Edoid Nation of Nigeria, One Nation in Diversities: Historic Relation and Future Challenges

Edoid Nation of Nigeria, One Nation in Diversities: Historic Relation and Future Challenges

A BOOK

By Uwagboe Ogieva

(First published on web - 30th May 2011)

United we stand, divided we fall” – Unknown

The more united a people become the more powerful they are.”--unknown

EXTRACT

Introduction:

According to internet Dictionary, there are more than 25 Edoid group of dialects present today in southern Nigeria. Edoid is taken from word Edo. Edo is what the Ancient Benin people spoke and called themselves as stated by Ben-Amos, Paula on Encyclopedia of World Cultures, 1996. quote:

"Edo" is the name that the people of the Ancient Benin Kingdom give to themselves, their language, and their capital city and kingdom. Renowned for their art of brass and ivory and for their complex political organization, the Edo Kingdom of Benin is one of the best known of the pre-colonial kingdoms on the Guinea Coast of West Africa. From at least the fifteenth century, the Benin Empire held varying degrees of authority over neighbouring peoples, including the western Igbo, north-eastern Yoruba, and various related Edo-speaking groups. In 1897 British-colonial forces conquered the kingdom and made it part of the Niger Protectorate. Today it is incorporated into the modern state of Nigeria.

 

“Edoid is derived from Edo and Edo could mean Benin in the English co-relation term for Edo(Edo grammar) in some cases. The popularly known Benin Empire is Igodomigodo, Edo or Edoid Empire, which was one great nation but in diversities. Edo, in other words, is also seen as a generic name given to a group of people who have a common ancestor and have a common language, with some different variants, depending on the distance between the group and the " tap root. A land, political state, people, race, language and the principal city called Edo. The origin of the two names [Benin and Edo] have no connection in language or history. The land and people have been called Idu, Igodomigodo before any contact with the Europeans. Prince Oranmiyan left the Great Idu Kingdom in 1100AD to found Oyo kingdom while Edo was royal proclaimation by Oba Ewuare the Great over Igodomigodo in 1400AD. It was Oba Ewuare Ne ogidigan (The great), about 1440 A.D to 1473 A.D, who changed the name of the country to Edo after his deified (servant) friend. Prior to this, the land had been called the land of Igodomigodo. Thus, the City has been known afterwards as Edo ne ẹvbo ahirre (Edo the City of love) because through love Edo (the servant friend) was able to save Ewuare from a sudden death.”

According to Osamuyimen Stewart, Benin City is called Edo by its inhabitants and in certain contexts individuals from all parts of the kingdom will refer to themselves as ovbiedo (child of Edo ). Except when speaking English, no Edo person ever refers to himself as "Benin" or "Bini". These are non-Edo words of doubtful origin used by Europeans as an adjective and for the dominant people of the Edo kingdom and their language. Perhaps, this can be linked to the pre-colonial practice of naming areas after major geographic landmarks, in this case the Bight of Benin. It is on record that in 1472, the Portuguese captain Ruy de Siqueira brought a sailing ship as far as the Bight of Benin under the reign of Oba Ewuare. Egharevba provides further confirmation that Europeans named areas after major geographic landmarks. According to him, the label Lagos (the popular capital City of Nigeria) can be traced to the Portuguese because of its proximity to the lagoon.  According to Crowder, "unfortunately little is known about the early history of Oyo, for there was no written language, unlike Benin which was first visited by Europeans at the end of the fifteenth century." Not until the end of the seventeenth century are there any definite dates for the history of Oyo which is no doubt linked to the later contact with the Europeans. The different close neighbors refer to the Edos by different names. For example, the Urhobos call the Edos ikhuorAka (the people of Aka), the Ikas (Agbor) use the label ndi-Iduu (the people of Iduu).

 

The Benin Empire was an independent country who had an embassy establish with Europe as stated in an extract from Thomas Hodgkins, Nigerian Perspectives, London, 1975, p.125" :

From Ruy de Pina, Chronica del Rey Dom Joao II,1481-1495 ( first published in 1792) Kap 24.Atlantida 1950, English translation. “The king of Beny (Benin) sent as ambassador to the king a negro, one of his captains from habouring place by the sea, which is called ugato (Ughoton), because he desired to learn about these lands, the arrival of people from them in his country being regarded as a novelty. This ambassador was a man of good speech and natural wisdom.Great feast were held in his honour, and he was shown many of the good things of these kingdoms. He returned to his land in a ship of the king’s, who at his departure made him a gift of rich clothes for himself and his wife: and through him he sent a rich present to the king of such things he understood he would greatly prize. Moreover, he sent holy and most catholic advisers with praise worthy admonitions for the faith to administer a stern rebuke about the heresies and great idolatries and fethishes which the negroes practice in their land.

– In an extract from Dr Chief Jacob Egharevba:


"Benin Empire or Benin Kingdom was an independent Country or Nation before the British illegally invaded us in 1897 as we had traded with the Portuguese for 400 years before the invasion. We had Ambassadors in Portugal and Brazil at the time we traded with the Portuguese and had a National flag. Our King (OBA) did not sign any agreement with the British to be a part of the Country called Nigeria which they created .Our King did not even touch the pen and paper with which the agreement was written , and his name was wrongly spelt with an X marked after his name by the British which was pure crime in any court of law .The British Colonial Officials involved in forging that X as a mark supposed to have been signrd by our king for consent were the fathers and mothers of ' IDENTITY FRAUD '. Our land today has been given to two other Nigerian States by Nigerian Presidents without our consent or that of our King( OBA) .This would be a matter for the courts at national or international levels in future litigations .No African tribe has ever defeated us in any war as we were the masters of our Empire .We defeated a Muslim army in Idah War ( 1515 -1516) which stopped Islam advancing South . The Ga tribe in Ghana migrated from Edoland in 1300. It was Benin Kingdom that founded the Ports of Lagos and Badagry . Historical record stated that the influence of Benin Kingdom extended west as far as Sierra Leone and south to the Congo river" 

 

These can also be observed from many European visitors comments and memos. "Lourenco Pinto, who was the captain of a Portuguese ship that carried missionary to Warri in August 1619, sent a note to the Sacra Congregazione the instance of Father Montelcone. According to the testimony of this captain, Great Benin, where the King resides, is larger than Lisbon, all the streets run straight and as far as the eyes can see. The houses are large, especially that of the king which is richly decorated and has Fine columns. The city is wealthy and industrious. It is so well governed that theft is unknown and the people live in such Security that they have no door to their houses"

However, understanding fundamental principles of the Edoid group of race means understanding the Benin(Edo) language, people history and culture. Before 1897 and the birth of Nigeria with diverse language and dialects today, the Edoid – Benin Kingdom was one great nation, except for a few that have mix up with migrants from other kingdoms like the burno, Ashanti, Oyo and mid igbos. It should be well noted that Edoid dialects of today have there deep roots and affiliation in the Benin-Edo language, mainly spoken in southern part of Edo state. Roger Westcott, Professor Emeritus, Drew University stated in his article "Bini names in Nigeria and Georgia" that the Edoid language invariably the Bini language belongs to the most wide-spread of the five great language families of Africa. Variably known as Niger-Congo or Congo-Kordofanian, contains in most of the languages of coastal West Africa as well as all the Bantu languages of eastern and southern Africa, including Swahili.

