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December 09, 2011, 07:15:32 AM

Today, Amongst group of dialects and clans of the Edoid (Ancient Benin ) race mostly seen in present Edo-Delta, Rivers and part of Ondo State are the Afemais known as Ivbiosakon by those living in and around Benin City to the north of Ishan/Esan clan, Akoko-Edos based in Igarra, Ibillo and its environs to the north of Afemais, The Owans-Oras occupying Eme, Sabogida-Ora, Afuze, etc. Uhobe and Ifon in Ondo State, Ekas-to East of Benin.

A sizeable chunk of the Edo speaking people flow across River Niger and ending at Onitsha, Ika, Igbanke, Isoko, Urhobo, Itsekiris and about 70% percent of western Izon (Ijaws) in Ndegeni and its environs, A sizeable chunk of the Edos is found in River States and Balyesa States e.g. aduge in kwara state, Degema, lga, Atala, Usokun, Ediro, Inedua, Ogua in rivers state, Ivhimion, Emai, Iuleha, Epie, Atissa, Eruwa, Erohwa, Erakwa, Arokwa, Ekpon, Ghotuo, Ikpeshi, Ndokwa, Ivbie, Okpela, Arhe, Iyayu called Idoani, Okpamheri, Okpe, Ososo, Sasaru-Enwan, Uhami, Ukue-ehuen, Uneme, Urhobo, Uvbie, Yekhee, Auchi, Uzairue, south Ibie, Uwepa-uwano (weppa wano), Avianwu (fugar), Aviele, Ivhiadaobi, Izon, Western Ijaws. In Ogba land, Diobu, Port Harcourt and a sizeable now Yorubanised in Ondo, Ekiti, Lagos and Ogun States. There are many Edos in Ekiti land, Idoani, Idanre etc going through life in Nigeria with Yoruba names. Acculturation taking place. You are either a Yoruba man or you go nowhere, according to Prof. Iyi Eweka

Before I continue, will like to use Chris Okafor' quote on his article “The Origin of Ogwashi-Uku, Anioma, and The rest of Delta Ibos:


“What really is the point of trying to teach anything to anybody?’ This question seemed to provoke a murmur of sympathetic approval from up and down the table. ‘What I mean is that if you really want to understand something, the best way is to try and explain it to someone else. That forces you to sort it out in your mind. And the more slow and dim-witted your pupil, the more you have to break things down into more and more simple ideas. And that’s really the essence of programming. By the time you’ve sorted out a complicated idea into little steps that even a stupid machine can deal with, you’ve learned something about it yourself.’ - Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Agency Detector ”.


Chris Okafor continued that the chronological history of early settlements in Ogwashi-Uku can authoritatively portray the following facts that the Ikelike people from the Bini kingdom were the first to settle in Ogwashi-Uku (see Ben Nwabua, Ogwash-uku Kingdom, 1000 Years of Traditional Democracy and Cultural Life, 950-1914). Both traditional and empirical sources gives credence that Ikelike people were the first set of immigrants to settle in the present Ogwashi-Uku as against the notion that Adaigbo who purportedly came from Nri in present Anambra State today is the founder of Ogwashi-Uku. So far, no counter claim has been made on this. According to Ogwashi-Uku intelligence report by Mr. J.E Hull, the then Assistant District Officer dated on the 9th of April 1936, the Ikelike people from all indications migrated from Benin to settle where they are found themselves today, because of a reign of wanton persecution of subjects by the then Benin Monarch, Oba Eweka 11. The story further goes that at the head was Odigie Ikelike with his younger brother Ado who later founded Adonta, a relatively small village close to Azungwu in Ogwashi-uku today.

The Ikelike migrants were said to be politically averse and could not, therefore evolve an orderly method of governance even though there were small in number. Jull`s report further went on to point out that because of such indisposition towards an effective means of governing themselves, it cost them the political leadership they were first to settle in. Rather, Adaigbo, the prince from Nri later came, controlled the situation and imposed leadership based on Igbo customs and tradition on them and what later became Ogwshi-Uku kingdom. Adaigbo’s imposed of republican system, however, later gave way to the hereditary system of the Benins .


