THE ROLE OF AGE GRADE NOMENCLATURE IN SELECTION OF EDIONWERE IN BENIN COMMUNITIES
Normally, the emergence of any ODIONWERE is not influenced by ones wealth, education, popularity or voting process.
It is solely on the basis of nature. It should be noted that Benin people respects and cherish age grade in their system and scheme of things.
Across the entire length and breadths of the kingdom, there are eight age grades. Namely:-
4) Oya ghi Oba
7) Aiwan Ren Ekpen
8) Obo Okhai.
There are further subdivisions within the age grade except the first one i.e
Traditionally the group arrangement emanate from young people that are predominantly in their late teens and adolescents.
These first of all forms the Evbagharoba-Evbo by nature.
This group exit to form the next group that takes on any of the nomenclature in rotational manner to identify their age grade. On exiting the lower age grade which is Evbagharoba-Evbo to the next, sanitation and other communal engagement in the community rest squarely on the shoulders of this age group.
After their service in this capacity that last at least seven years depending on their loyalty to the norms of the community, the Izeki ceremonial rites is performed to herald their graduation from this stage.
During this years of service, all members get to know themselves very well even those domicile outside the community.
In the event of the death of any ODIONWERE, the next person is easily identified by the age grade he celebrated his Izeki ceremonial rite with and how many of such he has experienced in his life time.
Where more than one person is alive within a particular age grade, the rotational manner and subdivision of Ikao, Ikadese and Ikiekie shoots the eldest among them to the fore.
This method is traditionally well grounded and devoid of ambiguities that makes this selection process less cumbersome.
It is overriding to all other methods across the length and breadth of Benin kingdom.
The graduation simply is from Ahoghai to Ighele
Ọba gha tọ Ọkpẹre ....