ORIGIN OF THE EDOID RACE:

The history of ancient Benin Kingdom and its transformation into an Empire is a story of about 2,300 years before any contact was made with Europeans. The pre-contact phase saw flourishing development in art, science, administration, technology, political organization, architecture, astronomy, town planning and indigenous medicine amongst others. Benin Kingdom is purely an African initiative whose growth was not stimulated by external forces. A Dutch map of 1705 and reprinted in 1907 in English by Sir Alfred Jones KCMG, the name Benin is shown to designate what today may be described as Nigeria South of the Niger and Benue. Other contemporary states on the map include Melli, Grain Coast, Gold coast, Slave Coast and immediately to the West of the Niger only Great Benin and Warri (awyi) are marked. It is instructive to note that various ethnic groups under the ambit of the Benin Empire like the Republic of Dahomey decided to change her name in 1975 to the Republic of Benin. The Itsekiti of Warri, the Igbo of Onitsha and others trace their own royal linage to Benin. The Kalabari, Ijaw of Degema as well as the Epie-Atissa group in Yenagoa trace their origin to Benin (DR. O. J. EBOREIME Ph.D).

Relating to ownstory of the ancient Benin by some prominent traditional figures: Many centuries ago, at the time when Benin was called Igodomingodo, that geographical area now known as Benin, was the hob of a conglomeration of little towns that developed or spread into most of the areas of modern Bendel State, now further represented by South South geo political zone of Nigeria.

Throughout that period, lgodomingodo made steady progress especially in the areas of spiritual, philosophical and administrative development. Its efforts were largely concentrated on the arrangement of human order so that by the time Europeans made contact with the people of Benin in the 15th century, they had already established an administrative system which, till this day, baffled the Europeans and earned for the Capital of this "far flung" African country, the appellation "City". The nucleus of this great civilization was the monarchy which the Binis perfected around the 11th century when, after a series of experimentation with the Ogiso, and some of the past-Ogiso Obas, they introduced a monarchical system that is based on the principle of primogeniture, beginning with Ewuakpe, about 1712 A. D.From the days of Owodo until now, the system of direct ascension has endured making the Benin Royal family one of the oldest families in Africa. It's history spans more than 2000 years. Benin City remains today as conservative as it ever was. Shifting slowly, sometimes uneasily, under the pressures or demands of modernity, Benin recognizes that all living organisms (including states and cities) change. That change has reduced to mere historical fact the political influence Benin exercised over places such as Eko (Lagos) which she founded at the time of Oba Orhogbua (about 1550 A.D.) Ghana, Dahomey, both across the borders of modern Nigeria; Onitsha on the Niger and many other places such as Asaba, Agbor, lssele-Uku, Warri, ldah etc. Many of these towns actually owe their corporate existence to Benin. Since inter-action between African kingdoms began around the 5th century, Benin found herself in a unique geographic position by occupying mid -way between what the early Europeans referred to as the "Yoruba" and the "lbo" territory.

On the other hand, the origin of the Edoid race - the ancient Benins by Mike Jimoh on his article "Benin And His Mistique" narrated that the exodus of the migrations from Egypt was followed by a mass movement of a dark-skinned people not recorded anywhere in the Holy Bible. But descendants of the migrants of yore still remember their story today. They were not slaves, nor were they unduly oppressed under the Pharaohs. Their departure was voluntary. And nobody tried to stop them when they decided to leave.Thus began the great trek of the founders of what would become Benin kingdom. Led by a few intrepid ones dab hands in magic and mysticism inclusive – the band of migrants braved it down the desert, across mountains and great rivers, through the vast savannah, overcoming obstacles along the way, fending off marauders or forming alliances with local tribes until they reached the jungly forests of Benin where they eventually settled. The wayfarers from Egypt immediately made themselves at home, as shipwrecked sailors suddenly discovering an island. The first settlers were organized into family systems called Okhaigbe whereby the head of each family decided on domestic matters. Of course, the land they settled was fertile enough for subsistence agriculture and so many of the new arrivals took to farming. There were hunters as well. As the population increased over time, it became necessary for authority to be vested in one man. This was the beginning of the Ogiso dynasty – derived from Ogie n’ oriso (king in heaven or king from the sky). The first Ogiso was Obagodo while the last, Owodo, reigned until the current obaship system started with the ascension of Oba Eweka 1 in about the year 1200 when the monarchical system of government began proper in the ancient city. On the throne now since Eweka 1 is the 38th king, Oba Erediauwa (formerly Prince Solomon Igbinogodua Aisiokuoba Akenzua), crowned on March 25, 1979. In-between have been great obas such as Ewedo, Oguola, Ezoti, Esigie, Akenzae, Akengbedo, Akenzua 1, Adolo, Ovoramwen, Eweka 11, Akenzua 11, and many more. All of them were sired of royal blood, thus conferring on the ancient city an authentic monarchy as well as an empire that has endured for centuries compared to others before or after it.

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

HISTORIC RELATIONS OF SOME OTHER ETHNIC GROUPS SOUTHERN NIGERIA

 

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


“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, were 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 main Yorubas (Oyo ) call Ado, which is a corruption of the word Edo. However, the Itsekiris, another sub group of the Edo clans call Ubini. 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.

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 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."

Esan :

According to James B. Webster and Onaiwu.W.Ogbomo in Chronological Problem in C.G. Okojies Esan Narrative Traditions, Esan traditions, all the ancestors of the people, royal commoner alike came from Benin(Edo) and are basically Benin(Edo) people. Itua Egbor, S.J on African Proverb of the Month, stated that the Esan originated from the Benins (the Edo-speaking people of the ancient Benin Kingdom) and a schism in the distant past resulted in the migration and resettlement of the Esan people in their present geographical location. Dr.Jim Akhere on a keynote address at the ENA convention, head in Hilton Seatle Airport and Conference Center, Seatle. Washington. 2007, said, Esan people exodus was mainly jumping into forest and finding their way throuh the bush to where they are today. While some writers are relating to Egharevba and Okojies books, that Esan has always been where they are presently, or that Benin in fact migrated from Esan to their present abode is not only a distorted history but a deliberate attempt to create a separate kingdom and Nation out of the already shrink and encroached Edoland. Jethro Ibileke on his recent article raise a clarion also calling to the Benin(Edo)s who would want to usurp Esan position as the speaker of the Edo state house of Assembly, to remember that the history of Esan traditional relationship and the linage are deep rooted in Benin. He went further to explain that suppressing Esan people would be like a father fighting his son.

 

The Benin - Uzea war account, have it  that Oba Ozolua (1481-1504 CE). , left his son call Ugan to be the Enojie of Uromi, After the war. The people of Uzea/Uromi were happy and welcomed his reunion peace plan to bringing the people of Uromi/Uzea [early emigrants from Benin, during Ogiso and Ewuare strong rule] back again to their ancestral lordship of the Benin Kingdom. Ozolua invasion of Uromi/Uzea was to bring them under control of the Benin kingdom. Ozolua, was a predicted king makers before he became king, aggressive and war-like in nature, Oba Ozolua reintroduced the process of first son succeeding to the throne, with Dukedoms carved out for the other princes. The older of his two remaining sons, after he had lost two sons to the slave trade, was Osawe, who was named the Edaiken (Oba-in-waiting). Idubor, the junior to Osawe, was appointed the Duke of Udo, the home town of Oba Ozolua’s mother, and the second largest and most important town in the kingdom at the time.  Idubor, known as Arhuanran n’Udo (the giant of Udo), was not happy about playing second fiddle to his senior brother, Prince Osawe. In a feud between him and a powerful mystic called Elekighidi of Ogbelaka quarters, he enticed Elekighidi’s wife, Eyowo, to betray her husband and then married her after his triumph over Elekighidi.  Then Oba Ozolua beheaded Eyowo out of fear that she could betray him too in future.  The Portuguese made strong efforts to convert Oba Ozolua to Christianity with preachments.  He had no respect for white gods and deities and even for the Portuguese items of trade, which were being offered to build close links between the kingdom and Portugal.  He was, however, impressed with their guns, a weapon strange to warfare in the West African region at that time. Oba Ozolua introduced bronze casting to Benin.  He did it through Iguehae, a great bronze caster, whose descendants have continued the tradition through the guild of bronze casters at the present day Igun Street in Benin City. While Oba Ozolua was on his way back to Benin after the war at Uromi/Uzea, he was ambush and killed by some ungrateful radicals, who disagreed with his policies.