Oba Ewuare and Ozolua is traditionally regarded as the gladiators, ancestral fathers and founder of most towns and villages in the midwestern region of Nigeria during their reign as Oba. They fought these wars as mater plan of re-uniting the great Edo people and families who were dispatched and scatered away from the kingdom with many emigrations during ogiso period and the reign of the previous political leaders who were in one way or the other making strict policies and strong laws. Most of these emigrations were due to family problems, communial disagreements, political, economic and marital factors.


The Benin Empire was one country or nation in diversities. Prof Iyi Eweka's narrated that most of the the chieftancy groups that was responsible for the Oba's well being at a time,  dominated by Ishan/Esan descendants.

The Ivbiosakon (Afemais) were the dental surgeon of the palace. That is the origin of the name Ivbiosakon. Oba Esigie assigned that function to them in the c1500's.The Owan/Ora people were the propitiators of the physical earth for the Oba of Benin. It was their responsibility to prevent things like earthquake, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanoes and anything associated with geological disturbance to occur in Benin. In short, they were the geologists and weathermen of their day, forecasting and preventing physical calamities. Those we call Benins today, were the traditional bureaucratic administrators and military generals. The Izons (Ijaws) were the " Ozigue" -Sailors.

The Ekas were farmers. They were in charge of the royal farms. The Ibos across the Niger call the Edos, Idu, the name of the progenitor of Edo race, the Yorubas call us Ado, which is a corruption of the word Edo. However, the Itsekiris, another sub group in the Edo clans call us Ubini. Tradition asserts that it is derived from Ile-ibinu, which is descriptive of the exasperation and frustration encountered in Benin City, by Prince Oranmiyan of Ile-ife. A further research may prove that, it was the Itsekiris who gave that name, to the people living in and around Benin City.

 The Itsekiris told the white man of the powerful overlord living in Igodomigodo. It was the Itsekiris who told the Whiteman that the name of the tribe of this powerful king was Ubini a term which Whiteman corruptly wrote down as Benin. For example, the name of the eldest daughter of Oba Osewende, the mother of the Osulas and the Aiwerioghene is today known as Aghayubini. A closer examination of that name would reveal that the name is an Itsekhiri phrase-" The Ubini Lady or woman " i.e. the woman from Benin. Aghayubini was a very wealthy trader among the Itsekiris, from whence she got the money she used, is getting the throne for her brother, who became Oba Adolo. An Itsekhiri descriptive phrase has simply over powered her original Edo name, to the extent that nobody knows anything about it now. The ancient Edo/Benin Empire covered the whole of Bendel, parts of Bayelsa State. The second son of the Enogie of Brass, popularly known as “Iyase ne ohenmwen” became the Iyase of Benin under Oba Osewende. Iyase Ohenmwen is the ancestor of the Otokitis, the Okeaya-Inneh and the Aiwerioghenes of Benin today. He went further to explain that The Edoid race covers the Igbo-speaking areas of Delta State stretching to Onitsha. That the actual title of the Obi of Onitsha is Aigboghidi. The historical Chief Agho Obaseki of Oba Ovoranmwen era and later the Iyase of Benin under Oba Eweka II, was a descendant of the second son of Enogie of Nsukwa now in Delta State. It extended to the whole of Ondo State, parts of Ekiti and Ogun State and the whole of Lagos State including Badagry. It stretched to southern Dahomey (Republic of Benin) and on to the coast of Togo and Ghana.


