Dr. Uche E. Aaron and Dr. Mrs. Marianne Aaron
The couple who put Obolo language on the world map
That we have the Bible, educational textbooks and other books in Obolo language, spoken by the Eastern Obolo people of Akwa Ibom State is testimony to the impact that the couple, Dr. Uche E. Aaron and Dr. Mrs. Marianne Aaron have had on the language. Not only were they instrumental in the successful translation of Bible, and these books into Obolo, they promoted and improved the effective use of Obolo language to produce programmes to aid reading and writing in the language.
Uche from Amadaka in Eastern Obolo Local Government Area is , a construction engineer and an alumnus of Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Michigan, USA. He served as the translation consultant while his wife, Marianne, who speaks fluent Obolo was literacy consultant. For Uche, Bible translation was a calling and to answer the call, he earned a Masters in Linguistics at the University of Texas at Arlington, USA; a Diploma in Theology from All Nations Christian College in England, and a doctorate in Linguistics from University of California at Santa Barbara. In addition, he studied Biblical Hebrew for two years at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Uche is a SIL Senior Bible Translation Consultant. SIL International (formerly Summer Institute of Linguistics) is a Christian non-profit organization, whose main purpose is to study, develop and document languages, especially those that are lesser-known, in order to expand linguistic knowledge, promote literacy, translate the Christian Bible into local languages, and aid minority language development.
Marianne holds a Certificate in Religious Knowledge from Cambridge University, a bachelors degree in Communication Arts from Dallas Baptist University and a masters degree in Educational Psychology with emphasis on Language, Culture and Literacy from University of California at Santa Barbara. She underwent many courses in Applied Linguistics and the Teaching of Literacy at Summer Institute of Linguistics of Wycliffe Bible Translators Incorporated in both UK and USA. Presently she is a PhD Researcher with the Institute of Education of University of Reading, UK.
The Obolo Language and Bible Translation Organization(OLBTO) had realized it needed the services of some technical experts. Initially, it contacted the Bible Society of Nigeria (BSN) only to quickly withdraw when Evangelist Clinton I. Z. Utong brought news about the arrival of US-based Dr. Uche E. Aaron in Nigeria and his absorption by the Nigeria Bible Translation Trust (NBTT), Jos, Plateau State. Convinced of a better and faster work in the hands of an indigene, OLBTO went after him. NBTT at the time, had the policy of sending its technical crew to work in other language projects rather than their own. Despite that, the management under Dr. John R. Adive as Director, recognized the will of God for Dr. Aaron to go to Obolo.
Dr. Adive did not hesitate to release him and his Dutch wife, Marianne. In 1983, Rev. Dr. Stephen Niyang, Assistant Director of NBTT, accompanied them from Jos to Agwut Obolo and introduced them to the Committee, Dr. Aaron taking up as Translation Advisor and Marianne as Literacy Advisor respectively. Thus, OLBTO project became an NBTT project.
The arrival of the Aarons in 1983 marked the beginning of a real plunge into translation and literacy business. The Aarons formed a bridge between OLBTO, the people and international communities. In fact, their charismatic disposition, so enchanting, exposes Obolo to the outside world and attracts aids to the Organization.
Akwa Ibom Celebrates the Aarons for answering the call.