 

Again, Looking at the Agbazilo group account, the Esan came into being when one of the children of Benin’s Queen Oakha and Ojiso Owodo, Prince Uzia Asokpodudu (Ojiso Owodo’s crown prince and heir apparent) founded Uzea in about 1188 AD after they fled their father's (the Ojiso's) palace following the death sentence passed on their mother, Queen Oakha, who was alleged to have committed adultery with a Benin chief, Ovior. The duo of Ozogbo and Oigi, Asokpodudu's younger brothers, escaped along with him and the mother. It is believed that not only did Prince Asokpodudu (the founder of Uzea clan) escape with the mother, Oakha, relations and some palace servants, he also left with his father’s (the king's) royal trident, ‘Uziziẹnghain’, the Ojiso’s heir loom. Here, the Agbazilo group still comfirming that the Esan mother of creation is and was a Benin mother.

 

Oba Akenzuwa Nironorho 11 once said that Emotan is the mother of Esan people. In other words without Emotan who helped Prince Ogun to regain the Edo throne and was crowned Oba Ewuare N'Ogidigan there wouldn't have been no Esan today. Notably, Oba Ewuare the great, during his time, enacted laws that was unbearable to some Edos which led to emigration in the core of the Empire. Most settlers, know as Esan today migrated to their present location during the time. The greetings of the Esan ancestors who left the benin couldn't have been lagiesan-La Ogiesan before Oba Ewuare because there was no Esan before Ewuare as presented by Nosakhare Idubor. According to Ademola Iyi Eweka, the Ishans/Esans were the most avid defender of the Edo(Benin) monarchy and their women have produced most of Obas of Benin. Eheniuan, the first Ezomo of Benin, who later became the commander of the Benin/Edo Royal army is of Ishan descent.

 

Esan history is a branch or part of Benin(Edo) history, an integral fellowship of the Benin monarch. Her tale is like the story of an extended son from a very large family, who have travelled far from home married and had own family with a different name. This also brings to mind how it relate with the African Americans history and Africa. Though some dispute they are not Africans inspite of the obvious history of trans-atlantic slave trade, many still trace their ancestral lineage to West Africa including the Great Benin Empire. Larry Uklai Johnson-Redd in his book: Journey to Motherland, From Sant fransisco to Benin City, explained the experience of enslaved Africans to the America and how his ancestral parents hail from Benin.

 

Rulership, Tradition and Culture:

What is represented as the Esan monarch are not monarch or separate kingdom per ser, as the Benin(Edo) monarch but dukedoms. This also extends among many villages and towns across territories of the Great Benin(Edo) Empire, Geographically touching South-South, South-East, South – West and South – East. To this day the Esan chiefs and traditional rulers, the Enogies(Enogie is the Esan title for a king), sometimes called kings of the Esan people are crowned by the Oba, the supreme head or king of the Benin Empire. The Onojie of Uromi and the Onojie of Irrua are direct sons of the Oba of Benin

Prof. Iyi Ademola Eweka on his Irrua and Evbohinmwin Relations to Benin-Edoland of Nigeria, explained that the people of Irrua are not only from benin but Benins. Irrua (Iruwa), he said, was named after the Benin princess who married the first Enogie of Irrua, with the people of Evbohimwin belonging to the Ishan/Esan clan, of the (Benin)Edo-speaking group. In the last hundred years, the Enogie of Irrua suddenly became the leader of Enigies in Ishan/Esan land. Whenever the Ishan/Esans are gathered, the Irrua man would normally demand the right to break the almighty kola nuts, but not without a fight from other Ishans/Esans and the reason for this phenomenon can be broken into these parts: a) Although the dukedom of Evbohimwin is probably the oldest, it has always been a haven for Edo princes fleeing from the oba of Benin after a protracted succession struggle. It was also a sort of military out post.

Everybody wanted the control of military outposts of Orhodua and Evbohimwin to be in their hands. Obanosa was the Oba of Benin, 1804-1816. When he died, his two eldest sons, Princes Ogbebor and Erediauwa slugged it out for the throne. Prince Ogbebor won and Prince Erediauwa ran to Evbohimwin for safety. His mother was an Ishan/Esan woman from Evbohimwin. Prince Ogbebor, now the Oba of Benin, tried desperately to dislodge Erediauwa from Evbohimwin. He sent messegers to Ishan/Esan, loaded with coral beads and money, to encourage the Enigies in Ishan/Esan to turn over Prince Erediuwa to him or have his head brought to him in a box. Unfortunately, the supporters of Prince Erediauwa waylaid the messegers to Ishan/Esan, killed many of them and carted way the loot to Prince Erediauwa. Prince Erediauwa now distributed the loot to the Enigies in Ishan/Esan begging for their support and protection. In the ensuing civil war, the army of Oba Ogbebor was defeated. He killed himself, after blowing the palace to pieces with gun powder. He reigned for only eight months. Prince Erediauwa marched into Benin City, ahead of an Ishan/Esan dominated military. He was crowned Oba Osemwende of Benin in 1816. It was Oba Osewende who granted to the Enogie of Uromi, the right to inherit the estate of any person who died childless within Uromi district.This was his reward for supplying men and material in the war to reconquer Akure in 1818-20 rebellion and the battle in defence of the Ekitis against the Ibadans. b) During his reign, he noticed there was an intrigue, to prevent his senior son nicknamed " Ogbewekon," from ascending the throne when he passes on. Prince Ogbewekon and Odin-ovba who later became known as Oba Adolor were born on the same day.

Prince Ogbewekon was born first but reported last to the palace. Oba Osemwende found out that Prince Ogbewekon´s mother had been misled by the Edo chiefs at Ogbe quarter in Benin City, tired of Ishan/Esan (Queens) mothers of Obas. Added to that, was the intrigue of Princess AGHAYUBINI, the most senior daughter of Oba Osemwende., the mother of the Osulas and Aiwerioghenes of Benin. She had become very wealthy by trading with the Itsekhiris. This is the popular Itsekhiri factor in the Benin Royal family. When Oba Osemwende passed on, Ogbewekon bypassed and Odin-ovba installed as Oba Adolor, there was another civil disturbance. Prince Ogbewekon ran first to Evbohimwin and finally settled at Igueben were he raised an army with which he wanted to invade Benin City. From his hide out at Igueben, he made life uncomfortable for Oba Adolor in Ishan/Esan land. The Enogie of Evbohimwin was also involved. The Amaho uprising of 1853/54 in Ishan/Esan land, had Prince Ogbewekon signature all over it. It was General Ebohon of Ova, the same general who stopped Ogedengbe of Ilesha at Irhuekpen, who put down the uprising with alot of bloodshed. c) When Oba Adolor passed on, Oba Ovonramwen was installed as the Oba of Benin in 1888, but not without a fight from his brother, Prince Orokhoro. Prince Orokhoro lost and ran first to Evbohimwin and then to Orhodua in Ishan/Esan land. His mother was also an Ishan/Esan. He was busy raising an army in Ishan/Esan when the British army struck in 1897. These were some of the factors responsible for the defeat of the Benin army by the British army in 1897 .