By theodore Anani on Afemai People of Nigeria, Oba ozolua´s reign marked what one might called a migration plaque. During his reign mass migration of different tribes and at different times were recorded. The Edos speaking people of north-east of Benin city migrated to their present home lands in groups in Ozolua´s reign. Some had left to escape pains, conscription and for refusal to bring to the Oba leopard skins as the custom dictated. The migration of the Etsako peoples- the Ibies, Uzairues, the Avhianwus, the Weppa Wanos, the Auchis, the Agbedes, the Okpellas, the Avhieles, the Jagbes and the Anwains- had been associated with these movements. Azama, who later become the great Ancestral Father and the Foster father of the peoples who today form two thirds of Etsakor, was a Bini by birth. Azama married his first wife called Ughiosomhe for whom he had four sons. They were Imekeyo, Ikphemhi, Anwu and Omoazekpe. Azama married another woman Etso for whom he had two sons. Eppa and Ano. The marriage with Azama has been Etso´s second. Her first son, Uneme, was from her first marriage. Etso married for the third time after Azama´s death and had her fourth son, Ekperi. All sons and parent lived happily together in Bini.



The Itsekhiris by J.O.S Ayomike states that a party from the Benin Royal family about the end of the 15th century set up a monarchy which constituted erstwhile autonomous mini-communities into a nationality that exist till today. Prof. P. C Lloyd says that "in the English literature they are known as Warri or Jekri, though in the 19th century they were often referred to as Benin since contacts with them were first made on the banks of the Benin River". Here was a Kingdom founded by the royal party from Benin, but by the early sixteenth century through th e seventeenth, it had done so much overseas trade to match or exceed that of the mother - kingdom; the reason being its advantageous position within the empire on the rim of the Atlantic. The Itsekiri speak Yoruba dialect also whose vocabulary has been widened by the infusion of a large number of Portuguese, Bini and English words.As an introduction of the influence of the Bini culture in Itsekiri land, it is pertinent to recall part of the address presented to Prince Solomon I.A Akenzua, then Edaiken of Uselu (now His majesty the Oba of Benin by the Itsekiri community in Benin) by the Itsekiri community in Benin on the occasion of his retirement from public service and return home in 1973.



The Ika historical accout have it that Umunede Kingdom was founded by a Benin Prince, called Ede and his wife, Iye who migrated from Benin and settled in the present location, later known as Umunede. The exact date of migration of Ede and his wife from Benin was not recorded but generally, historians put the approximate period as the Thirteenth Century A.D., during the reign of Oba Ewedo The Great (1250-1280 A.D.) Thus, the Kingdom is over seven hundred years old and many historians believed that Umunede Kingdom is one of the oldest kingdoms east of the Benin Empire. Historians had contended that during Oba Ewedos reign, the Oba had two battles to fight: a diplomatic battle against the great nobility led by the Ediommehan and military battles against Ogiamien III in order to destroy once and for all this anti-royalist movement. As a result of these events, many princes and noble men fled with their families to different safe locations. The second wave of migration to Umunede probably took place under Oba Ewuare The Great (1440-1485). During his reign, an attempt to eliminate members of the nobility who were threatening the monarchy gathered momentum and brought about another wave of migration out of the Benin Empire.



The Urhobo history generally began from an Edo territory supposedly around where the ancient town of Udo and Benin City are currently located. At the end of the Ogiso dynasty, many Urhobo and Edo-groups left Udo in different directions, each at its own pace, in search of more peaceful territories. It was natural that in those compelling circumstances, peace loving and less powerful Edo-groups had to leave the territory to seek fortunes in less populated but more economically resourceful territories. The Urhobo left under separate leaders in different directions to found separate governmental organization .Egharevba (1960:14), When some of the emigrant left Benin, they found in their destinations in Urhobo territory some Edo-speaking settlers. Each 22 socio-political unit was called a "clan" by earlier writers especially by British Colonial Officers in their various intelligence/assessment reports. The word Urhobo is used to describe the Urhobo group or clan of the Edoid race.



