so relies mostly on oral historical accounts that have been handed down from generation to generation. While many Oroko do not claim their origins to a common ancestor, most Oroko trace their ancestry to a man named Ngoe,[circular reference] son of Nebongo (or Nambongo or Mbongo). Some versions of this history claim that Ngoe originally lived in Bakota, present-day Gabon and migrated with his brothers Mbedi and Ngasse to a place called Piti in Cameroon. Mbedi’s sons, Ewale and Dibongo would later found the Duala and Malimba nations and Ngoe’s son’s would found the various tribes occupying the slopes of Mount Cameroon towards the Rio del Rey and Rombi Hills.
Another version of this narrative holds that Ngoe appeared on the Mount Cameroon and founded the town of Batokki or Batekka. While on the mountain, Ngoe’s descendants co-existed with the Boobees (today in Equatorial Guinea) and were forced to migrate towards the sea due to an eruption of the mountain. It is important to note that Ngoe appears in other origins narratives of the Bakossi people as having appeared on a mountain after a global deluge. It is possible that Ngoe, like his supposed father Nebongo, is a mythical figure, as opined by Ardener.
The various tribes (sub-ethnicities) of the Oroko ethnic group are, according to these versions of oral history, descended from the sons and grandsons of Ngoe, including Mokundu (father of the Bakundu), Muma (father of the Bima) and Elume (father of the Balue).
Another version of oral history, which seems more plausible, is that the Oroko are primarily descended from an earlier Batekka people who later became known as the Batanga. These Batanga were settled in areas close to present-day Isangele in the Bakassi peninsula. Probably in the 15th century, tensions between the Batanga and their Efik neighbours began to heighten over trade, leading to what has come to be known as the Batanga Wars. The aftermath of this war saw seven families of the Batanga, from the Balondo clan, migrating into Efik territory in what is today Calabar, Nigeria. That faction is now known as the Efut people of Calabar. Successive waves of migration took place in small family groups, beginning probably with the Bima, then the Bakundu, Batanga, Ngolo, Balue and Balondo. It is believed that the Balue are directly descended from the Batanga and that the Ekombe and Mbonge are directly descended from the Balue. At least seven out of fifteen Balondo ba Nanga communities were founded by the Balue and the Ngolo, making the Balondo a plausible offshoot of their more populous Ngolo and Balue relatives. A list of about 250 Oroko villages and towns was published by the Oroko Cultural Association, USA on their website.
The Oroko occupy a region historically known as the Kingdom of Biafra. If one turns to Knut Knutson’s 1888 memoir, which recounts his experiences with the people around the Cameroon Mountain, the possibility of a historical connection between the ancestors of the Oroko and the founders of the Kingdom of Biafra becomes clear. It is also probable that the ancestors of the Oroko were the same as either the Kalbongo or Ambozees, described by early European explorers like Samuel Blommaert, O. Dapper, and John Barbot.
Whatever the version, all Oroko sub-clans agree that their most ancient migrations began from places around Mount Fako from where they migrated into the creeks of the Rio del Rey, following the routes of the Moko, Massaka and Meme rivers. After establishing several Batekka settlements, the people again migrated from the creeks back into the interior, following the Ndian, Moko, Massaka, and Meme rivers.