To punish Evbohimwin and the Enogie for supporting rebellious Edo Princes, Erhumwunse (Eromosele), the Enogie of Irrua, the son of Enogie Isidahome 1, the son of Enogie Ogbeide, who commited suicide for ordering the death of a pregnant woman between 1830 and 1847, was made Okaegiesan by Oba Ovonramwen in 1895. He was given ADA, the Sword of Office. He therefore became Ogie ada. This elevated him far and beyond the Enogie of Evbohimwin. The people of Irrua and Uromi down to Ekpoma were so involved in th 1897 war, that when Enogie Eromosele of Irrua visited Benin City in 1917, after the restoration of the monarchy, he was received with pomp and pegeantry in Benin City by Oba Eweka 11 and the chiefs. His son and successor Enogie Momodu was always at Benin palace. Enogie Isidahomhen who succeded Eromosele , followed his father´s footstep. He too was always at the palace. He actually stayed and studied Native Administration under Oba Akenzua 11. Oka-Egiesan of Ishan/Esanland, occupies the position of Primos inter pares in a gathering of the Ishan Enigies. It is also important to note that Oba Osemwende , whose mother was an Evbohimwin lady, had given Odia, the Enogie of Evbohimwin an Odigba-a bearded neck collar of Edo nobility. He also gave him two flint-lock guns, which can still be seen at Evbohimwin today. Those guns are fired ceremonially once a year When Oba Ovonramwen made the Enogie of Irrua Oka-Egiesan, he virtually took seniority from Evbohimwin and gave it to the people of Irrua for loyal service to the Edo nation, as they saw it then. This is why the people of Irrua would always demand that, they break the Kola nut whenever the Ishans/Esans are gathered. but, but and but, Evbohimwin has been fighting back, to regain its lost position and will continue for sometime”

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. He explained that 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.

 

LANGUAGE:

 

The orthographic composition of Edoid dialects are taken from the Benin(Edo) alphabets [a b d e ẹ f g h I k l m n o ọ p r s t u v w y z] with some double consonants varing from one dialect to the other. Basically all the edoid dialect have same alphabet with the Benin-Edo language."A not-too-well known fact about Edo state in the context of our common macro culture is that Edo is multi-dialectical not necessarily multi-lingual. I recognize that I might be delving into an area in which I have no expertise, but I make these observations knowing the intricate link between language and culture. I say that Edo is multi-dialectical, because there is a difference between being bi-dialectical and being bi-lingual. According to Ricardo Garcia (in Banks, 2001) bilingualism is the ability to speak with distinctively different language systems while bidialectism is the ability to speak with different versions of the same language. Ora, Esan, and Esakon dialects, to a large extent, are versions of the same language system. They are not different languages but dialects of an Edo language. I challenge the language scholars among us, to identify or evolve that one Edo language which others will be versions (dialects) of." - Chief Oje Aisiku, PhD on a 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.

Scholars have argued that, the lack of a structured and standardized language institution and documentation of the Edo language in early history of the great Benin Empire gave rise to its multiplicity of dialects, though language variations wasn't a problem as chiefs and traditional leader including the king's subjects could communicate perfectly. This also lead to lots of today's mistaken identity and doubt of a common ancestral lineage of the Edoid race in the body politics of Nigeria. Brothers of same father or mother, now enemies or strangers. While this identity crisies not only peculiar to the Edoid race, it is true a fact that most descendants of enslaved Africans in America are still finding their ancestral root in West Africa. Again, factors like inter-marriages with other ethnic nationalities, travelling abroad, use of foreign language [English in the case of Nigeria as national language], political and economic reasons have also contributed to these great changes.

Most youth or children of the 21st century may find this obvious history and linguist afiliations uninteresting as they cannot or do not understand the present day Benin-Edo language because their dailect (to them ) is totally difference from Edo. Many have eventually come to find or see the central Benin(Edo) City, people and language as distance or probably other nationality in his entity. Again politicians are now standing on that ground to gain momentum, on their political carrier and corrupt motives, enriching themselves and family living the mass to huge, unemployment, illiteracy, poverty and underdevelopment. Sad but true some scholars are also becoming indulge to fairy tales of distorted histories and statics to suit their egos and clans loyalty in the name of ethnic nations. A menace to an Edoid civilizations that have thrived for centuries and scores of years before Nigeria was born. That children, whose grand parents were once Edos or Benins that travelled oversea countries like Germany, France, Italy, Holland, Spain, Japan, China, Senegal, Cape Verde, etc now nationals of other nation does not mean that their ancestral lineage is false being Benin or Edo.

Looking at the post-colonial history of Nigeria on how the Edoid language became minimal and religated to the low statue she is today in the body politics of Nigeria, Alex Igbineweka explained that In 1950s, when the 'Redifussion' or house-to-house Radio speaker boxes were introduced into Nigeria by the then Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, the Federal Government of Nigeria was finding a way to disseminate the News broadcasts by duly translating it into the various indigenous Nigerian languages so as to get to the grass roots. Therefore, they decided to translate the hourly News bulletins into about nine different Nigerian languages, namely: Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Edo, Efik, Kanuri, Fulfulde, Izon, Tiv respectively. This was very cumbersome as it took lots of minutes or hour to end the vernacular news broadcast and most other non language speakers were not interested listening to other languages no sooner theirs was translated. Consequently, when the Military men came into power, they decided and spruned the number of languages down from nine to just three, namely: Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba languages only and tagged it "WAZOBIA", meaning: "Wa" (come in Yoruba language; "Zo" (come) in the Hausa language; and, "Bia" which also meant (come) in Igbo language respectively. In other words, (come, come, come), i.e. it was a matter of everyone wanting to speak and be silence at the same time - how stupid! The name WAZOBIA was given by the late talented musician - Roy Chicago.And then Nigeria embarked on radio and television translation of news in what they called the three major languages, and sent all the other languages into the cooler, for them to groan and get lost, as if the country did not belong to them as well. This single action is what has led the country into its present doom of the "Federal Character syndrome", (you must come from any of those three major languages and ethnic groups) to be heard, recognized and given reasonable political appointment no matter your talent and accredited professionalism! It was in the light of these and several other reasons that I decided to improve or develop Guosa - the language of my vision to save Nigeria now and in the future. Guosa is a scientific and artistic evolution and integtration of all the languages and dialects to be found in Nigeria as a unified lingua franca (National Language). A lot of tribal and ethnic sentiments will be relgated to the background when we can speak one monogenous national language at home and abroad.