According to the Chief Oje Aisiku, PhD on his Keynote Speech presented at the 14th Annual Convention of Edo National Association in the Americas, Inc.Wyndham Hotel and Resorts, Elizabeth New Jersey
September 3, 2005, quotes: "The Ora people in Owan West Local Government Area,as a unit or subgroup, presents a good example to illustrate micro cultural variation of a common Edo macro culture. History has it that Ora people are off springs of Prince Okpame who left the Benin Kingdom as a youth and returned to reign in the Kingdom as Oba Ozolua the conqueror (1481 1504). Thus, the culture that emerges today among the Ora people are derivative and variation brought about by the peoples survival strategy and response to the environmental circumstance of their location outside the immediate Benin-City environ of the kingdom. They (the Oras) like most other peoples of Edo State, share same ancestry, though with some notable differences in the history of migration, location and circumstances of each subgroup. In essence, one can explain the Edo human group as macro culture which has within it, overarching values, symbols, beliefs, traditions and norms, shared to some degree, by all its subcultures or subgroups of micro cultures: Akoko-Edo, Esan, Esakon, Ora, and not to forget, the Edo people in the immediate Benin-City environ. As noted earlier, all Edo people have same ancestry and same heritage. Hence one is able to claim, confidently, the existence of a common macro Edo culture. Admittedly, over time, as groups began to migrate, they began to respond to special geo-social and metaphysical environments (to use Bullivants terms). Cultural elements, including dialect as version of Edo language, unique to each migrating group, began to evolve as each group mediate, interpret and reinterpret, perceive and experience the circumstances of their new environment. This explains the subtle differences we see among the many Edo dialects of the sub-Edo ethnics"


Emeka Esogbue on his article "The Origin of Agbor" explained : The History of Agbor Kingdom like those of other African ancient kingdoms, empires and peoples is based on oral tradition. Various oral accounts on the origin of Agbor and Ika people exist but the most credible being that “Ogunagbon” and his followers who founded Agbor came from Benin and first settled in “Ominije” presently located in today’s Agbor-Nta. Following what can best be described as personal crisis between two princes in Benin and subsequent settlement of this dispute as agreed to by the chiefs and elders of Benin determined by casting of lot, one of the princes settled in what became known as “Agbon”. Agbon like other Anioma towns and communities was later anglicized by the Bjritish who found it difficult to pronounce as “Agbor” the present name of the town. For certain reasons, I have decided to ignore all other events that transpired leading to the foundation of the town called Agbor in acknowledgement of the fact that what concerns us here is the progenitor of the kingdom and his origin. Agbon (Agbor) in Benin means “Earth or “Land”. Anglicization of names of Anioma communities found difficult to pronounce was not new by the British was not uncommon to these peoples. Igbuzo in circumstances beyond the understanding of the indigenes was anglicized as “Ibusa,” Ahaba (Asaba,) Ogwanshi-Ukwu (Ogwashi-Uku) Isei-Ukwu (Issele-Uku) Isei-Mkpitime (Issele-Mkpitime) Okpam (Okpanam) Umuede (Umunede) Notice also that in some cases the name remains the same but the spelling may change as in the case of Onicha (Onitsha) of Anambra state another of Anioma city.

As noted earlier Cheime, a refugee from Benin is historically credited with the foundation of majority of Anioma communities. Historical accounts records Cheime who was driven away from Benin fled from the kingdom traveling eastwards towards the Niger River and founded Onitsha where he finally settled, his followers having been exhausted founded certain of these Anioma towns. Many of which includes the present day Onicha-Uku, Onicha-Ugbo, Onicha-Olona, Onicha-Ukwu, Issele-Uku, Idumuje-Unoh, Idumuje-Ugboko and a lot more.
At the present day Onitsha in Anambra state, his final place of settlement, Cheime had had a daughter called Owuwu, Owuwu was believed in oral history to have abandoned Onitsha fearing she might lose her life after her father lost nine of his sons in this very town owing to witchcraft. Owuwu was soon to return to Agbor settling at Osarra in Agbor. The name “Owuwu” which now is a Quarter in Agbor is a historical testimony of this. The argument in certain Quarters that Agbor people bear Igbo names and to some extent assimilates Igbo language and vocabularies is well a defeated one, it is asking why the language of Onitsha people is Igbo having been founded by Cheime from Benin. " 

-- Uwagboe Ogieva

February 26, 2012, 02:10:24 AM

Thank for sharing here.

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