The Edoid race as it is today wasn't how it was in pre-colonial times. Ibukunolu Alao Babajide on an internet conversation, narrated that the British foundation architects placed certain core pillars in its colonial territories during and after their invasion of West Africa. The pillars was to hold Nigerian (for example) building together or make the structure fall. First when they conquered Nigeria, they conquered existing political orders. The king of Lagos, the lesser kings of Igbessa, Oja Odan, Ado, Owode, Ilaro, etc and then bigger ones like Ibadan, Oyo, Benin, and like that to Borgu, Sokoto and Kanuri Sufawa. As they conquered, they changed the old order and replaced it with Pillars and Pronvinces. And with those pillars and provinces with slight variations the military built the current states around. In those in those pre-Nigeria administrative provinces, administrations and internal denudation of old political arrangements happened. Jostling went on, and empires crumbled. Before Ovonrami Nogbaise of Benin was killed, when he wants a head cut along the Niger, he gets it. Today if the Oba of Benin wants a head in Benin city, he must do it clandestinely at night using sworn palace hands who will take the rope instead of squeal that the Oba sent them. Before the British destroyed Oyo, the Alaafin having sex with his wife who flippantly called him "Eniyan tin tin ti nda igbe ru", a dimunitive man disrupting the bushes, caused the Alaafin to behead her father and present her with the father's head in a calabash. With a fiat. The British encode that all the old powers that are not in line or conform with their own norms of equity, order, and good conscience are proscribed.

They established a new order. All the old powers then began to juggle and jostle for the new order! That happened between 1860 and 1923 when the Egba and Sokoto empires including Benin in 1897 were finally subjugated by force of arms. 63 years of British men, soldiers, traders, and administrators riding bicycles in thick forests and dying of malaria and so many simple things like bees, snakes, crocodiles, scorpions, that kill white men in the African jungles and Savanahs. In this motley crowd were missionaries - who created the foundation pillars that today make our youths and professors "Prayer Warriors" instead of "Political or SNC Warriors". Nigeria was created with great risks, bloodshed, and guns and violence.

Scholars like Dr. Nowa Omoigui on “The Benin-Urhobo relationship” have also drawn a dynamic linguistic affiliation between the Benin-Edo-Edoid language with the Urhobo. Presented the political analogy of the of “Benin and the Midwest referendum” connecting the Edoid race in the region. Prof. Iyi Eweka on “What is Edo” , Naiwu Osahon on “Edo civilization and Empire: The correct history of the Edo people of Nigeria” , Pa Anthony Enahora Autobiography and his paper on the proposal of 18 regional structure for Nigeria, Peter P. Ekeh on Ogiso and Eweka times: A preliminary history of the Edoid complex of culture, Uyilawa Usualele of the institute of Benin studies, on “Colonial State and Education Benin Division 1897 – 1959”, shared some light on the devastative effect and marginalization of the colonial administrative rule on the Benin people, education, land and politics including their divided and rule tactics employed to disorganise, destabilize a reunion and reformation of the great pre-colonial Benin-Edoid Empire. And recently Prof. Patrick Edobor Igbinovia on The future of the Benins in future of Nigeria delivered at the 12th Egharevba's memorial lecture at the Institute of Benin studies 2010, All commenting on historical co-relations of the Edoid race.

WHY EDOID – EDO NATION?

The world is changing. All across is a revolution going on starting with the suppose first Black president of the United State of America, Barack Obama, elected into presidency in the midst of economic crises and Bush war. People and integrity in action all over Arab world, building their lives and future, from Tunisians to Egypt, Egypt to Libya and to other parts of the continent. These is obvious over the place, on digital satellites and local broadcasts. Youths, women and children rising up to challenges designing better life and future for their generation unborn. The Edoid race is not left out on the blowing wind of change as they must break new grounds and boundaries to emerge a better nation of Nigeria, an exemplary Nation of diversities on the African hemisphere. Yes, with recent uprising by most Nigerian scholars, politicians, organisations and foreign commentators for a sovereignty national conference to restructure current states of the Nigeria federation to ethnic state or regional autonomy, it is therefore crucial that the Edoid race come together to forge a common future and linguistic fusion, using their shared and common language(Edo), culture, tradition, custom, and historical values.


National self determination and actualizations is not new in world history, if that is the fear. European countries have always had this historic advantage. The Germans for example, have always been one people. one culture, one language, one religion, one history, under the same political system for more than a 1000 years. They were separated into two countries by the allies only in 1945 - after world war ll. The Chinese always have been one people. one language, one culture, same history for close to 7000 years. Those on the island of Taiwan - traditionally a part of china - "escaped" theirs during the Mao communist revolution, and have been since sustained artificially as a "separate nation" by American might. The Koreans have always been one people - one language, one culture, one history for some 2-4000 years - until they were forcibly split up, again by the Americans - after the so-called Korean war - and it is the Americans who are still artificially maintaining south Korea as a viable nation. Czechoslovakia, the former soviet union, and Yugoslavia on the other, splited along its line of ethnic division. The Spanish too, though proclaim as one country, do have their various nations, with their language, political structure and future nations developed within. Recently southern Sudan splited with northern Sudan for a new nation born. Pakistan and Bangladesh were splited, and they have both moved on. Eritrea was carved from Ethiopia along its line of ethnic-religious divide and they have both moved on. so while not in Nigeria?


However, Inspite of all attempt by pan African scholars, politicians, revolutionary groups and organisation to unite, organise and develop Africa states, people and resources against their common enemies and exploiters, Africa still remains one of the most disorganise, disunited and underdevelopment nations on planet earth. Reasons range from wrong territorial and geographical boundaries of the colonial administrators, impositions of foreign language and religion, miss-education, deculturalization and above all wrong and corrupt leadership. Developing Africa means organising Africa and organising African means learning from history to correcting or ameliorating the present designing the future. A re-awakening, enlightenment, re-culturalization, building common linguistic unifications and territorial regionalization. The Edoid race must understand that to organise and develop Africa they must unite to form the Edoid nation. One people, One language(Edo as a national language), shared culture, education, politics, economy, industrialization, science and technology. Unity is strength translated from an ancient Benin philosophy quote “Akugbe ér'óh étin”.

The common values, history, culture and linguist relations in dialects around the Edoid group of language, including the Esan or Ishan makes their strong connection and affirmation obvious. In fact, the words “Edoid language ” directly related to “Benin language”.

What must be done to Implement the Edoid language as National language.

  1. To discontinue the trend of more further duplicity and divide in Edoid race, Edo language should be encourage, thought and adopted by the Edoid Nation of Nigeria.

  2. A bill should be passed by the federal and state house of Assembly on the Use of Edo language as the National Edoid Nation language.

  1. This should be entrenched into the federal constitutional of Nigeria as the common and general future language of the South South geographical zone of Nigeria

  2. Edo language should be use as one of the main language on media broadcasts in all communications media on the region.

  3. Edo language should be included in primary and secondary school educational curriculum

  4. More Books and Lecturers should be encourage, trained and employed.

  5. Universities in Edo, Delta, Rivers, Kogi and Ondo should have a departments of Studies for research, development and use of the Edo- Edoid language.

     

Challenges of The future in a New Regional Structure of Nigeria:

The Edoid race should seek their national vision from the cricket construct call Nigeria. Pursue a family unification extending as far north with Kogi, west with Ondo, Delta and River state. The Edoid race can form a viable Edoid nation where Edoid culture and language is use as national language along side English, under the same political system - if need be at least for the transition period with a general consencors from representatives of all mini-dialectical composition within its geographical zone. Edo or Edoid nation and people have suffered for too long in the body politics of Nigeria, and must no longer wish to continue the injustice and marginalization by WAZOBIA political / ruling elites. Denounce and minority statues because they are not minority but the largest Nation of Nigeria with diversities. Mobilize growth and develop across the region...Save the African children from further disintegration!


"They who have seen only a little vociferate about how much they have experienced, while they who have seen a great deal cannot even find the words to express what they have gone through
" - EWUARE OGIDIGAN (The great) Oba of Benin 1440 AD - 1473 AD (A great Magician, Physician, Traveller and warrior; constructed Akpakpava street, created the Edaiken title, renamed the land Edo and the first Oba to come in contact with Europeans).

 

“Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without.” - William Sloane Coffin, Jr. quotes (American Activist and Clergyman, b.1924)

Long Live the Federal Republic of Edo

Long live the king!

Oba gha tor kpere Isee!

Uwagboe Ogieva

30th May 2011

 Famos quotations>

 

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Edoid Nation of Nigeria, One Nation in Diversities: Historic relation and future challenges

 



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- Edo-African heritage within the context and the dynamics of Nigerian culture

- First European Contact With Nigeria Was 1485 By The Great Benin Emp...

- Greatness of an African Queen Mother: IDIA By Uwagboe Ogieva

- Excellence in education and culture for the new millennium By Chief Oje Aisiku, PhD

- Bini Names in Nigeria and Georgia By Roger Westcott, Professor Emeritus, Drew University

- Nigeria: The Edo of Benin By Osamuyimen Stewart, Ph.D.

- THE CORRECT HISTORY OF EDO By NAIWU OSAHON

THE STORY OF ARHUANRAN (THE DUKE OF UDO)

- Agbor link with Edo people "Origin of Agbor - Agbon" By By Emeka Esogbue

- Benin (Nigeria) and its Mystique By MIKE JIMOH

- Benin History and the Museum's Benin Collection From the museum.upenn.edu

100 Years after the Invasion of Benin Reflection By Chief Richard Akinjide (SAN)

Benin Chronology

Edo - African Ethos and Social Engineering

Edo Language and Iha Ominigbon By Chief Dr. Daryl M. Peavy JD

24 major Edoid dialects in Nigeria

 

 

RECOMMENDED BOOKS:

 

Edo Civilization, Esan War Machine and the Founding Of Lagos

 

- Benin and the Europeans, 1485-1897 by Alan Frederick Charles Ryder
Product details: Hardcover: 388 pages / Publisher: Prentice Hall Press; 1st Edition edition (July 1969) Language English / ISBN-10: 058264514X / ISBN-13: 978-0582645141

- Graham Connah. 1975. The Archaeology Of Benin: Excavations and other researches in and around Benin City, Nigeria. Clarendon Press : Oxford. Pages - 266 (plus photographs) ISBN - 0 19 920063 7 http://ihuanedo.ning.com/profiles/blogs/the-archaeology-of-benin

- Kings, Magic,& Medicine " by Chief Dr. Dayl Peavy JD. An African American that has an Esan Chietaincy title (2007). An Ob'oguega as well as an Ob'orunmila. Have been conducting research in Edo State since 1997 and published in a book titled: "Kings, Magic & Medicine". http://ihuanedo.ning.com/forum/topics/new-book-on-great-benin

- Evolution Of Benin Chieftancy Title (Very specific facts on Edo and Edo's in Diaspora). $25.00

- Benin City Pilgrimage Stations (Detailed Edo History). $25.00

- Benin City- Edo State Capital (More details on the colonial Era).

- The Edo Man of the 20th Century (Oba Eweka 11 life history). $10.00

- Erediauwa, Prince of Benin. (About the Price and not this Oba).$10.00

- Iwu- The body marks of Edo People. $10.00

- A DVD on Edo History from Ogiso to current. Concluded by an address by Omo N'oba himself. $10.00

 [Contact Tina Iyare tinaiigho@yahoo.com Tel:610-563-9131 Tel:610-873-6842** TO PURCHASE ANY OF ABOVE BOOK WITH PRICE TAG]

 

TOURIST PLACES TO VISIT:

 

- The Portuguese National Archives in Lisbon

- British Museum

- National Museum Benin City

 

LINKS:

- THE IMPERIAL ARCHITECTURE OF GREAT BENIN.

- EDO NATION PREMIER WEB

- EDO FOLKS HISTORY AND LANGUAGE

-

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Comment by Otedo News Update on January 9, 2016 at 12:12pm

ESAN AND WHAT YOU CALL "BENIN" TODAY ARE ONE!!!!! "BENIN" IS A PORTUGUESE NAME....!!! THEY ARE ALL EDOOOOOOOO!!!! STOP DIVIDING EDO PEOPLE !!!!!.. THIS IS A HISTORIC FACT AND NOT MODERN POLITICS!!! WHAT IS THE MEANING OF BENIN AND MEANING OF ESAN? WHAT IS THEIR ORIGIN ? MIGRATION IS COMMON TO MAN AS A LIVING ANIMALLLLLLLL.. VILLAGES ONCE LIVED AND GONE AND NEW CITIES ARE BUILD BUT THAT DON'T CHANGE THE FACTS OF HISTORY. .. OF COURSE HISTORY STARTS FROM TWO SECONDS AGO... THINK WISE UNITY IS STRENGHT !!

Comment by Otedo News Update on January 9, 2016 at 12:11pm

There has never been anything like Esan pre- 1897. Nothing like afenmai too. All the people living in present day Edo state and beyond were referred to as Benin or Edo. Benin is not a new description of Edo people. It has been in use for over 1000 years. Today,linguist have classified these people including Urhobo,Isoko,Akoka,Ilaje,Ogbia and a host of others as the Edoid people who speak edoid language.

Comment by Otedo News Update on February 26, 2015 at 10:11am

Uwagboe Ogieva is a prolific, freelance writer and activist. A program analyst based in Barcelona. Spain. Author and publisher of various articles and journals working with yawewe magazine, bykem, otedo.com, and other publishing companies.Dirrector Edo language research and development program, chair person-Edo language for all vision 2020.

Comment by Otedo News Update on July 16, 2014 at 7:22am

BENIN KINGDOM WAS NOT PART OF SOUTHERN NIGERIA AND NOT PART OF THE AMALGAMATION OF 1914.

The extension of British power over the Benin Empire followed the invasion and conquest of Benin in February 1897.1 With the fall of Benin, the political system of one of the most powerful precolonial empires of Africa was overturned by the imposition of colonial rule.2 Britain's determination to control the process of political change and maintain power in the face of resistance was demonstrated in the hasty trial and deportation of the king (Oba Ovonramwen) to Calabar in September 1897. The deportation of the king of Benin demonstrated that the British did not always support strong rulers, as was also the case with King Jaja of Opobo in the Niger Delta. The regulations and measures imposed by the British led to continuing crises as the power vacuum created by the exile of the king affected the political life of Benin. The British attempted to reconfigure political power among the Benin chiefs by establishing a Native Council of chiefs "who had made their submission."3 The aim was to advise the resident on custom, sit with him in judicial hearings, and help to set the government's economic, educational, and other policies in motion.4 In theory, the British were satisfied that this arrangement would be successful. In practice, the state of the times was not particularly reassuring for political stability due to the contestation of power among Benin chiefs.

The British created a new kind of structure for colonial administration in establishing a Native Council. But the Benin experience in the interregnum (the period between the conquest of Benin and the restoration of the monarchy in 1914) was quite different from the experience in Igboland, where neither a strong ruler nor a centralized bureaucracy existed.5 At the beginning of colonial administration in Benin, the British "theory" of Indirect Rule, as formulated by Frederick Lugard, was being applied in the kingdom of Buganda in East Africa and the emirates of Northern Nigeria in West Africa.6 The Benin situation, however, presented clear deviations from the policy of making use of traditional African rulers.7 The British did not rule in theory in the name of the Oba nor his nominee, but rather with the notion of the "Whiteman" as the king.

However, as British influence steadily reached out, the traditional framework of government collapsed. The collapse of traditional frameworks resulted in the disruption of the existing, well-defined class and functional relationships in the indigenous political system of Benin, as was the case in other conquered territories.8 The character and methods of governance adopted by the British foreshadowed the difficulties of colonial rule that created major crises and raised a number of issues in contending with the first phase of British colonial rule in Benin from 1897 to 1914. These were reflected in the pattern of political conflict and the course of political change.

The period of interregnum from 1897 to 1914 was the first phase of British colonial rule in Benin; a period that saw the first conflict of ideas and institutions used by the British to dominate Benin. This study is an attempt to assess how the ideas of the Benin political groups and the political elite shaped their actions within the parameters set by colonial rule. The colonial period represented the abrupt termination of the independence and sovereignty of African states.9 The political campaign of the royalists to restore the Benin monarchy was confronted with the inevitable change arising from colonial domination on the one hand, and the reconfiguration of power among the Benin chiefs on the other.

The colonial situation had created an environment of changing structures, goals, and opportunities for new political interactions and accommodation. In this circumstance, the royalist movement began in 1899 with the struggle to bring Oba Ovonramwen back from exile. The royalists' political opponents, who benefited from colonial rule but lacked the legitimacy accorded to their precolonial counterparts, began to work against the restoration of Oba Ovonramwen to the kingship of Benin, and this generated much controversy over the restoration question.
By Osadolor, Osarhieme Benson
The International Journal of African Historical Studies , Vol. 44, No. 1

Comment by Otedo News Update on July 16, 2014 at 7:17am

Godwin Toritseju Emiko, He is the nineteenth OLU of warri who choose His KINGSHIP title ATUWATSE (II) after OLU DOM DOM MINGO who is ATUWATSE (I). The Itsekiris KING is a well known prince in the OBA palace. They are the descendants of IGINUWA the first KING of the Itsekiri people who migrated with His entourage from Edo right from His fathers palace with 71 chiefs amongst whom are Chief OLOGBOTSERE, UWANGUE, OTSONRON, etc. The 71 chiefs symbolizes the numbers of chiefs that is in the OBA palace. According to history, the father of IGINUWA made Him a KING right in His palace along with 71 Chiefs and everyone of them are sons of His own chiefs and He personally gave Him the title OGIAME means KING of the river in Edo language and said to Him for you are KING from heaven therefore go and rule over the rivers and all that is therein.

Olu of Warri's photo.
Comment by Otedo News Update on March 13, 2014 at 1:23pm

"The Oba said, inter alia: "Another important traditional ruler whose origin deserves examination is the Oduduwa of Ife whose origin is also shrouded in myths and legend. He is believed to be the father of the principal rulers of Yorubaland, the father of Oranmiyan who was the the father of EWEKA I of Benin and who was the founder and the first Alafin of Oyo Kingdom; Ife traditional history says Oduduwa descended from heaven ( in a like manner to the Edo account). Some modern historians say that the great Oduduwa was a fugitive from the Moslems of the Middle-east and that he came to settle in what is present -day Ile-Ife. We in Benin believe, and there are historical landmarks for such belief,that the person whom the Yoruba call Oduduwa was the fugitive Prince EKALADERHAN, son of the last OGISO OF BENIN by name OGISO OWODO; he found his way to what is now Ile-Ife after gaining freedom from his executioners and wandering for years through the forests. It was after the demise of his father and when, in the interregnum, Evian, and later his son Ogiamien, tried to assume the kingship, that those who knew that Ekaladerhan was still alive organized a search party to fetch him. It was this search party that emerged at Ile-Ife and discovered Ekaladerhan, known then to the people of Ile-Ife as Oduduwa and already enjoying the status of a King. After failing to persuade him to return with them to Benin, they succeeded in getting him to send his son, ORANMIYAN, to rule Benin...."" - source: http://www.nairaland.com/1407907/edos

Comment by Otedo News Update on March 12, 2014 at 10:29am
Please read excerpts from Nnamdi Azikiwe:My Odyssey.

Nnamdi Azikiwe: My Genealogy and Nativity

“Thus, in tracing my paternal lineage, I could say that both parents of my father are direct descendants of Eze Chima. As for me, I can trace my paternal ancestry in this wise: I am the first son of Chukwuemeka, who was the third child and first son of Azikiwe, who was the second son of Molokwu, who was the third son of Ozomaocha, who was the second son of Inosi Onira, who was the fourth son of Dei, the second son of Eze Chima, the founder of Onitsha.”
SOURCE – Nnamdi A zikiwe: My Odyssey, Chapter I (Spectrum Books, 1970) “My Genealogy and Nativity” p4

“I can trace my maternal ancestry thus: I am the first son of Nwanonaku Rachel Chinwe Ogbenyeanu (Aghadiuno)Azikiwe, who was third daughter of Aghadiuno Ajie, the fifth son of Onowu Agbani, first daughter of Obi Udokwu, the son who descended from five Kings of Onitsha. Five of these rulers of Onitsha were direct lineal descendants of Eze Chima, who led his warrior adventurers when they left Benin to establish the Onitsha city state in about 1748 AD.
” SOURCE – Nnamdi Azikiwe: My Odyssey, Chapter I (Spectrum Books, 1970) “My Genealogy and Nativity” p5

“One day I asked her (grandmother) the meaning of the word ‘Onitsha’. She explained that it had historical significance. The terminology meant one who despised another. It is a contraction of two words, Onini to despise, and Ncha meaning others. So that the two words when joined together mean one who despises others. Then I asked her why we despised others. She patted me on the back and told me that it was due to our aristocratic background and tradition. I insisted that she should explain to me the basis of this supercilious social attitude. She told me that we despised others because we descended from the Royal House of Benin and so regarded ourselves as the superiors of other tribes who had no royal blood in their veins, “

“I continued to belabor my grandmother to tell me more of the history and origins of the Onitsha people. She narrated that many many years ago, there lived at Idu (Benin) a great Oba who had many children. Due to a power struggle regarding the right of precedence among princes of the blood and other altercations, there was a civil war in Benin. One day, the supporters of one of the princes insulted and assaulted Queen Asije, the mother of of the Oba of Benin, who was accused of having trespassed on their farmland. Enraged at this evidence of indiscipline and lawlessness, the Oba ordered his war chief and brother, Gbunwala Asije to apprehend and punish the insurgents. In the attempt to penalise them, Chima, the ultimate founder of the Onitsha city-state, a prince of the blood in his own right, led the recalcitrants against his Uncle, Gbunwala. This intensified the civil war which rent the kingdom of Benin in two and led to the founding of Onitsha Ado N’Idu, , ” “As the great trek from Benin progressed, some did not have the stout heart of the pioneer-warrior, and decided to settle at different places, known today as Onitsha -Ugbo, Onitsha-Olona, Onitsha-Mili, Obior, Issele Ukwu, Ossomari, Aboh, etc,
” SOURCE – Nnamdi Azikiwe: My Odyssey, Chapter I (Spectrum Books, 1970) “My Genealogy and Nativity” p 11 – 12
Like · 4 · Sep 17, 2013
Comment by Otedo News Update on March 12, 2014 at 10:27am

Orhogbua
{ABout1550AD-1578AD}

Before he ascends the throne, he was educated under the Portuguese educational system. The reign of Oba Orhogbua is marked with the expansion of the Empire westwards.Thus Eko {Lagos} and Badagry were founded. he established the monrchical rule in those places and placed his own representatives to rule them. He established the first Oba of Lagos. it is said that during the oba's long surjourn in Lagos and Badagry, some parts of the Easter Empire were in a rebellious state which was quickly surpressed by the war general, Ezomo Agban who was despatched to Agbor in 1577.
The appearance of British explorers like Windham {1553 in this part of the world took place during Orhogbua's period.
He introduced the European type cooking salt to Benin kingdom

Oba Orhogbua was clearly a strong warrior for he enforced tribute payments from all parts of the empire and in the middle 1550s conquered all the coastal lands up to Lagos where he left a permanent garrison. Tradition in Lagos says that their first Oba, the Eleko of Eko, was a son of the Oba Orhogbua of Benin" 

It will be seen, therefore, that even if we were to disregard traditional history there is enough material from modern historians to confirm the fact that what is now Lagos was founded by an Oba of Benin who also gave it it's first ruler. But we really cannot disregard traditional history. In Benin tradition, and we believe the same of Yoruba and other ethnic groups in this country, one way to establish that an event in traditional history did occur is by the type of anecdote or adage that evolves from that event . Thus, for instance, We Edo people say that "Orhogbua gb'Olague,ona y'ukpe abekpen z'umwen rie Edo, meaning that Oba Orhogbua defeated Olague and used sword to bring his salt to Benin, This is in allusion of to the exploits of Oba Orhogbua while in his camp (Eko) from where he over-ran the place known as Mahin with it's ruler whom the Benin People nicknamed Olague. There Orhogbua discovered the common rock salt and brought it to Benin who thereby tasted it for the first time. 

Now the name "Ashipa has featured quite prominently (and rightly too) in the history of Lagos. After the Oba Orhogbua returned to Benin from Eko, he appointed a commander or an administrator, who was called Aisikpa to look after the skeleton troop left in the camp(Eko) until he returned again from Benin. He could no longer return having seen the situation at home. The name "Aisikpahienvoborre" which means "people do not desert their home-land. "This is how Aisikpa, whom the Yoruba now call Ashipa, came into the Lagos (Eko) history. Eko is still there as the traditional Benin name for Lagos; Ashipa has been retained as a senior traditional chieftaincy title while his descendants now retain the modern name of Oba of Lagos. The interaction of Edo people with others in distant lands must have inevitably resulted in cultural exchanges.

Comment by Otedo News Update on March 12, 2014 at 10:16am
Comment by Otedo News Update on March 11, 2014 at 3:15am

OBA IS NOT A YORUBA WORD 
By Efosa Omuwa
9-3-2014

I find it embarrassing when some Edo/Benin historians misunderstand the origin of the name, Oba. I wonder why they have not been able to connect the title to an Edo word and the series of events that took place in then Igodomigodo just as I have done. Sometimes ago, since I have always wondered how the name came about, I ventured into a little research on my own using the stories that took place at that time, and the meaning of Oba in Edo language to arrive at my conclusion.
Firstly, I wold like to let you know the meaning of ‘ba’, ‘O ba’ or ‘Noba ‘in Edo language.
- Baa or ba means ‘to shine’
- O’ baa means ‘it’s shining’ or ‘he/she is shining’
- Noba means the ‘colour ‘red’ or in a phrasal verb N’Oba meaning ‘the one that shines’

The last one N’Oba will be more relevant to the explanation below.

The name, title or word is not an original Yoruba word. After a series of events that led to the death of Ogiso Owodo, the departure of Ekaladerhan(heir apparent) and the emergence of Evian as the temporary head or Ogie of Igodomigodo , the kingdom was going through tough time ranging from the struggle for power amongst different groups . The Kingdom was plagued with famine, sickness and diseases. There was exodus of people from Igodo. The people attributed these to the anger of the gods as regard the injustice done to Ekaladerhan and the activities going on then. This made Oliha to lead a party to bring back Ekaladerhan who was rumoured to be alive in Uhe(Ife). Oliha and is party technically succeeded by bringing back Oranmiyan who was one of the Sons of Ekaladerhan (Oduduwa) to Igodomigodo. 

Oranmiyan met strong resistance from Ogiamien and his supporters. He relocated back to the land he was used to since he wasn’t able to cope with the ongoing turmoil in his fatherland and left behind a child he had with the daughter of Enogie of Ogida, Eweka.

After Eweka became of age to assume the throne of his forefathers, he was still being challenged by Ogiamien and his supporters. Many wars were fought between them to enforce their authority as the sole head of the Igodomigodo Kingdom. After several years of warfare, Ogiemien finally conceded the head of the Kingdom to Eweka.

Note that during the reign of Ogiamien as the head of the Kingdom, The name Oba was already being used to refer to Eweka by his supporters as ‘omo no do baa n’Igodo’ or ‘Omo n’obaa n’Igodo’ meaning ‘the child that came to shine for Igodomigo ‘ or ‘the child that shines for Igodomigodo’. Then he has not yet adopted the name Eweka as his Kingship name. Some simply referred to him as ‘Omo’ in a short form. So, after the truce reached between him and Ogiemien , the people still referred to him as the child that have come to shine for the Kingdom and brought peace and prosperity to the Land and felt he should adopt the name as his title. The name was finally adopted as his Title for the King of Igodomigodo considering the events that led to his emergence. (omo n’obaa n’Igodomigodo in Edo language and the short form, Oba). 

In view of the above, it is logical to say the word Oba was first used to describe the new king to be by those around him and the people of Igodomigodo. This was later adopted and used to refer to the King of Igodomigodo. The name was later changed from ‘omo n’oba n’Igodomigodo’ to ‘omo n’oba n’Edo’ after Oba Ewuare changed the name of the Kingdom (empire) to Edo. 
Finally, I hereby conclude that the true meaning of the word Oba is in the literary meaning and the full pronunciation of the sentence ‘Omo n’oba n’Edo’.
NB
• Ukpon Noba (Red Cloth) was adopted to emphasize the significance of the new title of the monarchy. 
• Also note that during the Ogiso dynasty, there was an Ogiso named Ogiso Obagodo. Obagodo literarily means ‘he’s shining very bright’. This is to buttress the points raised above as regard the true origin of the word Oba. 
• I have come to understand that Edo/Benin history can best be explained in the names given to places, persons and traditional titles and idiomatic expressions which still exist up till date.

Great Benin Bronze

EDE N'ERHENA VBE EDO

"

These anti-Edo political organizations you folks went to join are the most anti-African - and Africans - in the world.

They're worse than anything; we obviously can't stop you though, even Ewuare II's manifest destiny lies in our own regional party.

We have egba Omo Oduduwa and so on, NPC, AG, the forerunner of them all NCNC and then now these cancers of today.

Stay "with them", but register for your most important election first: your local election, register Edo Political Front, and if you don't, vote the front.

No self respecting Edo will - in the future - find themselves the flag bearers and cheerleaders of foreign parties with indirect rule political and economic mandates, it just doesn't work.

No sane Edo person lives to "have the ear" of someone who doesn't have Edo at their heart.

The Supreme Court is the place to remove the frustration of these lethargic and "periodic" additions to the voting rolls; here - where I live - you can fill in the forms regarding changing your voter registration at the post office and other easy access places.

At the rate things are going we're going to find ourselves truly in decline as our populations suffer from simple things like protein deficiencies in children

" - Reggie Akpata

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